19 Amazing Animal & Insect Books for Kids

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Whether it’s the little plush animals they can’t leave home without or the nature documentary outside your window (aka the bird feeder) there’s no denying that kids love animals. If you’ve got a budding zoologist or entomologist in your household, these books will keep them entertained and informed about everything from poisonous frogs to matriarchal elephants. Read on for your latest favorites.

Kahlo's Koalas: 1, 2, 3, Count Art with Me

Seven Van Gogh Geckos, 3 Lichtenstein Llamas...learn to count with animals reimagined in iconic artist's style with this adorable board book from Grace Helmer. From Warhol's warthogs to Kandinsky's kangaroos and more, you'll love reading this one to bébé! Ages: 0-4

Get it here, $7

Photo Ark ABC

If you don't follow award-winning National Geographic Explorer and photographer Joel Sartore on Instagram, you definitely need to change that. His images of animals are astounding and we are thrilled that he's bringing them to the youngest readers in this collaboration with New York Times bestselling author Debbie Levy. Photo Ark ABC combines amazing photographs of animals with playful text that will keep you reading and reading. 

Get it here, $30. 

Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses

Written by legendary thriller author James Patterson and his wife Susan, this follow-up to their best-selling first book (Big Words for Little Geniuses) takes kids on an animal journey that leaves the cows, chickens, and sheep in the barnyard. From swimmers to flyers and beyond, kids will discover the sloth, the wombat, the tarsier, and much more. Charming illustrations from Hsingping Pan complete the equation, making this board book a must-have bookshelf addition. Ages: 0-3

Available on amazon.com, $8.

Words of the World: Ocean Animals & Birds

Beautifully simplistic collages by Motomitsu Maehara come together in these multilingual board books. Each one comes with over a dozen animals, each one translated into seven languages that include English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, French, Arabic and Esperanto. Ages: 0-3

Get them here and here, $11 each

She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch

Author June Smalls has managed to bring together facts about elephants with a message of female empowerment this beautiful children’s book. The soft, watercolor-like illustrations by artist Yumi Shimokawara are also accompanied by smaller text full of facts, making this an educational and visually delightful experience to cherish. Ages: 3-8 

Get yours today, $14

photo: Big Picture Press

Alba and the Ocean Cleanup

In this gorgeously illustrated book by author-illustrator Lara Hawthorne, we meet Alba, a fish who loves to collect objects that fall down to the ocean floor. The beauty and diversity of color and life in the ocean are showcased and then contrasted with the ever-increasing presence of trash. Ocean plastics are taking over: but what can Alba (and you) do to help? Read an enchanting story followed by actionable ways to save the ocean’s vital ecosystems. Ages: 3-7

Get your copy today, $14

Battle of the Butts

Of course, kids love animals, but what do kids love talking about more than anything? Butts! So how about a book all about animal butts? Win-win, right? Not just a humor book, but full of funny things, your kids will learn about manatees using farts to swim, beetles that use their that shoot boiling chemicals from their butts, and so much more! This hilarious book by Jocelyn Rish is full of awesome facts that kids are sure to retain, accompanied by artist David Creighton-Pester’s colorful and expressive illustrations. Available Nov. 2. Ages: 4-8 (but we think 10-year-old’s will love it, too!).

Preorder a copy here, $18

The Bee Book

Get ready to learn all about one of the hardest-working creatures out there: the honeybee. Kids will learn how bees talk to one another, the life of a queen bee, and what a worker bee actually does. Discover how much bees matter, why they're declining, and what everyone can do to help the bee population. Ages: 5-8

Available at amazon.com, $22.

photo: ‎ Princeton Architectural Press

Endangered Animals and How You Can Help

In this exquisite book by Sam Hutchinson, children are taken on a journey through seven different habitats to learn about the animal kingdom’s struggles in that habitat. Children explore more than seventy different animal species that are endangered or threatened due to climate change and pollution as well as species that are thriving thanks to conservation efforts. The format is unique—illustrator Sarah Dennis uses her collage style to create seek-and-find and monochrome images, inviting children to explore further. The book also contains lots of tips about how we can help the species. Ages: 6-9

Get yours here, $9

Hidden Dangers: Seek and Find 13 of the World's Deadliest Animals  

For a laugh-out-loud book that reads almost like a crime novel, this book is rich with facts about the world’s most dangerous animals, from alligators to poison dart frogs and scorpions. Told by author Lola M.Schaefer with just enough humor to soften the deadly blow, you’ll be tasked with finding these deadly creatures in the delightful illustrations by Tymn Armstrong. Ages: 5-8

Get a copy here, $17

The Not So Average Monkey of Kilkea Castle

Inspired by the true story of a brave monkey who saved the day at Kilkea Castle in Ireland, this book is the first in a series written by Christy Cashman, with sweet illustrations by Regina Walsh. Meet Petri, a happy little monkey who lives in Kilkea Castle and who decides that he should be king of the castle...much to the chagrin of his loyal subjects aka his friends. A lesson in kindness, this book reminds kids that being “the king” or the boss doesn’t make people like you more and that you don’t need a title to be the person you want to be. Ages: 1-8 

Get your copy here, $22

Want to check out Kilkea Castle for yourself? Click here to read why an Ireland Castle Vacation should be your next family trip. 

The Book of Brilliant Bugs

Intricately and elaborately illustrated by Claire McElfatrick, this highly informative, well-researched book by nature-lover and author Jess French is the perfect addition to any little bug's list. From worms to arachnids to dancing bees, kids will learn new facts about bugs they love and discover new species to marvel over. The author also reminds children of the importance of bugs to the Earth's ecosystem. Ages: 6-8

Get yours here, $15

Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals

Katie S. Duffield’s forthcoming collaboration with Illustrator Mike Orodán celebrates nature through the wildlife crossings that exist around the world. From a bridge over a Canadian interstate to monkeys on rope bridges to bears under an overpass, Crossings teaches kids what happens when the non-natural world and the creatures of nature collide, celebrating both the ingenuity of animals and encouraging conservation and awareness. Ages 3-8.

Order your copy today, $15

Bones: An Inside Look at the Animal Kingdom

Not your average reference book, author Jules Howard presents a thorough investigation of the wonder of bones in this hardcover volume with insanely amazing illustrations by Chervelle Fryer, who manages to be both scientifically accurate and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Seriously, you'll wish you could frame this whole book. The added bonus? Kids will learn all about bones and skeletons, from horses to flying foxes to penguins. The book is arranged by "type" of animal: jumping, flying, running, swimming, etc. A must-buy for any kid's reference library. Ages: 7-10

Buy it here, $16

Animal Architects

This gorgeous nonfiction picture book focuses on animal habitats and how animals build their homes in the wild. You’ll never look at a bird’s nest, spider web, or coral reef the same again. Beautifully written in a clear, informative style by Amy Cherrix, made even more impressive Chris Sasaki’s illustrations. Ages: 3-8

Get it here, $18

photo: Chronicle Books

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Global Reefs

If you like the kind of book that makes you want to literally dive into its pages, this is the book for you. With dreamy illustrations by Matthew Forsythe, the powerful story of Ken Nedimyer’s quest to rescue the world’s coral reefs. This book written by Kate Messner reminds kids everywhere that “it starts with one.” Not only will you be enchanted by the layout of the book, but you’ll also be inspired by Ken. Includes a coral-reef glossary and ways kids can help. Ages: 6-9

Available at amazon.com, $13

Nose Knows: Wild Ways Animals Smell the World

This picture book by Emmanuelle Figueras,  illustrated by Claire de Gastold, narrow the animal kingdom down by a very distinctive shared characteristic: how animals smell! Lift up flaps throughout ot learn how rabbits, snails, clown fish, lions, dogs, bees, and more animals use their noses to leave messages, warn away enemies, and find food. Age: 7-11

Buy your copy here, $19 

Unforgotten: The Wild Life of Dian Fossey and Her Relentless Quest to Save Mountain Gorillas

Without any formal training, young Dian Fossey embarks on a journey to Africa to study and protect the few mountain gorillas left on Earth. This book creatively tells Dian's story, inspiring young readers to follow their dreams. Ages: 8-12. 

Get it here, $18.

—Amber Guetebier

featured image: Katya Wolf via Pexels 



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