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21 Read Aloud Board Books about the Zoo and Zoo Animals

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Excited to take your little one to the zoo this season? Get them primed for learning all about the zoo with these 21 read aloud board books!

Whether you’re a frequent flyer at the zoo, or you’ll be taking your tot to the zoo for the first time this summer, your little one is sure to benefit from reading books about the zoo. It will get them excited for the next family trip, and they’ll learn about different zoo animals, and the two of you will have special bonding time.

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Check out this list of 21 read aloud board books about visiting the zoo!

Pin about books about the zoo

1. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell

This lift-a-flap book about a child who writes to the zoo to send him a pet is sure to win over your tot. Each animal the zoo sends is just not quite right: it’s too big, too scary, too grumpy, too naughty, etc. Check out all kinds of zoo animals, until the child is finally sent the perfect pet–a puppy!

2. Z is for Zoo (Babylit)  by Greg Paprocki

Practice the alphabet while checking out animals from each letter of the alphabet. These Babylit books by Greg Paprocki always feature cute, colorful, and detailed illustrations. See all sorts of animals in their fabulously illustrated habitats, such as a chimp, flamingo, hippo, meerkat, and many more!

3. Usborne Sound Books Zoo Sounds by Sam Taplin

Summon the magical sounds of the zoo with this gorgeous Usborne Sound Book. I love this series, because the illustrations are intricate and pretty, there are lots of little cut-outs and finger trails to engage your little one, and the noises are so fun!! This makes for the perfect gift for an zoo-loving or animal-loving little one.

4. Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

A cute tale about an unsuspecting zookeeper and all his zoo animals that follow him home. As he bids each animal goodnight, the gorilla (who stole his keys) unlocks each habitat door and they all follow him home and into bed. The zookeeper and his wife suspect nothing, until she bids her husband goodnight, and is answered with a bunch more “goodnights” from the bed!

5. Peek-a-Zoo by Nina Laden

If your little one loved Peek-a-Who, then they’re sure to love this one! With her signature bright illustrations and cut-outs with clues before each reveal, this book focuses on the individual zoo animals. Your little one will love the silly rhymes on each page and will soon be reciting them along with you. There’s something about these books that kiddos just LOVE.

6. Peep Inside The Zoo by Anna Milbourne

A fun and gorgeously illustrated lift-the-flap book filled with all kinds of fun peek-throughs and flaps of all shapes and sizes. Lush, detailed illustrations take you on an adventure through the zoo. Find lots of hidden surprises, and learn about various zoo animals and habitats. 

7. Busy Baby Animals by Suzi Eszterhas

Check out these adorable photographs of baby animals just being cute! Simple rhymes paired with gorgeous, award-winning photographs are sure to charm any little reader. The only thing littles love more than animals is BABY animals!

8. The World Is Awake for Little Ones: A Celebration of Everyday Blessings by Linsey Davis

A faith-based book about a day in the life two siblings who are counting their blessings. They start their day just appreciating the ladybugs and butterflies flying in the breeze, and later in the day, they go to the zoo. Theysee all the zoo animals on parade: “We can buy a balloon and see a baboon. We can look at the animals all afternoon!” Sweet rhymes and pretty illustrations make this a great book for any family, and it ends in a soothing bedtime scene to lull your tot to sleep.

9. The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom and Guy Francis

Wake up, zoo animals! It’s time for the day to begin! It’s time for giraffes to stretch their necks and stand tall, for the lion to comb his hair, for flamingos to stand on their toes. In a surprising and silly twist at the end, you realize the zoo animals were watching the humans and checking out the view of them, just as much as vice versa!

10. Giraffes Can’t Dance by by Giles Andreae

Gerald the giraffe unfortunately cannot dance. He is so embarrased when he goes to the annual African Dance and is made fun of for his lack of dancing skills. But then, he meets a cricket who shows him that sometimes, you just need the right song to dance to. Once to cricket starts making his song, Gerald finds that, low and behold, he is actually a FANTASTIC dancer, and wows all of his peers! A silly and fun story about learning to dance to the beat of your own drum.

11. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? By Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle

Very similar to the ever-popular Brown Bear, Brown Bear, this book focuses more on zoo animals and the sounds they make. “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear? I hear a lion roaring in my ear. Lion, Lion, what do you hear? I hear a hippopotamus snorting in my ear.” Practice the varied zoo animals and their noises with your little one, and get them excited for the next trip to the zoo.

12. The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na

Teach your tot the concept of opposites with the Opposite Zoo, which opens after dark! After the zoo closes for the night, the monkey escapes and the Opposite Zoo commences. Pretty watercolor illustrations compare the opposites of the zoo, such as “awake” (an owl) and “asleep” (a panda); “shy” (a lizard) and “bold” (a peacock). There’s just something so enchanting about imagining what the zoo animals get up to after closing time.

13. Poke-A-Dot: The Wheels on the Bus Wild Safari by Melissa & Doug

Babies and tots alike seem to LOVE these Melissa & Doug Poke-A-Dot books. Even kids who aren’t usually readers can find joy out of poking all the dots throughout the book. Take a bus tour through the Safari and spot all kinds of animals. Count the animals on each page by poking the dots on them.

14. 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle

Practice counting zoo animals 1-10 in this colorful Eric Carle book. Kids love his bright and colorful illustrations! Count the zoo animals with each turn of the page, and check out kids enjoying the zoo on the very last page.

15. So Many Feet by Nichole Mara

Learn about all sorts of different animals but studying their feet! Giant tortoises, mountain goats, ostriches, lizards, kangaroos, koalas, and all sorts of animals you might find in the zoo are featured in this educational book. Learn why these animals move the way they do–how their movement helps them survive, helps them obtain food, etc.

16. Night Night, Zoo by Amy Parker

See what the animals get up to after the zookeepers lock up for the night! A cute and imaginative rhyming book sure to charm any animal lover. At the end of the book, the zoo animals finally all settle down to a cozy sleep, making this a great bedtime book.

17. Find Spot at the Wildlife Park by Eric Hill

Join Spot and his parents on a fun trip to the zoo, and engage little ones with lift-a-flaps. Peek behind balloons, trees, vines, flowers and more to find a zebra, giraffe, monkey, and other zoo animals.

18. I’m Hungry! by Rod Campbell

A fun lift-the-flap book with textures that teaches your tot about what different kinds of animals eat–many of which are zoo animals. Varied textures and flaps will keep littles of all ages engaged, and learning about what different animals eat will entertain older tots. At the end, we learn that the lion eats YOU!! (This is more silly than menacing). Great encouragement to keep your child at a safe distance while viewing the more ferocious zoo animals!

19. That’s Silly! at the Zoo: A Very Silly Lift-the-Flap Book by Highlights

An interactive Highlights book great for tots who enjoy seek-and-find books and lift-the-flaps. Each pages asks you to find animals doing various things that tots will enjoy looking for. Who is eating? Who is painting? Who is fishing? What is silly? What is sillier? A great book for some parent and child bonding time together.

20. Zoo: Peek-a-Flap Board Book by Jaye Garnett

Sturdy, chunky pages and lift-the-flaps make this a great book for sweet, clumsy little hands. Introduce the zoo to your littlest readers with this colorful book of zoo animals and animal facts.

21. My Very First Book of Food by Eric Carle

This might not look like a book about zoo animals–but looks can be deceiving! This is an interactive matching book, where kids match the food with the correct animal who eats it. Match a bear, elephant, lion, walrus, and other animals with their respective foods, such as apples, grass, honey, acorn, etc. After your next zoo outing, you could quiz your kiddo about various zoo animals they met and what sorts of food they eat.


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