It’s no secret that a lot of younger kids like animals. Even before they’ve quite got to grips on the whole talking thing, they can moo like a cow and baa like a sheep. With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of our favourite picture books that will have both kids and adults alike enjoying spotting all the animals on the pages (note: we take no responsibility for any animal noises that ensue!)
Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin is an absolute treat of a book. Farmer Brown is having some issues with his cows – they like to type. All day long he hears Click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety, clack, moo. But it’s when they go on strike that the trouble really begins… A clever story that adults will enjoy, and kids will love the repetition. And they’ll really love yelling out MOO.
Did you know There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly was published over forty years ago? This classic tale will have kids laughing at the idea of all the different animals this lady can swallow, and the cut outs make it ideal for them to peek through to the next page. They’ll also love the rhyming sing-song text.
Make bath time fun with Thee Little Duckies. This is a simple story, helping babies learn to count, and can be taken into the bath. And the best part is that this book also comes with three adorable rubber duckies (which can also be stored in an attachable case to the book). They’ll want to stay in the bath when it’s this much entertaining!
Ah, Pig. We love all of Aaron Blabey’s books, but Pig is a particular favourite. Pig is a pug, who can be greedy, rude and very unreasonable – often to the detriment of Trevor the sausage dog. The latest in the series is Pig the Star, where Pig has to share attention with another star at the photo shoot, and doesn’t like it one little bit.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a lot of kids love to read about poo, and we’ve learnt it’s sometimes best just to go along with it. What Do They Do With All the Poo From All the Animals At the Zoo? by the brilliant Ahn Do combines poo and a whole load of different animals. Kids will love making the noises of each one, and it also comes with a bonus CD.
The winner of the Children’s Book Council award in 2017 was Go Home, Cheeky Animals by Johanna Bell. At Canteen Creek there are cheeky dogs everywhere. But then the cheeky goats, donkeys, buffaloes and camels go too far making mischief, the dogs spring into action! Dion Beasley is the illustrator of these books, well known for Cheeky Dogs on t-shirts. Dion’s talents are particularly remarkable given he has muscular dystrophy and is profoundly deaf.
Apparently a typical day in the life of a wombat goes something along the lines of: Morning – slept. Afternoon – slept. Evening – Ate. Scratched. Night – Ate. Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French is the story of a wombat who leads a very busy and demanding life, and has the very hard job of training her humans so they get everything just right.
One for slightly older kids, Animalia is a classic that remains a treasured book for many families – and with good reason. Each letter of the alphabet gets a page with has an alliterative title on an animal (it begins with An Armoured Armadillo Avoiding An Angry Alligator), and every illustration on the page begins with that letter. There are hours of fun spotting them all, and there’s also a boy to find on each page. This delightful visual feast will give hours and hours of fun.
Some kids want to know as many animals as possible, and 1000 Animals may be the book for them. Not a storybook, but this book has pictures of literally a thousand animals and their names. From birds to fish, mammals to dinosaurs, this book is great for learning, and may test some adult’s knowledge!
No animal list would be complete without a book by Julia Donaldson, and we decided to go with The Snail and the Whale. A tiny snail longs to see the world, so hitches a lift on the tail of a whale. Together they see amazing sights (and some exotic animals) and when the whale is beached in a bay, it’s the snail that saves the day. Kids will love spotting the snail on each page.
The Wonky Donkey is a bit of a mess to be honest – but we love him anyway. From the bestselling Craig Smith, on each page we learn something new about him, until we end up with a spunky, hanky-panky, cranky, stinky dinky, lanky, honky-tonky, winky wonky donkey. Guaranteed to make kids laugh, and this edition comes with a CD – perfect for singing along.
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is another well deserved children’s classic, published over thirty years ago. Someone is looking for a perfect pet, so the zoo sends a few options. Readers lift the flat to see what’s been sent, with lots of fun animal sounds to make. And luckily the zoo gets it right in the end!