Whether or not you have a pet at home, your baby will soon realise that they share the world with furry, scaly, and slimy creatures who make funny sounds like moo, baa and ribbit. Learning about animals is both important and fun, given the fascinating variety of creatures in nature. We have rounded up some of the best books to engage your budding animal lover.

Baby Animals Touch and Feel

Written by Roger Priddy

Animal book for babies and toddlers

A perfect introduction to the animal kingdom, Baby Animals invites little explorers to stroke a bunny’s fur, pet a dog's coat, tickle a tiger, and more. It is a feast for Baby’s senses with lilting rhymes, bright colours, and soft, touchable textures. This animal book will surely be an instant favourite.

Are You a Cow?

Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton

Animal book for babies and toddlers

Sandra Boynton is the master of funny animal stories, and many of her books, like Moo Baa La-La-La and Fifteen Animals, help teach animals names and sounds in between all the giggles. One standout is Are You A Cow?, which invites baby to consider seriously whether this sweet bovine could be an upside-down chicken or a bear who does not frown.  

Pat the Zoo

Written by Golden Books, illustrated by 

Animal book for babies and toddlers

Bunny is visiting the zoo and invites Baby to come along. Would baby like to touch the panda’s soft fur and feel the turtle’s bumpy shell? A veritable petting zoo in book form, Pat the Zoo will get many repeat visits, no tickets required!

Big Red Barn

Written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by 

 Animal book for babies and toddlers

The author of Goodnight Moon brings children Big Red Barn, which takes place on a friendly farm where 'only the animals are here today.' Here, soothing rhymes describe not only the cows and pigs but also the supporting players like a mouse born in a field of corn and a tomcat. When the sun goes down, the animals snuggle together in the big red barn, a soothing last image before your toddler heads off to dreamland.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Written by  illustrated by Eric Carle

Animal books for babies and toddlers

While many animal books for babies and toddlers focus on farm animals or pets, this classic children’s book expands your child's animal exposure to exotic wildlife like a peacock, walrus, and boa constrictor. These animals make sounds that are not so easily imitated, making it super-fun to read their poetic descriptions: the flamingo flutes, the zebra brays, and the hippo snorts. (Craving more Eric Carle animal books? Check out Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?)

Dear Zoo

Written and illustrated by Rod Campbell

Animal books for babies and toddlers

Kids love a flip-the-flap book...and this one is no exception! Here, our narrator wrote to the zoo asking for a pet. And—surprise!—they receive a large crate with liftable flaps. What is inside? Better open it to find out! After discovering an elephant, a camel, a lion, and more, will a suitable pet be found? 

Time for Bed

Written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer

Animal book for babies and toddlers 

This classic bedtime book is a lovely introduction to animals and their babies. As the book invites readers to wish each animal pair goodnight, you and your little one notice the differences between grown and newborn animals. For instance, a cow’s child is called a calf. And the little goose is yellow and fluffy under the wing of her long, white-feathered mum.

Secret Seahorse

Written by Stella Blackstone, illustrated by Clare Beaton

Animal book for babies and toddlers  

In Secret Seahorse, we chase a stealthy seahorse on an ocean journey—passing crabs, fish, octopi, and even a mermaid—before uncovering a surprise treasure inside a cave. The eye-catching artwork, made from cloth collages, is too beautiful not to revisit again and again.

Quick as a Cricket

Written by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

 Animal book for babies and toddlers

A child trying to find his place in the world compares himself to various animals using similes like 'I am strong as an ox.' Toddlers learning about animals will be interested in the human qualities we often ascribe to them, like 'happy as a lark' or 'gentle as a lamb.' In the end, our kid narrator realises he is not just one thing. In fact, he is a little bit like each animal: 'Put it all together and you have got me.'


More bookshelf inspo:

ABC Books Your Baby or Toddler Will Adore

15 Classic Baby Books That Belong in Every Nursery

11 Outstanding Interactive Books

Brilliant Colour Books for Babies and Toddlers

Best Books for a Baby’s First Year

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.