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I love going to the zoo and seeing animals up close. Whether you’re able to go in person this year or not, take your child there through the power of reading and the yummy, themed snacks below. You will find cute zoo animals in both the fiction and nonfiction books, but if you’re looking for animal or zoo facts or you want to know what zookeepers do, check out the nonfiction books.
My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall compares how ones heart is like zoo animals. All the animals featured in the book are created by overlaying hearts.
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is about a gorilla letting out all the animals at the same time that the zookeeper is saying good night to them.
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is a lift the flap book about the zoo sending animals to the narrator, who asked for a pet, and the narrator sending them back because they are not the right pet.
Still a Gorilla! by Kim Norman, illustrated by Chad Geran is about a gorilla named Willy who wants and tries to be a different animal.
Construction Zoo by Jennifer Thorne, illustrated by Susie Hammer is about zoo animals and construction vehicles becoming friends and working together.
Stop Snoring, Bernard! by Zachariah Ohora is about an otter named Bernard trying to find a place where he can sleep without bothering anyone with his snoring. It’s also a good way to start a discussion with kids about empathy and how unkind words can make people feel bad about themselves.
Through with the Zoo by Jacob Grant is a “the grass is always greener on the other side” story about a petting zoo goat who is tired of being hugged and petted and wants to find a space that is just his.
1 Zany Zoo by Lori Degman, illustrated by Colin Jack is about a boy who sneaks into the zoo before it opens and gets to join in the animals’ unconventional antics.
Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Doug Cushman is about the big mess that came about because of one little girl’s shout.
Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo by John Lithgow, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez is about a boy who goes to an outdoor concert with his family, and how the animals from the next door zoo break free and take it over.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead is about a zookeeper who is a kind friend to all the animals. When he gets sick, the animals go and take care of him.
The Gingerbread Man Loose at the Zoo by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery is about the gingerbread man using his teacher’s animal scavenger hunt clues to find his class after getting separated from them during a field trip to the zoo.
Zoo Day by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell is about a little boy’s first trip to the zoo.
A Visit to the Zoo by Blake A. Hoena gives a brief overview of what a zoo is and a few of the animals who live there.
Spot the Zebra at the Zoo by Alexandra Koken, illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy is a search-and-find book with one animal fact on each page.
A Day at a Zoo by Sarah Harrison is a search-and-find book that shows the same section of a zoo throughout an entire day.
Life-Size Zoo (photographs by Toyofumi Fukuda) and More Life-Size Zoo (photographs by Toshimitsu Matsuhashia) by Teruyuki Komiya, translated by Kristin Earhart have life-size photos of zoo animals and one or two facts about each animal in larger print. Additional facts and drawings about the animals are in the margins.
What Do You Do If You Work at the Zoo? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page shows some of the many tasks that a zookeeper does. For each activity, there is a short phrase which is perfect for younger children and a longer explanation for older children.
What’s New? The Zoo!: A Zippy History of Zoos by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Marcellus Hall gives an overview of how zoos evolved from what they were in ancient times to what they are today.
- Apple Turtles
- Celery Snake
- Elephant Ears Biscuits
- Giraffe Snack
- Lion Dipped Oreos
- Penguin Crackers
- Monkey Cake
- Teddy Bear Toast
- Tiger Pretzel Rods
- Walrus Waffle
Bonus: Animal Craft
For more themed book recommendations and activities, visit my post library.