10 Witty and Informative Zoo Books for Preschoolers

| Last Updated: August 9, 2022

Kids love the zoo! Whether they’ve been to the zoo dozens of times or have yet to go in person, animals are a curiosity for most children. Reading books about the zoo draws kids into the world of many exotic animals. Take your child on a journey into a funny, sweet, or informative story to pique their interest in zoos and animals or prepare them for their first trip to a zoo. 

The books on our list are fun, and engaging, and are sure to get preschoolers asking questions and enjoying the animal world. Check out one or all of the books below. But beware, you may find yourself being asked to read these zoo books over and over again for weeks or years to come!

Great Zoo Books for Preschoolers

Reading | Listening | Communication

1. The View at the Zoo

Watch the zookeeper prepare the animals for visitors in The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom. Once everything is ready, the fun begins. With the fun rhyming words and colorful illustrations, kids will have love this story. 

Kids will enjoy seeing the funny things animals do and also seeing the funny things people do. This is a great addition to an animal curriculum or just for fun. This even has a twist at the end that will entertain kids of all ages and the story lends itself well to being re-read over and over.

Listening | Communication | Reading

2. What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo

Why are the animals so tired all day? When Renee asks her dad about it, he spins a tale of animal parties and fun. Do the chimps really play the guitar and lions sing all night long? Dad seems to think so. 

Preschoolers will laugh along with all the silly antics the animals might be doing while the zoo is closed. This book will get imaginations going and keep young kids engaged with the colorful illustrations and rhyming words. Don’t hesitate to pick up What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo by Grace Millsaps today!

Shape Recognition | Counting | Listening

3. My Heart Is Like a Zoo

Photo credit: amazon.com

This adorable board book is great for small hands and the durable pages will hold up to repeated reading. In My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall, each animal is made of hearts and features a unique characteristic. Your preschooler can practice shape recognition and counting with this fun book by pointing out and counting the number of hearts. 

The illustrations are what make this book so unique. Each one is artfully created and totally unique. Unfamiliar characteristics can be used as teaching opportunities to enhance and develop your child’s vocabulary. This book is sure to become a quick favorite!

Reading | Listening | Communication

4. Good Night, Gorilla

The zookeeper says goodnight to the animals as he leaves for the night. But what happens when the gorilla steals his keys, lets all his friends out, and follows the zookeeper home? And what will the zookeeper’s wife say when all the animals show up at her house? Find out in Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.

Preschoolers will laugh as they watch the animals follow the zookeeper without him noticing. The illustrations are so cute and with only a few words on each page, it is a quick, easy bedtime read or for anytime. Kids will pick up on the repetition and quickly learn to “read” this book themselves. This tale is sure to entertain your preschooler.

Letter Recognition | Reading | Listening

5. The Pajama Zoo Parade: The Funniest Bedtime ABC Book

Get into your jammies and get ready for bed! But don’t forget to stop long enough to see the baby zoo animals on parade in their own pajamas. Each page features a letter of the alphabet and cute characters that will entertain kids of all ages. 

The pages have a good amount of text to help preschoolers relax and get ready to fall asleep while the colorful images entertain. The Pajama Zoo Parade by Agnes Green is an imaginative way of presenting and practicing the letter of the alphabet. It is a perfect choice for a bedtime story or whenever you need a fun tale.

Compassion | Kindness | Listening

6. A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Amos McGee takes care of all the animals at the zoo. Playing chess with the elephant and giving the rhino a handkerchief are just a few of the kind ways he cares for his animal friends every day. One day, Amos wakes up and is sick! What will happen to the animals without their zookeeper?

Watch the animals return the kindnesses they’ve been shown and remind kids that sometimes the people who take care of us need our help too. The soft colors of the pictures are soothing and bring a sense of calm to the story. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead is an excellent story for a sick day or just to inspire compassion and kindness in preschoolers.

Listening | Cognitive | Reading

7. Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo

If you play music next to the zoo, the animals just might get up and want to play too. That’s exactly what happens when a child goes to a concert next to a zoo. The animals break out of their cages and end up on stage, playing the instruments. 

Preschoolers will love watching the animals play various instruments while children can learn to recognize and name each one. If you want to expose your child to music and instruments, this is a great way to start. This also includes a CD with the author singing and reading the story for more fun. Get Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo by John Lithgow for a fun combination of zoo animals and music.

Singing | Listening | Dancing

8. Going to the Zoo

This book is based on a fun and catchy song and is meant to be sung. Kids will be dancing and singing along with the fun lyrics and the cadence of the music is perfect for preschoolers. In fact, you may have difficulty if you try to just read the book without singing. In this story, Daddy promises to take his family to the zoo and stay all day, and that is exactly what he does. 

Let your preschooler(s) imagine going to the zoo with this sweet family and interacting with all the hopping, scratching, active animals. Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton features adorable illustrations that kids will love! The words and tune are so catchy, that you’ll even find yourself singing it around the house at random times. This is a great zoo book for young kids and is sure to become a favorite.

Listening | Reading | Communication

9. What Do You Do If You Work at the Zoo?

What do zookeepers do all day? Well, beyond the daily tasks, they also play ball with bears and rhinos, carry a baby kangaroo in a pouch, and even give elephants a pedicure. They also clean up after the animals, groom, and play with many different animals. 

What Do You Do If You Work at the Zoo? by Steve Jenkins will give your preschooler an overview of some of the usual and unusual tasks a zookeeper does to take care of the animals at the zoo. You just might inspire your child to become a zookeeper or at least help them appreciate the hard work that goes into caring for animals at a zoo with this book.

Motor | Reading | Listening

10. Zoo Zen: A Yoga Story for Kids

Photo credit: amazon.com

Looking for a way to inspire movement in your child? This book incorporates many zoo animals and a little girl named Lyla to show how to do various yoga poses. The silly animals make the poses easy to remember and kids can follow along. Pose along with gorillas, bears, alligators, and more with the colorful, engaging illustrations. 

Zoo Zen: A Yoga Story for Kids by Kristen Fischer is a great way to get kids stretching and moving their bodies. Use this to create a daily routine of yoga for your preschooler (and yourself) or just to introduce your child to some easy yoga poses. It’s sure to engage and entertain kids of all ages.


Zoo animals never go out of style and kids love reading both fiction and non-fiction books about all the funny animals they see. Grab a zoo book for your preschooler to inspire their imagination, teach, entertain, and interest them. The books we’ve included are all excellent options and will surely be a family or class favorite! 

Kids love repetition so be ready to read your zoo books again and again. Reading is one of the best ways to increase a child’s vocabulary and grow their imaginations. Check out one or all of the books on our list to delight the young people in your life! Thanks for stopping by.

Hi, I'm Amanda! Welcome to Education Outside! Im passionate about educating young minds and helping parents/teachers by providing easy and effective teaching resources. Check out all of my teaching resources on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

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