Wild at Heart Great animal books for your little critter

School’s out, summer’s in—so it’s time to brush up on your knowledge of creatures and crawlers before heading on hikes or for that dip in the ocean. Check out these tales of tails and fur recommended by Rona Sue London of The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore.

Board/ Toddler Books

“Curious Critters Maryland”
by David FitzSimmons
Can’t make it to the Maryland Zoo this summer? No worries! “Curious Critters Maryland” uses stunning photography to bring young readers up-close-and-personal with animals native to the state (Independent Publishers Group).

by Matthew Van Fleet
Toddlers and preschoolers will have a blast poking, pulling, scratching and sniffing this loveable book that teaches children all about animals’ tails. With its colorful illustrations and bits of fur, Tails is sure to give children a hands-on lesson of their favorite animals (HMH Books for Young Readers).

“My Big Animal Book”
by Roger Priddy
From lion cubs and kittens, to bears and bunnies, this books features animals big and small. Your child will master picture and word association, just in time for the school year (Priddy Books)!

Picture Books

“There is a Tribe of Kids”
by Lane Smith
In this book about adventure and discovery, a young boy sets out on a journey alone—but he isn’t alone for long. He’s accompanied by penguins, whales, butterflies and more, as he maneuvers his way through the jungle and swims to the depths of the ocean. The groups of animals that he meets along the way teach him what it really means to belong (Roaring Brook Press).

“Amazing Animal Journeys”
by Chris Packham
Have you ever wanted to take a trip with a herd of wildebeests? Well, here’s your chance! Wildlife expert Chris Packham takes children on a journey with the planet’s greatest world travelers. Learn all about the billions of animals that migrate each year, through facts about wildlife and maps of their routes (Sterling Publishing).

Early Readers

“The Animal Book”
by Steve Jenkins
Encourage your child to explore the animal kingdom and learn everything they need to know about wildlife. Get to know all of the furry, scaly—and sometimes slimy—animals featured in the book, through vivid illustrations and easy-to-read captions (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

“Atlas of Animal Adventures”
by Rachel Williams and Emily Hawkins
You will travel from the South African desert to the mountains of China, while reading this. It’s a great choice for those interested in learning facts about various animals, their homes, diet and more (Wide-Eyed Editions)!

Middle Readers

by Eliot Schrefer
Sophie wasn’t happy to visit her mother at the sanctuary for bonobos, but when she did, she found something much greater: Otto, an infant bonobo, whom she took care of. When a revolution broke out in her home country of Congo, Sophie and Otto fled into the jungle to save themselves (Scholastic).

“National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia”
by Dr. Lucy Spelman
The world is at your fingertips. Check out everything National Geographic has to offer in this encyclopedia. With more than 2,000 species featured, your child’s knowledge of animal science, communication and habitats will be in tip-top shape (National Geographic).

“The Wild Robot”
by Peter Brown
Roz the robot’s survival skills are tested when she crash lands on an island. As she begins to take care of a baby goose, the other animals teach her how to adapt, survive and thrive in her new environment (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

Young Adults

“National Geographic The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals”
by Joel Sartore
This great big book of animals was a lifelong project by photographer Joel Sartore, who photographed 12,000 species to raise awareness about animal conservation and to inspire people to protect endangered animals (National Geographic).

“The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild”
by Lawrence Anthony
When animal conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to take in a herd of elephants, he was reluctant to say, “Yes.” But after careful thought and consideration, he realized he was their saving grace—without him, they would get killed. Anthony shares the impact the elephants had on his life in this memoir (St. Martin’s Press)

— Kirstyn Flood

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