Thursday, May 24, 2012

Zoo Books for Babies

Last weekend I spent a few hours holding my sweet nephew. He is 5 weeks old and already such a little learner. His blue eyes open and his head turns when he hears a noise. When he hears his mommy or daddy talking, he arches his back to get a better look... and about wiggles out of my arms. He carefully studies faces and seems to be mimicking a wide open mouth or a tongue sticking out. At this age he is ready  for his mommy to read repetative rhymes and to sing him sweet poems and songs. (She's such a sweet little momma, that's just what she does for him!) Soon he will be sitting and grabbing and pointing to pictures in books. He will start babbling and talking. He will begin to mimic the sounds around him. Almost certainly, he will start making animal sounds, grabbing for pictures of animals, and scooting after any puppies or kittens that cross his path. Most young children love animals of some sort.
Spending time with the littlest boy in our family reminded me of some of my favorite zoo themed books for babies and toddlers. If you take your little one to a zoo this summer, make sure to throw a few of these into the stroller basket! If your babies are past the age of cooing and drooling over zoo themed books, check out my zoo activities for preschool or preschool themes, which includes ideas and book lists for many preschool themes.

books about the zoo for babies, preschool themes,  zoo activities for preschool

Goodnight Gorilla, Peggy Rathman Goodnight Gorilla As the zookeeper says goodnight to the gorilla, the gorilla steals the zookeeper's keys. The story follow the zookeeper around the zoo as he says goodnight to all of the zoo animals and as the gorilla lets all of the animals out of their cages. Of course, the zookeeper never realizes he is being followed by a zoo of animals. The animals follow him home and into his house. What a surprise he has when he says goodnight to Mrs. Zookeeper. This is a wordless picture book. It is so fun for young babblers to make the sounds of the animals as you say goodnight. As your little one grows, watch for him to start saying a sweet goodnight to each of the animals.

1,2,3 to the zoo by Eric Carle Count the animals as they ride the train to the zoo in this wordless counting book. This is a great book for those little learners who are beginning to make animal sounds. 
From Head to Toe, Eric Carle From Head to Toe by Eric Carle This story, which is all about animal movements, allows children to stomp, wiggle, and clap with the animals. I like this book for babies because of the large clear pictures of zoo animals on each page. However, the text is best for the older baby or preschooler who can follow simple directions.
Dear Zoo, Rod Campbell Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell Looking for a new pet? In this story, a child writes the zoo to find a new pet. The zoo sends several animals to the child before discovering the right pet. This is a fun lift the flap book. The young baby will love watching you lift the flaps as you say the names of the animals or the sounds of the animal. The older baby will love to manipulate the flaps.
Me Baby You Baby Me Baby, You Baby (Thank you to Sugarcake Diary for the suggestion)
This is such a sweet book! In this story two families wake up early for a visit to the zoo. As the mothers tote their babies through the zoo, they describe the animals, their actions,and their parent/animal relationships. I love that this story features two babies of different races enjoying the same experiences in loving family relationships. This book uses repeatative text. It seems many children can say "baby" as a first word so don't be surprised if this is the first book that your child joins in reading
. Hello Baby, Mem Fox Hello Baby! by Mem Fox Perhaps there should be a law that every newborn should have at least one Mem Fox book in his or her library. It could be added to the hospital check-out form. "Car seat installed in car? Mem Fox book in child's library?" 
This is a sweet story about baby animals. In this repeatitive question/response book, the reader asks the baby are you a...? And then responds "no". In the end, the reader finds that she is reading to her precious treasure... her own baby! With illustrations by Steve Jenkins, you can't go wrong adding this book to your zoo book collection. And guess what? It's available in Cheerios boxes this spring. If you have a baby at your house, I know you are buying Cheerios!

This post is part of my zoo book adventures series. Check out the Zoo books for Preschoolers post. Coming next week... Zoo Books for Early Readers!


  1. We love zoo books! This is a great list! (Also loved your preschool zoo book list.)

  2. Thanks for sharing this list! Perfect for me, with a baby on the way!

    And thank you for linking up to Learning Laboratory!

  3. LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! Babies love to be read to and it is never to early to start reading to babies. Thanks! Carolyn

  4. This is a great collection of stories. Thanks for sharing this list at the Weekly Kid's Co-op!