My daughter was six years old when she told us that she wanted to become a veterinary doctor. Now at 3rd grade, she loves to read and surprise us with various fun facts about different animals. Naturally, I am always on the hunt for good animal books. Thankfully there are plenty of books available for early elementary grades.

Below is a list of selected animal books that I believe your child will love. Starting with predators of the wild, sharks, reptiles to bigfoot, unicorns and animals in space – the list has everything. So go ahead, explore!

Short on time? Below three books are our absolute favorite. Click on the picture for details.

Jellyfish - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0316428299&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=006026683X&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

Animal Books for Kindergarten to 3rd grade

Nonfiction Animal Books

Here is a list of the most recommended nonfiction animal books suitable for kindergarten to 3rd graders. Choose one based on your child’s interest and let the fun reading begin!

About Fish: A Guide for Children

About Fish: A Guide for Children - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

All children get excited about looking at fish in aquariums. Now they can learn about this interesting creature in this book. Learn how fishes swim, breathe, reproduce and protect themselves from predators. The illustrations are beautiful, encouraging young readers to spend more time reading.

It is an ‘NSTA Recommends’ book from the National Science Teachers Association! If your child likes this book (we are pretty sure they will), check out the other books from the ‘About’ series here.


Jellyfish - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

Jellyfishes are quite interesting with beautiful translucent bodies and deadly reputations. Although, not all of them are poisonous.

Read all about Jellyfish in this bookhow they move, where they live, their hunting and sleeping habits. The vocabulary is perfect for kindergarteners and above. The pictures are big and bright.

Animals in Spring

Animals in Spring - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

Read and know how animal behaviors change in spring and how they adapt to changing weather. There is a diagram showing the animals which are born in spring.

Your child also can learn some new words using the picture glossary. With reading tips, index, vibrant colorful pictures, your child is sure to love this book.

I Want to Be a Veterinarian

I Want to Be a Veterinarian - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

Your curious kid will be amazed to learn that there are many types of Veterinarians present. Few treats pet, some take care of large animals and few others work with wild animals. Without going in too deep, this book just provides enough information to keep the young readers interested.

A bonus point to the author and illustrator for presenting characters from different gender, race, age body types, thus presenting diverse role models for young readers.

The Cat Man of Aleppo

The Cat Man of Aleppo - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

This book is based on the true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel of Syria, who in the mid of the Syrian Civil War, took in and cared for the hungry, abandoned cats. When the entire neighborhood flees the war-torn place, Alaa stays behind to help the sick people. One day he hears a hungry cat and brings it home. Soon more and more cats started coming.

Alaa provides a safe sanctuary for cats while the war rages on around. The writing and illustrations capture the destructions of bombings, hope, the joy of survival well. A touching book, your child would love to read.

Scholastic Guided Science Readers Set

Scholastic Guided Science Readers Set - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

Let your child practice reading with this 16-page book. The topics include horses, bears, birds, sloths, tigers, honeybees, chameleons, and more. The content is age-appropriate and written as per the reading level E-F.

The beautiful illustrations are engaging, and the simple texts provide support to the pictures. Along with an activity book, mini stickers, and tips, this is a helpful educational book.

The Bravest Dog Ever

The Bravest Dog Ever - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

Read this true story of a brave dog Balto. He is the lead dog of his sled team. Balto is tasked to carry the medicines for sick children miles away in Alaska. However, one of the worst storms is raging, and the temperature is thirty degrees subzero. Read how Balto guides his team through this terrible weather.

The artwork is beautiful. A story of courage and heroic narrated in a child-friendly way. This book is a perfect read-aloud in classroom or during bedtime.

Baby on Board

Baby on Board - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

Read how various animals carry and protect their babies. While we all know that kangaroos carry their baby in pouches, it is not common knowledge that alligators keep their babies safe in their jaws. Learn about many such animals in this gorgeously illustrated book.

The story is presented in a rhyming format, making it interesting to read. There are also additional STEM activities and matching games in the back.

The Big Book of the Blue

The Big Book of the Blue - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

Your child would read about how different types of animals can breathe and survive underwater in this artistically illustrated Big book of the Blue. Also, learn about sea turtles, whales, sharks, stingrays, seahorses, etc sea creatures in their specific habitat.

Read about which animals are endangered, and how to spot sea life at the beach. The text is simple with repetitive words, encouraging new readers to read on their own.


Triceratops - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

Read about the popular dinosaur Triceratops in this Step into Reading book. Its distinctive horns and gigantic neck frill make it quite recognizable. The book explains how the name of the dinosaur came to be and other characteristics of this herbivorous animal.

Rhyming text complemented with fun pictures makes this book an interesting read. A perfect nonfiction animal book to keep your 5-6 year old engaged.

What Do Living Things Need

What Do Living Things Need - image of a nonfiction animal book for kindergarten and 1st grade

A book to teach your child the difference between need vs want. Read about what animals need to survive.

With clear images and simple texts, this book details the things necessary for life to survive.

It’s Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals

It's Alive: From Neurons and Narwhals - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

Learn all about varieties of life on earth – starting with deep-sea creatures, carnivorous plants, to stinky bacteria. How do trees communicate with each other, or why does jellyfish sting?

Learn about these and much more in this stunningly pictured nonfiction animal book. Written in fun-fact format, this book is a must-have for STEM-loving kids.

National Geographic Readers: Wolves

National Geographic Readers: Wolves - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

Read how wolves communicate with each other using body language. Or understand how they usually avoid attacking humans. Read many such interesting facts about this feared and predatory animal of the wild.

The pictures are stunning – as expected from a national geographic book. The facts and languages are simple and suitable early elementary kids.

Ultimate Predatorpedia

Ultimate Predatorpedia - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

Welcome to the world of ferocious animals. From sharks, lions, tigers, and bears to the ants, mites, and spiders – every animal featured is fierce in its own way.

Filled with fascinating facts, cool images, this book is an encyclopedia for predators on earth. Your child would also learn about predatory techniques, defense, communication along with the scientific name, size, diet, habitat, and much more.

Animals: Witness Life in the Wild

Animals: Witness Life in the Wild - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

If you know any animal enthusiast child, this book is the perfect gift. More than 1000 species of animals are included, along with expert information about each one.

Read all about animal habitats, migration, conservation, etc, along with stunning pictures to complement. This book is for the advanced readers.

125 Animals That Changed the World

125 Animals That Changed the World - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

This book narrates some true tales of animal heroism. Read about the World War 1 medal-winner dog, a courageous dolphin- who received a prosthetic tail, and many such inspiring stories.

The writing is fun, short, and interesting, making them an easy read. Loaded with beautiful National Geographic pictures and tons of fun facts, this book is a heart-warming read.

Reptiles for Kids

Reptiles for Kids - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

Reptiles are fascinating creatures. They come in various shapes and sizes – big or small, scaly or spiky, harmless or poisonous. Read about their food habits, preying methods, survival techniques.

This book also includes tips on how to identify reptiles in your area, how to help in the conservation of reptiles, etc. If your child is interested in keeping a reptile pet, this book has a guide about food and proper care.

Amazing Sharks!

Amazing Sharks! - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

Who does not loves sharks! The huge size of the animal itself is awe-inspiring! But did you know that some sharks can glow in the dark? Or lose thousands of teeth during their lives?

Your child will read many such interesting facts about sharks. And also learn how we can help them survive. This book is filled with fascinating real pictures from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Finding Bigfoot

Finding Bigfoot - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

Is your child fascinated by Bigfoot? Check out this Animal Planet book. Filled with enough information for your curious kid, this book is an interesting read.

It also contains some narratives from the commentators of the original Animal Planet FINDING BIGFOOT show and extras from the archive. This and much more packed in this beautifully illustrated book.

50 Animals That Have Been to Space

50 Animals That Have Been to Space - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

Your child would be amazed to know that the first animals in space were fruit flies. Or, read about the five mice that orbited the Moon with Apollo 17. Then there were snails, scorpions, newts, quails, and more. Read the stories of 50 such animals that have been to space, in this engrossing book.

It also narrates how the research accounts of these animals in space had helped scientists solve many problems on earth. A perfect read for kids interested in science, space, engineering, biology, etc.

Life-Size Animals: An Illustrated Safari

Life-Size Animals: An Illustrated Safari - picture of a nonfiction animal book for 2nd and 3rd grader

This is a stunningly illustrated brilliant picture book showing kids the real size of the animals. Understand the actual size of the Ostrich’s egg or the giraffe’s tongue.

Children can see and compare the different body parts of their favorite animals – claws, teeth, tails. The pictures are accompanied by interesting facts, making this a fun and educational read.

Fiction Animal Books

Read these fun and adorable fictional animal stories from below. Some of theses are popular book series.

If You Give a Dog a Donut

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=006026683X&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

This book is from the best selling animal book series, “If you give..” which has long been popular with young children. Each book from the series has one animal as the main character.

This book features an adorable pup and the exciting adventure it has. Fun and easy to read story complimented with vivid illustrations, make this book a children’s favorite easily. Recommended for kids- kindergarten to grade 3, this charming book is sure to make reading time fun.

Narwhal’s Otter Friend

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0735262489&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

This book is the 4th book in the Narwhal and Jelly series. The friends meet Otty, the super-adventurous otter. As with other books from this series, the story focuses on real-life lessons for children – friendship, jealousy, adventure.

Added with animal facts, this book makes a fun read for beginner readers. An apt book to read in the classroom, this book celebrates friendship and triggers classroom conversation about various animal facts. The entire series is very popular with children.

How to Catch a Dinosaur

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1728234921&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

Is your child obsessed with dinosaurs? This book from “How to Catch.. ” Series is a great addition to any library.

Kids like to read the fun and silly ways the characters in this book try to catch dinosaurs. Simple words and eye-catching illustrations keep the kids engaged throughout.

Belly Rubbins For Bubbins

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0578469340&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

All, Bubbins, the pit bull ever wanted was some ‘Belly Rubbins’, but his owners were mean. Still, he never gave up. He always believed that he would get a loving home one day.

This fictional story teaches about acceptance, resilience, compassion, and kindness. The author beautifully wove many life lessons through the story of a shelter dog.


q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1945547766&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

Unicorns are everywhere. Every child is only too familiar with them. The author here crafted a sweet story about jealousy and friendship. It is a story about differences and commonalities between a unicorn and a horse who share a pen.

This fun story is a laugh riot. And the readers discover in the end that the Unicorn is a male, making the plot unique.

Claris: Bonjour Riviera

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1760504939&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

An adorable mouse moves to Paris to follow her fashion dreams. A new friend and adventure in French Riveria follow! This one is the third Claris book from acclaimed fashion illustrator Megan Hess. It is a treat for fashion-obsessed readers.

Not only are the illustrations gorgeous, but the stories are fun, and the rhyming is on point, making it a great read-aloud. This chapter book is easy read for children in second grade and above.

Seekers: Return to the Wild #2

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0061996378&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

Erin Hunter, the bestselling author of the Warriors and Survivors series, continues to explore the world of bears and their environment in this thrilling ecological adventure saga. This one is the second part where, Kallik, the polar bear, has almost reached home and is eager to be reunited with her brother, Taqqiq.

But when she and the others arrive at the Melting Sea, they see that Taqqiq has rejoined a group of bullies who are terrorizing the other bears for food. It is not a fairy tale, but a reflection of how difficult life can be against the elements. The story leaves the reader with a positive message.

Adopt A Cat: iAmMoshow’s Lyrical Cat Tales

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1695225740&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

Moshow, the Cat Rapper, has long been advocating for the rights of cats, worldwide. This book is based on his hit singles, Adopt A Cat. It brings awareness to cats in need of help.

This book will teach your child how to help out homeless kitties, and introduce him\her to a beautiful family with 5 cats. Bright pictures and gorgeous lyrical words make this book a fun read.

Make Way for Ducklings

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0670451495&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

Mrs. Mallard, a mother duck, found the pond in the Boston public garden to be the perfect place to live with her eight little ducklings. But the problem was, how to get there through the streets of Boston.

Finally, Boston police come to rescue and help Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings reach the pond safely. The story talks about a kind world where everyone feels secure, even ducks.

Strictly No Elephants

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1481416472&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bookforbug 20&language=en US

A sweet book- about a boy and his pet. It leaves the reader with the message of inclusion, acceptance, and friendship. On pet day, a local pet club does not allow the boy’s tiny elephant, while cats, dogs, and fishes are allowed.

Disappointed the boy starts his own pet club, where all other different kinds of pets are welcome. The story is sweet, funny, and quite endearing.

Wrap Up:

Reading is always fun with a good book. If you have a reluctant reader at home, ignite the love for learning in your child with an age-appropriate animal book.

You can start with easy picture books for kindergarten and graduate to chapter books as your child gets more experience. All the above books are fun, fascinating with beautiful pictures.

Explore other animal books in the below section.