Animal A to Z Picture Book Recommendations for Great Summer Reading

Summertime gives us a wonderful opportunity to get outdoors.  Kids love hiking in the park, going down the slide and playing ball at the playground, building sandcastles at the beach…sometimes it seems as if they have a boundless well of energy.   But even kids need to sit down in a cool spot to relax…that’s the perfect time to get out the books!

If you have young children, what will you are reading with them?  Studies show that reading to kids on a daily basis helps children succeed in school as it helps develop their literacy skills, build self-esteem and strengthen the parent-child connection.  What’s even better is that it is SO MUCH FUN for the kids and the adults!

Here’s a list of wonderful picture books…all about animals (a favorite subject for most kids) from A to Z.  Most can be found for FREE at your local library…I hope every parent is taking advantage of the amazing summer programs available at many libraries.

I’ve added a link if I found a review and activities for that particular book…many of the reviews are mine and a few of the links will take you to a review done by one of the contributors to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday posts.  If you need any other picture books for summer reading and beyond, please check out her Perfect Picture Book page.  

  1. ARMADILLO: Milo Armadillo by Jane Fearnley
  2. BEAR: Gift-Bear for the King by Carl Memling
  3. CAT: Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
  4. DINOSAUR: Dinosaur vs. The Library by Bob Shea
  5. ELEPHANT: Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
  6. GOLDFISH: Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet by Kelly DiPucchio
  7. HORSE: Indian Two Feet and His Horse by Margaret Friskey
  8. IGUANA: I Wanna Iguana by T.E.Watson
  9. JELLYFISH: Joy the Jellyfish by Kristen Collier

10. KANGEROO: Yes We Can! by Sam McBratney

11. LLAMA: Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

12. MOUSE: Frederick by Leo Lionni

13. NEWT: Newt by Matt Novak

14. OWL: Owl Moon

15. PIG: Sloppy Kisses by Elizabeth Winthrop

16. QUAIL: Looking After Me by Denise Leroy

17. RACOON: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

18. SHEEP: Can’t Sleep Without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill

19. TIGER: Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

20. UNICORN: Unicorn! Unicorn! By Geraldine McCaughean

21. VOLE: The Vole Brothers  by Roslyn Schwartz

22. WHALE: Pipaluk and the Whales by John Himmelman

23. XIPHIAS (SWORDFISH): Swimmy by Leo Lionni

24. YAK: Kami and the Yak by Andrea Stenn Stryer

25. ZEBRA: How the Zebra Got Its Stripes by Justine Fontes

Badge created by the talented Loni Edwards

I also wanted to add a note about a great creative writing activity going on right now…Susanna Leonard Hill has organized Summer Short and Sweetsif you have been thinking about writing for children and want to get your feet wet, this is the perfect opportunity.  The kid lit community that gathers there is generous, helpful, caring and inspiring.

22 thoughts on “Animal A to Z Picture Book Recommendations for Great Summer Reading

    • Cunning…I love that word, Joanna…will have to use it in a pb. 🙂 The list was a little bit of a challenge for some of the letters…but I hope it will encourage parents to grab some of the titles at the library or local bookstore.  Enjoy your weekend!   


    • Oh yes…I would love that!  You are an amazing lady…and I know everyone would be thrilled to learn more about you and your book. 🙂     Thanks for passing the list along…there are some classics and a bunch of new picture books.


  1. Aw, gee, Vivian! Thanks for all the lovely comments about PPBs and SS&S! You are so sweet! And I hope people will come over and join the fun and take advantage of all that’s offered by this wonderful community!

    I love your list of books! So many great ones! And it’s true, especially in the busy days of summer, a little time out to sit quietly and enjoy a book is a perfect break in a long hot day. I see you listed I Wanna Iguana by T.E. Watson which I haven’t read, but one of my favorites is I Wanna Iguana by Karen Orloff!


    • You are so welcome, Susanna!  It’s funny, because when you referenced the Karen Orloff book, I quickly Googled T E Watson to make sure I hadn’t mistakenly said he was the author..oh well, a rose by any other name…or something like that. 🙂 I’m on my way over to check out today’s Summer Short and Sweets. 🙂   


  2. Well done, Vivian…a clever way to list the popular animal books for kids. I agree, the library should be used more often, especially in the summer!


    • Hi Jarm, Thanks for stopping by…the list was fun to do…slightly challenging for X. 🙂  You are so right about the library…a parent could plan a whole week of activities for a child around the free programs available at most local libraries. 🙂   


  3. I really love this A to Z list. I read it in my email, but wanted to say thanks for writing (and linking) this. Also, love the photo of you at the top of the page. Classy! It’s been a while since I’ve linked over.


    • Thanks so much, Stacy. Please don’t apologize…we think that summer will be more laid back…but we often find, especially with little ones, that it is busier than ever. 🙂 Glad you like the photo…my daughter-in-law did a whole photo-shoot for me when I was visiting in Chicago…what fun!


      • Sleep, what’s that. I think it’s important to comment especially when I glean something and of course to encourage others.
        Writing is solitary vocation and knowing others are reading is what inspires us.


  4. Yes, you are right, Tracy…I often stay up late (like now) because I feel compelled to comment on other blogs…both as a connection for me to the writer and as an encouragement for the writer for time, effort and a job well done. 🙂


    • Don’t feel badly, Niv…there are tens of thousands of picture books out there. 🙂 If you’ve never checked out Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, I so urge you to…she has a page where hundreds of picture books are listed in categories…click on a title and it takes you to a review done by moms/teachers/librarians/picture book writers/illustrators…and most of the reviews also include activities and resources…this is an unbelievable resource!
      Glad you liked my post…I was happy to join in. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.