Unusual Animals Non-Fiction

There are lots of great animal books at all the St. Louis Public Libraries and I always like to pick some of the more unusual animal books to share with kids when I visit schools. 

Steve Jenkins has a multitude of animal books (both in the Easy & Non-Fiction sections) that are great for kids of all ages.

“Actual Size” by Steve Jenkins shows kids how big (or small) certain animals are.  Ever wondered how big a squid eye is or how small the smallest fish is? Steve Jenkins will show you with his trademark illustrations and then he’ll give the actual measurements on the same page.

“Never Smile at a Monkey” by Steve Jenkins advises kids on what never to do with certain animals.  For example, never smile at a monkey because it may interpret your show of teeth as an aggressive gesture and the monkey may respond violently!

“Elephants Can Paint Too” by Katya Arnold features full-page photographs of children and elephants  learning to paint.  The author gives interesting tidbits of information such as how an elephant holds a paintbrush and how long it takes for an elephant to learn to paint (about three years).

“Whose Ears Are These?” by Peg Hall shows close-ups of various animal ears and children can try to guess which animal the ears belong to? Peg Hall offers a few subtle clues along with the ears and then gives fun facts about the animals on the next page.

“Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom” by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey and “How To Clean a Hippopotamus” by Steve Jenkins are two books that examine animal partnerships in the wild. The book by Aruego and Dewey has more cutesy illustrations and may appeal to a younger audience and Jenkins’ book features his very realistic illustrations in panels like a comic book.


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