If you’re looking for great books for bright kids, I’ve got five fabulous picture books for about animals that I think you’re going to love. One of them is a triumph of children’s publishing you won’t want to miss.
I’ve grouped them together because these are all books about animals! Whether you are building a classroom or home library, or whether you are looking for great gift ideas, this list will help you find the perfect book.
This is a part of a series of videos and written reviews for books I recommend for bright young readers.
These books were sent to me by the publisher for review, but I have not received any compensation for the reviews, and the opinions are purely my own.
📚 Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright Selected by Fiona Waters, Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
📚 Wombat by Christopher Cheny, Illustrated by Liz Duthie
📚 Ducks Overboard: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans by Markus Motum
📚 Prehistoric Pets by Dr. Dean Lomax, Illustrated by Mike Love
You may scroll down to read the reviews, or click the video below to watch or listen to longer reviews and see the books and their illustrations.
[Note: The links are affiliate links, which means that the website receives a small commission if you purchase the book.]
Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! An Animal Poem for Each Day of they Year Selected by Fiona Waters, Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
This book is a gorgeous triumph of children’s publishing. It sections the year out into months, with a poem for each day about an animal. Some animals get multiple poems. It’s amazing because the poems are from all over the world. They’re different poetry forms, different cultural voices, different perspectives on the world of animals and even insects that surrounds us. There are funny poems, sad poems, clever poems, and everything in between. The authors are famous and anonymous and everything in between. The illustrations are reminiscent of Eric Carle’s style somewhat, and I love them. The book is large, with a quality binding and a satin ribbon to keep your place. If you teach poetry, this is a must-have book. If there is a child in your life, this is a must-have book. I truly wish every child in the world could have this book.
✅ Get a copy of this truly amazing book on Amazon.
Wombat by Christopher Cheng, Illustrated by Liz Duthie
I’m biased towards this book because my husband is Australian. I just thought it was important to admit that. However, even if I weren’t biased, I’d recommend this. I’m a huge, huge fan of non-fiction for bright young readers, and this book is perfect. It’s my favorite kind of illustrations – gorgeous watercolor/colored pencil, and somehow the illustrator makes page after page of brown not look same-y or boring at all. There’s a story and then a sub-story of facts about wombats. I love wombats (I’ve touched one!), and I still learned a lot about them from this book. Did you know a group of wombats is called a colony or a wisdom? Now you do! And you’ll learn even more from this fantastic book.
✅ Get a copy of this marsupial must-have on Amazon.
Ducks Overboard: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans by Markus Motum
I specifically requested this book because I’d read an adult book about the same topic: the true story of 28,000 rubber duckies that fell overboard off a container ship and how they sailed the seven seas. This version for children did not disappoint. The illustrations are great, and in addition to the story of these particular ducks, it does a good job explaining issues surrounding plastic in our oceans. The end of the book has ideas for how kids can get involved. Because gifted learners often have early moral concern, that’s a great fit for them.
✅ Get a copy of this non-fiction read on Amazon.
✅ Get a copy of the grown-up book I also loved on Amazon.
Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast by David Ezra Stein
This is a sequel to the Caldecott Honor Book Interrupting Chicken, and is one of three so far in the series. It’s so clever! While it’s a it’s a perfect bedtime story, this tale about a little red chicken trying to persuade his father that he really needs to be allowed to eat cookies for breakfast makes a wonderful morning read. So few books are designed for that. What makes it stand out is the way Stein blends nursery rhymes with crayon-like drawings by the little red chicken. (Watch the video to see what I mean.) I love the way the father chicken interacts with little red chicken, and I love that it shows a father in a caregiving, loving role. Trust me: You’re going to love this book.
Prehistoric Pets by Dr. Dean Lomax, Illustrated by Mike Love
Does any kid not love pets? I think there are three on the whole planet. For the other kids, this book is a winner. It shows the science of how our common (but beloved) household pets evolved from prehistoric animals. It’s fascinating and full of fun science. What’s special is the layout. Every animal gets a fold-out spread that is a super cool pop-up of the prehistoric animal. Those are amazing! There’s also a section called “fossil file” for every animal that talks about the discovered fossils of that animal. Whether you have a cat or a parakeet or anything in between, this book is a great exploration of how seven of these animal friends came from Fred Flinstone’s house to yours.
Great books help create great readers. If you would like to find more books for bright kids (as well as toy suggestions), my Amazon storefront has all of my recommendations.