Today is National Kids and Pets Day, which is a nice opportunity to celebrate the magical bond children share with animals. You can help nurture your child’s love for animals by letting him interact with pets, visit a children's zoo, or by reading him an animal-filled bedtime story.

From a story about a shark and minnow whose friendship is tested to an adorable book about a group of incredibly cute baby sloths who are “Jedi masters of the hug,” we rounded up some of our favorite new kids' books. We know that all of them will encourage your young reader to be a lifelong animal lover.

A Little Book of Sloth

Best for: Aspiring Animal Conservationists

A Little Book of Sloth

Buttercup. Mateo. Mr. Moo. Velcro. Learn these names because you’re going to be reading them aloud to your kids for quite some time. In fact, you’ll probably want to read A Little Book of Sloth all by yourself because it is so incredibly cute. Filmmaker, photographer, zoologist and founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society Lucy Cooke shares fascinating factoids about these “Jedi masters of the hug” and chronicles their lazy days at the Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica in a picture book filled with adorable images of baby sloths. How can you resist?

Best for: New Readers

Ball

Man might be dog’s best friend, but balls are definitely a close second.

Author and illustrator Mary Sullivan’s humorous new book, Ball, is about the great lengths one cute little pup goes through to get someone to play fetch with him. Besides the adorable illustrations, what’s wonderful about this book is that young children can read it on their own, as there’s only one word in the entire book: ball.

Red Hat

After a young boy leaves his red-knit hat to dry on a clothesline, a group of curious animals run off with the intriguing item and get into some playful mischief. Written and illustrated by Lita Judge, Red Hat is perfect for kids who are just learning to read.

Nugget & Fang: Friends Forever — or Snack Time?

Best For: A Good Laugh (and Lesson)

Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever — or Snacktime?

Sharks and minnows are mortal enemies right? Well, not Fang the shark and Nugget the minnow— they’re best friends — until Nugget’s first day of school. Tammi Sauer’s pun-filled story, Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever —or Snacktime? is not only clever and fun, it also teaches children an important lesson about friendship.

Best for: Adventurous Young Minds

The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit Istanbul

Bella and Harry the Chihuahua siblings are quite the jet-setting canine pair: They’ve toured the Eiffel Tower in Paris and visited the pyramids of Cairo. Their latest journey, in The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let's Visit Istanbul, brings them to the bazaars and mosques of Istanbul where they learn about Turkish customs, language and culture. Author Lisa Manzione was inspired to write the series after she visited Paris and tried to tell her kids about it but realized that they had no idea where in the world Paris was. 

Where Do the Animals Go When It Rains? Cover

Best for: Budding Wordsmiths

Where Do the Animals Go When It Rains?

Where Do the Animals Go When It Rains?, by Janet S. Crown, proves that reading and writing a book can be fun for the whole family. Crown wrote the educational book with the help of her children during their bedtime routine. While she was tucking in her kids, they would pick an animal and together they’d make up rhymes about what the animal did while it rained. With its bright illustrations and rhyming verse, this book is perfect for young readers.

Beast Friends Forever! Animal Lovers in Rhyme

Nothing says romance like a poem. Unless it’s a poem about a skunk named Babette who concocts perfume scents to attract potential white-striped suitors. Beast Friends Forever! Animal Lovers in Rhyme, by Robert L. Forbes, is even funnier than the clever title promises: Silly ditties like “Adder Attraction” and “Flannery and His Irish Wolfhound” are sure to leave you and your kids in stitches. Plus, as an added bonus, the book comes with a collection of animal stickers.


Read more Vetstreet book reviews and author interviews.