Animals Set Sail

Books to Share

  • Fox Makes Friends by Adam Relf.
  • The Hiccupping Hippo: A Pop-Up Book by Keith Faulkner.
  • Tails by Matthew Van Fleet.
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff by Stephen Carpenter.
  • Yikes! by Robert Florczak.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Camel’s Lament by Charles Santore.
  • Honey...Honey...Lion! by Jan Brett.
  • Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones by Claire Freedman.
  • Swim, Little Wombat, Swim! by Charles Fuge.
  • Z is for Zookeeper: A Zoo Alphabet by Maire Smith.

Bulletin Board

Tweet, Howl, and Roar for Books!

Create a scene of a zoo or jungle where the wild animals are reading books about animals. Above the animal’s heads create dialogue bubbles with quotes from the book that the animals are reading. For example, if a monkey is reading Curious George, the bubble might say, “This is George. He lived in Africa.”

Visit Jan Brett’s Home Page,, for patterns and instructions for a Honey…Honey…Lion! coloring mural. Cover the bulletin board with light brown or tan paper. Print out the patterns. Let the children color them, or have teen volunteers color them for you. Create a bush scene for the animals.


Zoo Parade

Use the bear, lion, giraffe, monkey, and elephant patterns provided, or use a wild animal die-cut to create nametags.


Wild About Wild Animals!

Display books, videos, DVDs, and musical recordings about wild animals along with stuffed animals, plastic toy animals, and an assortment of animal die-cuts. Allow the children to take a die-cut home at end of the program.


Animal Crackers

Serve animal crackers in small plastic or paper cups.


Jungle Song

(By Debbie Brightwell Brown. Sing to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus.” Suit the actions to words as you recite the rhyme. Include verses with names of additional animals suggested by the children.)

The tigers in the jungle go roar, roar, roar.

Roar, roar, roar.

Roar, roar, roar.

The tigers in the jungle go roar, roar, roar.

All day long.

The crocodiles go snap, snap, snap...

The elephants go stomp, stomp, stomp...

The hippos go yawn, yawn, yawn...

Audio Recordings

  • “Alligator Stomp” on Dream Catcher by Jack Grunsky.
  • “Deep in the Jungle” on Deep in the Jungle by Joe Scruggs.
  • “Going to the Zoo” on Singable Songs for the Very Young by Raffi.

Flannel Boards

Animals at the Zoo

(Traditional. Cut out zoo animal faces from felt, fun foam, or paper using the patterns provided (bear, lion, giraffe, monkey, elephant). Wear a brown or animal-print mitt or glove that has a square of Velcro on the end of each finger. Attach the animals to each finger as you recite poem.)

At the zoo, I saw a bear,

He had curly brown furry hair.

I saw a lion in his cage,

He roared in a terrible rage.

I saw an orange long-necked giraffe,

And a silly monkey that made me laugh.

But my favorite animal at the zoo,

Is the elephant. How about you?

Five Giant Elephants Jumping on the Bed

(By Debbie Brightwell Brown. Sing to the tune of “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” Cut five elephants and the bed from felt, paper, or fun foam using the patterns provided. Put all five elephants above the bed on the flannel board and take them off one at a time as you recite the rhyme. Repeat the verse, counting down four, three, two, and one elephants on the bed.)

Five giant elephants jumping on the bed.

One fell off and bumped his head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

“No more elephants jumping on the bed.”

flannelboard of elephants

Puppet Plays

The Lion and the Mouse

(Aesop fable adapted By Debbie Brightwell Brown.)

Puppets and Props

  • Lion puppet
  • Mouse puppet
  • Piece of netting

NARRATOR: Once upon a time a hungry lion was wandering through the jungle, looking for something to eat. (Lion enters)

LION: Roar! I am so hungry! I shall hunt for something to eat! (Mouse enters)

MOUSE: Eek! Eek! That’s a lion!

LION: (sees mouse) Roar! Come here little mouse so I can eat you!

MOUSE: Oh please sir! Your Highness! You are king of the jungle. Please have mercy on me! A poor little mouse.

LION: I am king of the jungle and I am very hungry! Roar! Why should I have pity on you?

MOUSE: Please sir! Your Highness! If you will only spare me this one time I promise to return the favor some time and save your life!

LION: Roar! Save my life! That’s ridiculous. How could a small little mouse like you save the life of the king of the jungle?

MOUSE: Why sir, I know it is hard to believe but I will! I will! If you will only have mercy on me this one time.

LION: All right. All right. Now, off with you. You would be nothing but a small bite for me anyway. (Mouse leaves quickly)

LION: Roar! I am still hungry. (sniffs air and looks at audience) I think I smell some kids around here. (net falls from above onto the lion) What’s this? Oh no! I have been caught by the lion hunters! (struggles to get out as mouse enters)

LION: (Mouse starts to chew around the netting) Little mouse! What are you doing?

MOUSE: Be still Your Highness. I will have you out shortly. (remove netting)

LION: Roar! I am free! Little mouse, you saved me!

MOUSE: Of course, Your Highness. I told you I would. Eek. Eek. I hope we can be friends forever now.

LION: Of course we will. Jump up on my back, little mouse, and we shall walk through the jungle together. (Place the Mouse on the lion’s back as they exit the stage)

NARRATOR: And the lion and the mouse were friends forever. And the moral of this story is: Even the smallest creature can be a huge help!


Croc Card


  • Green construction paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Pencil
  • Crayons or markers


In advance, fold the paper in half and trace the crocodile pattern provided onto the paper. Let the children cut along the pattern lines. Open the paper slightly and fold back the cut slits to form little triangles. Draw eyes and a mouth. When slightly opened, the crocodile will stand up.

gator craft picture

Funny Elephant Cup Puppet


  • Styrofoam cups
  • Gray construction paper
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Markers or crayons


Cut a hole big enough to put a finger through in the side of the Styrofoam cup. Cut two elephant ears from construction paper. Turn the cup upside down. Fold back an edge of the ears and glue them to each side of the cup. Let the children draw two small eyes on the cup. Show the children how to put the cup on their hand and insert a finger through the hole to make the elephant’s trunk.

Games and Activities

Animals on Parade!

Invite the children to bring a stuffed animal from home or have a variety of stuffed animals or puppets available for them to hold. Line the children up and have a parade through the children’s department and/or the library. Use a small drum or rhythm sticks to keep the beat as the children chant, “Animals on parade! Yeah! Animals on parade!”


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use. Times are indicated for the entire film.

  • Good Night, Gorilla... And More Bedtime Stories. (51 minutes)
  • Weird, Wet and Wild. (30 minutes)

Web Sites

Kids’ Planet

This site by the Defenders of Wildlife organization provides the user with facts and information on endangered species and includes booklists, teacher curriculum, online games, coloring pages, word searches, puzzles, and quizzes.

Professional Resources

Jan Brett’s Home Page

This author’s web site includes patterns for characters in her books, coloring pages, and other activities that can be reproduced freely for library use.


Texas Reading Club 2007 Programming Manual / Sail Away with Books!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011