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Young children are usually curious about, fascinated by, and possess a natural love of animals. Many children have pets of their own, or see them at the park or friend's homes. With the many famous cute animals they see in Disney movies, kids see animals as fascinating little creatures closer to their own size, rambunctious and playful creatures they want to get to know better. Animals are featured characters in cartoons and books, and altogether lovable.

You can help your child learn many developmental skills by taking advantage of their own enthusiasm. Animal books offer much to both you, as parent or teacher and your child. Let's look at how you can help your child grow with simple animal books as your platform.

First, animal books,like any book, offer you an opportunity to develop a love of reading in your child at an early age. Animal books are special in achieving this goal, because you've got an interested audience. Alphabet books and math books, for example, simply don't have the universal appeal that these books offer.

Another unique advantage of animal books as a learning tool is that of making your child want to know more about the subject. Most children soon discover their “favorite” animal. Some kids like kitties best, while others choose dogs, lions, mice or maybe even a hippopotamus. Here's where you can expand their horizons.

If your child thinks dogs are the most wonderful animal in the world, exploit this interest to their learning advantage. There's no shortage of books on dogs, cats or whichever animal your child zeros in on as best animal in the animal kingdom. For example, there are books entirely devoted to the care of dogs, with hundreds of pages detailing every breed under the sun. There are books on dog training. Some storybooks are animal books telling the adventures of Spot the Courageous Dog. You get the idea. Supply your child with books on a subject they love, and you'll soon have an avid reader.

Animal books can also nurture a loving attitude and compassion for all the creatures of the world, giving them a sense of humanity which extends to all living beings in the world. This is a character building experience as well.

Animal books can foster further curiosity when children reach the stage of science books. They may be interested to study the physiology of animals and how they differ from humans.

Early on, you can introduce them to programs on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. You'll be amazed to see how that spark of early interest can fuel continuing interest for years to come.

Using your child's natural interest and some animal books, you'll find the knowledge they gain spills over to other areas of study, standing them in good stead throughout their lives. Now, to the bookstore or library!

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