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The Best Fables Kids Books

Looking for the best fables books?
Louis I, King of the Sheep
Written & illustrated by Olivier Tallec
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Louis I, King of the Sheep is a funny philosophical fable about a sheep who finds a crown, and revels in dreams of power.

The Out-Foxed Fox
Written by Tim J Myers & illustrated by Ariel Ya-Wen Pang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hundreds of years ago in the mountains of Japan, there lived a hunter who trapped many foxes. People warned him that foxes were cunning creatures that possessed great magic, but he ignored them. One day, the bossy old fox leader declared they must stop the hunter and that he had the perfect plan. But a young fox with crooked whiskers knew that a simple plan is often best. To prove it, he showed both the hunter and the leader just how cunning a fox can be! Whimsical illustrations rendered in pencil, water-color, oil paint, and colored pencil by Ariel Ya-Wen Pang add to the charm of this Japanese tale based on a traditional kyogen. An author’s note is included.

Holy Squawkamole!
Written by Susan Wood & illustrated by Laura González
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

This tasty takeonthe classic Little Red Hen story has a deliciously spicy twist! Yum, guacamole! That’s what Little Red Hen craves, and she could use some help gathering and mashing the ingredients. So she asks her friends, including an armadillo, snake, and iguana, to lend a hand. Every one just says “no.” But after Little Red Hen works hard to make the scrumptious fresh guac, all the animals want a taste. In a fun departure from the original tale, Little Red Hen cooks up a comeuppance for the slackers that they’ll never forget!

The Ants and the Grasshopper, Narrated by the Fanciful But Truthful Grasshopper
Written by Nancy Loewen & illustrated by Carles Arbat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-8

In this humorous retelling of the classic fable, Harper the grasshopper is rescued from starvation by an ant, Lark, who wants to learn how to play the fiddle—and soon many of the other insects (including more ants) in the field join Harper’s lessons, until he has a proper insect orchestra to put on a harvest festival.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Narrated by the Sheepish But Truthful Wolf
Written by Nancy Loewen & illustrated by Juan M. Moreno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-8

So who was really pulling the wool over whose eyes? The Wolf gets candid about “the boy who cried” in this fractured version of a classic Aesop’s fable, delighting readers with his first-person account, while back matter questions encourage discussion about perspective. Includes a condensed version of the original tale.

  • The Lion and the Mouse, Narrated by the Timid But Truthful Mouse - She’s always been the “invisible” twin, but when her sister reneges on a promise to the king of beasts, a timid mouse chews her way into the spotlight. This sweet, fractured twist on a classic Aesop’s fable, told from the mouse’s point of view, celebrates kindness and bravery of all sizes. Includes a condensed version of the original tale.

  • The Tortoise and the Hare, Narrated by the Silly But Truthful Tortoise - In this humorous retelling of the classic fable, the tortoise, Balderdash, describes how his race with Jiffy the Hare (who was actually pretty slow for a hare), launched his career as a comedian.

  • Rabbit's Gift - Snow is coming, coming soon, so Rabbit needs to find food fast. Just in time, a turnip turns up, and a second one, too. Who in the woods wouldn’t want to tuck away an extra turnip for the long winter? Not Rabbit. He chooses a different path—and starts a wave of generosity that spreads among all his forest friends.

  • The Lion & the Mouse - In this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable set in the African Serengeti, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when she rescues the King of the Jungle.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Written by B. G. Hennessy & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“Nothing ever happens here,” the shepherd thinks. But the bored boy knows what would be exciting: He cries that a wolf is after his sheep, and the town’s people come running. How often can that trick work, though? B.G. Hennessy’s retelling of this timeless fable is infused with fanciful whimsy through Boris Kulikov’s hilarious and ingenious illustrations. This tale is sure to leave readers grinning sheepishly.

Once a Mouse...
Written & illustrated by Marcia Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Marcia Brown retells an Indian fable from the Hitopadesa in this Caldecott Medal–winning tale of a mouse who becomes a tiger.

When a small mouse’s life is threatened by large jungle predators, a kindly hermit uses magic to change him into a cat, a dog, and a majestic tiger. But the proud tiger must suffer the consequences when he becomes ungrateful and forgets his humble origins. Marcia Brown’s magical woodcuts bring this Indian fable to life with the mastery that won her a second Caldecott Medal.

Chanticleer and the Fox
Written by Geoffrey Chaucer & illustrated by Barbara Cooney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

King of the barnyard, Chanticleer struts about all day. When a fox bursts into his domain, dupes him into crowing, and then grabs him in a viselike grip, Chanticleer must do some quick thinking to save himself and his barnyard kingdom. Winner, 1959 Caldecott Medal Notable Children’s Books of 1940–1970 (ALA) Winner, 1992 Kerlan Award

Town Mouse, Country Mouse
Written & illustrated by Jan Brett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The classic tale of a town mouse and a country mouse takes on a new dimension in the imaginative and talented hands of Jan Brett. She introduces two engaging mouse couples eager to get away from their everyday lives. But when they agree to swap homes, they are plunged into unexpected adventures at every turn.

In a story filled with suspense and humor, lush green country scenes alternate with the elegant details of a fine Victorian townhouse, making this a breathtakingly beautiful picture book.

The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables
Written by & illustrated by Don Daily
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Get in step with the colorful animals that race, waddle, and leap through these pages! From a fast-footed monkey to a two-timing fox, each creature has a story to tell and a moral to teach. These famous tales tickle the imagination and teach simple truths, ones that children and adults face every day. Inside are twenty classic fables, including The Tortoise and the Hare, The Goose Who Laid the Golden Eggs, and The City Mouse and the Country Mouse. Passed from generation to generation, Aesop’s best-loved fables are presented here with beautiful illustrations that bring these naughty, bold, brave, and lovable creatures to life.

  • The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse - Do you ever feel that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? Well, so did Johnny Town-Mouse and Timmy Willie. One was a town mouse and one was a country mouse, and when they end up in each other’s worlds they soon discover that they were much happier where they started!

  • The Little Red Fort - Ruby’s mind is always full of ideas. One day, she finds some old boards and decides to build something. She invites her brothers to help, but they just laugh and tell her she doesn’t know how to build. “Then I’ll learn,” she says. And she does! When she creates a dazzling fort that they all want to play in, it is Ruby who has the last laugh. With sprightly text and winsome pictures, this modern spin on the timeless favorite The Little Red Hen celebrates the pluck and ingenuity of young creators everywhere!

  • Fables - Winner of the Caldecott Medal A pig flying through marshmallow clouds? A camel pirouetting through the desert? Where else could a reader find such marvelous things but in a fable? From the author-illustrator behind beloved Frog and Toad, Arnold Lobel, comes a collection of humorous, silly fables that will delight readers young and old. “The most remarkable of the author-illustrator’s 60-plus bestselling award winners.” —Publishers Weekly “There is enough cheerful nonsense in Mr. Lobel’s fables to endear any child listener.” —The New York Times “Lobel has come up with a magical addition to an ancient genre of storytelling.” —Newsweek

  • City Mouse, Country Mouse - In this modern twist from Maggie Rudy on the classic tale of the city mouse and the country mouse, Will and Tansy meet and become friends. But Will loves the bustling city and Tansy loves the quiet country. Will these two friends find a way to live mousily ever after?

Gooney the Fabulous
Written by Lois Lowry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Gooney Bird Greene has a fabulous idea after her teacher reads fables to the class. The children learn that fables are stories with animal characters that teach something important. Gooney’s fabulous idea is that each student create their own fable and tell it to the class! Everyone but Nicholas is excited about their stories and costumes. Can Gooney Bird find out why Nicholas is unhappy and get him to join in the fun? Now that would be truly fabulous!

It Is a Tree
Written by Susan Batori
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Funny animals play a party game that’s both silly and thought-provoking. Perfect for new readers.

It is a tree. It is a wall. It is a snake. It is a fan.

A zebra, a giraffe, a turtle, and others play a party game. Blindfolded, they guess what’s in the room. Is it a wall? A rope? A fan? No. It’s an elephant!

This very easy-to-read story, based upon the ancient Indian parable about the blind men and the elephant, teaches point-of-view.

The award-winning I Like to Read® series focuses on guided reading levels A through G, based upon Fountas and Pinnell standards. Acclaimed author-illustrators—including winners of Caldecott, Theodor Seuss Geisel, and Coretta Scott King honors—create original, high-quality illustrations that support comprehension of simple text and are fun for kids to read again and again with their parents, teachers or on their own!

Gooney the Fabulous
Written by Lois Lowry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Mrs. Pidgeon has been reading Aesop’s fables to her second grade class. What’s a fable? Well, it’s a story that has animals as characters, and it teaches you something important, and . . . Once again it is Gooney Bird Greene who knows how to turn lessons into fun. She has an idea. A fabulous idea! What if each child creates his or her own fable, and tells it to the class? One by one Mrs. Pidgeon’s students create costumes and stories and morals and excitement. Everyone except Nicholas. What on earth is making Nicholas so unhappy? Leave it to Gooney Bird, of course, to help him solve his problem . . . in a truly fabulous way.

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