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The Best 100 Hidden Gem Children's Kids Books

Dinosaurs and All that Rubbish book
#1
Dinosaurs and All that Rubbish
Written and illustrated by Michael Foreman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

After ruining Earth and soaring off to a star in his rocket, the man returns to find that ancient creatures have beautified the Earth and it is where he wants to live after all.

The Treasure (Rip Squeak and Friends) book
#2
The Treasure (Rip Squeak and Friends)
Written by Susan Yost-Filgate and illustrated by Leonard Filgate
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rip Squeak the mouse, his sister Jesse, Abbey the kitten, and Euripedes the frog set out on an adventure after they find a mysterious map marked with a large black "X."

There's No Such Thing As a Dragon book
#3
There's No Such Thing As a Dragon
Written and illustrated by Jack Kent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Billy Bixbee's mother won't admit that dragons exist until it is nearly too late.

The Secret Garden book
#4
The Secret Garden
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

BabyLit® is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, these books are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library. This book introduces your toddler to Burnett's, The Secret Garden.

Warning: Do Not Open This Book! book
#5
Warning: Do Not Open This Book!
Written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Monkeys, toucans, and alligators unleash mayhem.

All Aboard! National Parks book
#6
All Aboard! National Parks
Written by Kevin Meyers, Haily Meyers and illustrated by Haily Meyers
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

From the creators of BabyLit®: Every area of the world can be mapped out for adventure, and brilliant babies love the sophistication of traveling by train. This new board book series written by the husband and wife team of Haily and Kevin Meyers and illustrated by Haily, celebrates the unique qualities of each city while employing a fun primer element to tell the story. These books will have you and baby seeing the world by train and will turn story time into a globetrotting event. Perfect as a souvenir or as part of a geography collection for brilliant babies, the All Aboard! series will be pulling into your station next!

Animal Patterns book
#7
Animal Patterns
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Introduce little ones to all sorts of different patterns seen on animals! In Animal Patterns, little ones will be asked which patterns belong to which animals. The pages of this book are filled with familiar, kid-friendly animals, such as giraffes, zebras, tortoises, leopards, and more, rendered in a soft colors that make this an even more enjoyable experience for babies. Each page includes embossed animal patterns, creating a tactile experience for tiny hands. And on the last spread, all the animals appear with their correct patterns!

This Little Hamster book
#8
This Little Hamster
Written and illustrated by Kass Reich
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

This Little Hamster is a spirited playful board book for babies and toddlers. Rhyming couplets and cheerful illustrations will capture the interest of both child and adult readers. This follow-up to Kass Reich's bestselling debut, Hamsters Holding Hands, is a charming introduction to basic colors that will fascinate little ones.

Let's Go, Hugo! book
#9
Let's Go, Hugo!
Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Hugo is a dapper little bird who adores the Eiffel Tower -- or at least his view of it from down here. Hugo, you see, has never left the ground. So when he meets another bird, the determined Lulu, who invites him to fly with her to the top of the tower, Hugo stalls, persuading Lulu to see, on foot, every inch of the park in which he lives instead. Will a nighttime flying lesson from Bernard the Owl, some sweet and sensible encouragement from Lulu, and some extra pluck from Hugo himself finally give this bird the courage he needs to spread his wings and fly?

The Nice Book book
#10
The Nice Book
Written and illustrated by David Stein
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A perfect introduction to manners and playing nice, by David Ezra Stein—author of Caldecott Honor winner Interrupting Chicken, Pouch! (a Charlotte Zolotow Honor book) and Leaves (recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award). From cuddling koalas to friendly penguins, an array of animals illustrates fun, sweet, and silly examples of “how to be nice,” showing simple ways young children can show they care for those around them. The lyrical text, funny illustrations and upbeat friendship message make this a great gift and a wonderful introduction to manners.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Fruit Alphabet book
#11
Mrs. Peanuckle's Fruit Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet introduces babies and toddlers to the colorful foods that will help them grow up to be healthy and strong. Children and parents alike will want to devour the fun facts and charming illustrations of fruits from the familiar banana to the not as familiar yumberry. Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet is the second in a series of board books celebrating the joy nature brings to young children at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, flowers, and trees.

The Wish Tree book
#12
The Wish Tree
Written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Chris Turnham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Charles wants to find a wish tree. His brother and sister don't believe there is such a thing, but his trusty companion Boggan is ready to join Charles on a journey to find out. And along the way, they discover that wishes can come true in the most unexpected ways. The poetic text and heartwarming illustrations evoke the true essence of the holiday season and will inspire wishers everywhere. This gem of a book deserves center stage year round.

To the Sea book
#13
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

Edmund Unravels book
#14
Edmund Unravels
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This delightful debut picture book celebrates both the joy of venturing into the unknown and the value of staying connected to loved ones back home. It stars a little ball of yarn who can’t resist the tug of adventure, the twists and turns of discovery, or the comfort of family and friends. Edmund is a ball of yarn and a ball of energy! From the time he could roll, he’s been bouncing down his front steps to explore, and his parents have always been right there to reel him in and roll him back up. But now that he’s bigger, Edmund is ready to discover the wonders of the world. Everything is new and exciting—but sometimes, even a little ball of yarn gets lonely, and there’s nothing better than the comfort of being around those he cares about.

Ike's Incredible Ink book
#15
Ike's Incredible Ink
Written and illustrated by Brianne Farley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Cleaning his room and talking to his best friend while preparing to write what he knows will be an incredible story, little Ike discovers that he is missing just the right ink to get his project underway, a need that requires extraordinary effort to fulfill.

McToad Mows Tiny Island book
#16
McToad Mows Tiny Island
Written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Every Thursday, as a break from mowing Big Island, McToad and his tractor make their way to Tiny Island, using various modes of transportation and types of machinery to get there and back.

The Secret Subway book
#17
The Secret Subway
Written by Shana Corey and illustrated by Red Nose Studio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"New York City in the 1860s was a mess- crowded, disgusting, filled with garbage. You see, way back in 1860, there were no subways, just cobblestone streets. That is, until Alfred Ely Beach had the idea for a fan-powered train that would travel underground. On February 26, 1870, after fifty-eight days of drilling and painting and plastering, Beach unveiled his masterpiece-and throngs of visitors took turns swooshing down the track. The Secret Subwaywill wow readers, just as Beach's underground train wowed riders over a century ago."

Room for Bear book
#18
Room for Bear
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A huggable picture-book debut about a bear who doesn’t quite fit—perfect for fans of Karma Wilson’s Bear Snores On and Philip C. Snead & Erin Stead’s Bear Has a Story to Tell. When Bear wakes up one spring, he goes in search of a new home. And he thinks he’s found the perfect place. Unfortunately, things are a bit . . . snug. Can five little ducks find room for one big bear in their home—and in their hearts? Ciara Gavin’s luminous picture-book debut explores the unconditional love of families in all their colors, shapes, and sizes.

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#19
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Duncan the Dragon loves to read. When he reads a story, his imagination catches fire! Unfortunately . . . so does his book. Fire breath is great for roasting marshmallows, but it’s not so great for reading. Duncan just wants to get to those two wonderful words, like the last sip of a chocolate milk shake: The End. Will he ever find out how the story ends? This bright, warm tale champions determination, friendship, and a love for books. And milk shakes!

And Away We Go! book
#20
And Away We Go!
Written and illustrated by Migy England
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mr. Fox is going to the moon! Away he goes in his hot air balloon. . . . But wait! Can Elephant come too? Sure! Let's bring along some pizza. What about Giraffe? And Squirrel? Everyone is welcome in Mr. Fox's balloon, but look out--will everyone fit? In the tradition of classic cumulative tales like Mr. Gumpy's Outing, Migy's And Away We Go! is an unforgettable debut picture book from an exciting new talent.

Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty book
#21
Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty
Written and illustrated by Anna Kang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Papillon is a very fluffy kitty. So fluffy that he's lighter than air! His owner tries to weigh him down, but Papillon just wants to fly. One particularly sunny day, he floats right out the window! Exploring the wide world is exhilarating, but it's also a little scary. Will his new friend, a bird, be able to help him find his way home? Whimsical art and airy text come together seamlessly in this delightful debut by A. N. Kang.

The Snatchabook book
#22
The Snatchabook
Written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down...when a Snatchabook flew into town. It's bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

Land Shark book
#23
Land Shark
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him...a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they? Full of humor and heart, this book explores the idea that sometimes, getting exactly what you don't want turns out to be exactly what you need.

Wherever You Go book
#24
Wherever You Go
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Roads give you chances to seek and explore. Want an adventure?Just open your door. Join an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends as they journey over steep mountain peaks, through bustling cityscapes, and down long, winding roads to discover the magical worlds that await them just outside their doors. Award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller's lilting rhyme and bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler's enchanting, lush landscapes celebrate the possibilities that lie beyond the next bend in the road--the same road that will always lead you home again.

More Than Balloons book
#25
More Than Balloons
Written by Lorna Crozier and illustrated by Rachelle Anne Miller
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Balloons love the moon, and a tuba loves a tune, but these don't compare to the love we have for you. Award-winning poet Lorna Crozier uses evocative rhyme, complemented by Rachelle Anne Miller's whimsical imagery, to provide babies and toddlers with common concepts that explain just how great love is.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!