Discover

Company

100 Hidden Gem: Books For Kids

Outside of the standard children's books you might already know and love, there are many, many incredible titles created by wonderfully talented authors and illustrators. At Bookroo, we love highlighting the best children's books, whether they're already familiar favorites or titles you haven't yet heard of! This list of the Best 100 Hidden Gem Children's Books introduces you to some of our favorite "hidden gems": clever, fun, and inspiring children's books that are not yet as well known as others. Browse on to discover new titles you'll love sharing with your young reader. If you're looking for a list of familiar favorites, check out our list of the Best 100 Classic Children's Books.

There's No Such Thing As a Dragon book
#1
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 Book of Mistakes book
#2
The Book of Mistakes
Written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut about the creative process, and the way in which "mistakes" can blossom into inspiration One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake. The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush. And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky. As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too. Fans of Peter Reynolds’s Ish and Patrick McDonnell’s A Perfectly Messed-Up Story will love the funny, poignant, completely unique storytelling of The Book of Mistakes. And, like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, it makes the perfect graduation gift, encouraging readers to have a positive outlook as they learn to face life’s obstacles.

The Treasure (Rip Squeak and Friends) book
#3
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."

Special Delivery book
#4
Special Delivery
Written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Sadie is on her way to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine, who lives completely alone and can really use the company. She tries everything from mailing the elephant to boarding a plane, a train, and an alligator to get to her aunt's home. Along the way she meets an array of interesting characters, including an odd postal worker and a gang of bandit monkeys, who all help her get where she is going. This eccentric and hilarious story from Philip C. Stead, the author of the Caldecott-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee and illustrator Matthew Cordell will surprise and entertain from beginning to end. This title has Common Core connections.

Dinosaurs and All that Rubbish book
#5
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.

  1. A Girl and Her Gator - One day, a girl discovers an alligator on her head and, although she is afraid her friends will laugh, the 'gator soon convinces her that she can still give her brother a scare, eat an eclair, and choose anything to wear as long as he is there.

  2. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear - First published in 1984, a picture book in which the Little Mouse will do all he can to save his strawberry from the Big, Hungry Bear, even if it means sharing it with the reader. The Little Mouse and the Big Hungry Bear are known and loved by millions of children around the world. Little Mouse loves strawberries, but so does the bear...How will Little Mouse stop the bear from eating his freshly picked, red, ripe strawberry.

  3. Do Crocs Kiss? - Do crocs cry? Do crocs clap? All I know is crocs go . . . SNAP! This novelty board book, with fun text and colorful illustrations, features adorable lions, tigers, and bears, as well as the snappy title reptile and other favorite creatures. Kids will happily lift the flap on each big animal “mouth” to discover what sound it makes. For a grand finale, all the animals appear together peering out from behind two gatefolds, so children can sneak a peek and say all the sounds again!

  4. The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! - From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

This Little Hamster book
#10
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.

Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty book
#11
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 Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles book
#12
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals -- the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, "oily" Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with "peace, love and a sense of fun"-- apart from and forgotten by people. But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland. With the Professor's help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart's desire. Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.

The Wish Tree book
#13
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.

The Snatchabook book
#14
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.

  1. Blue Chicken - An enterprising chicken attempts to help an artist paint the barnyard and accidentally turns the whole picture blue.

  2. My Heart Is Like a Zoo - "A simple heart shape and bright primary colors become lions, herons, and other zoo animals. Entertaining short sentences about each animal are fun to read, and as kids learn their numbers they can count the hearts that make up each animal, giving this title a little extra longevity." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor The New York Times bestseller My Heart Is Like a Zoo features bright colors, simple sentences, playful animals, and more than 300 hearts for children to count and enjoy. Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick says, "Starting with one simple shape, Michael Hall shows us a nearly infinite number of ways to make a menagerie of love." This board book edition of the award-winning picture book is perfect for little hands and the very youngest readers, who will learn that a heart can be hopeful, silly, happy, rugged, snappy, or lonely. A heart holds every different feeling, and author-artist Michael Hall captures each one with his bold, graphic artwork. An ideal springboard for conversations about emotions, and for introducing concepts, math, and art projects in the classroom and at home. School Library Journal called it an "outstanding choice for one-on-one sharing."

  3. Let's Go, Hugo! - 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?

  4. Land Shark - 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.

Ike's Incredible Ink book
#19
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.

Appleblossom the Possum book
#20
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

Edmund Unravels book
#21
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.

Animal Patterns book
#22
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!

Mrs. Peanuckle's Fruit Alphabet book
#23
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.

  1. The Nice Book - 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.

  2. The Secret Garden - 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.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!