Adventure and Bears: Books For Kids

In Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic Alice in Wonderland, the Gryphon cries out to Alice, “No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”

We agree with the Gryphon, let’s get to the adventures! That’s something we love most about children’s books: they offer instant access to adventure. As Stephen King said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” One minute we’re in our home on the couch, and a moment later we’re journeying across the African savanna, exploring the world in a hot air balloon, or even rocketing through space. The possibilities for adventure are endless.

Here we’ve compiled a list of the best adventure books for kids. This list features adventure books of all sorts and for all ages (we’ve searched long and hard to ensure we have titles exciting for girls and for boys). There are books that involve mysteries, magic, and fantasy, or books about leaving home, journeys, and friendship. Some are classic stories you may recognize from your own childhood, while others are exciting new titles containing new adventures just waiting to be had. Some titles are even part of a series that might become a new treasured favorite for your kids or start a cherished tradition of reading aloud together.

The list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to around 2 or 3. Picture books are generally good options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary and early middle school age children. Within that range, some titles are best suited for 9 year olds and 10 year olds (around 4th or 5th graders) while others are better suited for 7 year olds and 8 year olds (around 2nd or 3rd graders). Still others are best for advanced readers approaching middle school age (11 year olds and 12 year olds). Each book includes age suggestions you can reference to guide your search. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

We’ve kept you from the list long enough. As the Gryphon says, explanations take such a dreadful time. Let’s get to the adventures! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt book
#1
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-2

Now the very youngest readers can join in the fun with this Classic Board Book™ edition of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Full of delightful comedy and high drama, this tale of a brave family’s joyous romp through sweeping landscapes is sure to win new fans.

Bizzy Bear: Pirate Adventure book
#2
Bizzy Bear: Pirate Adventure
Written by Nosy Crow and illustrated by Benji Davies
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

With chunky sliders to push and pull, this robust little board book is perfect for active toddlers. Rich in visual detail and with touches of humor, it is sure to become a classic in the family library.

Today, Bizzy Bear is packing his ship, hoisting the Jolly Roger and setting sail on an exciting pirate adventure! Little readers will love helping Bizzy steer his ship, dig for treasure, and open the treasure chest.

The Best Bear in All the World book
#3
The Best Bear in All the World
Written by Paul Bright, Brian Sibley, Kate Saunders, and Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Mark Burgess
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

For the 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh, a sequel featuring new stories and a new character from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Now a New York Times Bestseller.

The Trustees of the Pooh Properties have commissioned four authors to write in the timeless style of A.A. Milne to create a quartet of charming new adventures for Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their friends. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall: take a trip back to the Hundred Acre Wood with a collection of tales sure to delight year-round.

One story finds Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet on a quest to discover the “Sauce of the Nile” (they suspect it’s apple). And in another, all the animals rally around poor Eeyore when he thinks he sees another donkey eyeing his clover. The winter story features a new penguin character, based on a stuffed toy owned by Christopher Robin Milne himself. Readers of all ages will love rediscovering old friends and making new ones in this essential new volume of Pooh stories.

The book feature beautiful color artwork in the style of Ernest H. Shepard by Mark Burgess.

Blueberries for Sal book
#4
Blueberries for Sal
Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

What happens when Sal and her mother meet a mother bear and her cub? A beloved classic is born!

Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one?

With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.

Corduroy book
#5
Corduroy
Written and illustrated by Don Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Corduroy was first introduced to readers in 1968, and in the fifty years since, his adventures have never stopped.

Corduroy has been on the department store shelf for a long time. Yet as soon as Lisa sees him, she knows that he’s the bear for her. Her mother, though, thinks he’s a little shopworn—he’s even missing a button! Still, Corduroy knows that with a bit of work he can tidy himself up and be just the bear for Lisa. And where better to start than with a nighttime adventure through the department store, searching for a new button!

Celebrate 50 years of this irresistible childhood classic, a heartwarming story about a little bear and a little girl finding the friend they have always wanted in each other.

  1. Bear Out There - Bear and Spider are back in another charming odd-couple friendship story, perfect for fans of Peter Brown and Greg Pizzoli. Bear’s favorite place is inside. He loves sharing his tidy home with his friend Spider. Spider loves the outdoors! When Spider’s kite flies away, Bear must venture out and into the messy forest to help his friend. As their quest in the forest goes from bad to worse, Bear and Spider show readers that being a friend means being there for each other, no matter what.

  2. Little Bear's Big House - This follow-up to Benjamin Chaud’s critically acclaimed The Bear’s Song and its sequels is graced with richly detailed art, immersive scenes, and an irresistibly sweet story! Little Bear is embarking on his biggest adventure yet. After discovering an empty house, his wish is granted: He can play all day and stay up as late as he wants! But he also gets a big scare. There are mysterious noises downstairs—could there be monsters . . . or ghosts?! Will Little Bear be able to brave the big house all by himself? In step with the previous books in the series, Little Bear may venture far and wide, but his loving family is never far behind!

  3. A Pocket for Corduroy - This much-beloved classic is now available as a lap board book! Don Freeman’s classic character, Corduroy, is even more popular today than he was when he first came on the scene nearly fifty years ago. And now, the story of a teddy bear’s overnight laundromat adventures and the girl who loves him will inspire even more readers in this new format. With unabridged text and sturdy pages, this lap board book edition is perfect for family sharing.

  4. Bizzy Bear: Fun on the Farm - Introducing Bizzy Bear from Nosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press! Introducing Bizzy Bear, the busiest bear on the block! With chunky sliders to push and pull, these robust little board books are perfect for active toddlers. Rich in visual detail and with touches of humor, they are set to become firm favorites in the family library. Bizzy Bear’s off to lend a hand on the farm. Toddlers can help him count the ducks, feed the goats, and f ind the eggs before he waves bye-bye.

Explorers of the Wild book
#10
Explorers of the Wild
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Boy and Bear both love to explore the outdoors. There are so many neat things to see, and so many strange things to find. These explorers are prepared for anything . . . except each other! When Bear and Boy meet in the woods, they’re scared at first. Really scared. But soon these kings of the wild realize that no mountain is too big to conquer if you have a friend to climb it by your side.

The Panda Problem book
#11
The Panda Problem
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The critically adored, New York Times bestselling Deborah Underwood delights with a hilariously meta celebration of storytelling out of control. Every story needs a problem. But Panda doesn’t have a problem. Unless . . . Panda is the problem. The New York Times bestselling author of Here Comes the Easter Cat and The Quiet Book loses control of the narrative in the funniest, most exuberant, most kid-delighting way in this adventurous ode to what makes a story—and what makes a story great.

Three Bears in a Boat book
#12
Three Bears in a Boat
Written and illustrated by David Soman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the co-creator of the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series comes a high seas adventure inspired by the classic picture books Little Bear and Where the Wild Things Are.

Three bear siblings break their mother’s favorite blue seashell, and rather than tell her, they decide to set out in their sailboat to find her a new one. On their quest they encounter salty sailors, strange new islands, huge whales, and vast seas but no blue seashells. When a treacherous storm suddenly blows in, the three bears find themselves tossed about in their little boat, far from Mama. What will become of their search, and what will it take to bring them safely home?

This read aloud shares its best qualities with classic picture books: breath-taking illustrations, epic adventure, and a subtle message about taking responsibility for your actions.

Pine & Boof: Blast Off! book
#13
Pine & Boof: Blast Off!
Written and illustrated by Ross Burach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Frog and Toad meets Elephant & Piggie in the second installment of a humorous and heartfelt picture book series about the adventures of Boof the bear and Pine the porcupine, from the acclaimed author-illustrator of There’s a Giraffe in My Soup and I Am Not a Chair! There’s no one Boof the bear would rather spend the day with than his best friend—Pine the porcupine. And there’s nothing he’d rather do than collect things, which is his favorite hobby of all time. So one day, when Boof is collecting rocks with Pine, he doesn’t think the day could get any better, until . . . An egg falls on Boof’s head—all the way from outer space! Now it’s up to Pine and Boof to return the space egg to its space nest . . . before it hatches. They’ll need a rocket ship, space training, and plenty of sandwiches for the trip. But most important, they’ll need each other to complete a mission that’s out of this world! Pine & Boof: Blast Off! tells the story of an unlikely friendship through highly original characters and vibrant illustrations that are impossible not to love.

Bear Came Along book
#14
Bear Came Along
Written by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

A cheerful and action-packed adventure about the importance of friendship and community from a successful author and illustrator duo!

Once there was a river flowing through a forest. The river didn’t know it was capable of adventures until a big bear came along. But adventures aren’t any fun by yourself, and so enters Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck. These very different animals take off downstream, but they didn’t know they needed one another until thankfully, the river came along.

This hilarious picture book and heartfelt message celebrates the joy and fun that’s in store when you embark together on a ride of a lifetime.

  1. The Polar Bear Explorers' Club - A precocious young girl is determined to prove herself as an explorer in the first novel in the whimsical Polar Bear Explorers’ Club series. Stella Starflake Pearl knows, without a doubt, that she was born to be an adventurer. It’s too bad girls are forbidden from becoming explorers. But Stella’s father has never been one to play by the rules. Leaving behind her pet polar bear, Gruff, and beloved unicorn, Magic, Stella and Felix set off on an expedition to the snowy Icelands. There, Stella plans to prove herself as a junior explorer, worthy of membership in the Polar Bear Explorers’ Club. So when Stella and three other junior explorers are separated from the rest of their expedition, she has the perfect opportunity. Can they explore the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale? The first in Alex Bell’s imaginative new series, The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club is a fun and daring adventure filled with magic, outlaws, and fantastic faraway lands.

  2. The Adventures of Buster Bear - The Adventures of Buster Bear introduces a new generation of children to Thornton W. Burgess’s long-beloved Bedtime Stories characters. Buster Bear is new to the Green Forest and because he is so big (and his appetite is also so big), he’s having some trouble making new friends. But there are always interesting stories about meeting the new folks in the neighborhood. Is a nice fat trout a good present for a new friend? Can someone as big as Buster be afraid of Farmer Brown’s boy? How can a little tin pail cause any trouble? Children have laughed at the antics and adventures of the residents of the Green Meadows for five generations. And while laughing they’re learning something about the natural world, and maybe something about themselves. A dedicated naturalist, Burgess imbues his stories with the good humor, imagination, and fun animal antics that all children will enjoy reading during story time. These essential childhood classic stories also feature the original black-and-white illustrations by Harrison Cady, lending this edition a vintage feel.

  3. The Bear Who Couldn't Sleep - There’s no place like home when it’s time for bed. When Bear can’t sleep, he goes on an adventure and discovers the wonders of New York City—a parade, Central Park, hot dogs, and more! But when he finally gets tired and looks for a place to rest . . . he learns why it’s called the city that never sleeps. What’s a bear to do? Caroline Nastro’s gentle adventure and Vanya Nastanlieva’s engaging illustrations are sure to comfort and delight!

  4. The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling’s beloved collection of short stories about a boy raised by wolves who learns the Laws of the Jungle. Mowgli, lost in the deep jungle as a child, is adopted into a family of wolves. Hunted by Shere Khan, the Bengal tiger, Mowgli is allowed to run with the wolf pack under the protection of Bagheera, the black panther, and Baloo, the brown bear who teaches wolf cubs the Laws of the Jungle.

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