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Cleaning: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about cleaning?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to cleaning. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about cleaning.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about cleaning, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair to popular sellers like Harry the Dirty Dog to some of our favorite hidden gems like Little Oink.

We hope this list of kids books about cleaning can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Little Oink
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Jen Corace
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Little Oink is a neat little fellow. Clean, clean, clean, that’s all he wants to do. But Mama and Papa won’t have it! They say in order to be a proper pig he has to learn to make a proper mess. What’s a little pig to do? Now available as a board book, Little Oink shows Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace applying their traditionally wry humor to the issue of cleaning up, in a laugh-out-loud romp that is sure to make readers giggle with recognition.

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Something Smells!
Written by Blake Liliane Hellman & illustrated by Steven Henry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Elliot wakes up one morning to the most terrible smell. But what could it be? Find out in this gentle introduction to hygiene that’s stinkin’ adorable! One morning, Elliot wakes up and smells something awful. Is it the trash? No… The dog? No… Dad? His sister? The baby? Grandma’s famous gerfartzenschanffel? No, no, no, and no! Elliot searches high and low for the something that smells, but he just can’t find it, and it’s driving him and his nostrils crazy. Almost as bad, now his mother wants him to take a bath, which means taking off his super cool skeleton costume that he’s been wearing since Halloween! The funny thing is, after Elliot finishes his bath and Mom puts his costume in the wash, something doesn’t smell anymore…

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Maisy Cleans Up
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

The celebrated mouse is back — and she’s cleaning house!

For Maisy, even cleaning up can be fun — if you have a friend stop by to help. In Maisy Cleans Up, Charley smells something delicious in Maisy’s kitchen but has to wait until the floor is dry. Time passes more quickly when he pitches in to pick up some toys, and washing the windows is a cinch with Charley inside and Maisy out. Now the floor is finally dry, and there are the treats, all ready to eat. Good job! A story for parents to love as much as kids!

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The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Mr. Fish and his friends have noticed something strange in their ocean—a big, big MESS! How did it get there? What can they do about it? The closer they look, the more they see where the mess came from . . . and they’ll have to work together to get rid of it. This newest jacketed hardcover in the New York Times–bestselling Pout-Pout Fish series will teach little guppies how to take responsibility for their actions and for the environment.

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Harry the Dirty Dog
Written by Gene Zion & illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Harry is a white dog with black spots who loves everything . . . except baths. So one day before bath time, Harry runs away. He plays outside all day long, digging and sliding in everything from garden soil to pavement tar. By the time he returns home, Harry is so dirty he looks like a black dog with white spots. His family doesn’t even recognize him!

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  • Maisy Takes a Bath - Very young children will go crazy for Maisy — and bathtubs! Maisy and her friends act out the lively adventures young children have — or dream of having — every day. In Maisy Takes a Bath, Tallulah doesn’t want Maisy to take a bubble bath just now. She wants her to come out and play instead. What will Maisy’s friend do next? Here’s another very good reason to be crazy for Maisy!

  • Adi Sorts with Variables - It’s time to clean Adi’s room! If only a computer could do it for her! That gives Adi and her best friend Gabi an idea-think like a coder! These scientific thinkers put on their computer coding caps and make cleaning up a snap by sorting with variables!

  • Tidy - Pete the badger learns that being tidy isn’t always the best thing in this save-the-environment picture book from award-winning author and illustrator Emily Gravett. Pete the badger likes everything to be neat and tidy at all times, but what starts as the collecting of one fallen leaf escalates quickly and ends with the complete destruction of the forest. Will Pete realize the error of his ways and reverse his tidying habit?

  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes - Develop healthy habits for growing bodies and minds with a fresh twist on a classic movement singalong. Follow a family through a day from home to school in their diverse community as they engage in healthy habits from good hygiene to reading. Includes educational endnotes about each health topic as well as audio and animation.

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Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse
Written by Jonathan Stutzman & illustrated by Heather Fox
Select type book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the hilarious follow-up to Llama Destroys the World, author/illustrator team Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox give Llama another shot at saving the world…from himself, in Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse.

Llama’s back and ready to destroy the world AGAIN… this time with his best camelid, Alpaca!

Llama loves cooking. And baking. And, above all, eating.
For breakfast, Llama makes one epic spread…as well as a big mess.
But Llama hates cleaning.
So by lunch, Llama has cooked up something really devious―an idea!―and by second lunch, Llama has cloned his most fastidious friend, Alpaca, to clean his house. And Llama doesn’t stop at just one clone.
By dinner, the alpaca clones threaten to tidy the world into utter destruction―THE ALPACALYPSE* IS HERE!
Will Llama be able to fix it all before dessert?

*That’s “apocalypse” with an alpaca―get it?

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The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair
Written by Kate Bernheimer & illustrated by Jake Parker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What happens when our heroine neglects her long tresses? Well, one day a mouse comes to live in a particularly tangled lock. Soon after, more mice move in, and the girl’s unruly mop is transformed into a marvelous mouse palace complete with secret passageways and a cheese cellar! But as the girl comes to find out, living with more than a hundred mice atop your head isn’t always easy. . . .

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Night Job
Written by Karen Hesse & illustrated by G. Brian Karas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

With lyrical narration and elegant, evocative artwork, Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse and illustrator G. Brian Karas share the nighttime experience of a father and child.

When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad. Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse’s quietly powerful story of a boy and his father is tenderly brought to life by G. Brian Karas in this luminous tribute to an enduring, everyday sort of love.

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Llama Llama Mess Mess Mess
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney and Reed Duncan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Mama Llama teaches Llama Llama a humorous lesson in cleaning up in Anna Dewdney’s bestselling Llama Llama series. Time to pick up all your toys! Why is Mama making noise? Mama says it’s cleaning day . . . Llama only wants to play. Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama is growing up, but he still loves to play with all his toys! When Mama Llama says it’s time to clean up, Llama responds like any child more interested in playing than cleaning . . . by ignoring her! But Mama has an imaginative response of her own. What if she never cleaned? What would happen then? Well, Llama Llama is going to find out! Here is a truly funny take on a childhood chore that all children will relate to and laugh at! And it is sure to be helpful to get kids cleaning up!

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Smelly Bill
Written & illustrated by Daniel Postgate
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Bill the dog loves smelly things, like muddy ponds and rubbish bins. Will the arrival of Great Aunt Bleach put an end to his smelly ways, or will Bill live to stink another day?

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  • Big Nate Flips Out - Soon to be an animated series from Nickelodeon!

  • Sweep - Ed’s bad mood begins as something really small, hardly a thing at all. But before long it grows, gathers pace, and spreads through the whole town. Can Ed sweep his troubles away?

  • Clean It! - Which chores need doing today? What’s the best way of doing them? And who’s going to help? Helping with real tasks is a natural progression from pretend play, and is a crucial stage in a child’s development. Achieving a shared goal encourages a sense of responsibility, and develops many skills useful in later life. Simple conversational text and lively illustrations are carefully designed to encourage further dialogue between reader and child.

  • Heidi Heckelbeck Is So Totally Grounded! - When a cleaning spell goes awry, Heidi gets so totally grounded in the twenty-fourth Heidi Heckelbeck adventure! When Mom asks for help cleaning the house, Heidi takes her magic a little too far. After all, who really wants to deal with all that dust, dirt, and grime? Not Heidi, that’s who! So she creates a cleaning helper named Dusty to do her dirty work. There’s only one problem: Dusty isn’t the most careful cleaner, and when he accidentally breaks Mom’s favorite vase, Heidi gets so totally grounded. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

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Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

“The room shared by Brother and Sister is a mess because the cubs argue over<BR>who should neaten up instead of working together. Sure to make toddlers smile<BR>while they absorb an implied lesson.”– “Publishers Weekly.”

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How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms?
Written by Jane Yolen & illustrated by Mark Teague
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The bestselling, award-winning team of Yolen and Teague present their second original dinosaur board book, a playful “how-to” tale about making a mess and then cleaning it up. <p/>Come along for some BIG fun as your favorite dinosaurs learn to pick up and put away their toys. How do dinosaurs clean their rooms? With trash cans and dusters and brooms!<br>Now Jane Yolen’s playful, read-aloud text and Mark Teague’s hilarious illustrations show your own little dinosaurs just how fun and easy it can be. Brimming with the same infectious humor as the other HOW DO DINOSAURS tales, this new board book is a perfect companion to the immensely popular picture books and a great baby gift as well.

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The Messy One
Written by Christianne C. Jones & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Vivienne really enjoys being messy, but when she loses her favorite necklace she is determined to tidy up her room to find it.

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The Toy Fairy
Written & illustrated by Stephanie Thatcher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Joe is a young boy who does not tidy his room. One night, before he goes to bed, he is warned that the Toy Fairy will take all his toys away. Joe knows there is no such thing as the Toy Fairy. So why do his toys keep going missing? Joe’s cunning plan to get the toys back takes him on an unexpected adventure.

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Dirt Diary
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

The first book in Anna Staniszewski's award-winning YA best selling book series: The Dirt Diaries!

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  • Poppy Pickle - Poppy gets into a major pickle when her imagination comes alive! Poppy has the most extraordinary imagination. When she is sent upstairs to clean her room, she just can’t help imagining, and suddenly . . . her imagination literally comes alive. Soon her room is jam-packed with all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures. There are a few problems, though: the mammoth puts his foot through the floor, and the hungry crocodile thinks Poppy would make a tasty snack. Poppy needs to get rid of all these creatures fast. But how?

  • Janitors, Book 01 - No one takes Spencer Zumbro seriously when he tried to warn his classmates about the mysterious things prowling the halls and classrooms of Welcher Elementary School. But when he sees Marv, the janitor, going after one of the creatures with a vacuum, he knows he's not the only one who can see them.

  • King & Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor - A lovable dog helps his human girl solve a mystery.<br>Thor has been accused of wrecking Mr. Gary’s yard–knocking over trash cans, eating the vegetables out of the garden, and pooping. But King and Kayla, with the help of some other neighbors, are determined to clear his name, using a wide variety of familiar and new detecting skills.<br>With simple, straightforward language and great verbal and visual humor, the King & Kayla series from Geisel Honor Award-winning team Dori Hillestad Butler and Nancy Meyers is perfect for newly independent readers.

  • The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize - Because paying attention can be tricky. Veronica Conti’s on a mission. She wants a trophy. She needs a trophy. She will not rest until a glorious golden trophy is in her hands! So when her school’s 100 Day Contest is announced, Veronica vows to take home the grand prize. But when Veronica gets teamed up with none other than Matthew Sawyer, her biggest enemy, she thinks all hope is lost. Matt gets distracted and has a history of losing stuff, not to mention that he and Veronica can’t stop arguing. To win the prize, Matt needs to organize. And to do that, he needs the Fix It Friends! Together, the friends help Matt and Veronica discover that unexpected friendship is the best prize of all.

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Hogwash!
Written by Karma Wilson & illustrated by Jim McMullan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

He washed the horses, ducks and cows The goats, the cats and dogs. Everything went dandy… Until the farmer reached his hogs.

“No hogwash for us today. Pigs love dirt - so go away!”

Farmer’s stubborn pigs refuse to be hogwashed, and no matter what he tries, poor Farmer cannot trick them into getting clean! But when several failed attempts leave him stuck in the mud, our determined farmer realizes his hogs may have been on to something all along… sometimes a mud bath is even better!

New York Times best-selling author Karma Wilson’s clever rhyming verse will engage parents and kids alike as Jim McMullan’s illustrations bring to life these delightfully mischievous pigs with a penchant for all things muddy!

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Down at the Dino Wash Deluxe
Written by Tim J Myers & illustrated by Macky Pamintuan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A rollicking romp around an old fashioned car wash—where DINOSAURS are the customers!

How can a dinosaur stay dirt-free in the city? Welcome to the Dino Wash Deluxe, where dinos go to get soaped, scrubbed, and spotlessly clean. The Dino Wash handles it all: scales, spikes, wings, even frills and horns. BUT WAIT! There’s a new customer in town: a T. rex with sharp teeth, long claws, and a mighty mean personality. What will happen when T. rex shows up? Filled with dinosaur facts and fun, this hilarious picture book reminds children that tough guys might not be as scary as they seem.

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Here Comes Destructosaurus!
Written by Aaron Reynolds & illustrated by Jeremy Tankard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Watch the unstoppable destructive force of a raging temper tantrum! Tremble at the enormous mess and disrespectful roaring! Despair as no amount of scolding can stem the heedless fury! Someone is heading for a time-out, Mister! Anyone who has witnessed (or been) a toddler in the throes of a full-blown fit will delight in this clever book’s moviemonster rampage, and may just come away from it with a bit more sympathy for toddler and caregiver.

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How Do You Take a Bath?
Written by Kate Mcmullan & illustrated by Sydney Hanson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for fans of Five Little Monkeys Jump in the Bath, this fun and educational picture book brings together adorable baby animals and bathtime.

How do YOU take a bath? Does your mama comb your fur? Do you shake off all your dirt? Do you splash and flap and quack? Do the birdies peck your back? No!

Follow elephants, pigs, monkeys, hippos, and more in this charming rhyming picture book from veteran author Kate McMullan. How does a pig take a bath? It sinks in the mud! What about a chicken? It thrashes about in dust! And a cat? Why, it licks itself clean, of course! Sydney Hanson’s adorable illustrations toggle neatly between animals in nature grooming themselves and humorous depictions of children attempting the animals’ bathing tactics. By the end of the book, the child finally makes his way to the bathtub, no mud baths or lick baths about it!

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Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship
Written by Marie Kondo and Salina Yoon & illustrated by Salina Yoon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

International tidying superstar and New York Times bestselling author Marie Kondo brings her unique method to young readers in this charming story about how tidying up creates space for joy in all parts of your life, co-written and illustrated by beloved children’s book veteran Salina Yoon.

The KonMari Method inspires a charming friendship story that is sure to spark joy! Kiki and Jax are best friends, but they couldn’t be more different. The one thing they always agree on is how much fun they have together. But when things start to get in the way, can they make space for what has always sparked joy—each other?

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  • Hair-Pocalypse - Second-grader Aiden Allen has seriously wild hair; in fact it keeps forming itself into weird shapes, and interfering with his school day, and nothing he says will make it behave–until finally Aiden and his hair come to a compromise that involves washing.

  • Five Little Monkeys 5-Minute Stories - Eight exciting adventures with the five little monkeys are packed into one beautiful treasury. Each story can be read aloud in just five minutes! There’s plenty of monkey business in this collection of eight funny stories about the five little monkeys by best-selling author-illustrator Eileen Christelow. Come along with the lovable monkeys on their mischievous adventures as they do everything from jump on the bed to bake a cake to tease a hungry crocodile–and much more. With a padded cover, full-color illustrations, and stories that can be read aloud in just five minutes, this is the perfect book for bedtime, storytime, anytime!

  • A Perfect Mess - Readers who love Olivia and Little Elliot, Big City will fall head over heels for this sweet little rhino who always makes a big mess Henry McHenry is one messy rhino, but he tries his best to stay clean for a very important day. He jumps over a mud puddle (and splashes his friend), passes on a gooey jelly donut (just in time for a glob to land on his neighbor), and even manages to shake the ink from his leaky pen (all over his classmates). And while Henry is still neat and tidy at the end of the day, his classmates are anything but . . . This irresistible school story from Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Steve Breen is all about finding happiness in imperfections and being yourself . . . especially on class picture day!

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