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Imagination And Play: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about imagination and play?

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

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, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about imagination and play, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Dog Loves Drawing to popular sellers like Where the Wild Things Are to some of our favorite hidden gems like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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

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Top 10 Books About Imagination And Play

#1
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Where the Wild Things Are
Written & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children’s books of all time. A must for every child’s bookshelf.

Introduce a new generation to Max’s imaginative journey with this special anniversary edition. Let the wild rumpus continue as this classic comes to life like never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak’s artwork.

Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art before his death in 2012. This iconic story has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations.

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#2
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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Written & illustrated by Dan Santat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Winner of the 2015 Caldecott Medal This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle. New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat combines classic storytelling with breathtaking art, creating an unforgettable tale about friendship, imagination, and the courage to find one’s place in the world.

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#3
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Grandpa's Top Threes
Written by Wendy Meddour & illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A young boy’s original game coaxes a grieving grandpa to reconnect with the world in a touching intergenerational story of love and resilience. Henry loves talking with Grandpa, but Grandpa has stopped listening. Mom says to just give him time. But Henry wants to talk to Grandpa now. So Henry tries his favorite game: Top Threes. And something amazing happens: Grandpa starts talking again. Out of a tale of favorite sandwiches and zoo animals, outings and trains, emerges a moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of grannies and grandpas.

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#4
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Waiting
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What are you waiting for? An owl, a puppy, a bear, a rabbit, and a pig—all toys arranged on a child’s windowsill—wait for marvelous things to happen in this irresistible picture book by the New York Times–bestselling and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes.

Five friends sit happily on a windowsill, waiting for something amazing to happen. The owl is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain. The bear is waiting for the wind. The puppy is waiting for the snow. And the rabbit is just looking out the window because he likes to wait! What will happen? Will patience win in the end? Or someday will the friends stop waiting and do something unexpected?

Waiting is a big part of childhood—waiting in line, waiting to grow up, waiting for something special to happen—but in this book, a child sets the stage and pulls the strings. Timeless, beautiful, and deeply heartfelt, this picture book about imaginative play, the seasons, friendship, and surprises marks a new pinnacle in Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes’s extraordinary career.

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#5
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Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written & illustrated by Crockett Johnson
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is a wonderful example of imagination and the joy it brings! Harold can do anything he imagines. I love the simplicity of this book--all it takes is a purple crayon.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Essential Picture Book Classics—timeless stories for every child to treasure. “One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Full of funny twists and surprises, this joyful story shows just how far your imagination can take you. Harold and the Purple Crayon has delighted readers of all ages for over fifty years.

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#6
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Max's Castle
Written by Kate Banks & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Max finds a pile of forgotten toys under the bed, his brothers Benjamin and Karl wonder what’s so special about some old blocks. So Max shows them. With some clever twists of both blocks and imagination, he constructs not only a castle but an entire adventure, complete with pirates and knights, a dark dungeon and a dragon. This ingenious sequel to Max’s Words and Max’s Dragons shows readers just how much fun wordplay can be.

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#7
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Sandcastle That Lola Built
Written by Megan Maynor & illustrated by Kate Berube
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Lola is building her dream sandcastle—one with a tall, tall tower and sea glass that sends signals to mermaids. But the beach is crowded, and soon enough, a boy steps on her castle. Not to worry! Lola recruits him to build a wall. When a toddler with a bulldozer starts digging too close the walls, Lola decides he can be in charge of digging the moat. As the sandcastle grows, so does Lola’s friendly group of helpers. There’s only one thing that Lola doesn’t want near the sandcastle: a wave! Will the new friends be able to salvage the mermaids’ castle when their hard work is washed away?

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#8
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Chirri and Chirra, In the Tall Grass
Written & illustrated by Kaya Doi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

In their second adventure to reach the US market, Chirri & Chirra become very small, and so are able to explore the magical world hidden away in a mound of tall grass. Filled with friendly, industrious bees and equally inventive bugs, this is a book that brings the lovely particularity of life in Japan––marked by food and nature––to young readers here.

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#9
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Solutions for Cold Feet
Written & illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What do you do when you’re missing a shoe? When you’re caught in the rain? Or when your ice cream melts? Solutions for Cold Feet is a sweet and gently humorous look at practical and creative answers for all the little daily problems in one young girl’s life, including her exuberant and pesky dog. Will her dog, who starts out as a problem, end up as solution?

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#10
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A Parade of Elephants
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

New York Times–bestselling and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes follows five joyful elephants as they march from dawn to dusk. Where are they going? Read and find out! This engaging picture book is just right for the youngest reader and is a perfect choice for story time and bedtime sharing. Up and down, over and under, through and around . . . five big and brightly colored elephants are on a mission in this picture book for young children by Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes. Where are they going? What will they do when they get there? It’s a surprise! With a text shimmering with repetition and rhythm, bright pastel illustrations, large and readable type, and an adorable parade of elephants, Kevin Henkes introduces basic concepts such as numbers, shapes, adjectives, adverbs, and daytime and nighttime. A Parade of Elephants is an excellent choice for story time as well as bedtime sharing.

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Imagination And Play and...

Books About Imagination And Play and Multigenerational

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Grandpa's Top Threes
Written by Wendy Meddour & illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A young boy’s original game coaxes a grieving grandpa to reconnect with the world in a touching intergenerational story of love and resilience. Henry loves talking with Grandpa, but Grandpa has stopped listening. Mom says to just give him time. But Henry wants to talk to Grandpa now. So Henry tries his favorite game: Top Threes. And something amazing happens: Grandpa starts talking again. Out of a tale of favorite sandwiches and zoo animals, outings and trains, emerges a moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of grannies and grandpas.

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The Old Truck
Written & illustrated by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family's young daughter.

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Ocean Meets Sky
Written by Terry Fan & illustrated by Eric Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s a good day for sailing. Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself! And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

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  1. Is That You, Eleanor Sue? - Saturdays are dress-up days when Eleanor Sue Climbs out the window . . . Tiptoes over to the front door . . . And rings the doorbell. Ding dong. When her mother answers, she doesn’t see Eleanor Sue. She sees A cranky old neighbor. Or a hungry witch. Or a white-bearded wizard. Eleanor Sue is a master of disguise, but when her mother gets in on the act, along with Grandma, anything can happen in this whimsical picture book by award-winning author/illustrator Tricia Tusa.

  2. The Great Spruce - Together with his grandpa, a young boy finds a way to save his favorite tree in this heartwarming Christmas tale. Alec loves to climb trees-the little apple trees, the wide willow trees, even the tall locust trees. But his favorite is the great spruce, with its sturdy trunk and branches that stretch up to the sky. Alec’s grandpa planted it as a sapling years and years before Alec was born, and every Christmas, Alec and his grandpa decorate the tree together, weaving tinsel and lights through its branches, making it shine bright. But one day, a few curious men from the nearby city take notice of Alec’s glistening great spruce, and ask to take it away for their Christmas celebration. Though it’s a huge honor, Alec’s heartbroken at the idea of losing his friend. With great courage and creativity, Alec comes up with a plan to save his favorite tree in this joyful holiday tale. Praise for The Great Spruce-

  3. The Great Henry Hopendower - For fans of Grandpa Green, a young boy remembers his much-loved grandpa in this touching story about family, memory and everyday magic. Henry wakes up one bright morning ready to take on the day and find magic! After all, he is the Great Henry Hopendower—an aspiring young magician who learned everything he knows from the very best, his grandpa. Henry has so many favorite memories of his grandfather, including his house with its wobbly cuckoo clock and his famous leaning tower of pancakes that tipped but never toppled. And then there was the day his grandpa gave him a red checkered suit and shared the secret to being a magician: magic is everywhere, you just have to see it. So with Grandpa’s words as his guide, Henry sets off to do the truly impossible. This heartwarming story is a celebration of the magic that surrounds us all and the people we love most.

Books About Imagination And Play and Problem Solving

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Solutions for Cold Feet
Written & illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What do you do when you’re missing a shoe? When you’re caught in the rain? Or when your ice cream melts? Solutions for Cold Feet is a sweet and gently humorous look at practical and creative answers for all the little daily problems in one young girl’s life, including her exuberant and pesky dog. Will her dog, who starts out as a problem, end up as solution?

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The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written & illustrated by Dave Wasson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Buster Bickles’s big ideas are always getting him into trouble. But when Buster gets to test the newly invented What-if Machine, anything Buster imagines becomes reality. Packed with rivers of chocolate, robot dinosaurs, and eggs-ray vision, the world becomes Buster’s creation in this fantastically creative picture book by debut author-illustrator Dave Wasson.

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The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written & illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There’s a big whale in the water and it’s not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What’s a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale’s spout. This colorful whale of a tale from the talented Joyce Wan is sure to inspire giggles from little guppies!

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  1. The Book of Mistakes - 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.

  2. Journey - Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

  3. Lulu's Party - Follow-up to Kit Chase’s popular and utterly charming debut, Oliver’s Tree, starring Lulu, Charlie, and Oliver The weather is stormy and Lulu is disappointed that she can’t play outside, so she makes a special Rainy Day Treat and plans the perfect party for her friends Oliver and Charlie. But when it’s time to taste the creamy hot chocolate, they quickly realize something went very wrong. Lulu is devastated that her party is ruined, but with some quick-thinking, Charlie and Oliver figure out a delicious solution to save the day! Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who are always ready to use their imaginations and help each other out.

  4. Charlie's Boat - Best friends really are the best when they use their imaginations to help each other. Charlie, Oliver, and Lulu love to play outside together. One fine day they all go fishing, but Charlie doesn’t have much fun—all he can catch are sticks. Next, they build little boats and have a race, but, once again, things don’t go very well. Charlie’s boat comes in last. Things seem pretty gloomy until Oliver comes up with a plan. They build a special boat they can all play on, together! Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who can count on each other to always make play time fun.

Books About Imagination And Play and New Experiences

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The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
Written by Michelle Cuevas & illustrated by Erin E. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A message in a bottle holds the promise of surprise and wonder, as told in this enthralling picture book by Caldecott Medalist Erin E. Stead

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, who lives alone atop a hill, has a job of the utmost importance. It is his task to open any bottles found at sea and make sure that the messages are delivered. He loves his job, though he has always wished that, someday, one of the letters would be addressed to him. One day he opens a party invitation—but there’s no name attached. As he devotes himself to the mystery of the intended recipient, he ends up finding something even more special: the possibility of new friends.

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On Account of the Gum
Written & illustrated by Adam Rex
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
<em>On Account of the Gum </em>is a book about how the best intentions lead to some of the worst (and funniest) ideas!
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Brave Enough for Two
Written & illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In the spirit of “Goodnight Moon” and “The Night Gardener” comes a heartwarming picture book about a little girl, her stuffed-animal owl, and their loving friendship from debut author-illustrator Voss. Full color.

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  1. Bella and Stella Come Home - A little girl tries to reassure her favorite doll when they move to a new, and very different, home.

  2. The Day I Lost My Superpowers - When a young superhero-in-training gets hurt, she discovers that mothers have superpowers, too.

  3. Dandelion's Dream - What if a dandelion became a real lion? With enchanting, ethereal art, this wordless story shares a world where reality can be transfigured by imagination. In a meadow filled with dandelion buds just about to flower, one dandelion blooms into a real lion. Roots and leaves unfurl into four tiny paws and a long tail with a fluffy yellow tuft. What a great, wide world there is to explore when you have paws instead of roots: there are fast trains to ride, regal ships to sail, and cities with lights as bright as Dandelion’s field in full bloom. But will a real lion ever be content to go back to being a rooted dandelion? Yoko Tanaka’s exquisite illustrations take us on an adventure where even the smallest seeds contain cosmic dreams.

  4. My Best Friend - New York Times bestselling author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Honor winner Jillian Tamaki come together to tell a delightful story of first friendship. she is my best friend i think i never had a best friend so i’m not sure but i think she is a really good best friend because when we were drawing she drew me and i drew her. What is a best friend, if not someone who laughs with you the whole entire day, especially when you pretend to be a pickle? This pitch-perfect picture book is a sweetly earnest, visually stunning celebration of the magic of friendship.

Books About Imagination And Play and Seasons

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The Wish Tree
Written by Kyo Maclear & 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.

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Waiting
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What are you waiting for? An owl, a puppy, a bear, a rabbit, and a pig—all toys arranged on a child’s windowsill—wait for marvelous things to happen in this irresistible picture book by the New York Times–bestselling and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes.

Five friends sit happily on a windowsill, waiting for something amazing to happen. The owl is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain. The bear is waiting for the wind. The puppy is waiting for the snow. And the rabbit is just looking out the window because he likes to wait! What will happen? Will patience win in the end? Or someday will the friends stop waiting and do something unexpected?

Waiting is a big part of childhood—waiting in line, waiting to grow up, waiting for something special to happen—but in this book, a child sets the stage and pulls the strings. Timeless, beautiful, and deeply heartfelt, this picture book about imaginative play, the seasons, friendship, and surprises marks a new pinnacle in Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes’s extraordinary career.

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Snowmen at Halloween
Written by Caralyn Buehner & illustrated by Mark Buehner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The snowmen are getting their Halloween costumes ready for the latest picture book in this New York Times bestselling series. Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you’ve wondered . . . what do snowmen do when we’re not watching? After an early snowfall, a few kids build some snowmen before going trick-or-treating. And when the kids go off to bed, the snowmen have their own Halloween festival! There’s candy and apple-bobbing and costume contests and all sorts of autumn activities. When the kids wake up the next morning, the snowmen are gone… but they’ve left a very special message behind.

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  1. Summer Color! - A celebration of the wonder and colors of every child's favorite season--summer!

  2. And Then Comes Summer - A joyful, sun-drenched tribute to the anticipation and adventures of the warmest season of the year. When the days stretch out like a slow yawn, and the cheerful faces of Johnny-jump-ups jump up . . . then it’s time to get ready for summer! From flip-flops and hide-and-seek to fireworks and ice-cream trucks, from lemonade stands and late bedtimes to swimming in the lake and toasting marshmallows, there’s something for everyone in this bright and buoyant celebration of the sunny season. Tom Brenner’s lovely, lyrical ode to summers spent outdoors will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever counted down the days until school gets out, and Jaime Kim’s jubilant, nostalgia-soaked illustrations leave little doubt that summer is indeed a time unlike any other.

  3. Peter Hops Aboard: A Peter Rabbit Tale - A fun, summery Peter Rabbit board book about a day at the pond. It’s a sunny afternoon and the Rabbit family are having a picnic. The pond is sparkling in the sunshine and Peter wants to build a raft - all by himself. He soon finds it’s quite tricky without some help. Luckily his sisters are there to lend him a hand. This fun summer tale has a positive message about learning to ask for help. Eleanor Taylor’s charming illustrations of Beatrix Potter’s well-loved characters mirror young reader’s early experiences.

  4. Catch the Sky: Playful Poems on the Air We Share - In the vein of Jack Prelutsky and Dennis Lee comes a celebration of the sky with thirty zippy poems that will lift your spirits and let your imagination soar. Award-winning children’s poet Robert Heidbreder captures the magic and beauty of all the things kids around the world observe when looking up, from birds and balloons to snow and shooting stars. These pocket-sized poems are perfect for sharing the natural world, and the bright, joyful images by Emily Dove depict the delight of children from all cultures, cheering and connecting with the sky we all share.

Want to see books about seasons?

Books About Imagination And Play and Bears

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Lola Dutch
Written & illustrated by Kenneth Wright and Sarah Jane Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Meet Lola Dutch, a delightfully creative girl who is bursting with grand ideas. From the best ways to serve breakfast – an elegant feast! – to the ideal sleeping spot – a majestic blanket fort, of course! – Lola is inspired all day long. Her dear companion Bear sometimes says she is just too much, but Lola is rich with imagination and originality, which even Bear will agree is AMAZING.The unstoppable Lola Dutch is about to show you how to make every day grand and full of fun. You’ll love her so much! Inspired by their own four gorgeously feisty children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to introduce the unstoppable Lola Dutch and her fresh, fun, commercial, character-driven series.

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Loved to Bits
Written by Teresa Heapy & illustrated by Katie Cleminson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Ted and his boy do everything together.They fight beasts and have feasts.They tickle monsters then flee on rafts, They search, explore, escape. . . . and laugh.But sometimes things get rough, and Teddy loses an ear.He’s still got his best one though, never fear! And an eye? PING!It’s nothing-he didn’t feel a thing!A leg, then the other. An arm, and then the next.What do you do with a broken Ted?You lay down with him at night and snuggle in bed.

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How to Build a Snow Bear
Written by Eric Pinder & illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Thomas wants to build the biggest and best snowman ever. Since he can’t do it alone, he’ll need a helping hand—or a paw. But little bears love to hibernate. How do you wake up a snoozing bear? By tickling it? Singing to it? Maybe making its favorite snack?

How to Build a Snow Bear is a story about two siblings sharing a wondrous wintry day.

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  1. The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker - It’s Christmas morning, and Santa has left the Berenstain Bears a special gift—a nutcracker! At first the cubs are more interested in their new video game, electronic toy, and Bearbie movie. But when they put the presents away and put their imaginations to use, the fun really starts. Join the Bears as they act out their own version of The Nutcracker!

  2. This Is MY Room! - Jojo’s ready for her first night all alone in her very own room, but a menagerie of animals have other ideas in this charming and fun picture book. Jojo can’t wait to spend the night in her very own bed in her very own room. She doesn’t care what her big sister Margaret says, she’s NOT afraid and she WON’T be back to the bedroom they used to share. There’s just one problem though—there are intruders in her new room! A lion, a bear, and a very persistent tiger seem to think this is THEIR room, not Jojo’s. Is Margaret right? Is Jojo not quite ready to spend the night on her own? Or can Jojo find a way to show that trespassing tiger just who’s boss in HER room?

  3. Hush Little Polar Bear: A Picture Book - AN IMPOSSIBLY CUDDLY BABY POLAR BEAR travels from one magical place to another. “Hush baby polar bear. Sleep in the snow, and dream of the places where sleeping bears go.” Readers follow a baby snow-white plush polar bear that has been brought to life by his owner’s imagination from the back of a whale with the sea spray surrounding, to a land of tall grass where butterflies float by up into the sky itself…and happily right back through the window into the loving arms of his owner asleep in bed. Mack’s lush and lovable illustrations suit the lulling, rhyming text to make a perfect bedtime book sure to leave readers and listeners with warm and fuzzy feelings read after read.

  4. Bear's Book - A story about stories, writing, reading, and friendship When Bear’s favorite book of stories falls apart, he is determined to write one of his own. He ventures into the forest for inspiration, but writing is harder than he thinks, and he soon discovers that he needs help from his friends. See how Bear transforms their day into a wonderful adventure in this story about creativity and friendship.

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Books About Imagination And Play and First Concepts

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A Parade of Elephants
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

New York Times–bestselling and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes follows five joyful elephants as they march from dawn to dusk. Where are they going? Read and find out! This engaging picture book is just right for the youngest reader and is a perfect choice for story time and bedtime sharing. Up and down, over and under, through and around . . . five big and brightly colored elephants are on a mission in this picture book for young children by Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes. Where are they going? What will they do when they get there? It’s a surprise! With a text shimmering with repetition and rhythm, bright pastel illustrations, large and readable type, and an adorable parade of elephants, Kevin Henkes introduces basic concepts such as numbers, shapes, adjectives, adverbs, and daytime and nighttime. A Parade of Elephants is an excellent choice for story time as well as bedtime sharing.

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Who Was That?
Written & illustrated by Olivier Tallec
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

This fresh, visually sophisticated follow-up to Who Done It? and Who What Where? tackles the topic of memory, as each page asks the reader to remember a detail about the characters featured on the page before. With die-cuts, clever folds, and imaginative illustrations, this book requires the sharpest readers’ keen attention! The call to action on every page makes this a wonderful lap read or read-aloud, and kids of all ages will love the memory games.

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Are Your Stars Like My Stars?
Written by Leslie Helakoski & illustrated by Heidi Woodward Sheffield
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

“We look at the world every day. You and me. Do we see the same things? Do you see what I see?”

In beautiful, evocative rhyme, this lovely picture book helps children consider the colors of their everyday lives . . . and imagine how others around the world experience the very same things.

No matter where they live, all children gaze at the blue sky, bask in the warmth of the golden sun, dig in the rich dirt, and watch clouds grow soft and rosy at end of day. Through the eyes of one inquisitive and thoughtful young narrator, young readers explore the idea of perspective, and come to realize that all of us, everywhere, share the colors of the world. The gentle, poetic text and gorgeous collaged illustrations make this just right to say goodnight.

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  1. The Same But Different Too - I am me, you are you.
    We’re the same, but different too.
    There’s something about each of us that makes us special. But while everyone is unique, we all have many things in common as well. Explore the ways that we are all the same but different, too, in this joyful and simple celebration of individuality and camaraderie. Filled with children and their animal friends, this rhyming text illuminates the wonderfully different and similar things that make us who we are.

  2. Out of Shapes - In this charming board book little ones will love seeing how just a few shapes make up all of their favorite things—from a rocket ship, to a kitty cat, to a friend, and beyond! What can you make out of a triangle, a circle, a square, and a rectangle? Almost anything! In this delightful board book, artist Ashley G. takes the concept of shapes and makes it fun! Little ones will see how different shapes become a home, a kitty, a friend, a gift, and much, much more! This bright, artistic board book is perfect little hands.

  3. Never Touch a Spider! - You must never touch a spider . . . unless it’s in this book! This insect-themed touch-and-feel book is perfect for young children! They will love reading the funny rhyme, filled with insects doing silly things. Innovative silicone touches feature throughout the book, with a different texture for children to explore on every spread. This tactile book offers plenty for young children to enjoy, helping to promote an early love of reading!

Books About Imagination And Play and Being Yourself

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The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written & illustrated by Gemma Merino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Tina isn’t like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren’t convinced—and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

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Willow
Written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan & illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Miss Hawthorn’s room is neat and tidy, not a pencil or paintbrush is out of place. And that’s how she likes it. And she likes trees that are colored green and apples that are painted red. Miss Hawthorn does not like things to be different or out of the ordinary. Into Miss Hawthorn’s classroom comes young Willow. She doesn’t color inside the lines, she breaks crayons, and she sees pink trees and blue apples. What will Miss Hawthorn think? Magical things can happen when your imagination is allowed to run wild, and for Miss Hawthorn the notion of what is art and what is possible is forever changed.Willow is the first joint writing effort for sisters Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan. Denise’s other Sleeping Bear Press books include Someday Is Not a Day of the Week and My Grandma Likes to Say. She lives in Howell, Michigan. Rosemarie Brennan juggles careers as a writing teacher and an author. She lives in Brighton, Michigan. Cyd Moore studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Georgia. Her work includes posters, billboards, books, newspaper and magazine articles, and cassette and CD covers. She is the illustrator of I Love You, Stinky Face and I Miss You, Stinky Face. She lives in Commerce, Michigan.

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Not Quite Black and White Board Book
Written by Jonathan Ying & illustrated by Victoria Ying
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Silly animals star in this lively board book that introduces colors in a unique and catchy way. Have you ever seen a zebra wearing pink polka dots? Or a penguin with bright yellow boots? Brother and sister team Jonathan and Victoria Ying present these surprisingly colorful animals and more in this clever celebration of colors.

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  1. Lily Wool - A little lamb with a great big imagination. A new picture book from Paula Vasquez filled with delightful illustrations depicting a little lamb intent on being true to herself. Lily Wool gets bored with all of the grazing and resting that the herd does and prefers to count stars and dream of adventures. When Lily finds a strand of loose wool, she lets her imagination run wild and has a grand time until she accidentally unravels a problem. Children will love seeing how Lily Wool puts her imagination and creativity to work to fix things, and how Lily discovers a way to help others while she finds her special place in the herd. Paula Vasquez,an avowed artist from childhood, studied graphic design at the Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, and honed her illustration skills with a post-graduate diploma from Finis Terrae University. She currently lives in Santiago de Chile writing and illustrating children’s picture books.

  2. Harold Finds a Voice - Harold is an amazing mimic, and can imitate the sound of everything in his home. Tired of repeating the same old noises, he yearns to find out what other voices there are in the big, wide world. But what happens when he suddenly realises that he doesn’t yet have a voice of his own?This fantastic debut by author/illustrator Courtney Dicmas recounts Harold’s hilarious tale. It’s full of colour, humour and invention, and children will love to join in with Harold as he mimics everyday noises.

  3. We're All Wonders - The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio. Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy. Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children. Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection “A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal “A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly “Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

  4. Thesaurus Has a Secret - From author-illustrator Anya Glazer comes a humorous picture book for dinosaur fans and word lovers of all ages! Thesaurus is an ordinary dinosaur. A very ordinary dinosaur . . . who just happens to love words. And the other dinos know that’s just who he is. But behind his verbose and fancy language, Thesaurus has also been keeping something absolutely, very, extremely top secret. But as his lies begin to stack up, someone begins to notice. And if the other dinos discover what Thesaurus is hiding, they won’t think he’s such a normal dinosaur after all.

Books About Imagination And Play and Dogs

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Hurry Up!: A Book About Slowing Down
Written by Kate Dopirak & illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

A busy boy and his dog learn to slow down and enjoy life together in this lyrical, rhyming picture book perfect for hurried families everywhere.

For one busy boy, life is all hurry up, hurry down, hurry round and round and round! That is until he takes a big breath…and a big break…and slows down to see all the wonderful things in the world around him.

From celebrated picture book creators Kate Dopirak and Christopher Silas Neal, this playful yet powerful picture book reminds us to be present, to be mindful, and to appreciate each moment.

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Spencer's New Pet
Written & illustrated by Jessie Sima
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Spencer gets a new pet, he’s excited to do all the things that pets do—taking walks in the park, going to the vet, and attending parties together. There’s just one hitch: Spencer’s new pet is a balloon. And that means No. Sharp. Objects. No drooling dogs at the park. No prickly porcupines at the vet. And absolutely no pinning tails on any donkeys! Spencer’s New Pet is a story of pure fun about a boy, his dog, and a friendship that endures life’s sharpest…and most unexpected twists.

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The Chicken Squad
Written by Doreen Cronin & illustrated by Kevin Cornell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

They might be chicks, but they sure aren’t chicken, and they’re on a mission. And on this, their first (mis)adventure “in this delightful spinoff of the J.J. Tully series” (Kirkus Reviews), the Chicken Squad launches a galactic backyard expedition. Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime. So when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they’re about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes (“Big” is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that’s out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals. But even professionals get worried. Especially once they see that round, shiny, green, BIG thing in the yard. What if it’s a UFO full of aliens who want chickens as pets, or worse, dinner? It’s up to the Chicken Squad to crack a case that just might be out of this world.

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  1. Dog Loves Drawing - Dog loves books, but one day he receives a strange one in the mail—it’s blank! Soon, Dog realizes that this book is not for reading, but for drawing. Before long, Dog is doodling and drawing himself into a new world, full of friends and surprises.

  2. The Most Magnificent Thing - A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing. But after much hard work, the end result is not what the girl had in mind. Frustrated, she quits. Her assistant suggests a long walk, and as they walk, it slowly becomes clear what the girl needs to do to succeed. A charming story that will give kids the most magnificent thing: perspective!

  3. Find Spot at the Halloween Party - Celebrate Halloween with Spot in this spooky lift-the-flap board book! Join Spot and his friends as they dress up in spooky costumes for a Halloween party. Halloween is an exciting first experience for little ones, and Spot can’t wait for all of the magic to begin - he loves Halloween! With bold, simple design, and plenty of humor, this brand new Spot adventure is full of unexpected lift-the-flap surprises and all the fun that has made the original Where’s Spot? a children’s classic.

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Books About Imagination And Play and Bedtime

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Sheep Go to Sleep
Written by Nancy Shaw & illustrated by Margot Apple
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

At the end of the day, tired sheep return to their shed but none can sleep until the collie arrives, giving a hug, a drink of water, and more until all have begun to snore.

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Flashlight Night
Written by Matt Forrest Esenwine & illustrated by Fred Koehler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their tree house—braver, closer, and wiser than before—to read the books that inspired their adventure.

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Goodnight Bear
Written & illustrated by Jane Cabrera
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Get baby ready to go to sleep and say goodnight to all the different animals in this adorable board book! Goodnight, moon, shining bright, sleepy babies kiss night-night! It’s time for baby to go to sleep! Little ones will love saying goodnight to all the baby animals with their animal sounds in this adorable board book, including a fox (Yap Yap), an owl (Whoo-Whoo), a bat (Flap Flap), a mouse (Squeak Squeak), a kitten (Meow Meow), a bear (Grrr Grr), a hedgehog (Snuffle Snuffle), a wolf (Wooh Wooh), and finally, a baby (Shh Shh)!

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  1. Hooray for Birds! - In an exuberant display of color, Lucy Cousins invites little ones to imagine themselves as brilliant birds. Birds of all feathers flock together in a fun, rhyme-filled offering by the creator of Maisy. From the rooster’s “cock-a-doodle-doo” at dawn to the owl’s nighttime “tuwit, tuwoo,” the cheeps and tweets of many bright and beautiful avian friends will have children eager to join in as honorary fledglings. This day in the life of birds will hold the attention of even the smallest bird-watchers, whether at storytime or just before settling into their cozy nests to sleep.

  2. Starry Safari - Bedtime becomes a jungle safari until the Big Safari Ranger brings it to a halt.

  3. I Love You, Blankie - A flowing sail, a hot air balloon, a fluffy cloud, a glowing moon… with a little imagination, a blankie can be anything! This sweet and playful board book will encourage little ones to think big as they head off into dreamland. On each page, a young child uses his cozy yellow blankie in a new way, taking him everywhere from under the sea to high among the stars. As bedtime nears, the blankie turns into a balloon, a cloud, and a shooting star, eventually placing him safely into bed where he can keep dreaming and snuggling, too. Debut author Sheryl Haft and artist Jane Massey have crafted an adorable story around a universal bedtime theme. Featuring a soft padded cover, this is the perfect book to inspire sweet dreams.

  4. Light Up the Stars! - Paint the sky with rainbows and make the stars shine with this novelty board book! Kids just pull the tabs to make colorful flowers bloom, help a ship sail the ocean, and light up an entire city. At the end, you can shut a boy’s eyes to put him to sleep at night . . . and wake him in the morning. It’s magical!

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Books About Imagination And Play and Parents

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The Best Mother
Written by C. M. Surrisi & illustrated by Diane Goode
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

After interviewing mothers at the park, the toy store, and the zoo, Maxine decides that her own mother is worth keeping.

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Daddy Long Legs
Written by Nadine Brun-Cosme & illustrated by Aurélie Guillerey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Daddy drives Matthew to kindergarten in his old green car. ?See you this afternoon, ? says Daddy, as he kisses him goodbye. But Matthew stops him from leaving and asks, ?What if, this afternoon, the old green car doesn’t start Thus begins a series of what-ifs that Matthew poses in response to every one of Daddy’s ideas about how he will manage to return and fetch him, each one more fantastic than the last: he’ll come by tractor, by teddy bear, by the wings of birds, by a tiny boat, even by dragon! Finally, Daddy says he’ll use his own two long legs, the ultimate reassurance that he’ll come back for Matthew, no matter what!

Author Nadine Brun-Cosme’s endearing picture book offers warm comfort to young children that their parent can always be counted on. With gentle and imaginative humor, the father’s increasingly wilder ideas about how he will make his way to his son prove the steady and unwavering certainty of a parent’s commitment to a child. The whimsical artwork by Aurélie Guillerey plays lightly with the father’s flights of fancy, keeping the tone of the book just right for a storytime read-aloud. Filled with the love between the boy and his father, this is a perfect book choice to address separation issues common to kindergartners and preschoolers who have difficulty saying goodbye to their parents.

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Seeking a Santa
Written by Angela DiTerlizzi & illustrated by Allie Smith
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

From bestselling author Angela DiTerlizzi comes a lighthearted and sweet Christmas board book perfect for little elves and Santa fans everywhere! I’m seeking a Santa And everyone knows… Your eyes must be bright With red cheeks and red nose Should have a fur hat Wear a warm, woolen suit Bring a big bag For all of the loot The search for Santa is on at the North Pole as elves, reindeer, and more share their Christmas spirit before finding the perfect St. Nick.

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  1. The Inner Child - It may never be clear why adults pretend to be busy or stressed, but truths about love, life, and living in the moment are humorously recounted in this cautionary tale for all ages –FOREWORD REVIEW An observation of human behaviour that resonates with the stresses of the modern age. Dear Kids, Did you know that all adults have a child inside them? They try to hide them by pretending to be busy and stressed all the time, but as you know, it’s impossible to keep children hidden. Sometimes they just have to come out and PLAY! This is a delightful little book that will appeal to adults and children equally, explaining why adults behave in the strange ways that they do, and how important it is to preserve the place of playfulness and joy inside all of us.

  2. Celebrate You! - Loudly and proudly, let’s celebrate YOU! This charming new picture book celebrates all the small but important milestones on the way to growing up, from the first wobbly baby steps to the time when they’re ready to leave the nest. With irresistible illustrations and an inspiring message, Celebrate You! will cheer and encourage readers of any age.

  3. Things to Do with Dad - Can a young boy figure out how to turn an obstacle into an opportunity in this nearly wordless picture book? A morning of fun with Dad takes a turn for the boring when a long to-do list interferes. At first content to let Dad cross things off his list, the boy in the story soon realizes that the whole day will be spent on chores – unless he can come up with a solution. In his singularly expressive, kid-friendly style, author-illustrator Sam Zuppardi crafts a colorful celebration of the fun that can be had with just a little imagination – and a trusty green crayon.

  4. Mommy's Khimar - Selected as a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness! A young Muslim girl spends a busy day wrapped up in her mother’s colorful headscarf in this sweet and fanciful picture book from debut author and illustrator Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn. A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head. A young girl plays dress up with her mother’s headscarves, feeling her mother’s love with every one she tries on. Charming and vibrant illustrations showcase the beauty of the diverse and welcoming community in this portrait of a young Muslim American girl’s life.

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Books About Imagination And Play and Girls And Women

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Chirri and Chirra, In the Tall Grass
Written & illustrated by Kaya Doi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

In their second adventure to reach the US market, Chirri & Chirra become very small, and so are able to explore the magical world hidden away in a mound of tall grass. Filled with friendly, industrious bees and equally inventive bugs, this is a book that brings the lovely particularity of life in Japan––marked by food and nature––to young readers here.

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What If...
Written by Samantha Berger & illustrated by Mike Curato
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Creativity, the power of imagination, and the importance of self-expression are celebrated in this inspiring picture book written and illustrated by real-life best friends. This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance, and dream… Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit.

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The Thing Lou Couldn't Do
Written & illustrated by Ashley Spires
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An endearing story about a little girl who doesnÍt think she can. ñUp there! The tree can be our ship!î one of LouÍs friends exclaims when they decide to play pirates. ñUmmm ƒî responds Lou. Usually she loves adventures. But this is new. Lou has never climbed a tree before. And she knows she canÍt do it. She doesnÍt even want to try. But this adventure does look fun, and when all her excuses run out, Lou realizes the bravest adventurers are those who TRY. An inspiring lesson for anyone whoÍs ever avoided something hard.

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  1. Go, Grandma, Go! - Perfect for the grandmas who slide the slides, swing the swings, and love their grandchildren dearly, this charming board book celebrates the special relationship between grandmothers and their grandkids. Beep! Bop! Don’t stop! Go, Grandma, go! Climb high Touch the sky Go, Grandma, go! Grandma is on the go in this charming board book! From pushing the stroller, to swinging on the swings, to hiking up a mountain, grandma and grandchild are always having a ball! This board book perfectly captures the special bond that grandmothers have with their grandchildren.

  2. Not All Princesses Dress in Pink - These princesses dig in the dirt, kick soccer balls, and splash in muddy puddles – all in their sparkly crowns!

Books About Imagination And Play and Feelings And Emotions

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Sand Elephant
Written by Rinna Hermann & illustrated by Sanne Dufft
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Paul has no one to play with. The sandbox is empty. Or is it?

As he digs and pats the sand, a shape appears: an elephant. Curling up under the elephant’s warm, sandy trunk, Paul drifts off to sleep. But then something amazing happens. The sand elephant stands up, and lifts Paul onto its back!

The sand elephant takes Paul to a wonderful land where incredible sand animals and their children are laughing and playing together. But what will happen when the wind starts to blow and the rain starts to fall?

In this delightful celebration of the power of childhood imagination, Rinna Herman’s story combines with pictures full of vibrancy and charm by acclaimed illustrator Sanne Dufft. This gentle story reassures children that friends from our imagination stay with us forever, so we need never feel alone.

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When You Need Wings
Written & illustrated by Lita Judge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the tradition of Where the Wild Things Are, beloved author-illustrator Lita Judge brings us a soaring story about the power of imagination.

On a day when you feel like no one is listening, and you wish you could just disappear, shut your eyes and listen. Do you hear it? That isn’t your heart. That is the sound of your very own wings beating within.

Acclaimed author-illustrator Lita Judge takes readers on a wonder-filled exploration of a child’s imagination, thoughtfully weaving in a gentle suggestion of how to explore that bountiful inner world and let it help them shine with courage in the real one.

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Hug Machine
Written & illustrated by Scott Campbell
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

The hug machine is available to hug anyone, any time, whether they are square or long, spikey or soft.

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  1. I Am Human - A child recognizes his own humanity, his capacity for doing harm and being harmed, his ability to feel joy and sadness, and his belief in hope and promise to keep learning.

  2. Pip and Posy: The New Friend - Pip and Posy are having a lovely day at the beach, collecting shells and digging in the sand. But when Posy takes a nap, Pip makes a new friend named Zac. Zac is very cool: he has lots of fun toys and he’s really good at handstands. When Posy wakes up, she finds that Pip is more interested in playing with Zac than with her. A funny and dramatic story about discovering that two’s company and three’s a . . . PARTY!

  3. Captain Starfish - Alfie’s anxiety often keeps him from engaging in fun activities, but he learns a valuable lesson at the aquarium when a tiny clownfish swims up to him for a quick hello and then retreats, showing Alfie there is a happy medium between hiding away and being a star.

  4. What's Wrong, Little Pookie? - Uh-oh, Pookie is NOT happy in this kind-of-cranky board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Oh, sweet little Pookie! Your bright eyes are wet. Come over and tell me why you are upset. When Pookie feels down, Pookie’s mom can always guess what’s wrong with her little one. Or can she? With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this turn-that-frown-upside-down story proves that every Little Pookie loves a reason to smile.

Books About Imagination And Play and Colors

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One Yellow Ribbon
Written by & illustrated by Marthe Jocelyn
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A wordless board book that follows the journey of one yellow ribbon as it transforms into many other objects.

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The Numberlys
Written by William Joyce & illustrated by Christina Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the team who brought you The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore comes an alphabet tale extraordinaire!

Once upon a time there was no alphabet, only numbers…

Life was…fine. Orderly. Dull as gray paint. Very…numberly. But our five jaunty heroes weren’t willing to accept that this was all there could be. They knew there had to be more.

So they broke out hard hats and welders, hammers and glue guns, and they started knocking some numbers together. Removing a piece here. Adding a piece there. At first, it was awful. But the five kept at it, and soon it was…artful! One letter after another emerged, until there were twenty-six. Twenty-six letters—and they were beautiful. All colorful, shiny, and new. Exactly what our heroes didn’t even know they were missing.

And when the letters entered the world, something truly wondrous began to happen…Pizza! Jelly beans! Color! Books!

Based on the award-winning app, this is William Joyce and Moonbot’s Metropolis-inspired homage to everyone who knows there is more to life than shades of black and gray.

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Pirate Nap
Written by Danna Smith & illustrated by Valeria Petrone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Two brothers use their imaginations to turn their surroundings–from a white bandana and yellow coins to a red blanket and even their baby sister– into a colorful pirate adventure before naptime.

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  1. Mix It Up! - Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page. Tullet prompts plenty of giggles in addition to a profound understanding of colors, and once again displays his unique genius and vision in a work that is a glorious and richly satisfying companion to Press Here.

  2. Lionel and Molly: Colors - Introducing Lionel and Molly–two best friends exploring the world around them in this touch and feel concept board book. Lionel the lion and Molly the mouse are best friends who love exploring the world together. Join them as they discover the colors and beauty of the seasons, like the bright yellow sun in the summer and big blue rain puddles in the spring.

  3. I Spy with My Little Eye - Mouse and Little Bear take readers on a journey with each page. Start with a color, point out a shape, and then use your imagination. Is that blue square an open window? Brrr! It’s chilly outside. And is that a red triangle? No, it is a scary volcano. Perfect for bedtime or playtime, this fun and unique primer puts a new spin on a classic game, teaching colors, shapes, and creative play.

  4. Press Here - PRESS HERE, MIX IT UP!, LET’S PLAY! and now SAY ZOOP! Collect all four interactive books from Hervé Tullet! Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!

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Books About Imagination And Play and Siblings

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Brave As Can Be: A Book of Courage
Written by Jo Witek & illustrated by Christine Roussey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the author and illustrator of the bestselling In My Heart!

The life of a toddler can be full of frightening things: the dark, the neighbor’s dog, and thunderstorms, just to name a few. As children get older, they begin to feel braver around these everyday events, but how do they build this newfound confidence? In this lyrical, insightful picture book, an older sister explains to her younger sister all the things she used to be afraid of, along with some tricks to help, whether it’s a special blanket for bedtime or singing during a storm. Now, big sister assures little sister, the fears that once felt as big as a mountain feel as minuscule as a speck of dust.

This playful portrait of fear and bravery empowers young readers to confront once-scary situations and, with charming illustrations and die-cuts throughout, is also beautifully packaged.

The Growing Hearts series celebrates the milestones of a toddler’s emotional development, from conquering fears and expressing feelings to welcoming a new sibling.

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Fort on the Moon
Written by Maggie Pouncey & illustrated by Larry Day
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A boy and his older brother hatch a plan to return to the moon for the fourth time in their homemade rocket. This time, they’re going to build something extra-special.

Using a bunch of “junk” their mom left in a heap by the back door, brothers Fox and Dodge Wilder blast off by night for their fifth trip to the moon. They strap into their old car-seats and put on their protective bike helmets and winter coats. Ready for lift off!

When they land, they set to work on a magnificent fort. It’s hard work, and sometimes they face setbacks, but Dodge knows he can always turn to his older brother for inspiration. When they’re done, they return to the comfort of home and breakfast

Did the trip really take place, or was it only in the kids’ imagination?

A Fort on the Moon will resonate with any child with a passion for fantasy, adventure, and invention, and parents are sure to love the heartwarming bond of two brothers in a world of their own.

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Day at the Beach
Written & illustrated by Tom Booth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A day at the beach becomes a lesson in sibling bonding for Gideon in this magical picture book.

Every summer, Gideon and his younger sister Audrey build a sand castle—together. But this summer, everything changes. Gideon is going to build the most spectacular sandcastle anyone on the beach has ever seen. And he’s going to do it on his own—without any help from his sister.

But much to his surprise, Gideon discovers that building together is more fun and that everyone has their own unique talent when it comes to creativity and imagination, even Audrey.

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  1. Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime! - Instead of fighting each other, Jinx and her little brother The Doom spend their days fighting crime, protecting the planet, defending the innocent, and taking lunch breaks.

  2. Shhh! - When baby brother is sleeping, it’s time to be ever so quiet. There’s no singing or jumping or laughing at all. Even the toys need to be quiet! The pirates stop firing their cannons, the knights stop fighting, even the tiger stops growling. But when baby wakes up . . . it’s time to jump and laugh and sing again! And the knights begin to fight, the pirates fire up the cannons, and the tiger growls so loudly! Until it’s time to be quiet once again. In this beautifully and expressively illustrated picture book, we celebrate the love between siblings as a big brother uses his imagination to calm his urge to cause a ruckus so that his little brother can sleep.

  3. Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything! - In this charming picture book, brother and sister elephants come together for an afternoon of epic adventures as they let their big imaginations take them to the wildest of places! When it comes to playtime, Maggie and Wendel’s imaginations are limitless. Whether the elephant siblings are pretending to rescue a pal from a burning building, buying a pet dragon at the pet store, or going on a wild jungle safari, no adventure is too far-fetched. Perfect for young siblings of any age, this beautifully illustrated story with minimal text will enchant young readers and show every brother and sister that, with a little imagination, it is possible to get along.

  4. Dollop and Mrs. Fabulous - Make way for bunny Dollop and her sister, Lily (otherwise known as Mrs. Fabulous), in this rib-tickling sibling story by the popular creator of Chick ‘N’ Pug.

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Books About Imagination And Play and Inclusivity

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Bath! Bath! Bath!
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Bath time is fun! fun! fun! in this playful board book! Today we had such fun! fun! fun! But now the day is done! done! done! After a fun-filled day, it’s time to go home and take a bath! From washing tiny toes and your little nose to making rubber ducky go quack! quack! quack!, bath time is fun! fun! fun! The rhyming text makes this the perfect read-along story to get little ones excited for bath time.

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Little Bitty Friends
Written by Elizabeth McPike & illustrated by Patrice Barton
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

“A cuter-than-puppies companion to Little Sleepyhead. Little bitty chipmunks, chattering all the day, Little bitty ladybug always comes to play. Marching with ants, snuggling with baby rabbits, reaching for the sun with happy buttercups-young children form special bonds with nature’s little creations. Lyrical verse and charming scenes capture an enchanted world of little bitty friends.”

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Tomorrow Most Likely
Written by Dave Eggers & illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Rather than focusing on going to bed—and what kid wants to think about going to bed?—this book explores all of the dreamy, wonderful, strange things the next day might bring. Whimsical, witty, and hopeful, this revolutionary rewriting of a classic goodnight book from bestselling author Dave Eggers and award-winning illustrator Lane Smith is a bedtime story for tomorrow ever after.

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  1. Mayhem at the Museum: A Book in Pictures - Paintings and sculptures come to life when a young girl visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her classmates. What starts as just another tour of the museum becomes a joyful parade as the art, which must not be touched, touches the young museum-goers in surprising ways. Images of works in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are beautifully illustrated as dynamic characters by Luciano Lozano Raya in this wordless picture book. Famous paintings and sculptures from throughout the museum will be recognizable to adults while the mischievous breaking of the fourth wall will delight younger readers.

  2. A New Kind of Wild - This sweet author-illustrator debut celebrates imagination, the magic of friendship, and all the different ways we make a new place feel like home. For Ren, home is his grandmother’s little house, and the lush forest that surrounds it. Home is a place of magic and wonder, filled with all the fantastical friends that Ren dreams up. Home is where his imagination can run wild. For Ava, home is a brick and cement city, where there’s always something to do or see or hear. Home is a place bursting with life, where people bustle in and out like a big parade. Home is where Ava is never lonely because there’s always someone to share in her adventures. When Ren moves to Ava’s city, he feels lost without his wild. How will he ever feel at home in a place with no green and no magic, where everything is exactly what it seems? Of course, not everything in the city is what meets the eye, and as Ren discovers, nothing makes you feel at home quite like a friend. Inspired by the stories her father told her about moving from Puerto Rico to New York as a child, Zara González Hoang’s author-illustrator debut is an imaginative exploration of the true meaning of “home.”

Books About Imagination And Play and Performing Arts

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Dressing Up
Written & illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

We’re amazing! We can dress up, sing, dance and make music. There’s nobody quite like us! Enjoy the antics of this inclusive and diverse group of friends, as they celebrate the natural and boundless creativity to be found in every child.

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If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don't!
Written & illustrated by Elise Parsley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The third book in the bestselling MAGNOLIA SAYS DON’T! series is another loud and cautionary tale of what not to do–this time, at the library! If you see a poster that says “You Can Do Anything at the Library!”, it is NOT giving you permission to put on a circus! But Magnolia doesn’t see any problem with setting up her own big top. She’s got a lot of gusto and one mean human cannonball routine. So what if her greatest show on Earth won’t fit between bookshelves? Elise Parsley’s boldly expressive illustrations perfectly complement this mostly-librarian-approved guide on how to be everything BUT quiet in the library!

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Band of Babies
Written by Carole Gerber & illustrated by Jane Dyer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Named one of Amazon's Best Children's Books of 2017: Baby to Age 2

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  1. The Bear and the Piano - One day, a bear cub finds something strange and wonderful in the forest. When he touches the keys, they make a horrible noise. Yet he is drawn back again and again. Eventually, he learns to play beautiful sounds, delighting his woodland friends. Then the bear is invited to share his sounds with new friends in the city. He longs to explore the world beyond his home, and to play bigger and better than before. But he knows that if he leaves, the other bears will be very sad . . . This gorgeously illustrated tale of following one’s dreams reminds us of the value of friendship, wherever we go.

  2. Circus Girl - When a little girl plays dress up in her leotard and socks she becomes Circus Girl star of the show. Even her toys morph into her dreamscape of circus acts. At each page turn she jumps and tumbles, flies through the air, juggles, spins, balances and contorts. Vibrant and winsome, modern and timeless the illustrations and words convey a captured childhood moment with directness and simplicity.

Books About Imagination And Play and The Environment

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Stick and Stone
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor? Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare.

    In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children’s literature.
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Heal the Earth
Written by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis & illustrated by Smiljana Coh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Take a journey to help the Earth in the second book of the New York Times bestselling trilogy by Julian Lennon! Jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want. This time, Lennon’s interactive book immerses children in a fun and unique journey where they can: Bring medicine to people in need! Dive below the ocean to bleached coral reefs! Visit the city to cultivate green spaces! Help the rain forest return and give its animals a home! Explore the planet, meet new people, and help make the world a better place! The Flier’s mission is to transport readers around the world, to engage them in helping to save the environment, and to teach one and all to love our planet. Just press a button printed on the page, and point the plane up in the air to fly, or down to land it! An inspiring, lyrical story, rooted in Lennon’s life and work, Heal the Earth is filled with beautiful illustrations that bring the faraway world closer to young children. The book includes words to a new, special poem written by Julian Lennon, specifically for Heal the Earth. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the environmental and humanitarian efforts of the White Feather Foundation, the global environmental and humanitarian organization that Lennon founded to promote education, health, conservation, and the protection of indigenous culture.

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Once Upon a Memory
Written by Nina Laden & illustrated by Renata Liwska
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Does a feather remember it once was a bird? Does a book remember it once was a word? When a feather drifts through a child’s window, a magical journey begins. As the boy follows the feather, he is swept away to a world filled with adorable animals, where fantasy and reality come together in surprising and playful ways. From the cake that once was grain to the ocean that once was rain, whimsical “before” and “after” scenes offer readers a peek at the world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, ultimately asking the question, “What will you remember?” Nina Laden’s poetic and cleverly woven text is perfectly paired with bestselling artist Renata Liwska’s captivating illustrations. Together they create a story that will keep readers enchanted long after the journey has ended.

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  1. Don't Throw That Away! - You can keep that trash and reuse it in all kinds of wonderful ways! Do you see that old jar? Don’t throw that away! You can turn it into…a new vase! Follow an eco-conscious super hero as he teaches kids how to recycle and reuse common household items! The six large flaps throughout show that oridinary trash is really a treasure. From turning old clothes into fun costumes or an old box into a brand new car, kids will learn that saving the environment is super cool!

  2. Colin Collects Colors - Colin is on a quest; he’s off to collect colors from all over the world to brighten up his dull, gray city! Colin’s world is dull and gray, but he’s on a special quest! He is off to collect colors from all over the world, from the white arctic to the indigo sea to the red outback. Join Colin as he finds all the colors he needs to brighten up his world!

Books About Imagination And Play and Winter

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Claudia & Moth
Written & illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

A small girl with a passion for nature turns to her new passion for art as the seasons turn colder.

Claudia loves butterflies. Blue ones. Yellow ones. Purple ones with dots. And since she can’t take them home, she paints them in all their beautiful colors.

But when winter comes, there are no more butterflies to paint…until she finds a little moth. Suddenly, Claudia sees winter in a whole new light.

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The Snowy Day
Written & illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Celebrate a major anniversary of a true classic!

In 1962, a little boy named Peter put on his snowsuit and stepped out of his house and into the hearts of millions of readers. The Snowy Day transformed children’s literature with its pioneering portrayal of an African-American child and the charming story and artwork that won it the Caldecott Medal. Fifty years later, Viking proudly celebrates Peter’s adventure in this very special edition. Featuring eight pages of bonus material and a festive cover, this oversized edition of Keats’s beloved book is a must-have.

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It's Time to Build a Snowman!
Written by Courtney Acampora & illustrated by Lizzy Doyle
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A perfect read for the holiday season! One winter day, two penguins decide to make their very own snowman friend! It’s Time to Build a Snowman is a small, adorable book with uniquely shaped pages that create a special layered effect. After enjoying the sweet story, kids can add it to the Christmas tree as an ornament!

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  1. Snowmen All Year - By popular demand, a board book edition of the third title in this bestselling series The Buehners’ New York Times bestselling snowmen are here to stay! Children wonder what would happen if their favorite frosty friends didn’t melt with springtime. What would it be like to take a snowman to the beach? What costume would a snowman wear if you took him trick-or-treating? In this dazzling, silly book, the weather brings a year’s worth of surprise and laughter.

  2. Just So Willow - The delightful story of a finicky polar bear who learns that having friends and fun is more important than things being “just so.” Willow is a polar bear who likes things just so. She even irons her underwear and tidies her teacher! So when a storm covers her backyard in a smooth blanket of snow, she’s determined to keep it that way–in spite of all the other kids creating a lumpy, bumpy mess. Will Willow realize that being particular is making her miss out on all the fun?

  3. Red Sled - At night, a host of woodland creatures plays with a child’s red sled.

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Books About Imagination And Play and Art

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Once Upon an Alphabet
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

The New York Times bestselling alphabet/story book from the artist of The Day the Crayons Quit is now available in an abridged edition for the littlest learners! The perfect introduction to both the alphabet and to the world of Oliver Jeffers! This clever and funny board book from the #1 bestselling illustrator of The Day the Crayons Quit and creator of Stuck gives center stage to Oliver Jeffers’ whimsical illustrations as it helps parents and toddlers connect through learning and art. A must-have. Praise for Once Upon an Alphabet: An Amazon Best Book of 2014! A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year! A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year! “The silly, spare, slightly surreal text occasionally rhymes and endlessly surprises. An utterly delightful alphabet book.”-Kirkus Review, starred review “With wry humor, equally droll ink illustrations, and a solid dose of alliteration, Jeffers creates delightful mini-narratives for each letter of the alphabet.”-Publishers Weekly, starred review “An altogether stimulating, surprising, and satisfying reading experience.”-School Library Journal, starred review “Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking tales is brilliantly inventive.”-Horn Book, starred review “Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again.”-BookPage “Handsome, humorous and clad in bright tomato-red, [this] is the sort of book you may want to rush into the arms of imaginative, good-natured children between 4 and 10 years old. [T]his is no traditional abecedarian exercise.The stories are wonderfully varied, sometimes philosophical and often end surprisingly; the drawings are just as quirky and unpredictable.”-The Wall Street Journal “[W]itty from A to Z . . . no one would blame you for having a copy even if there are no kids in the house. Think of it as Edward Gorey for the preschool set – and their hip parents.”-The Washington Post

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Simon at the Art Museum
Written by Christina Soontornvat & illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little boy visits an art museum for the first time in this fun, sweet picture book about first experiences and seeing things from new perspectives.

Simon is having a great time at the museum with his parents. There are slippery, slidey floors! Pigeons flying around the reflecting pool! And cheesecake in the café! But they’re not really here for any of that. No, Simon has to look at art.

And more art.

So. Much. Art.

There’s so much art that soon Simon needs to take a break and finds somewhere to sit. From his bench, he begins to notice how many different people are visiting the museum and the many different ways they react to the art they see. Some people are alone. Some are in groups. Some people smile. Some shake their heads. Some even shed a tear.

And Simon is right in the center of it, watching until he’s inspired to give all the art another try. By the end of the day, he may even find a piece that can rival a slice of cheesecake!

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When I Draw a Panda
Written & illustrated by Amy June Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the acclaimed author and illustrator of The Big Umbrella comes a delightful celebration of creativity and gumption about a girl and her panda that’s Calvin and Hobbes meets If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!

Sometimes when they say to draw a perfect circle, mine turn out a little wonky.
I can draw a perfect fluffy cloud, a perfect scoop of ice cream, and a perfect flat tire.
So when I draw a panda, I keep drawing more and more not-perfect circles until I see a panda.
Then I step back and think, Does it need something else? He probably needs a hat, and then he is my panda.

When a girl draws a panda, it comes to life and helps her embrace her own creativity and unique way of seeing the world.

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  1. Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper - One little doodle girl takes control of her own creative destiny in this funny and imaginative book perfect for fans of Harold and the Purple Crayon! Penny lives on a plain piece of paper, with just one problem–she’s bored. There’s nothing to do, no one to talk to, not a single way to keep herself entertained! Not one to wallow, Penny makes a decision: it’s high time she ventured out into the world and explored other types of paper. But when she’s not serious enough for the newspaper, not angular enough for the graph paper, and not repetitive enough for the wrapping paper, Penny doesn’t know where she belongs. With some help from the friends she’s met along her journey, though, she comes up with the perfect paper plan for herself. In this fun and funny book about fitting in and finding home, imagination wins the day!

  2. I Have an Idea! - From one of the true creative geniuses of this generation comes a unique meditation on and celebration of the magic of the birth of a simple idea. Sparkling with visual wit and bubbling with imagination, this is a richly emotional exploration of the creative process: from an initial tentative inkling, to the frustration of chasing the wrong notion, to finally the exhilaration of capturing—and nurturing—just the right idea. I Have an Idea! is a scrumptious cloth-spined package of color and inspiration equally at home on a child’s bookshelf, in a new graduate’s backpack, or atop a creative’s desk.

  3. When Pencil Met the Markers - A purple marker shows his friends that being creative means sometimes coloring outside the lines in When Pencil Met the Markers, the imaginative, inspiring, and colorful follow-up to When Pencil Met Eraser from writers Karen Kilpatrick and Luis O. Ramos, Jr., and illustrator German Blanco. Meet the Markers! They love to color. But Purple Marker colors everywhere―even outside the lines. When the other markers call his creativity a mistake, it’s up to Pencil and Eraser to help Purple discover how making mistakes and making art go hand-in-hand. This hilarious and clever picture book allows Pencil and Eraser to show Purple Marker―and the rest of us―how to turn our messes into successes and do what makes us happy. When Pencil Met the Markers brings engaging art, adorable characters, and a clever story to the everyday. The result? A funny, effective message about how the best art can come from trying something new. An Imprint Book

  4. The Cloud - Everyone has fun in art class except for one little girl who doesn’t draw anything until a classmate figures out a way to make her smile.

Books About Imagination And Play and Teamwork

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I Can Play
Written & illustrated by Betsy Snyder
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Readers make athletes splash, sprint, or score just by wiggling their fingers! Then, with two sets of hands, readers help the athletes unite as a team in the gatefold finale. Active and adorable characters model independence and teamwork, making this innovative board book perfect for interactive reading and playtime fun!

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Max and Marla
Written & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Two fearless Olympians sled to victory in this delightful new picture book

Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories!

With delightful illustrations and charming text, Alexandra Boiger brings to life the story of two unstoppable pals—true Olympians who never give up!

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Oliver's Tree
Written & illustrated by Kit Chase
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A board book about three adorable best friends!

Oliver, Charlie, and Lulu love to play outside together. Their favorite game is hide-and-seek, but it’s not fun for Oliver when his friends hide in the trees—he can’t reach them! So the friends set off to find a tree that Oliver can play in.

But there’s a reason we don’t see elephants in trees, and just when Oliver is ready to give up the search, Charlie and Lulu surprise him with the perfect tree for them all to play in together!

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  1. Sandcastle That Lola Built - Lola is building her dream sandcastle—one with a tall, tall tower and sea glass that sends signals to mermaids. But the beach is crowded, and soon enough, a boy steps on her castle. Not to worry! Lola recruits him to build a wall. When a toddler with a bulldozer starts digging too close the walls, Lola decides he can be in charge of digging the moat. As the sandcastle grows, so does Lola’s friendly group of helpers. There’s only one thing that Lola doesn’t want near the sandcastle: a wave! Will the new friends be able to salvage the mermaids’ castle when their hard work is washed away?

  2. The Almost Impossible Thing - Nothing is so impossible that it shouldn’t be tried. Even if you’re a bunny hoping to fly. A tribute to teamwork, big dreams, perseverance, and those who don’t listen when others say their goals are unreachable. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.–Chinese Proverb Most of us want to fly–even if we know we’re rooted to the ground. Especially if we know we’re rooted to the ground! So when a rabbit spots a bird soaring in beautiful, colorful loop-de-loops, a dream is born. Though her friends tell her “You can’t do that!” our rabbit is undeterred. Through comical ski jumps, trampoline bounces, swings on the trapeze, and experiments with kites . . . somehow, some way, there must be a way to fly. And there is! Teamwork. Debut author/illustrator Basak Agaoglu delivers a story of faith, persistence, and humor–along with some of the most adorable, child-friendly art ever seen. For fans of Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery.

  3. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole - Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

  4. When Pencil Met Eraser - Ever wonder why there’s a little pink eraser on every pencil? Find out in this funny, clever picture book that tells the true story of how Pencil and Eraser became the best of friends. When Pencil draws on the pages of this book, Eraser erases parts of Pencil’s work, and the book itself becomes a canvas for their different takes on creativity—until the two discover their artwork is even better when they work together. From Karen Kilpatrick, Luis O. Ramos, and illustrator Germán Blanco, When Pencil Met Eraser brings to life something kids use every day at school and at home. Engaging art, adorable characters, and a clever ending create a memorable message about friendship and creativity.

Want to see books about teamwork?

Books About Imagination And Play and Nature

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Bugs Galore
Written by Peter Stein & illustrated by Bob Staake
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Dig in as a flurry of bugs of every shape, size, and color crawl across the page in a veritable infestation of whimsy and humor. Cars Galore creators Peter Stein and Bob Staake return with an in-the-dirt, high-inthe-sky critter tale buzzing with nonstop rhymes and swarming with comical retro illustrations.

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Something Extraordinary
Written & illustrated by Ben Clanton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Amazing things are happening all around you. You just need to know where to look—and this whimsical picture book is the perfect place to start.

Have you ever wished for something extraordinary? Like the ability to fly? Or to breathe underwater? What if you could talk to animals?

It’s fun to wish for amazing things. But take a look around, and you just might find that the most “ordinary” things…can be extraordinary.

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The Stick
Written & illustrated by Clay Rice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When a young boy finds a stick on the ground and reads the inspiring words carved into it, his life begins to change until he fulfills lifelong dreams and discovers the truth about giving.

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  1. Stars - Celebrate all of the glittering stars in the sky in this tender Classic Board Book by acclaimed author Mary Lyn Ray and Caldecott Honor winner Marla Frazee! A star is how you know it’s almost night. As soon as you see one, there’s another, and another. And the dark that comes doesn’t feel so dark. What if you could have a star? Look very closely in this lovely Classic Board Book for all kinds of stars both near and far…because stars are everywhere. Not just in the sky.

  2. Outside In - From the New York Times best-selling author behind _The Quiet Book _comes a mindful contemplation on the many ways nature affects our everyday lives, perfect for fans of Joyce Sidman and Julie Fogliano.  Outside is waiting, the most patient playmate of all. The most generous friend. The most miraculous inventor. This thought-provoking picture book poetically underscores our powerful and enduring connection with nature, not so easily obscured by lives spent indoors.
    Rhythmic, powerful language shows us how our world is made and the many ways Outside comes in to help and heal us, and reminds us that we are all part of a much greater universe. Emotive illustrations evoke the beauty, simplicity, and wonder that await us all . . . outside.

Want to see books about nature?

Books About Imagination And Play and Sports And Recreation

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I Can Dance
Written & illustrated by Betsy Snyder
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Readers make dancers disco, tap, or pirouette just by wiggling their fingers. But wait! There’s even more fun. In an impressive gatefold finale, readers use two sets of hands to help the dancers perform an encore. With interactive holes on every page and a satisfying touch-and-feel cover, this charming board book is the perfect way to play and read together.

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Lottie & Walter
Written & illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water.

Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.

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The Elephants' Guide to Hide-and-Seek
Written by Kjersten Hayes & illustrated by Gladys Jose
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Elephants are great at many things…playing hide-and-seek is not one of them.

But The Elephant Hobby and Sport League is here to help all those frustrated, always “found” elephants out there with The Elephants’ Guide to Hide-and-Seek. This handy guide offers sympathy, support and superior hiding solutions to elephants who long to overcome their size disadvantage when playing hide-and-seek.

A hilarious tongue-in-cheek book perfect for elephants and their best human pals.

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  1. Dusk Explorers - It’s that special time of evening, when the hours and the possibilities seem endless: Light is fading. A buzz of excitement and wonder takes over the neighborhood….What outdoor adventures await? Join a diverse group of suburban kids as they dash and dodge in classic street games like tag and kick-the-can and reconnect with nature’s simple pleasures catching frogs, hunting fireflies, and climbing trees. These explorers play, laugh, and make the most of their own front yards right up until their parents call out that “It’s time to come home!” But when the sun begins to set tomorrow, they’ll be back for more evening excitement! This ode to the timeless magic of summer evenings spent outside will remind kids of the fun and friends that wait just outside their doors and leave adults smiling with nostalgia for their own dusk explorations.

  2. The Digger and the Flower - From the acclaimed author/artist of Beyond the Pond and Rulers of the Playground comes a breathtaking new book with a powerful message about the environment, perfect for fans of Peter Brown’s The Curious Garden and Kadir Nelson’s If You Plant a Seed. Each day, the big trucks go to work. They scoop and hoist and push. But when Digger discovers something growing in the rubble, he sets in motion a series of events that will change him, and the city, forever. “This story contains bold graphic illustrations and a wonderful message about the environment,” proclaims Brightly.com in their article “18 Must-Read Picture Books of 2018.”

Epilogue

31 books that are just too good to leave off of our imagination and play list.
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  1. A House That Once Was - The dynamic duo of Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith team up to tell a delightful story about a boy and a girl who explore an abandoned house and imagine who might have lived there in A House That Once Was. Deep in the woods is a house just a house that once was but now isn’t a home. Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go? Two children set off to find the answers, piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, discarded toys, and creating their own vision of those who came before.

  2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - From the author of The BFG and Matilda! Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

  3. If You Come to Earth - From two-time Caldecott Winner author-illustrator Sophie Blackall!

  4. The Watermelon Seed - With perfect comic pacing, Greg Pizzoli introduces us to one funny crocodile who has one big fear: swallowing a watermelon seed. What will he do when his greatest fear is realized? Will vines sprout out his ears? Will his skin turn pink? This crocodile has a wild imagination that kids will love. With bold color and beautiful sense of design, Greg Pizzoli’s picture book debut takes this familiar childhood worry and gives us a true gem in the vein of I Want My Hat Back and Not a Box.

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  1. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles - B is for Bookworm -

    If I could, I'd rate this book higher! This has been my favorite chapter book for the past year, and is the perfect book to ignite and strengthen a reader's imagination, all while going on an incredible, courageous journey.

  2. Catch That Cookie! - Solve the riddles to find the runaway gingerbread men in this funny and magical cookie hunt! Marshall knows one thing for sure, despite what all the stories say: Gingerbread men cannot run. Cookies are for eating, and he can’t wait to eat his after spending all morning baking them with his class. But when it’s time to take the gingerbread men out of the oven . . . they’re gone! Now, to find those rogue cookies, Marshall and his class have to solve a series of rhyming clues. And Marshall just might have to rethink his stance on magic. Catch That Cookie! is an imaginative mystery, deliciously illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner David Small. It’s sure to inspire a new classroom tradition . . . and maybe even a few new believers!

  3. Tea Rex - Some tea parties are for grown-ups. Some are for girls. But this tea party is for a very special guest. And it is important to follow some rules . . . like providing comfortable chairs, and good conversation, and yummy food. But sometimes that is not enough for special guests, especially when their manners are more Cretaceous than gracious . . . Introducing Tea Rex, a guest that just about any child would love to have to tea!

  4. Crab and Whale - Based on over 20 years experience by mindfulness for kids expert Christiane Kerr, this is a fun and heartwarming story that subtly introduces the skills of mindfulness to children (ages 2 - 8). Children will find themselves becoming more aware of their own bodies, breath, emotions and surroundings without even realizing it. Featured on Mindful.org ‘Seven Mindful Children’s books’ August 2018. Crab and Whale is carefully designed to help even the most energetic children find a moment of calm and focus. Also includes a special mindful breathing exercise and affirmation for children. -Introduces mindfulness to kids aged 2 to 8 -Based on 20 years’ experience working with children -Perfect for home and classroom use -Introduces theme of kindness From the reviews “A ground breaking book about mindfulness for small children” “Brilliant story and techniques… Recommended by a friend for my child struggling to get to sleep as he was worrying. Its a Great book, that you can read again and again. Definitely a book I would recommend.” “A truly heartwarming story celebrating kindness and gently introducing children to the life-changing power of mindfulness.” - Sir Anthony Seldon, former Headmaster & mindfulness in schools pioneer

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  1. Hip, Hip . . . Beret! - A playful and humorous picture book about what happens to Bella’s beret when the wind sweeps it away. Find a few special touchable berets on the cover and inside! Granpère gifts Bella the hat she’d always wanted–a beret! But just as she places it on her head, a gust of wind whisks it away. When the beret accidentally lands in a chef’s pan . . . hip, hip, souflée! When it mistakenly lands on the head of a dancer . . . hip, hip, ballet! The wind continues to sweep the hat farther and farther away. Will Bella ever get back her beloved beret? Children will love to read aloud this humorous and heartfelt story filled with repetition, rhyme, and hilarious wordplay. On the cover and inside of the book, find a few special touchable berets as an interactive and tactile element to engage young readers.

  2. Sloth Slept on - Who’s that sleeping in our tree? When a group of kids finds an animal happily napping in their backyard, they set out to discover what it is and where it belongs. As they search and search–never noticing the posters and articles about a sloth that’s fled the zoo–they finally discover the identity of the snoozing creature. When sloth wakes up, it’s in for a BIG surprise!

  3. The Magical Life of Mr. Renny - When he is unable to sell his paintings and has no money for food, Mr. Renny meets a man who is able to make his paintings come to life.

  4. Cat Nap - A kitten doesn’t want to take a nap in this book about opposites by the author of Early Bird. It’s naptime, and Cat is ready for Kitten to settle down. But Kitten has other ideas!In this book filled with opposites (big and little, black and white, sleepy and awake) Toni Yuly proves once again -as she did with Early Bird and Night Owl - that simple concepts come alive for the youngest readers through bold art and charming language.

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  1. Cat Nap - A kitten doesn’t want to take a nap in this book about opposites by the author of Early Bird. It’s naptime, and Cat is ready for Kitten to settle down. But Kitten has other ideas!In this book filled with opposites (big and little, black and white, sleepy and awake) Toni Yuly proves once again -as she did with Early Bird and Night Owl - that simple concepts come alive for the youngest readers through bold art and charming language.

  2. CookieBot! (Harry and Horsie Adventures) - The Problem: Harry and Horsie want cookies, but the jar is way out of reach. The Solution: Build CookieBot—the most amazing cookie-grabbing robot ever! What could go wrong?

  3. Aw, Nuts! - Squirrel sets off on a chase after the perfect acorn in debut author-illustrator Rob McClurkan’s picture book Aw, Nuts! With bold, graphic art, Squirrel will have young readers laughing out loud on every page, eager to find out what will happen next. Squirrel loves acorns, so when he spots the perfect one, he must have it! But it bounces away. . . . So he jumps into a taxi, but the taxi runs out of gas. Aw, nuts! He bounces on a pogo stick, but it lands in a hole. Aw, nuts! He hops on a boat, gets shipped away, hitches a ride on a little girl’s bike, and more! Will Squirrel be able to catch up to the most delicious acorn ever?

  4. Miss Spider's Tea Party - 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF A BELOVED CHILDREN’S CLASSIC: In 1992, master toymaker, storyteller, and painter David Kirk created Miss Spider for his young daughter, Violet. Her fascination with the bug world and nature inspired him to create a story about a lonely spider who triumphs over rejection and fear through her goodness and love. Miss Spider’s Tea Party became an immediate bestseller and launched a book series that sold more than five million copies in twelve languages. “So why do insects run away, As they catch sight of me, When all that I am trying to do, Is ask them in for tea?” So wonders a solitary Miss Spider, unaware that her fellow bugs, terribly afraid of a creature so seemingly different, dare not even consider attending her party. Until, as events unfold, they see how gracious a spider she really is. For this story, his first picture book, David Kirk created 35 arresting paintings and original verse about an enticing arachnid and a host of other many-legged creatures. Readers of all ages can’t help cheering for Miss Spider in this engaging tale that may also be read as a counting book. Honors: Parenting magazine Best Book of the Year; National Parenting Publications Honor Book; Parents’ Choice Award-winner. Miss Spider and her family have won the hearts of children with their life-affirming outlook for a quarter of a century now. This gorgeous new edition of Miss Spider’s Tea Party celebrates Miss Spider’s success and welcomes the next generation of young readers.

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  1. DogFish - Everyone has a dog. Except for one little boy. He has a goldfish. He needs a dog. Mom says, “Why do you need a dog when you have such a nice goldfish?” But goldfish can’t catch sticks or go for walks or wag their tails…. Can they? Maybe they can…

  2. Flip, Flap, Fly! - A baby bird, fish, snake, otter, duck, mouse, and child merrily meet at a pond after being helped by their mamas all morning. On board pages.

  3. Super Manny Stands Up! - New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Stephanie Graegin bring a lionhearted new hero to life in this tender, sparkling story about standing up for what’s right—and finding your inner superpowers. Every day after school, Manny saves the world from formidable foes. I AM FEARLESS! I AM STRONG! I AM BRAVE! I AM POWERFUL! I AM INVINCIBLE! Zombie bears, evil cloud monsters, and alien robots with laser beam eyes are no match for Super Manny. But when Manny encounters a real-life nemesis in the school cafeteria, will he be able to summon his superhero strength to save the day?

  4. When Your Llama Needs a Haircut - When it’s picture day and you realize your llama needs a haircut, you’ll need a good comb and some luck! This charming and hilarious board book features one shaggy llama and a whole lot of hairstyles! Uh-oh. It’s picture day and someone’s a mess! Does your llama need a haircut? After a hilarious shampoo, it’s time to decide which style would be best for your shaggy llama. A mohawk? Layers? Or how about a brand-new fur color? But be careful…or you just might end up with a haircut, too!

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  1. Just Read! - These kids all love to read–and every time they open a book, they open up a whole new world! This exuberant story celebrates reading as it follows a diverse group of children who read wherever and whenever they can. Sometimes, they even read together, in a special fort they’ve built. Victoria Tentler-Krylov’s fanciful art and Lori Degman’s rollicking text will get every child excited about reading!

  2. First Stories: The Jungle Book - Push, pull, and slide the scenes to bring the classic story of The Jungle Book to life. Meet Mowgli the man-cub, he’s wild as wild can be! First Stories: The Jungle Book is a perfect introduction to this classic tale. Push, pull, and turn mechanisms bring the story to life and introduce all the main characters: Mowgli, Baloo, Shere Khan, and Father Wolf. This well-loved fairytale is beautifully imagined for a new generation by illustrator Miriam Bos.

  3. When Charlie McButton Lost Power - B is for Bookworm -

    A wonderful book about unplugging and using your imagination and spending time with those you love! :) I didn't love the illustrations at first, but they've really grown on my and I think they, and the rest of this book, are so fun! I especially think all of the wording and rhyme is fantastic.

  4. The Best Birthday Present Ever - The Book Snob Mom -

    I still remember the anxiety I felt as a child of having the birthday gift I brought to a party unwrapped and wondering what their reaction would be, so as Squirrel watches Bear unwrap fancier and fancier presents and questions the carefully chosen stick he'd brought, I felt with him, but Bear's reaction is utterly perfect and priceless and teaches a great lesson about imagination, graciousness and the power of friendship. The illustrations are adorable too!

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  1. Jumanji - Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle now Sony’s highest grossing film of all time! Over thirty years ago, Peter and Judy first found the game—Jumanji—with the instructions that once the game is started, it must be finished or it will go on forever—and it was then, with this same wonderment, readers found Jumanji, too. Since its original publication, Jumanji has been honored with many awards, including the Caldecott Medal, and in 1996, the surreal story was adapted to fit the big screen for the first time.

  2. Susan Laughs - Rhyming couplets describe a wide range of common emotions and activities experienced by a little girl who uses a wheelchair.

  3. What To Do With a Box - If you give a child a box, who can tell what will happen next? It may become a library or a boat. It could set the scene for a fairy tale or a wild expedition. The most wonderful thing is its seemingly endless capacity for magical adventure, a feature imaginatively captured in cardboardesque art by Chris Sheban and rhythmically celebrated in this poetic tribute by renowned children’s author Jane Yolen.

  4. Hiding Heidi - A beautiful and enchanting story by exciting new talent Fiona Woodcock, about a little girl with an amazing gift for concealing herself. Meet Heidi—if you can find her, that is! Heidi is the best at hiding: in school, at the playground, or in the park. Heidi’s friends know how much she loves hiding, so they always let her play and win. But Heidi learns the importance of sharing the limelight with other people when being too good at hiding makes her miss all the other fun her friends are having—and how much more fun it can be when you appreciate what your friends are good at too! She learns Freddie is great at bouncing on hippity-hops, Katie is sensational at roller-skating, and Lizzie is incredible at climbing. Heidi then realizes that she has fun doing the activities her friends like, even if she isn’t the best.

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  1. Look at Me, I'm a Robot! - Features pictures of robots, with die-cut eye holes so readers can use the book as a mask.

  2. Chimpanzees for Tea! - A silly, fun version of the game “telephone”—in which a grocery list committed to memory goes playfully awry. One day, Vincent’s mother asks him to go to the store to pick up a few items: “a bunch of carrots, a box of rice, some China tea, a big, firm pear, and a tin of peas” to be precise. “And hurry home in time for tea!” she says. Sounds easy enough. Yet distractions are at every turn, causing havoc with Vincent’s memory. All of a sudden, a tin of peas is replaced by a trapeze; a big, firm pear becomes a big furry bear; and a box of rice transforms into a box of mice! Needless to say, Vincent’s mother is in for quite a surprise. Told with a playful rhythm for reading aloud and illustrated with exuberance and great child appeal, this humorous picture book will have kids laughing and asking for repeated readings.

  3. Color Blocked - The color is blocked! Readers must rub, turn, and tap the pages to straighten out pipes, unplug corks, and keep the color flowing. But watch out–the color might run faster than you can keep up! Along the way, readers will learn primary colors, how mixing colors can make secondary colors, and why you should never, ever, put a turtle in charge.

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