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84+ Intruiging Picture Books About Imagination

Updated Feb. 9, 2019

To quote Albert Einstein, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” The older I become, the more I value imagination. Researchers have long discovered that imagination affects children's cognitive development, leading to better problem solving skills and creativity. Plus, it's so much fun! Here are our favorite kids books that will spark and foster imagination!

Top 10 Imagination Books

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

In the forty years since Max first cried "Let the wild rumpus start," Maurice Sendak's classic picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children's books of all time. Now, in celebration of this special anniversary, introduce a new generation to Max's imaginative journey to where the wild things are.

When Charlie McButton Lost Power book
#2
When Charlie McButton Lost Power
Written by Suzanne Collins and illustrated by Mike Lester
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from 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.

Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power. Charlie needs batteries?FAST! But the only triple- A?s he can find are in his little sister?s talking doll. Will he resort to desperate measures and cause his sister to have a meltdown of her own? Or will he snap out of his computer craze long enough to realize his sister might be fun, even if she doesn?t come with batteries? Collins and Lester team up for a hilarious and timely tale that will crack up young computer addicts and those who love them!

Max's Castle book
#3
Max's Castle
Written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

Max's Castle is a really clever book and sure to fascinate any early reader. The book brilliantly explores words by mixing around or swapping the letters in one word to create an amalgamation of similar words and anagrams. Early readers are sure to enjoy, for example, that by simply adding an "l" block to the word "adder," Max and his three brothers smartly create a ladder to escape from the dangerous adder in the dungeon of the castle. Kate Banks and Boris Kulikov have some fun with the illustrations and anagrams surprising us with threatening pirates in one page before turning "pirates" into harmless "rat pies" in the next page. This book is sure to delight readers with its wit and imaginative exploration of letters.

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.

The Magical Life of Mr. Renny book
#4
The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
Written and illustrated by Leo Timmers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Harold and the Purple Crayon book
#5
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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.

The Best Birthday Present Ever book
#6
The Best Birthday Present Ever
Written and illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from 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!

Squirrel is super excited: he’s been invited to Big Bear’s birthday party! Now he just has to find the perfect present for his friend—but what can you give a bear who already has EVERYTHING? Squirrel searches and searches and chooses . . . a stick! As Bear unwraps his stack of gifts Squirrel begins to worry: is it enough? But with a little imagination, and a good friend, even the simplest stick can become magical. This funny, heartwarming story of friendship is a great gift—and not just for bears!

Dog Loves Drawing book
#7
Dog Loves Drawing
Written and illustrated by Louise Yates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a cute book about imagination and the fun adventures it will take you. :) I love that this book starts with the dog unsure of what to think up next, and that it gives the idea to doodle to gain some inspiration. :)

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.

What To Do With a Box book
#8
What To Do With a Box
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Chris Sheban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love how this book encourages creativity and imaginative play. This book doesn't have a lot of text, but I like that it's simple and shows how many different things you can 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.

Lily Wool book
#9
Lily Wool
Written and illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The story of one little sheep with a big imagination is delightfully told and the illustrations are lovely and whimsical. While Lily Wool is a little reckless in her exploration (resulting in some consequences for others), I love that once she becomes aware of this she uses her imagination again to solve the problem she created, leading her to find her passion as a creator and entrepreneur. We don't have to be perfect, just try our best!

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.

Oh, the THINKS You Can Think! book
#10
Oh, the THINKS You Can Think!
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Young readers will delight in Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! which celebrates the imagination and encourages young readers to think . . . about thinking! “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the Thinks you can think up if only you try.” Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.

Books About Innovation & Imagination

Max's Castle book
#1
Max's Castle
Written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

Max's Castle is a really clever book and sure to fascinate any early reader. The book brilliantly explores words by mixing around or swapping the letters in one word to create an amalgamation of similar words and anagrams. Early readers are sure to enjoy, for example, that by simply adding an "l" block to the word "adder," Max and his three brothers smartly create a ladder to escape from the dangerous adder in the dungeon of the castle. Kate Banks and Boris Kulikov have some fun with the illustrations and anagrams surprising us with threatening pirates in one page before turning "pirates" into harmless "rat pies" in the next page. This book is sure to delight readers with its wit and imaginative exploration of letters.

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.

Harold and the Purple Crayon book
#2
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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.

Lily Wool book
#3
Lily Wool
Written and illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The story of one little sheep with a big imagination is delightfully told and the illustrations are lovely and whimsical. While Lily Wool is a little reckless in her exploration (resulting in some consequences for others), I love that once she becomes aware of this she uses her imagination again to solve the problem she created, leading her to find her passion as a creator and entrepreneur. We don't have to be perfect, just try our best!

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Beautiful Oops! - A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator. An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.

  2. Sarabella's Thinking Cap - From the bestselling creator of Skippyjon Jones, a heartwarming story about the importance of imagination and creativity. Sarabella is always thinking—conjuring, daydreaming, and creating new worlds from her imagination. There is so much going on in her head that it can barely be contained. But there are times when daydreaming is decidedly not a good thing—like when you’re supposed to be doing multiplication tables. Luckily, Sarabella has an understanding teacher and with his encouragement She comes up with her own idea to show everyone who she is.

Want to see even more books about imagination and innovation?

How about books about innovation?

Books About Adventure & Imagination

Harold and the Purple Crayon book
#1
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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.

What To Do With a Box book
#2
What To Do With a Box
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Chris Sheban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love how this book encourages creativity and imaginative play. This book doesn't have a lot of text, but I like that it's simple and shows how many different things you can 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.

Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything! book
#3
Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything!
Written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Illustrations and easy-to-read text portray a young brother and sister as they spend an afternoon imagining great adventures together.

Honorable Mentions
  1. There Is a Tribe of Kids - If Lane Smith's Caldecott Honor Book Grandpa Green was an homage to aging and the end of life, There Is a Tribe of Kids is a meditation on childhood and life's beginning. Smith's vibrant sponge-paint illustrations and use of unusual collective nouns such as smack and unkindness bring the book to life. Whimsical, expressive, and perfectly paced, this story plays with language as much as it embodies imagination, and was awarded the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal.

  2. Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly? - Evan asks a simple question, “Can one balloon make an elephant fly?” At first, his mother is too busy to answer. But when she takes the time to play the game with her son…magic happens.

  3. MR Moon Wakes Up - Mr Moon always sleeps. He naps during hide-and-seek, passes out on puzzles and dozes during adventure stories. But what would happen if Mr Moon ever woke up? Would he lead us to hidden, dream-like worlds, filled with fantastic friends and exciting games? And if he did, would we remember in the morning?

  4. This Book of Mine - This Book of Mine is a celebration of the power of reading, of the ways in which books launch our adventures, give us comfort, challenge our imaginations, and offer us connection. From new mothers to fantasy lovers, butterfly hunters to musicians, the diverse readers of This Book of Mine all share a common passion for their favorite books-whether freshly discovered at the library or bookstore or saved from childhood and reread across a lifetime. A unique gift for bibliophiles young and old, This Book of Mine trumpets a simple truth: A well-loved book in hand brings color to any reader's life.

Want to see even more books about imagination and adventure?

How about books about adventure?

Books About Siblings & Imagination

When Charlie McButton Lost Power book
#1
When Charlie McButton Lost Power
Written by Suzanne Collins and illustrated by Mike Lester
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from 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.

Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power. Charlie needs batteries?FAST! But the only triple- A?s he can find are in his little sister?s talking doll. Will he resort to desperate measures and cause his sister to have a meltdown of her own? Or will he snap out of his computer craze long enough to realize his sister might be fun, even if she doesn?t come with batteries? Collins and Lester team up for a hilarious and timely tale that will crack up young computer addicts and those who love them!

Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything! book
#2
Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything!
Written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Illustrations and easy-to-read text portray a young brother and sister as they spend an afternoon imagining great adventures together.

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato book
#3
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lola is a fussy eater. A very fussy eater. She won’t eat her carrots (until her brother Charlie reveals that they’re orange twiglets from Jupiter). She won’t eat her mashed potatoes (until Charlie explains that they’re cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji). There are many things Lola won’t eat, including - and especially - tomatoes. Or will she? Two endearing siblings star in a witty story about the triumph of imagination over proclivity.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Am Too Absolutely Small for School - "The children's relationship is refreshingly noncombative, with Charlie as the protective and affectionate older brother who is appreciative of, rather than annoyed by, his sister's quirkiness." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review) Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more that ten cookies at a time? Once again, it's up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile — and that her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, will be welcome, too.

  2. The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy - From the creators of the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series comes a story about sibling cooperation and play featuring a member of the Bug Squad, Bumblebee Boy! When Sam is Bumblebee Boy, he likes to fly alone, using his imagination to battle dragons, pirates, and tigers. Sam’s little brother, Owen, would like to play with him, but Owen doesn’t have a cape or a mask, and Bumblebee Boy doesn’t need his help. But when more aliens than Bumblebee Boy can handle land on the moon, will he be able to defeat them by himself? Through their imaginary adventures, Sam and Owen discover just how much fun a brother can be, and learn that there are times to play alone and times to play with others.

  3. Slightly Invisible - Charlie learns that visibility is relative - but Lola’s quick-wittedness is crystal clear - in this absolutely new picture book from Lauren Child. Charlie and his friend Marv have invented an invisibility potion to help them find strange and tricky creatures, which they would prefer to do without Charlie’s little sister, Lola, bothering and interrupting. But when Lola enlists a bit of help from her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen - not to mention a tea set, a rabbit, a stroller, and of course one or three glasses of pink mil k- it turns out that the strange and tricky creatures have met their match in one very resourceful, inventive little sister.

  4. Tooth Fairy - When Matthew loses a tooth, his sister Jessica tries to take advantage of the Tooth Fairy's visit.

Want to see even more books about imagination and siblings?

How about books about siblings?

Books About Art & Imagination

The Magical Life of Mr. Renny book
#1
The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
Written and illustrated by Leo Timmers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Harold and the Purple Crayon book
#2
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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.

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear book
#3
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can't find Bear anywhere. She hears he's gone to hibernate -- but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season...unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sam & Eva - Sam does not want Eva to add to his drawing, but when the scene comes to life and gets out of control, she helps him escape.

  2. Draw! - Based on his own childhood, beloved and award-winning artist Raúl Colón’s wordless book is about the limitless nature of creativity and imagination. A boy alone in his room. Pencils. Sketchbook in hand. What would it be like to go on safari? Imagine. Draw… A boy named Leonardo begins to imagine and then to draw a world afar—first a rhinoceros, and then he meets some monkeys, and he always has a friendly elephant at his side. Soon he finds himself in the jungle and carried away by the sheer power of his imagination, seeing the world through his own eyes and making friends along the way.

  3. Imagine! - After passing a city museum many times, a boy finally decides to go in. He passes wall after wall of artwork until he sees a painting that makes him stop and ponder. Before long the painting comes to life and an afternoon of adventure and discovery unfolds, changing how he sees the world ever after.

  4. With My Hands: Poems About Making Things - Building, baking, folding, drawing, shaping . . . making something with your own hands is a special, personal experience. Taking an idea from your imagination and turning it into something real is satisfying and makes the maker proud. With My Hands is an inspiring invitation to tap into creativity and enjoy the hands-on energy that comes from making things.

Want to see even more books about imagination and art?

How about books about art?

Books About Monsters & Imagination

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

In the forty years since Max first cried "Let the wild rumpus start," Maurice Sendak's classic picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children's books of all time. Now, in celebration of this special anniversary, introduce a new generation to Max's imaginative journey to where the wild things are.

The Gruffalo book
#2
The Gruffalo
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. . . .

Tooth Monsters book
#3
Tooth Monsters
Written by Jessica Martinello and illustrated by Gregoire Mabire
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The young girl at the centre of this charming and quirkily-illustrated story hates brushing her teeth and is terrified of the dentist; as far as she's concerned, there's no scarier monster. But when she meets a real monster in her bathroom, she learns how dentists are really heroes and brushing your teeth is very important - so important that even monsters do it!This inventive picture book is brimming with humour and imagination. Parent and child will love to read along together over and over again.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Niño Wrestles the World - Señoras y señores, put your hands together for the fantastic, spectacular, one of a kind . . . Niño! Fwap! Slish! Bloop! Krunch! He takes down his competition in a single move! No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Niño—popsicle eater, toy lover, somersault expert, and world champion lucha libre competitor! Niño Wrestles the World is in English with Spanish vocabulary, and is a fun, colorful story about a boy wrestling with imaginary monsters (including an Olmec Head and La Llorona) and adversaries like his younger sisters. This is a joyful picture book about imagination, play, and siblings. Award-winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales is the author of Caldecott Honor and Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Medal-winning Viva Frida, Pura Belpré (Illustration) Medal and Pura Belpré (Narrative) Honor book Los Gatos Black on Halloween, stunning bilingual bedtime story Little Night/Nochecita, Rudas: Niño's Horrendous Hermanitas, and other picture books for young readers. She also illustrated Thunder Boy Jr., written by Sherman Alexie. A Neal Porter Book Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winner A Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year ALSC Notable Children's Book A Mamiverse.com Top 50 Latino Children's Books You Should Know "The saturated palette, dynamic composition, and copious spike-ballooned sound effects add ebullient visual noise. Beneath the furious fun, though, beats a tender heart." —The Horn Book, starred review "Kids with multicultural classmates will recognize (or learn Niño's many Spanish exclamations. A closing note explains the lucha libre culture." —Booklist

  2. How to Catch a Monster - There's a monster in my closet, with claws, and teeth, and hair, and tonight, I'm going to scare him! He lives just right through there... Get ready to laugh as a young ninja heads into the closet to meet the monster that's been so scary night after night! But what if things aren't what they seem and our monster isn't scary at all? What if our ninja hero is about to make a friend of strangest sort? If you dare to travel beyond the closet door and into the land of the monsters... you might just find the very best reward of all. But with robots, lava pie, and a smattering of traps—catching monsters is no easy business! Is there a monster living in your closet? Are you brave enough to catch him? Parents and children will love sharing this fun and inventive picture book, which reminds us that things aren't always as scary as they seem.

Want to see even more books about imagination and monsters?

How about books about monsters?

Books About Artists & Imagination

The Magical Life of Mr. Renny book
#1
The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
Written and illustrated by Leo Timmers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Willow book
#2
Willow
Written by Rosemarie Brennan, Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In Miss Hawthorn's art class, neatness, conformity, and imitation are encouraged, but when Willow brings imagination and creativity to her projects, even straight-laced Miss Hawthorn is influenced.

Draw! book
#3
Draw!
Written and illustrated by Raul Colon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Based on his own childhood, beloved and award-winning artist Raúl Colón’s wordless book is about the limitless nature of creativity and imagination. A boy alone in his room. Pencils. Sketchbook in hand. What would it be like to go on safari? Imagine. Draw… A boy named Leonardo begins to imagine and then to draw a world afar—first a rhinoceros, and then he meets some monkeys, and he always has a friendly elephant at his side. Soon he finds himself in the jungle and carried away by the sheer power of his imagination, seeing the world through his own eyes and making friends along the way.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing - Iconic pop artist Keith Haring comes to life for young readers in this picture book biography lovingly written by his sister This one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith's signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.

  2. The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell - Joey Cornell collected everything — anything that sparked his imagination or delighted his eye. His collection grew and grew until he realized that certain pieces just looked right together. He assembled his doodads to create wonderful, magical creations out of once ordinary objects. Perfect for introducing art to kids, here’s an imaginative and engaging book based on the childhood of great American artist Joseph Cornell, told by master picture book author Candace Fleming and lauded illustrator Gérard DuBois.

  3. Anywhere Artist - Anyone can make art anywhere, anytime, with anything! Follow a young artist as she moves through a number of natural environments, creating gorgeous artworks along the way from natural materials. Stunning hand-crafted illustrations with handlettered text. An ideal springboard for your own creations!

  4. 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.

Want to see even more books about imagination and artists?

How about books about artists?

Books About Magic & Imagination

The Magical Life of Mr. Renny book
#1
The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
Written and illustrated by Leo Timmers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Two of Everything book
#2
Two of Everything
Written and illustrated by Lily Toy Hong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When old Mr. Haktak digs up a curious brass pot in his garden, he has no idea what use it can be. On his way home, Mr. Haktak decides to carry his coin purse in the mysterious pot. But when Mrs. Haktak’s hairpin accidentally slips into the pot and she reaches in to retrieve it, the magic of the pot is revealed. Not only are there two hairpins inside, but there are also two purses!

Ta-Da! book
#3
Ta-Da!
Written by Kathy Ellen Davis and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What makes a good story? One little girl thinks it's a princess with magical powers that can—ta-da!—overcome any obstacle. Her friend thinks it's—dun dun duh!—a combination of dragons, pirates, and fire that cause total chaos. But as their stories intertwine, these two young storytellers soon learn that a good story needs both conflict—dun dun duh!—and resolution—ta-da! An irresistible celebration of imaginary play, storytelling, and the joys of collaboration, this gorgeous picture book features two strong voices throughout, making it the perfect read-aloud.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Yellow Submarine - A whole new generation will be climbing aboard this sunny, psychedelic storybook, while nostalgic Beatles fans of all ages will be clamoring for a ticket to ride. Once upon a time (or maybe twice), some 80,000 leagues beneath the sea, there lay a colorful land of song and laughter called Pepperland, where Sergeant Pepper's Band was always playing your song -- until the Blue Meanies burst on the scene and chased all the music and magic away. So began the classic 1968 film Yellow Submarine, inspired by a song and hailed as an avant-garde amalgam of pop art, Beatles music, and highly innovative animation. Now that film's dazzling images -- and its lighthearted, witty tale -- is showcased in a glorious picture book sure to be savored by fans and readers of all ages.

  2. The Book of Dragons - From the glittering peaks of frozen mountains to dripping caverns hidden deep underground, The Book of Dragons brings mighty and ancient dragons to life. Read exciting tales of legendary dragons, pore over detailed maps of mythical lands, explore a dragon's treasure hoard and marvel at lavish collections of dragon teeth, talons, scales and eggs. This richly illustrated book is a sumptuous treasury of a magical lost world and fulfils the desires of every young dragon enthusiast.

  3. Julian Is a Mermaid - In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes -- and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love's author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.

  4. Plum - From Will & Grace star Sean Hayes and composer Scott Icenogle comes a modern classic inspired by The Nutcracker about how the Sugar Plum Fairy got her wings. Plum will not stay glum. For as long as she can remember, Plum has lived at the Mary Fitzgerald Orphanage, wishing and hoping for a family. When a sudden snowfall threatens a delivery of presents on Christmas Eve, Plum is determined to save Christmas—even for the kids who laugh at her. Plum’s pure heart grants her an unexpected reward. When she eats a cake left behind by a mysterious magician, she is transported into the Land of Sweets. But Christmas here is threatened, too—by a sourness that is spreading from the center of the land. Plum’s determined to help, and in doing so, she might just find the family she’s always dreamed of, thanks to a good heart—and Christmas magic!

Want to see even more books about imagination and magic?

How about books about magic?

Books About Dogs & Imagination

Dog Loves Drawing book
#1
Dog Loves Drawing
Written and illustrated by Louise Yates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a cute book about imagination and the fun adventures it will take you. :) I love that this book starts with the dog unsure of what to think up next, and that it gives the idea to doodle to gain some inspiration. :)

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.

Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse book
#2
Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse
Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

For another loco adventure. In his room for a time-out, Skippyjon Jones lets his imagination take him to a shack where his Chihuahua friends are yipping and yapping and hiding out from the bad Bobble-ito, who has taken over their doghouse. How El Skippito chills the Chihuahuas and banishes the Bobble-ito will make more amigos for this endearing and irresistible rascal, who made his first appearance in the favorite Skippyjon Jones.

Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble book
#3
Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble
Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

El Skippito is back! His doggy pals want to visit the Under Mundo—the underworld—where mummitos rest in peas. But they need El Skippito’s brains and courage to answer the riddle of the Finx and enter the mummy’s tomb. Our hero is up to the task, and he’s in for another whirlwind adventure.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Snow Dog, Sand Dog - What would you do if you were allergic but realy wanted a dog? In this whimsical picture book, a young girl uses her crafty nature and imagination to create four-legged friends each season as the weather changes. She builds a dog out of snow in winter, sand in summer, leaves in fall, and flowers in spring!

  2. Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones - Holy guacamole! Skippyjon Jones is crazy-loco for dinosaurs! The kitty boy enters (via his closet) the land of dinosaurs in search of the fabled Skipposaurus. Instead he runs into his old amigos, the Chimichango gang. When a T-Mex threatens the pack, it’s El Skippito, the great sword fighter, to the rescue. With yips and yowls, he drives the big baddie away, so all the dino-dudes can rattle their bones another day. This fourth entry in a series that Kirkus Reviews called “ay caramba, mucho fun,” will win even more fans for the Siamese cat with oversize ears and an imagination to match.

  3. Skippyjon Jones Cirque de Ole - The #1 New York Times bestselling kitty boy goes to the circus! In his newest adventure, the irresistible Skippyjon Jones swings out of his closet and into the spectacular Cirque de Ole, where his pals, the Chimichango gang, perform feats of derring-do. There are many acts to see, but only Skippito the Strong can perform the trickiest stunt of all. Judy Schachner’s vivacious art and riotous text make for mucho read-aloud fun. Come one, come all–with Skippyjon Jones as the circus star, the Greatest Show on Earth just got even better!

  4. Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow - In this hardcover picture book from the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series, Ladybug Girl and Bingo need to look on the bright side of things to make their snow day adventure as much fun as it should be. Lulu and her dog Bingo wake up to a snow-covered yard and decide to have the best snow day ever. They make penguin tracks and taste the frosting-like snow. But the snow is deep and cold, and when Lulu tries to build a fort or make a snowball, her mittens are too wet and snow falls down the back of her neck. This is not the day she planned. And then Lulu remembers that she is Ladybug Girl and Ladybug Girl can do anything! With another determined look at the snow, Ladybug Girl overcomes her frustration and sees the yard in a whole new light. She and Bingo are now ready to use their imaginations to create their own snow games, snow animals, and snow adventures! For fans of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow honors the magic of the outdoors and creativity!

Want to see even more books about imagination and dogs?

How about books about dogs?

Books About Being Yourself & Imagination

Lily Wool book
#1
Lily Wool
Written and illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The story of one little sheep with a big imagination is delightfully told and the illustrations are lovely and whimsical. While Lily Wool is a little reckless in her exploration (resulting in some consequences for others), I love that once she becomes aware of this she uses her imagination again to solve the problem she created, leading her to find her passion as a creator and entrepreneur. We don't have to be perfect, just try our best!

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.

Willow book
#2
Willow
Written by Rosemarie Brennan, Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In Miss Hawthorn's art class, neatness, conformity, and imitation are encouraged, but when Willow brings imagination and creativity to her projects, even straight-laced Miss Hawthorn is influenced.

Ta-Da! book
#3
Ta-Da!
Written by Kathy Ellen Davis and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What makes a good story? One little girl thinks it's a princess with magical powers that can—ta-da!—overcome any obstacle. Her friend thinks it's—dun dun duh!—a combination of dragons, pirates, and fire that cause total chaos. But as their stories intertwine, these two young storytellers soon learn that a good story needs both conflict—dun dun duh!—and resolution—ta-da! An irresistible celebration of imaginary play, storytelling, and the joys of collaboration, this gorgeous picture book features two strong voices throughout, making it the perfect read-aloud.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems - Hear thunder crash, feel your toes touch sand, and watch leaves drift softly away on a quiet stream. The simple poems in Breathe and Be help children learn mindfulness as they connect to the beauty of the natural world. Mindfulness teaches us how to stay calm, soothe our emotions, and appreciate the world around us. Whether we’re watching tiny colored fish darting in the water or exploring the leaves, branches, and roots of a towering tree, the thoughtful words and the lovely art of Breathe and Be remind us how much joy we can find by simply living with awareness and inner peace.

  2. Marcel the Shell with Shoes on - View our feature on Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp’s Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. Millions of people have fallen in love with Marcel. Now the tiny shell with shoes and a big heart is transitioning from online sensation to classic picture book character, and readers can learn more about this adorable creature and his wonderfully peculiar world. From wearing a lentil as a hat to hang-gliding on a Dorito, Marcel is able to find magic in the everyday. He may be small, but he knows he has a lot of good qualities. He may not be able to lift anything by himself, but when he needs help, he calls upon his family. He may never be able own a real dog . . . but he has a pretty awesome imagination.

  3. Delivery Bear - Zogby wants to work for Fluffy Tail Cookies as a delivery animal—but he’s a bear and all the other animals are cute bunnies. Zogby tries to pretend to be a bunny by wearing bunny ears, putting on whiskers, and adding a fluffy tail. But he still scares the customers! When Zogby realizes being himself is best, can he find a way to stand out and get the job?

Want to see even more books about imagination and being yourself?

How about books about being yourself?

Books About Bedtime & Imagination

Circus Girl book
#1
Circus Girl
Written and illustrated by Clare Pernice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a little girl dons her leotard and socks, she becomes "Circus Girl," the star of a show that incorporates her toys and stuffed animals.

Moonlight Bear book
#2
Moonlight Bear
Written and illustrated by Rosie Wellesley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A gentle soothing story for young children at bedtime with lovely soft artwork by the popular illustrator of The Very Helpful Hedgehog and The Very Best Sheepdog. A special glow-in-the-dark moon on the cover adds to the fun. Eva drifts off to sleep with her favourite teddy bear. When she wakes in the night. Bear is gone. She looks all over her room only to find that her teddy has turned into a real bear.

A Bear Hug at Bedtime book
#3
A Bear Hug at Bedtime
Written by Jana Novotny Hunter and illustrated by Kay Widdowson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

On my way to bed, I play with a tiger, a lobster and a bear – and lots of other creatures too. But why are they so familiar? In this celebration of imaginative play, a young child is surrounded and enriched by an extended and diverse family. Inclusive and playful, this is the ideal bedtime read.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Rumble Grumble . . . Hush - In a spare, lyrical text, young listeners and readers will follow a little boy through his day, from early morning till bedtime, and watch as what fills his active imagination becomes real. Toys grow to life-size: a tin monkey plays a real drum and fiddle—rat-a-tat, toot!—a stuffed lion roars—rumble, grumble—and a dump truck empties its load—BANG! But when quiet time comes, and a hush settles over his bedroom, animals nap, and the boy becomes absorbed in other activities, like reading and drawing. Here is an irresistible read-aloud by a picture-book master that captures all the joy of a child’s play, and renders a boy’s imagination real.

  2. Luna and the Moon Rabbit - A dreamy fairy tale about a rabbit who lives on the moon . . . and comes down to visit a little girl. Inspired by Asian folklore (Moon Rabbit) and the films of Studio Ghibli, this magical tale follows a young girl who befriends the "moon rabbit" and accompanies him on a nighttime adventure through otherworldly landscapes. Parents and children alike will be mesmerized by the enchanting illustrations and a soothing bedtime story that explores the power of imagination, the importance of friendship, and the beauty of the natural world.

Want to see even more books about imagination and bedtime?

How about books about bedtime?

Books About Bravery & Imagination

Circus Girl book
#1
Circus Girl
Written and illustrated by Clare Pernice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a little girl dons her leotard and socks, she becomes "Circus Girl," the star of a show that incorporates her toys and stuffed animals.

The Red Boat book
#2
The Red Boat
Written and illustrated by Hannah Cumming
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Posy is afraid of her new house and all the unknown that comes with it, but when she and her dog find a red boat in the garden, she imagines all kinds of adventures and gains confidence despite being the new kid.

My Name Is Not Alexander book
#3
My Name Is Not Alexander
Written by Jennifer Fosberry and illustrated by Mike Litwin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Just How Big Can a Little kid Dream? Who is your hero? Alexander takes a rip-roaring historical adventure! Through his imaginative journey, Alexander discovers how great men become heroes: the roughest rider can be surprisingly gentle, a strong leader is also the most peaceful, and sometimes, being brave about what makes you different will not only help you break records, but inspire others. Join Alexander as he learns how these remarkable men changed the world and encouraged him to find the hero within himself!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Adelaide's Secret World - With a poetic story and lush paintings, Elise Hurst conveys how a bit of bravery, empathy, and imagination can transform our lives. Adelaide lives in a city filled with people and wonders, but she is lonely. She is a watcher, and she sees others like her: the quiet ones, those who dance and dream alone. In a chance encounter, Adelaide meets someone who just might be a kindred spirit—and is so startled and shy she runs away! But then she gathers her courage and uses all her ingenuity to make sure that they—and all the other lonely ones—meet and connect and share their dreams.

  2. Tashi - "Well, it was like this. Come and I'll tell you about the time I tricked the last dragon of all." So says the daring hero, Tashi, in his first book of adventures. Tashi comes from a place very far away. He escaped from a war lord and flew to this country on a swan. He's as brave as he's clever, and he tells the best stories. Tashi books are ideal for young readers, or for reading aloud, and they're loved all over the world.

  3. The Brave Little Seamstress - "Goodness!" the little seamstress said. "I've killed seven flies with one blow." And to mark the event, she took out her favorite coat and stitched on the back: SEVEN WITH ONE BLOW! Proud of her amazing feat, the brave little seamstress sets off to tell the world. It's not her fault if, along the way, a giant sees her coat and thinks she slayed seven giants, now is it? Based on the classic fairy tale "The Brave Little Tailor," Mary Pope Osborne's spirited retelling -- this time starring a gutsy seamstress -- and Giselle Potter's charming illustrations take you to a magical world where a little heroine meets even the biggest challenges with wit and imagination.

  4. Smoot - Smoot the shadow has been living a yawn-filled life for years. His boy never laughs and never leaps, so Smoot never does either . . . until the day he pops free, and decides to hit the road in search of the life he dreams about. And as he enjoys his first colorful day—singing, dancing, and playing—other shadows watch him, and they become brave, too. The frog’s shadow takes the shape of a prince, the dragonfly’s shadow that of a dragon. Even the rock’s shadow gets in on the excitement. But what will become of the timid beings their shadows have left behind? Will they finally be inspired to find their own daring?

Want to see even more books about imagination and bravery?

How about books about bravery?

Books About Friendship & Imagination

We Forgot Brock! book
#1
We Forgot Brock!
Written and illustrated by Carter Goodrich
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Phillip and Brock are best friends, although everyone else thinks Brock is imaginary, so when Phillip gets tired out at the Big Fair while Brock is still having fun, they are separated and it will take a very special twosome to bring them back together again.

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse book
#2
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
Written by Marcy Campbell and illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This book is just beautiful: the story itself, the message, and of course the illustrations! The way that Adrian Simcox's white horse with the golden mane emerges from the white space, again and again, is amazing and truly captures the power and reality of imagination. Reminiscent of the oft-posed question of which is better—a lie that brings a smile or a truth that brings a tear—this story lands soundly on the side of the beauty of imagination and our power to create our own world.

A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come. Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse--the best and most beautiful horse anywhere. But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse? The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn't get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important. Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear book
#3
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can't find Bear anywhere. She hears he's gone to hibernate -- but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season...unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

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

  2. Heart and the Bottle - There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play. But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play. Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.

  3. All about Cats - A hilarious look at what cats get up to when humans aren't around. Contrasting personality traits are put side by side to show how cats - like people - are diverse. The book celebrates positive relationships and the power of the imagination.

  4. Sophie's Squash - "Perfect for the fall season, Sophie's Squash is a delightful story of friendship and imagination." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor On a trip to the farmers' market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents' gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes.... What's a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble? The recipient of four starred reviews, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Sophie's Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of autumn books.

Want to see even more books about imagination and friendship?

How about books about friendship?

Books About Problem Solving & Imagination

Poppy Pickle book
#1
Poppy Pickle
Written and illustrated by Emma Yarlett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#2
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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

Beautiful Oops! book
#3
Beautiful Oops!
Written and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator. An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Am Too Absolutely Small for School - "The children's relationship is refreshingly noncombative, with Charlie as the protective and affectionate older brother who is appreciative of, rather than annoyed by, his sister's quirkiness." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review) Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more that ten cookies at a time? Once again, it's up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile — and that her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, will be welcome, too.

  2. Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble - El Skippito is back! His doggy pals want to visit the Under Mundo—the underworld—where mummitos rest in peas. But they need El Skippito’s brains and courage to answer the riddle of the Finx and enter the mummy’s tomb. Our hero is up to the task, and he’s in for another whirlwind adventure.

  3. Snow Dog, Sand Dog - What would you do if you were allergic but realy wanted a dog? In this whimsical picture book, a young girl uses her crafty nature and imagination to create four-legged friends each season as the weather changes. She builds a dog out of snow in winter, sand in summer, leaves in fall, and flowers in spring!

  4. My Quiet Ship - Whenever the yelling in his house starts, Quinn runs to a special hiding place. There he becomes captain of the Quiet Ship, where he can get far, far away from the yelling that hurts his ears and makes him feel scared. But one day the Quiet Ship is broken and Quinn needs a new plan, one that requires him to be brave. A thoughtful treatment of a difficult topic, this story is for any child who faces fighting in the home.

Want to see even more books about imagination and problem solving?

How about books about problem solving?

Books About Silly & Imagination

Caring for Your Lion book
#1
Caring for Your Lion
Written by Tammi Sauer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

We know you ordered a kitten, but we ran out of those. SURPRISE: you're the new owner of a lion! Fortunately, the big cat comes with instructions like, try very hard NOT to look like a zebra. And give your lion PLENTY of space to play. But when the feathers and fur start flying and everything s in chaos, can a lion be a child s purr-fect pet?"

Oh, the Places You'll Go! book
#2
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-17

Dr. Seuss's wonderfully wise Oh, the Places You'll Go! is the perfect send-off for grads--from nursery school, high school, college, and beyond! From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life's ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, "Seuss's message is simple but never sappy: life may be a 'Great Balancing Act,' but through it all 'There's fun to be done.'" A perennial favorite and a perfect gift for anyone starting a new phase in their life!

Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly? book
#3
Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?
Written by Dan Richards and illustrated by Jeff Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Evan asks a simple question, “Can one balloon make an elephant fly?” At first, his mother is too busy to answer. But when she takes the time to play the game with her son…magic happens.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Couch for Llama - When the Lago family's new couch accidentally falls off their car, it's found by Llama, who discovers how much fun a couch can be.

  2. Skippyjon Jones Cirque de Ole - The #1 New York Times bestselling kitty boy goes to the circus! In his newest adventure, the irresistible Skippyjon Jones swings out of his closet and into the spectacular Cirque de Ole, where his pals, the Chimichango gang, perform feats of derring-do. There are many acts to see, but only Skippito the Strong can perform the trickiest stunt of all. Judy Schachner’s vivacious art and riotous text make for mucho read-aloud fun. Come one, come all–with Skippyjon Jones as the circus star, the Greatest Show on Earth just got even better!

  3. Just Add Glitter - Is there really such a thing as too much bling? Find out in this sparkly homage to imagination and creativity gone wild that’s perfect for even the youngest fashion and crafting enthusiasts! Has the rainy day got you down? Not feeling fancy in your gown? Just add glitter! It all starts with a mysterious mail delivery, a little girl with a big imagination, and a sprinkling of twinkling glitter. Before long there’s glitter here, glitter there—glitter, glitter EVERYWHERE! But just when she’s about to add more glitter, the little girl realizes maybe there is such a thing as too much bling when you and your best pal start to get lost in it… From beloved author Angela DiTerlizzi and illustrator Samantha Cotterill comes a silly and sweet story that celebrates imagination, creativity, and knowing when enough is enough—or is it?!

  4. Higher! Higher! - The sky’s no limit in a witty picture book about a child on a swing and the wonders of the imagination. (Ages 2-5) One child. One swing. An obliging dad. The inevitable plea to go "Higher! Higher!" Add Leslie Patricelli’s wildly expressive illustrations, and an everyday pastime reaches new heights of humor and whimsy. How high can it go? Higher than a giraffe? Taller than a mountain? Is Earth the final frontier? The creator of a popular series of board books rises to the occasion with an ingenious picture book of very few words that expresses the giddy glee of being pushed in a swing.

Want to see even more books about imagination and silly?

How about books about silly?

Books About Nature & Imagination

Something Extraordinary book
#1
Something Extraordinary
Written and 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.

Vroom! book
#2
Vroom!
Written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Join a little girl as she zooms— past fields and forests, up mountains, over rivers, through deserts, home again, and into bed in this playful picture book about the power of imagination, from award-winning author and artist Barbara McClintock.

Animal City book
#3
Animal City
Written and illustrated by Joan Negrescolor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Nina journeys to a secret jungle city populated by animals, plants, and lost objects. The reason for her visit: story hour, where a book's power holds the wild in thrall. The animals are eager for stories about space, the sea, and other worlds. But their favorite story of all is the one told here: a story about a mysterious place, laden with legend and lore, and now overtaken by nature. Five Pantone colors infuse each illustrated spread with a vibrant, electric energy, making this powerful celebration of nature—and stories—as vivid visually as its narrative is engrossing.

Honorable Mentions
  1. It Starts With a Seed - In gentle rhyme, It Starts With a Seed evocatively explores the growth of a tiny sycamore seed. Taking a journey through the seasons and years, we follow the seed as it transforms from a seedling to a sapling, then a young tree, until it becomes a large tree with its branches and roots filling the page. As the tree grows, it is joined by well-loved woodland creatures – squirrels and rabbits, butterflies and owls – who make it their home. Beautiful and evocative, It Starts With a Seed is a factual story that will touch children with its simple but enchanting message of life and growth.

  2. A River - There's a river outside my window. Where will it take me? So begins the imaginary journey of a child inspired by the view outside her bedroom window: a vast river winding through a towering city. A small boat with a single white sail floats down the river and takes her from factories to farmlands, freeways to forests, out to the stormy and teeming depths of the ocean, and finally back to the comforts—and inspirations—of home. This lush, immersive book by award-winning picture book creator Marc Martin will delight readers of all ages by taking them on a transcendent and aspirational journey through an imaginative landscape.

  3. Snow Dog, Sand Dog - What would you do if you were allergic but realy wanted a dog? In this whimsical picture book, a young girl uses her crafty nature and imagination to create four-legged friends each season as the weather changes. She builds a dog out of snow in winter, sand in summer, leaves in fall, and flowers in spring!

  4. Juna's Jar - Juna and her best friend, Hector, love to go on adventures in the park, collecting things to put in Juna’s empty kimchi jars. But then one day Hector unexpectedly moves away, and Juna is left wondering who will play with her. With the help of her special jar, Juna searches for her friend the world over. What Juna finds is that adventure—and new friends—can be found in the most unexpected places. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Juna’s Jar is a heartwarming and whimsical celebration of friendship and the power of imagination.

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Books About Dinosaurs & Imagination

If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party book
#1
If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party
Written and illustrated by Jill Esbaum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

You never know what will happen when a "T. Rex" crashes your birthday party. Sure, you'll be super excited when he turns up. But then he ll stomp. He ll ROAR. He ll wonder how you taste with a little mustard. In the end, though, you may find yourself asking him to come back next year! This delightfully whimsical picture book has a fun twist kids will love."

Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones book
#2
Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones
Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Holy guacamole! Skippyjon Jones is crazy-loco for dinosaurs! The kitty boy enters (via his closet) the land of dinosaurs in search of the fabled Skipposaurus. Instead he runs into his old amigos, the Chimichango gang. When a T-Mex threatens the pack, it’s El Skippito, the great sword fighter, to the rescue. With yips and yowls, he drives the big baddie away, so all the dino-dudes can rattle their bones another day. This fourth entry in a series that Kirkus Reviews called “ay caramba, mucho fun,” will win even more fans for the Siamese cat with oversize ears and an imagination to match.

Ally-saurus & the First Day of School book
#3
Ally-saurus & the First Day of School
Written and illustrated by Richard Torrey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

You can call her Ally-SAURUS! When Ally roars off to her first day at school, she hopes she'll meet lots of other dinosaur-mad kids in class. Instead, she's the only one chomping her food with fierce dino teeth and drawing dinosaurs on her nameplate. Even worse, a group of would-be "princesses" snubs her! Will Ally ever make new friends? With its humorous art, appealing heroine, and surprise ending, this fun picture book celebrates children's boundless imagination.

Honorable Mentions
  1. How to Care for Your T-Rex - There are a few important things to know when you're taking care of your pet T-Rex: what does it like to eat? How do you brush its many teeth? And most of all, how do you show him that you care about him? Luckily, this humorously written and wonderfully illustrated picture book has the answers for wanna-be T-Rex pet owners everywhere. Follow the daily adventures of Buddy and his owner as they learn the how-to's of dinosaur care and the value of friendship.. A Christy Ottaviano Book

  2. Ally-Saurus and the Very Bossy Monster - What happens when a bossy new girl tries to make everyone play by her rules? Ally-saurus is back--and ROARING louder than ever! Ally-saurus and her friends always have lots of fun playing pretend. They stomp, they roar, they dance, each in their own way. But new girl Maddie wants everyone to play by HER rules. "Monsters can't be dinosaurs or dancers," she insists. Worst of all, she won't let little Petee have his teddy bear! Can Ally-saurus help Maddie understand that bossiness is no fun at all? With charm and humor, Richard Torrey teaches a gentle lesson in respecting each other's differences . . . and playing nice.

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Books About Animals & Imagination

The Gruffalo book
#1
The Gruffalo
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. . . .

A Couch for Llama book
#2
A Couch for Llama
Written and illustrated by Leah Gilbert
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When the Lago family's new couch accidentally falls off their car, it's found by Llama, who discovers how much fun a couch can be.

A Bear Hug at Bedtime book
#3
A Bear Hug at Bedtime
Written by Jana Novotny Hunter and illustrated by Kay Widdowson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

On my way to bed, I play with a tiger, a lobster and a bear – and lots of other creatures too. But why are they so familiar? In this celebration of imaginative play, a young child is surrounded and enriched by an extended and diverse family. Inclusive and playful, this is the ideal bedtime read.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Animal City - Nina journeys to a secret jungle city populated by animals, plants, and lost objects. The reason for her visit: story hour, where a book's power holds the wild in thrall. The animals are eager for stories about space, the sea, and other worlds. But their favorite story of all is the one told here: a story about a mysterious place, laden with legend and lore, and now overtaken by nature. Five Pantone colors infuse each illustrated spread with a vibrant, electric energy, making this powerful celebration of nature—and stories—as vivid visually as its narrative is engrossing.

  2. It Starts With a Seed - In gentle rhyme, It Starts With a Seed evocatively explores the growth of a tiny sycamore seed. Taking a journey through the seasons and years, we follow the seed as it transforms from a seedling to a sapling, then a young tree, until it becomes a large tree with its branches and roots filling the page. As the tree grows, it is joined by well-loved woodland creatures – squirrels and rabbits, butterflies and owls – who make it their home. Beautiful and evocative, It Starts With a Seed is a factual story that will touch children with its simple but enchanting message of life and growth.

  3. The Singing Rock and Other Brand-New Fairy Tales - A genie just wants a chance to grant a wish to the frog who accidentally let him out of his lamp—meanwhile, the frog just wants to be left alone. A witch is tormented by the cheerful (and awful) singing of a persistent bard, but when she finally snaps and turns him into a rock, he just keeps on singing —somehow the power of terrible music overcomes all magic. A wizard wants a pet. An ogre just wants to make beautiful art. Four original, wry, and utterly charming fairy tales comprise this new collection for young readers. With deft, lively text from Nathaniel Lachenmeyer and eye-popping, painterly art by Simini Blocker, The Singing Rock is the perfect read for kids who love a good yarn—and good comics!

  4. Delivery Bear - Zogby wants to work for Fluffy Tail Cookies as a delivery animal—but he’s a bear and all the other animals are cute bunnies. Zogby tries to pretend to be a bunny by wearing bunny ears, putting on whiskers, and adding a fluffy tail. But he still scares the customers! When Zogby realizes being himself is best, can he find a way to stand out and get the job?

Want to see even more books about imagination and animals?

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Books About Facing Fears & Imagination

On a Windy Night book
#1
On a Windy Night
Written by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by George Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

On a windy Halloween night, as a little boy makes his way home after trick-or-treating, he hears a voice: “Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours—if you look back.” As his heart flip-flops with fear, the boy dashes through woods and fields that seem full of haunting shapes—owls, ghosts, skeletons, and more. The detailed illustrations are packed with visual tricks for children to discover. Are those skeletons or cornstalks? Ghostly hands or tree branches? The playful tone of the text makes this a perfect, not-too-scary read-aloud, with an enjoyable surprise ending.

The Red Boat book
#2
The Red Boat
Written and illustrated by Hannah Cumming
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Posy is afraid of her new house and all the unknown that comes with it, but when she and her dog find a red boat in the garden, she imagines all kinds of adventures and gains confidence despite being the new kid.

Ella and Penguin Stick Together book
#3
Ella and Penguin Stick Together
Written by Megan Maynor and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sometimes all you need is a good friend to help you be brave. Ella has a surprise for Penguin—glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow, Ella and Penguin must be in the dark. And the dark is so . . . dark! If only they could see the stickers glow in the light—but that won't work. Soon Ella and Penguin find out that if they stick together, they can face anything. Megan Maynor's sweet and lively text, paired with Rosalinde Bonnet's irresistible illustrations, will have readers clamoring for more Ella and Penguin.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Tooth Monsters - The young girl at the centre of this charming and quirkily-illustrated story hates brushing her teeth and is terrified of the dentist; as far as she's concerned, there's no scarier monster. But when she meets a real monster in her bathroom, she learns how dentists are really heroes and brushing your teeth is very important - so important that even monsters do it!This inventive picture book is brimming with humour and imagination. Parent and child will love to read along together over and over again.

  2. Fish Are Not Afraid of Doctors - Maud the koala knows a visit to the doctor will help keep her healthy–so why is she so scared? Maud gets nervous waiting at the doctor’s office for a checkup, so she looks to the fish tank in the waiting room for comfort. Fish don’t have to go to the doctor–she wishes she could be a fish. So when Maud has to get a shot, she shuts her eyes and pretends exactly that: She becomes an aquatic version of herself and pretends to swim through the sea, blowing bubbles and meeting other marine life, until she hears the doctor telling her it’s all done!

  3. How to Catch a Monster - There's a monster in my closet, with claws, and teeth, and hair, and tonight, I'm going to scare him! He lives just right through there... Get ready to laugh as a young ninja heads into the closet to meet the monster that's been so scary night after night! But what if things aren't what they seem and our monster isn't scary at all? What if our ninja hero is about to make a friend of strangest sort? If you dare to travel beyond the closet door and into the land of the monsters... you might just find the very best reward of all. But with robots, lava pie, and a smattering of traps—catching monsters is no easy business! Is there a monster living in your closet? Are you brave enough to catch him? Parents and children will love sharing this fun and inventive picture book, which reminds us that things aren't always as scary as they seem.

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Books About Emotions & Imagination

Ella and Penguin Stick Together book
#1
Ella and Penguin Stick Together
Written by Megan Maynor and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sometimes all you need is a good friend to help you be brave. Ella has a surprise for Penguin—glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow, Ella and Penguin must be in the dark. And the dark is so . . . dark! If only they could see the stickers glow in the light—but that won't work. Soon Ella and Penguin find out that if they stick together, they can face anything. Megan Maynor's sweet and lively text, paired with Rosalinde Bonnet's irresistible illustrations, will have readers clamoring for more Ella and Penguin.

Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems book
#2
Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems
Written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hear thunder crash, feel your toes touch sand, and watch leaves drift softly away on a quiet stream. The simple poems in Breathe and Be help children learn mindfulness as they connect to the beauty of the natural world. Mindfulness teaches us how to stay calm, soothe our emotions, and appreciate the world around us. Whether we’re watching tiny colored fish darting in the water or exploring the leaves, branches, and roots of a towering tree, the thoughtful words and the lovely art of Breathe and Be remind us how much joy we can find by simply living with awareness and inner peace.

My Quiet Ship book
#3
My Quiet Ship
Written by Hallee Adelman and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Whenever the yelling in his house starts, Quinn runs to a special hiding place. There he becomes captain of the Quiet Ship, where he can get far, far away from the yelling that hurts his ears and makes him feel scared. But one day the Quiet Ship is broken and Quinn needs a new plan, one that requires him to be brave. A thoughtful treatment of a difficult topic, this story is for any child who faces fighting in the home.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Good Night, Wind - After working hard through the fall and winter, Wind is ready for a nap but after being turned away time and again he becomes angry.

  2. Grin & Bear it: The Wit and Wisdom of Corduroy - Adventurous, imaginative, and always optimistic, Corduroy offers up wit and wisdom that will bring a little bit of sunshine to readers of all ages. Since Corduroy’s first publication in 1968, this adventuresome stuffed animal has been delighting readers of all ages. Now America’s favorite teddy bear is here to share with you fifty years of his accumulated wit and wisdom, all in one adorable little book. Charming and inspirational, this is the perfect gift for graduation, or any other occasion when you might need a little confidence boost.

  3. In My Room - In her room, one little girl can be anything she wants to be and go anywhere she wishes to go, all with the power of her imagination (and paper, markers, and crayons, of course!). She can go on safari or sail the seven seas. She can be a doctor, teacher, or high-powered businesswoman. The sky’s the limit! And when the day is over, she can become a little girl again, safe in her room. Like the classic Where the Wild Things Are, this latest addition to the Growing Hearts series celebrates imagination as a means to try on different identities and work through difficult emotions, all while having fun.

Want to see even more books about imagination and emotions?

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