Best Kids Books About Inspired by classic literature

17 Kids Books About Inspired by classic literature

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
The Night Before Christmas book
#1
The Night Before Christmas
Written by Clement C Moore and illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

The original tale of The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore is now accompanied by enchanting illustrations from Antonio Caparo in this festive holiday picture book. ’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse… Since it was first published nearly 200 years ago “The Night Before Christmas” has enchanted readers young and old with the story of St. Nicholas landing on a snowy roof, climbing down the chimney, and filling all the stockings with gifts before riding off in his sleigh, wishing “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” This classic poem is now accompanied by stunning, richly detailed illustrations from Antonio Caparo, illustrator of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Rudolph Shines Again. This beautiful picture book is the perfect Christmas gift.

Black Beauty book
#2
Black Beauty
Written by Anna Sewell and illustrated by Ruth Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Discover the magic of Anna Sewell'sBlack Beautyin this picture book, retold and stunningly illustrated by Ruth Brown for the very youngest of horse lovers. Black Beauty's story improved the lives of horses all over the world. Seen through his own eyes, young horse lovers will be swept up in his incredible journey from a peaceful paddock to the streets of London. No matter what he encounters, nothing can break Black Beauty's spirit. 'A real treat for young horse-lovers' Irish Times

The Raven book
#3
The Raven
Written by David Pelham, Edgar Allan Poe and illustrated by Christopher Wormell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-18

Master paper engineer David Pelham amazes us once again with his pop-up design interpreting this haunting love story.

Mr. Wishing Went Fishing book
#4
Mr. Wishing Went Fishing
Written by Irma Wilde and illustrated by George Wilde
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Discover a treasure trove of beautifully illustrated books with our new series, G&D Vintage! Featuring books from our Wonder Books line originally published in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, there's something for every reader in these timeless stories accompanied by classic illustrations. Mr. Wishing decides to go fishing for a pet fish and finds Skipper, a perfect companion. But Skipper needs a friend! Mr. Wishing goes on another rowboat jaunt, but all he manages to catch are a starfish and a crab, which are not the ideal fish bowl companions for Skipper. Finally, Mr. Wishing brings home another fish, Flipper, and Skipper is happy as can be!

Wonderful, Wicked, and Whizzpopping book
#5
Wonderful, Wicked, and Whizzpopping
Written by Roald Dahl
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

An interactive introduction and fresh new look at Roald Dahl’s world and characters! A brilliant extension to Dahl’s wonderful stories, this book gives fascinating insights into the characters and events from Roald Dahl’s writing in a humorous, exciting and downright gloriumptious way. For the very first time, the stories behind the stories–like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, and more–are brought to life in this brand new title. Inside, Quentin Blake’s iconic illustrations are combined with imagined letters, artifacts and news clippings, and editing notes from Dahl himself, to bring all of Roald Dahl’s characters alive. Whether you have read all of Roald Dahl’s stories, or are just beginning to enjoy them, this is a great companion book that will help you delve even deeper into Roald Dahl’s worlds!

You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could book
#6
You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could
Written and illustrated by Jill Howarth, Charlie Hart, Watty Piper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The classic character that has inspired generations of children to believe in themselves will now inspire readers of every age in this book filled with encouraging words of wisdom. Everybody needs a little downtime for maintenance. There will always be obstacles you don't anticipate. Wake up ready for an adventure. The Little Engine That Could is one of the most popular and enduring children's stories of all time, and for more than eighty-five years, this classic character has encouraged readers to try their hardest to achieve their dreams. This story of determination and inspiration has now been reimagined in a charming, illustrated gift book that will speak to readers no matter what the age and no matter what the challenge. This is the perfect gift for graduation, and for everyone who may need to be reminded, "You Can!"

Winnie book
#7
Winnie
Written by Sally M. Walker and illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A picture book account of the true story that inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh classics follows the experiences of a World War I veterinarian and soldier who rescued a baby bear, made her his regiment's mascot and introduced her to Christopher Robin at the London Zoo.

Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates book
#8
Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates
Written by April Jones Prince and illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A fun and clever picture book retelling of Goldilocks—with pirates! Once upon a seaworthy sloop lived three pirates: the big, pilfering Papa, the medium-sized, menacing Mama, and the small, bonny Baby, a pirate-in-training. They were excellent pirates, but not very good housekeepers, so their gruel wasn't tasty, their stools weren't sturdy, and their hammocks weren't hung properly. Luckily for them, Goldenlocks happened along when they were out for a row in the harbor. April Jones Prince's rollicking text and Steven Salerno's swashbuckling paintings make Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates a first-rate adventure and a spirited take on Goldilocks.

The Sleeping Beauty book
#9
The Sleeping Beauty
Written by New York City Ballet and illustrated by Valeria Docampo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this stunning follow-up to the bestselling holiday classic The Nutcracker, The New York City Ballet presents another timeless tale for a modern ballet lover with The Sleeping Beauty. The New York City Ballet presents classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish, modern sensibility. This lavishly illustrated book follows the storyline, choreography, costumes, and sets of the New York City Ballet’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. With beautiful art illustrated by Valeria Docampo, this magnificent retelling is a perfect gift for an aspiring ballerina or any family who wants to add this enchanting fairy tale classic to their library.

Red book
#10
Red
Written and illustrated by Jed Alexander
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A wordless take on the classic tale, Little Red Riding Hood, in which the Big Bad Wolf and other woodland creatures are planning something surprising.

The Prince and the Porker book
#11
The Prince and the Porker
Written by Peter Bently and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Pignatius was passing the palace one day, when he saw ten fresh buns left to cool on a tray . . . When Pignatius sees fresh pastries cooling on the windowsill of the palace kitchen, he’s tempted to try them. Surely, the cook won’t miss just one. But Pignatius’s greed gets the better of him, and he eats all the buns before sneaking into the palace in search of more treats. Before long, he finds himself in the prince’s room trying on a wig and some clothes, and the servants mistake him for the real prince! When the actual prince returns, Pignatius fears the worst, but the prince saves Pignatius’s bacon instead. It turns out that the prince has always wanted a double to deal with a particularly frightening problem—his aunt Alice! This hilarious reimagining of Mark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper is sure to make kids laugh with its clever rhyming text and delicious, dessert-filled illustrations by New York Times bestselling illustrator David Roberts.

Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies book
#12
Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies
Written by Christian Trimmer and illustrated by Jessie Sima
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From Christian Trimmer and bestselling illustrator Jessie Sima comes an adorable and imaginative twist on the tale of Snow White…with lots more ponies! Sweet Snow Pony is loved by all for her beautiful coat as white as snow and her mane as black as ebony. Children come to her farm from all over just to have her braid their hair and teach them line dancing. But not everyone loves Snow Pony. Jealous Queenie hatches an evil plan to make Snow Pony run away from the stable by planting a trail of apples into the woods and before long Snow Pony is lost! Full of delicious apples but all alone in the woods, Snow Pony stumbles upon the home of seven miniature ponies. The mini-ponies couldn’t be cuter, especially with Snow Pony’s braids, but they don’t have quite the same moves as the kids back on the farm. Will her new friends help her find her way home? Or will the evil Queenie get her way?

Little Red Riding Sheep book
#13
Little Red Riding Sheep
Written by Linda Ravin Lodding and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The beloved classic, Little Red Riding Hood, has never had a cuter, more enthusiastic star than Arnold in this witty picture book that’s perfect for reading aloud. Arnold is an eager young sheep who is excited to be in his very first book. No problem-o! Except he’s a bit big and fluffy to play Little Red Riding Hood, and he’s a tiny bit scared of the deep dark woods. Oh, and he has a friend who would be just perfect as Granny…perhaps the author wouldn’t mind a few suggestions?

The Three Little Pugs book
#14
The Three Little Pugs
Written and illustrated by Nina Victor Crittenden
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Gordy, Jilly, and Zoie love to race, chase, and play pug-of-war. But most of all, they love snoozing in their big, cozy basket. Then one day just before their morning nap, the big bad cat decides to make himself at home in the pugs’ beloved basket! Will the pugs figure out how to keep him away before they get too sleepy?

Hamster Holmes, A Bit Stumped book
#15
Hamster Holmes, A Bit Stumped
Written by Albin Sadar and illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Hamster Holmes and his firefly sidekick, Dr. Watt, solve a colorful new mystery in this Level 2 Ready-to-Read story perfect for beginning readers! Hamster Holmes and his firefly sidekick, Dr. Watt, have a new case…and for the first time, Hamster Holmes is stumped. It all began when an owl named Rufus Feathers started to design a new tile patio for his house, and the yellow tiles went missing. The hardest part of this case? There is only one clue! Will this be the case that finally stumps Hamster Holmes and Dr. Watt?

Alice's Magic Garden: Before the Rabbit Hole . . . book
#16
Alice's Magic Garden: Before the Rabbit Hole . . .
Written by Henry Herz and illustrated by Natalie Hoopes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Curiouser and curiouser! In this imaginative prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice finds herself at a gray, dreary boarding school that is decidedly up the rabbit hole. From the relentless clocks to the beastly students, Alice’s world is void of color and cheer—until Alice finds a secret garden and begins tending its wilting inhabitants. When Alice’s love touches an ordinary caterpillar, a lorry bird, and a white rabbit, magical things will happen—and that, as you know, is just the beginning of the story. Filled with literary allusions and clever nods to its classic roots, Alice’s Magic Garden is a delightful prequel that begs an escape to the whimsy of Wonderland.

Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex book
#17
Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex
Written by Mo O'Hara and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex come from two very different families. Romeosaurus comes from a family of herbivores. Juliet Rex? Carnivores. Nobody is in too much danger until one evening the two dinosaurs meet at a Dinosaur Ball, where Juliet Rex’s family serves a delicious meal of . . . Romeosaurus’s aunt Gladys! This won’t do! Both families are up in arms! And these two young dinos won’t be able to be true friends until both families learn to tame their roaring appetites. But is it possible? With her knee-slapping take on Shakespeare, Mo O’Hara creates a delightfully funny spin on a classic tale for young audiences who love to learn and laugh, and beloved illustrator Andrew Joyner animates every scene with wit and flair.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.