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58 Refreshing Picture Books About Rescue

Updated Jan. 19, 2019

Top 10 Rescue Books

Madeline's Rescue book
#1
Madeline's Rescue
Written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines the smallest one was Madeline.” Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not even mice. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers even after 75 years! When Madeline falls into the river Seine and nearly drowns, a courageous canine comes to her rescue. Now Genevieve the dog is Madeline’s cherished pet, and the envy of all the other girls. What can be done when there’s just not enough hound to go around?

Rocket Shoes book
#2
Rocket Shoes
Written by Sharon Skinner and illustrated by Ward Jenkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Jose dreams of flying. So he buys some rocket shoes and jets into the atmosphere. But all those spins, kicks, and airborne tricks cause such a ruckus that the mayor bans the shoes. Then, during a terrible snowstorm, Jose hears a cry: his neighbor's in danger--and he can only help her if he flies. Will Jose dare to break the rules and save the day?

Stuck book
#3
Stuck
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the illustrator of the #1 smash The Day the Crayons Quit comes another bestseller–a giggle-inducing tale of everything tossed, thrown, and hurled in order to free a kite! When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he’s determined to get it out. But how? Well, by knocking it down with his shoe, of course. But strangely enough, it too gets stuck. And the only logical course of action . . . is to throw his other shoe. Only now it’s stuck! Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. An orangutan? A boat? His front door? Yes, yes, and yes. And that’s only the beginning. Stuck is Oliver Jeffers’ most absurdly funny story since The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. Childlike in concept and vibrantly illustrated as only Oliver Jeffers could, here is a picture book worth rescuing from any tree.

Elecopter book
#4
Elecopter
Written and illustrated by Michael Slack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A chant-along companion to Monkey Truck features a heroic, fire-fighting elephant who bravely patrols the skies above the Savannah with her fire-hose nose, putting out fires and rescuing her fellow animals.

The Storm Whale in Winter book
#5
The Storm Whale in Winter
Written and illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this sequel to The Storm Whale, the boy, Noi, is caught in a storm at sea and his whale friend comes to his rescue. When Noi's dad sails out on one last fishing trip before winter, Noi waits for him at home. But as the storm worsens and his dad does not return, Noi decides to go looking for his dad. But the storm is powerful and dangerous, and soon Noi, too, is stuck in the icy sea. When it seems that all hope is lost, a friend comes to help Noi and his father. Poignant and evocative, this is a beautiful celebration of friendship and family, and the special bond between a father and son.

Turtle Tug to the Rescue book
#6
Turtle Tug to the Rescue
Written and illustrated by Michael Slack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Turtle Tug is on the lookout! This chugging, tugging turtle powers through gusty winds and treacherous tides, combing the seas to protect his friends from a dangerous storm. From panicking puffins to entangled sperm whales, Turtle Tug is out to rescue all his sea-dwelling friends. He's a turtle tugboat on a mission to make the world a safer place.

Otis book
#7
Otis
Written and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Meet Otis, everyone’s favorite tractor, created by the bestselling illustrator of Love by Matt de la Pena and The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper New York Times bestselling author/artist Loren Long creates an unforgettable children’s classic. Otis is a special tractor. He loves his farmer and he loves to work. And he loves the little calf in the next stall, whom he purrs to sleep with his soft motor. In fact, the two become great friends: they play in the fields, leap hay bales, and play ring-around-the-rosy by Mud Pond. But when Otis is replaced with the big yellow tractor, he is cast away behind the barn, unused, unnoticed . . . until the little calf gets stuck in Mud Pond. Then there is only one tractor—and it’s not big or yellow—who can come to the rescue. It is little old Otis who saves his friend. It is Otis who saves the day. In a wonderful new palette, and in the tradition of classics like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Story of Ferdinand, Loren Long has crafted an unforgettable new story—and character—celebrating the power of friendship and perseverance.

Sam & Eva book
#8
Sam & Eva
Written and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Viking Myths: Volume Two book
#9
Viking Myths: Volume Two
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Journey to the frozen north for this second spellbinding anthology of Viking myths! Enter the world of Norse mythology, where you'll find sea monsters, shape-changers, dark forests, and cunning, gold-hoarding underground dwarves. This second volume of Viking tales features more fantastical, entrancing adventures, including Thor's journey in the land of the giants, and Ragnarok, the apocalyptic battle of the gods, retold in a way that will engage very young readers. Different illustrators bring their distinctive styles to each story.

Little Pig Saves the Ship book
#10
Little Pig Saves the Ship
Written and illustrated by David Hyde Costello
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Little Pig is back in Little Pig Saves the Ship! When the sea-faring pigs go a-sailing! Intrepid Little Pig — still the littlest pig in the family — is too little to go to summer camp with his older brothers and sisters. He is left behind with Grandpa and Poppy. Little Pig and Poppy make and sail a toy ship all week, but on Saturday a gusty wind takes the ship into the current, and Little Pig has to use his newfound knot-tying skills to save the day. A sweetly told intergenerational story about how even the littlest can make a big difference.

Books About Dogs & Rescue

Madeline's Rescue book
#1
Madeline's Rescue
Written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines the smallest one was Madeline.” Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not even mice. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers even after 75 years! When Madeline falls into the river Seine and nearly drowns, a courageous canine comes to her rescue. Now Genevieve the dog is Madeline’s cherished pet, and the envy of all the other girls. What can be done when there’s just not enough hound to go around?

The Firefighter book
#2
The Firefighter
Written by Jenny Goebel and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Brr-ring! Up pops a fireman at the sound of the fire station alarm, and he rushes with his crew to put out a house fire in a nearby neighborhood. The family is safe, but one of their Dalmatian puppies is missing! It’s up to the brave fireman to rescue the pup from the burning house—and in the process, he finds himself a new firehouse friend.

Found book
#3
Found
Written by Jeff Newman and illustrated by Larry Day
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A wordless picture book about what we lose, what we find, and what we give back. Jenn’s beloved dog was lost sometime ago. Long enough that she has given up the search. But she still misses her friend. One day she finds a lost dog. She takes him in and despite a rocky start, she grows to love him. Until she spots his picture on a missing poster. His name is Roscoe, and he’s someone else’s best friend. Jenn knows she should return Roscoe, but she really doesn’t want to. Will Jenn do the right thing? Or will she keep this new dog she’s grown to love so much?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ladybug Girl at the Beach - It is preschooler Lulu’s first time at the beach and she needs to conquer her fear of the ocean in this hardcover picture book from the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series. Lulu has never been to the beach but she knows she is going to love it…until she sees just how big and loud the ocean is. She and her dog Bingo decide that they will make sandcastles, fly kites, and get ice cream instead of swimming. But then the ocean waves snatch Lulu’s favorite pail. This is a job for Ladybug Girl! When Lulu is Ladybug Girl, she is brave and nothing can stop her from rescuing her pail – and suddenly she is in the ocean and it is fun! This story is the perfect preparation for a first beach vacation, or to explore a new experience with a preschooler. Mama and Papa are never far away while Ladybug Girl builds up her courage and confronts something scary for the first time. For fans of Fancy Nancy and Angelina Ballerina, the Ladybug Girl series honors courage, creativity, and a love of nature!

  2. Little Dog Lost - On a cold winter day, a curious dog wanders onto a frozen river. Suddenly, the ice starts breaking up, and soon the dog is adrift and traveling -- the unwilling passenger on a fast-moving sheet of ice. The dramatic rescue of this little lost dog, who traveled seventy-five miles in two days, is a true story that will warm reader's hearts. Monica Carnesi's poignant text and charming illustrations perfectly convey the excitement of this remarkable tale, and readers will root for this little dog every step of the way.

  3. Operation Rescue Dog - This sweet story about a girl named Alma and a stray dog named Lulu shows how a girl and a dog can rescue each other. Lulu’s ears flap in the wind as the rescue truck rolls into the lot. Lulu’s tail thumps— Everything smells . . . new. Lulu sleeps under the moon, drinking from mud puddles and is covered in ticks until she is rescued. She waits for the Operation Rescue Dog truck, scared and uncertain. Alma misses her Mami, who is far away in Iraq. Alma wears Mami's scarf around her like a hug. She wonders: Can a dog feel like a hug? In this heartwarming and moving picture book, a lonely child and a lonely dog come together and find warmth, companionship, and love in each other.

  4. Out! - After a long day, everyone is ready to settle down—except the baby. When Jo Jo, the family dog, checks on him, she discovers this baby wants OUT. Escaping his crib, he sets off on a nighttime romp, leaving a trail of domestic destruction in his wake. It's up to Jo Jo to keep the baby safe—but what happens when things start to get a little OUT of control?

Want to see even more books about rescue and dogs?

How about books about dogs?

Books About Friendship & Rescue

The Storm Whale in Winter book
#1
The Storm Whale in Winter
Written and illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this sequel to The Storm Whale, the boy, Noi, is caught in a storm at sea and his whale friend comes to his rescue. When Noi's dad sails out on one last fishing trip before winter, Noi waits for him at home. But as the storm worsens and his dad does not return, Noi decides to go looking for his dad. But the storm is powerful and dangerous, and soon Noi, too, is stuck in the icy sea. When it seems that all hope is lost, a friend comes to help Noi and his father. Poignant and evocative, this is a beautiful celebration of friendship and family, and the special bond between a father and son.

Turtle Tug to the Rescue book
#2
Turtle Tug to the Rescue
Written and illustrated by Michael Slack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Turtle Tug is on the lookout! This chugging, tugging turtle powers through gusty winds and treacherous tides, combing the seas to protect his friends from a dangerous storm. From panicking puffins to entangled sperm whales, Turtle Tug is out to rescue all his sea-dwelling friends. He's a turtle tugboat on a mission to make the world a safer place.

The Snail And the Whale book
#3
The Snail And the Whale
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a tiny snail meets a humpback whale, the two travel together to far-off lands. It’s a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before. But when the whale swims too close to shore, will the snail be able to save her new friend?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Operation Rescue Dog - This sweet story about a girl named Alma and a stray dog named Lulu shows how a girl and a dog can rescue each other. Lulu’s ears flap in the wind as the rescue truck rolls into the lot. Lulu’s tail thumps— Everything smells . . . new. Lulu sleeps under the moon, drinking from mud puddles and is covered in ticks until she is rescued. She waits for the Operation Rescue Dog truck, scared and uncertain. Alma misses her Mami, who is far away in Iraq. Alma wears Mami's scarf around her like a hug. She wonders: Can a dog feel like a hug? In this heartwarming and moving picture book, a lonely child and a lonely dog come together and find warmth, companionship, and love in each other.

  2. The Little I Who Lost His Dot - Little i can't wait to meet his friends at school, but there's just one problem: he can't find his dot anywhere? Each letter offers a replacement--an acorn from Little a, a balloon from Little b, a clock from Little c--but nothing seems quite right. Adorable illustrations teach alphabet letters and sounds with a surprising and satisfying ending to Little i's search.

  3. The Lonely Shadow - Award winning author/illustrator Clay Rice has created a beautifully poetic tale about a boy's shadow who has lost his boy and goes in search for him. "I have no you, you have no me, you and me we have no we, but if I find you and you find me, happy we will always be." The Lonely Shadow sings a universal song. Clay Rice brings the shadow to life and allows us to take a journey with him in search of something, someone who connects with him. It's a story of longing, a story of discovery, a story of friendship.

  4. Pony in the City - Otis wants to know about the kids who ride at his stables. Do they sleep in stalls? Do they also get brushed and braided? The older ponies ignore his questions, so Otis heads to the city to see for himself. And he finds answers, but he gets lost, too . . . until some of his favorite friends come to the rescue. Kids will relate to this sweet story about an adorable, inquisitive little pony.

Want to see even more books about rescue and friendship?

How about books about friendship?

Books About Boats & Rescue

Turtle Tug to the Rescue book
#1
Turtle Tug to the Rescue
Written and illustrated by Michael Slack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Turtle Tug is on the lookout! This chugging, tugging turtle powers through gusty winds and treacherous tides, combing the seas to protect his friends from a dangerous storm. From panicking puffins to entangled sperm whales, Turtle Tug is out to rescue all his sea-dwelling friends. He's a turtle tugboat on a mission to make the world a safer place.

Little Pig Saves the Ship book
#2
Little Pig Saves the Ship
Written and illustrated by David Hyde Costello
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Little Pig is back in Little Pig Saves the Ship! When the sea-faring pigs go a-sailing! Intrepid Little Pig — still the littlest pig in the family — is too little to go to summer camp with his older brothers and sisters. He is left behind with Grandpa and Poppy. Little Pig and Poppy make and sail a toy ship all week, but on Saturday a gusty wind takes the ship into the current, and Little Pig has to use his newfound knot-tying skills to save the day. A sweetly told intergenerational story about how even the littlest can make a big difference.

Mighty Tug book
#3
Mighty Tug
Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by David Mottram
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From early in the morning until time to say, "Good night," Mighty Tug works in the busy harbor, guiding cargo ships, pulling barges, and helping with rescues.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Little Dog Lost - On a cold winter day, a curious dog wanders onto a frozen river. Suddenly, the ice starts breaking up, and soon the dog is adrift and traveling -- the unwilling passenger on a fast-moving sheet of ice. The dramatic rescue of this little lost dog, who traveled seventy-five miles in two days, is a true story that will warm reader's hearts. Monica Carnesi's poignant text and charming illustrations perfectly convey the excitement of this remarkable tale, and readers will root for this little dog every step of the way.

  2. Seven Bad Cats - Today I put on my boots and my coat And seven bad cats jumped into my boat. There was one bad cat Who ate from my traps And two bad cats On my oars taking naps Seven cats anywhere is probably too many. Seven BAD cats, all in one boat, is asking for trouble... When a band of bad cats stow away on a little girl's boat, their antics cause the vessel to capsize. Can they come to their captain's rescue and help get the boat safely to shore?

Want to see even more books about rescue and boats?

How about books about boats?

Books About Vehicles & Rescue

Otis book
#1
Otis
Written and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Meet Otis, everyone’s favorite tractor, created by the bestselling illustrator of Love by Matt de la Pena and The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper New York Times bestselling author/artist Loren Long creates an unforgettable children’s classic. Otis is a special tractor. He loves his farmer and he loves to work. And he loves the little calf in the next stall, whom he purrs to sleep with his soft motor. In fact, the two become great friends: they play in the fields, leap hay bales, and play ring-around-the-rosy by Mud Pond. But when Otis is replaced with the big yellow tractor, he is cast away behind the barn, unused, unnoticed . . . until the little calf gets stuck in Mud Pond. Then there is only one tractor—and it’s not big or yellow—who can come to the rescue. It is little old Otis who saves his friend. It is Otis who saves the day. In a wonderful new palette, and in the tradition of classics like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Story of Ferdinand, Loren Long has crafted an unforgettable new story—and character—celebrating the power of friendship and perseverance.

Otis and the Kittens book
#2
Otis and the Kittens
Written and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

On the farm where Otis the tractor lives, it hasn’t rained in a long time and farmers all over the valley have grown anxious with water in such short supply. One hot afternoon, when Otis and his friends are resting beneath the shade of the apple tree, Otis spots something moving down in the valley—an orange tabby cat headed straight for the old barn. But then Otis sees something else that causes his engine to sputter . . . a swirl of smoke coming from the same barn. A fire! As Otis races toward the fire with his friends in tow, he spots the tabby cat mewing in alarm. Otis rushes inside to discover the source of the cat’s worries–her little kittens are perched up on the hayloft, scared. Otis never hesitates. Yet even after he delivers a tractor full of kittens safely outside, their mama remains upset. Re-entering the burning barn, Otis discovers why: one tiny kitten, still too scared to move. With a friendly chuff, Otis coaxes her down and she scampers out the door. That’s when the floor collapses with a CRASH, trapping the tractor. Now Otis, the friend everyone can count on, must count on his friends. Told with a sense of play and devotion, this is a heartwarming tale that reminds readers that sometimes even those who we count on to help us need a little help themselves. From the creator of Otis, Otis and the Puppy, and the illustrator of The Little Engine That Could and Of Thee I Sing by President Barack Obama.

Mighty Tug book
#3
Mighty Tug
Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by David Mottram
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From early in the morning until time to say, "Good night," Mighty Tug works in the busy harbor, guiding cargo ships, pulling barges, and helping with rescues.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Dog on a Digger - Dog likes to ride along while his human companion works the big excavator at the construction site. But today, when they stop at the snack bar for something to eat, Dog’s little puppy friend goes missing. Luckily, Dog has a brave and ingenious idea for coming to the rescue — with the help of the excavator, of course! Incorporating bright yellow accents, Kate Prendergast’s wonderfully detailed pencil drawings tell a satisfying story of a loyal, resourceful, and clever pup. Two perennial favorites — canines and heavy machinery — come together in a charming wordless book sure to please readers of all ages.

  2. Farmer John's Tractor - When the river floods and a family is trapped in their car, will Farmer John's rusty, trusty tractor save the day?

Want to see even more books about rescue and vehicles?

How about books about vehicles?

Books About Adventure & Rescue

Viking Myths: Volume Two book
#1
Viking Myths: Volume Two
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Journey to the frozen north for this second spellbinding anthology of Viking myths! Enter the world of Norse mythology, where you'll find sea monsters, shape-changers, dark forests, and cunning, gold-hoarding underground dwarves. This second volume of Viking tales features more fantastical, entrancing adventures, including Thor's journey in the land of the giants, and Ragnarok, the apocalyptic battle of the gods, retold in a way that will engage very young readers. Different illustrators bring their distinctive styles to each story.

Quest book
#2
Quest
Written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A king emerges from a hidden door in a city park, startling two children sheltering from the rain. No sooner does he push a map and some strange objects into their hands than he is captured by hostile forces that whisk him back through the enchanted door. Just like that, the children are caught up in a quest to rescue the king and his kingdom from darkness, while illuminating the farthest reaches of their imagination. Colored markers in hand, they make their own way through the portal, under the sea, through a tropical paradise, over a perilous bridge, and high in the air with the help of a winged friend. Journey lovers will be thrilled to follow its characters on a new adventure threaded with familiar elements, while new fans will be swept into a visually captivating story that is even richer and more exhilarating than the first.

A Con Artist in Paris book
#3
A Con Artist in Paris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

While in Paris, France, Frank and Joe Hardy witness an elaborate fireworks display that was set off to conceal the theft of a priceless artifact.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Yikes!: In Seven Wild Adventures, Who Would You Be? - Packed with eccentric characters and scenes of wild adventure, this funny and exciting book for young readers is by favourite author-illustrator Alison Lester. Who would you be? On a Stormy Night at Sea, in the Wild West, under the Big Top, in the Frozen North, in a Transylvanian Castle, beyond the Milky Way, in a Steaming Jungle… Choose a character, turn the page and find out what happens! An exciting book of wild adventures from Alison Lester, beloved by Australian families for over twenty-five years.

  2. Last Viking Returns The - Josh is as brave as a Viking warrior. And not much can scare a Viking. Not even bullies. But the two littlest Vikings are so fearless they think they’re invincible. When Pop takes the family to Viking World, the two littlest Vikings go berserk. Josh is in for one rocky ride as he discovers just how far he’ll go to keep them safe.

  3. Pony in the City - Otis wants to know about the kids who ride at his stables. Do they sleep in stalls? Do they also get brushed and braided? The older ponies ignore his questions, so Otis heads to the city to see for himself. And he finds answers, but he gets lost, too . . . until some of his favorite friends come to the rescue. Kids will relate to this sweet story about an adorable, inquisitive little pony.

  4. How to Knit a Monster - Greta the goat is a wonderfully accomplished knitter. She can even knit little goats and turn them loose to play around her feet. But when she gets distracted from her knitting, threatening creatures spring from her needles, each more menacing than the last. It takes quick thinking, courage, and brilliant knitting for Greta to find her way out of a perilous situation. In this whimsical story, creativity and craft empower our heroine to restore her safety . . . as long as she pays attention to what is growing on her knitting needles!

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