The best children’s books to captivate the imagination with nature, whimsy, and humor

The Books I Picked & Why

Music for Mister Moon

By Phillip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead

Music for Mister Moon

Why this book?

The magical tale, Music for Mister Moon, is about a little girl named Harriet, who likes to be called Hank. She loves nothing more than to play her cello, alone. When her parents suggest how wonderful it would be to play in a big orchestra someday, she retreats into her room playing her cello. When the owl hoots outside her window she loses her temper and throws a teacup. And so begins her imaginative journey that tickles the reader's imagination. On Hank’s adventure with Mr. Moon, they encounter kind and thoughtful animals with a profound understanding of acceptance and giving. Each time I read this book, I can almost hear the music of the cello float out the window, the crash of the teacup, the smell of the smoke that fills the little house. Harriet’s emotional journey comes full circle with a most satisfying ending. A must-read, over and over. The pencil drawings and monoprint illustrations are sublime, humorous, and tender.


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Du Iz Tak?

By Carson Ellis

Du Iz Tak?

Why this book?

Du Iz Tak is probably the most creative picture book I have ever read! Ever! It is written in bug language. At first, it’s hard to understand what’s going on, but on careful study of the illustrations along with the dialogue, the story unfolds. This book is perfect for pre-readers because the story is told through the illustrations. It’s so fun to read aloud and try to figure out what the bugs are saying. My favorite sentence in the book is, "Unk scrivadelly gladdenboot!" So fun to say. You will have to get the book so you can figure out the meaning. The bright, flat colors and graphic depiction of the bug world are filled with intricate and entertaining details.


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The Green Umbrella

By Jackie Azusa Kramer, Maral Sassouni

The Green Umbrella

Why this book?

The cover illustrations for The Green Umbrella captivated my attention. It shows a playful elephant holding a green umbrella floating in the rain, jumping through puddles. The world that elephant lives in feels both foreign and familiar. On his rainy day walk, he encounters a hedgehog, cat, bear, rabbit, who all claim the green umbrella as their own. Each of them using it for a delightfully inventive purpose. As in all great kids' books, the message of sharing is tenderly disguised. The painted collage illustrations are textured with gorgeous details.


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Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book

By Britta Teckentrup

Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book

Why this book?

This book contains so many qualities that I adore in a children’s book. The illustrations are rich, textured landscapes filled with expressive animals and a die-cut of the moon on every spread. On each page turn, it shows the changing moon phases. The perfect rhythm, luscious word choice, and spot-on rhyme make it a pleasure to read aloud. Besides the beautiful aesthetic quality of this book, it also contains an abundance of information about animals and nature and how they relate to the moon. A gorgeous and interesting book.


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Art & Max

By David Wiesner

Art & Max

Why this book?

Art and Max is one of my favorite picture books because it contains humor, knowledge, great characters, and imagination. David Weisner is a master at capturing expression and pushing the limits of the imagination to amuse and surprise the reader. Art is a serious artist reptile, Max is an overexcited literal lizard that wants to learn to paint. He is a serious annoyance to Art. When Art finally agrees to let him paint, confusion on what to paint explodes into a mess. Each art mishap resembles famous artist styles and techniques. It’s a funny, clever, and imaginative book that both children and adults enjoy.


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