100 books like Inside the Villains

By Clotilde Perrin,

Here are 100 books that Inside the Villains fans have personally recommended if you like Inside the Villains. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Bear's Song

Alison Farrell Author Of Cycle City: (City Books for Kids, Find and Seek Books)

From my list on for kids who delight in details.

Who am I?

From the ages of 1-4, my son Finn deeply rooted himself into the detailed world of Richard Scarry. These books could be such slow reads that we only needed two of them for long airplane rides. Through Finn’s love of Scarry books, I began searching for more books that delighted with detail. And when I did not see my family’s bicycle-rich lifestyle reflected in books, I created Cycle City.

Alison's book list on for kids who delight in details

Alison Farrell Why did Alison love this book?

Just as Papa Bear dozes off into hibernation, Little Bear’s mind buzzes with thoughts about honey. A bee guides Little Bear out of his cave in the forest, and into a city. When Papa Bear realizes Little Bear is missing, he immediately searches for his son. Find Papa Bear, Little Bear, beautiful architectural spaces, and quirky characters on each detail-packed spread. The first in a series, also check out: The Bear’s Sea Escape, The Bear’s Surprise, and Little Bear’s Big House.

By Benjamin Chaud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bear's Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A seek-and-find picture book about a little bear who awakes from his hibernation early to follow a bee - because where there are bees, there is honey. When the quest leads Little Bear into the big city and then a bustling Opera House, his father follows closely behind and theatrical hijinks ensue, ultimately leading to a harmonious reunion, not to mention an abundance of bees!


Book cover of The Birthday Cake Mystery

Alison Farrell Author Of Cycle City: (City Books for Kids, Find and Seek Books)

From my list on for kids who delight in details.

Who am I?

From the ages of 1-4, my son Finn deeply rooted himself into the detailed world of Richard Scarry. These books could be such slow reads that we only needed two of them for long airplane rides. Through Finn’s love of Scarry books, I began searching for more books that delighted with detail. And when I did not see my family’s bicycle-rich lifestyle reflected in books, I created Cycle City.

Alison's book list on for kids who delight in details

Alison Farrell Why did Alison love this book?

The characters in this visual mystery can be followed on each spread in a myriad of storylines that surprise and delight. With so many complex plots, in order to truly appreciate this book, re-reading is a must! Whose birthday is it? What is the mystery? Why is it so difficult to make a cake for the party? Fiascos and disasters abound, a classic illustration style that would keep detail-loving kids reading for hours.

By The Tjong-Khing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Birthday Cake Mystery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through a series of intricate illustrations, an animal village prepares for a birthday party and tries to solve the mystery of a stolen necklace.


Book cover of The Lost House: A Seek and Find Book

Alison Farrell Author Of Cycle City: (City Books for Kids, Find and Seek Books)

From my list on for kids who delight in details.

Who am I?

From the ages of 1-4, my son Finn deeply rooted himself into the detailed world of Richard Scarry. These books could be such slow reads that we only needed two of them for long airplane rides. Through Finn’s love of Scarry books, I began searching for more books that delighted with detail. And when I did not see my family’s bicycle-rich lifestyle reflected in books, I created Cycle City.

Alison's book list on for kids who delight in details

Alison Farrell Why did Alison love this book?

The Lost House takes readers on a seek-and-find quest through Grandad’s quirky house to recover items needed for a trip to the park. A chaotic visual delight, The Lost House features a vibrant limited color palette on each seek-and-find spread. Cronin charms the reader with unique characters, delightfully complex interiors, and a painterly style. The first in a series, also check out: The Lost Picnic, The Lost Cousins, and The Lost Christmas.

By B.B. Cronin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brother and sister want to go to the playground with their grandfather, but they can't leave until they find his socks...and his shoes...and his glasses...will they ever get out of Grandad's hodgepodge house? This treasure trove of a book by a brilliant debut author-illustrator prompts very young readers to search and find the missing object on each spread packed with Grandad's bric-a-brac.


Book cover of The World of Mamoko in the Year 3000

Alison Farrell Author Of Cycle City: (City Books for Kids, Find and Seek Books)

From my list on for kids who delight in details.

Who am I?

From the ages of 1-4, my son Finn deeply rooted himself into the detailed world of Richard Scarry. These books could be such slow reads that we only needed two of them for long airplane rides. Through Finn’s love of Scarry books, I began searching for more books that delighted with detail. And when I did not see my family’s bicycle-rich lifestyle reflected in books, I created Cycle City.

Alison's book list on for kids who delight in details

Alison Farrell Why did Alison love this book?

Welcome to the future in the city of Mamoko! A list of questions launches readers to discover a story about each seek-and-find character. What is strange about Otto Flash’s new jumper? Why is Amelia squeal so excited?  Inventive, cross-sectioned interiors and exteriors, a top-notch, delicious color palette. This book sparks future-curious imaginations. Also in this series: Welcome to Mamoko and The World of Mamoko in the Time of Dragons.

By Aleksandra Mizielinska, Daniel Mizielinski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World of Mamoko in the Year 3000 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

It’s the year 3000 in Mamoko, but what does the future hold? This is the second book in the revolutionary Mamoko series, in which the reader becomes the storyteller, sharing their discoveries as they use their eyes to uncover the cosmos of characters packed into every page!


Book cover of The Elves And The Shoemaker

Joni Hilton Author Of A Little Christmas Prayer

From my list on classic Christmas books.

Who am I?

I’ve written dozens of plays and books, always with heart and humor. If you love Christmas, you know that it can also be a frenzied time, so we all need to curl up on a cozy night and read Christmas stories to bring back the magic and generosity of this special holiday. I like well-told tales that reaffirm the love we know is so important, stories that will mean just as much a hundred years from now. And surprise endings are always a delight!

Joni's book list on classic Christmas books

Joni Hilton Why did Joni love this book?

Christmas is a wonderful time for magical tales that children love. In this one, a poor but good-hearted cobbler is rewarded for his honesty during the night, when clever elves sneak into his shop and make shoes for him to sell. It gives children the chance to imagine invisible helpers, and also the thrill of doing good deeds in secret.

By Grimm Brothers, Jim LaMarche,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Elves And The Shoemaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is the classic tale of elfin magic, loved by generations of children and made new by an artist of international acclaim. Jim LaMarche's stunning paintings, reminiscent of his earlier work in The Rainbabies, are the perfect compliment to this favorite Grimm fairy tale.


Book cover of Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold

Kimberly J. Lau Author Of Erotic Infidelities: Love and Enchantment in Angela Carter's the Bloody Chamber

From my list on fairy tale adaptations with verve and edge.

Who am I?

Long before I became a “fairy tale scholar,” I was keenly aware of the ways that fairy tales saturate our cultural landscape. Given their ubiquity, who isn’t? But my awareness was always a discomfiting one, an unnerving at the fairy tale’s insistent cheeriness; it was this unnerving that made me fall deeply in love with The Bloody Chamber, the collection that so beautifully flays the fairy tale to reveal its dark and sordid heart. In researching The Bloody Chamber, I saw ever more clearly that the fairy tale’s grim underbelly involves not only twisted ideas about gender and desire and love but also about race, and this discovery has motivated my research over the past decade.

Kimberly's book list on fairy tale adaptations with verve and edge

Kimberly J. Lau Why did Kimberly love this book?

Bolu Babalola’s Love in Color is, technically, more a collection of reimagined myths than a collection of retold fairy tales, but the stories are so richly and wonderfully rendered, so smart and edgy and beguiling, that it seems silly to privilege a strict genre definition over a powerful collection. Babalola is shameless in her embrace of love—indeed, she confesses that she loves love—and yet her contemporary takes on global myths trouble any easy ideas about love the reader might bring to the collection. Love, here, is messy, tangled, frightening, and—according to Babalola—worth the tribulations it inspires.

By Bolu Babalola,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love in Color as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

"Love stories by and about marginalized women . . . The heroines are strong and sure . . . Babalola’s writing shines.” — New York Times Book Review

"Absolutely intoxicating." — Casey McQuiston, New York Times bestselling author of Red, White, and Royal Blue and One Last Stop

A vibrant debut collection of love stories from the bestselling author of Honey and Spice, retelling myths, folktales, and histories from around the world.

A high-born Nigerian goddess, who has been beaten down and unappreciated by her gregarious lover, longs to be truly seen. A young businesswoman attempts a great…


Book cover of The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales

Chris Harris Author Of My Head Has a Bellyache: And More Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups

From my list on kids and grown-ups will laugh, gasp, and grin at.

Who am I?

Reading with your kid can be a delight, but it’s tough to find a book that both grown-up and child think is hysterical. I mean, I tried reading Catch-22 to my three-year-old, but for some reason the incisive social commentary just didn’t resonate with her. My kids and I both let out genuine chuckles and guffaws while reading all of these books—an experience that I treasured. These books are all giggly, snickery proof that you don’t have to dumb things down to appeal to a wide age range—a goal that I aim for myself in the children’s books and TV shows that I write. 

Chris' book list on kids and grown-ups will laugh, gasp, and grin at

Chris Harris Why did Chris love this book?

This is the book that made my kids’ heads explode (not literally—this book is perfectly safe (as far as I know)) as it helped them discover the idea of parody: taking something familiar and twisting it in a funny, unexpected way.

We rolled and lol’ed together as we read Jon’s wild, hysterical takes on old fairy tales. The non-twist twist ending to his take on the ugly duckling story is still a running joke in our family. Jon’s The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and The Real Dada Mother Goose are also great for the same reason.

By Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Stinky Cheese Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The entire book, with its unconventional page arrangement and eclectic, frenetic mix of text and pictures, is a spoof on the art of book design and the art of the fairy tale. The individual tales, such as The Really Ugly Duckling and Little Red Running Shorts, can be extracted for telling aloud, with great success. Another masterpiece from the team that created The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!
-Horn Book


Book cover of The Light Princess

Hester Velmans Author Of Slipper

From my list on forgotten fairy tales every adult should read.

Who am I?

At the age of seven, already a devoted bookworm, I came upon a large stack of early-20th century children's magazines filled with stories, poems, and especially fairy tales, some the classic kind, and some weird, scary or unfamiliar. I don't know where those dog-eared, well-thumbed annuals came from, or what happened to them afterward – they were lost or given away when our family moved, I suppose. But I have never forgotten them, or the effect they had on my imagination and longings. I've been searching for those long-lost tales ever since... and it finally led me to decide I would just have to write a few of my own.

Hester's book list on forgotten fairy tales every adult should read

Hester Velmans Why did Hester love this book?

The 19th-century Scottish writer George MacDonald is said to be the father of the modern fairy tale, inspiring C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and many others. I chose The Light Princess because I find it his most charming tale: it's about a princess under a wicked spell who has been made weightless, unable to obey the laws of gravity. As in all good fairy tales, a prince eventually comes along to drag her back down to earth. He must sacrifice himself for her, but in the end, it is she who rescues him – from a feminist perspective, a most gratifying conclusion.

By George MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Light Princess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

George MacDonald (1824-1905), the great nineteenth-century innovator of modern fantasy, influenced not only C. S. Lewis but also such literary masters as Charles Williams and J. R. R. Tolkien. Though his longer fairy tales Lilith and Phantastes are particularly famous, much of MacDonald’s best fantasy writing is found in his shorter stories. In this volume editor Glenn Sadler has compiled some of MacDonald’s finest short works―marvelous fairy tales and stories certain to delight readers familiar with MacDonald and those about to meet him for the first time.


Book cover of Bulfinch's Mythology

Hester Velmans Author Of Slipper

From my list on forgotten fairy tales every adult should read.

Who am I?

At the age of seven, already a devoted bookworm, I came upon a large stack of early-20th century children's magazines filled with stories, poems, and especially fairy tales, some the classic kind, and some weird, scary or unfamiliar. I don't know where those dog-eared, well-thumbed annuals came from, or what happened to them afterward – they were lost or given away when our family moved, I suppose. But I have never forgotten them, or the effect they had on my imagination and longings. I've been searching for those long-lost tales ever since... and it finally led me to decide I would just have to write a few of my own.

Hester's book list on forgotten fairy tales every adult should read

Hester Velmans Why did Hester love this book?

When I was young I devoured Bullfinch's Mythology from cover to cover. Looking back, I am amazed that I had the time and the devotion to read the whole 900-odd pages, which give short, matter-of-fact recaps of the Greek and Roman myths, as well as the legends of King Arthur and Charlemagne. You'll find these tales far more beautifully told in the original Ovid or Virgil versions, I suppose, but if you just want the facts, Ma'am, the who's who of it all, then this is a fine place to start.

By Thomas Bulfinch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bulfinch's Mythology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Legendary tales of myth and romance written so everyone can enjoy the stories!

Can’t keep all your gods and goddesses straight? Wondering about mythological references in classic literature? Bulfinch’s Mythology offers approachable accounts of ancient legends in a compilation of the works of Thomas Bulfinch, banker and Latinist. This volume includes all three of Bulfinch’s original titles: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and The Legends of Charlemagne. Bulfinch states his purpose for the book clearly: “Our work is not for the learned, nor for the theologian, nor for the philosopher, but for the reader of English literature...who…


Book cover of The Complete Fairy Tales

Paul Frank Spencer Author Of Marvelous Light

From my list on revealing God’s reality through metaphor.

Who am I?

My very intelligent, very (self-described) un-literary father taught me all about the complexities and beauty of God. My librarian mother gave me the literature that would introduce me to the most profound descriptions of those complex beauties. As the author of Marvelous Light, numerous metaphor-dependent blog posts, and future allegorical novels, I hope to introduce each of my readers to the divine realities on which I depend daily.

Paul's book list on revealing God’s reality through metaphor

Paul Frank Spencer Why did Paul love this book?

Lewis considered George MacDonald his spiritual father, having never met the man. He said that MacDonald introduced him to the gospel through his stories before he even knew that that’s what was happening. How? Metaphor. George MacDonald knew of God’s love more than most and did his best to share it with the world, deeply hidden in fairy tales, the kind of folklore that Lewis, Tolkien, and the rest of the Inklings loved so dearly.

By George MacDonald, U.C. Knoepflmacher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Fairy Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

George MacDonald occupied a major position in the intellectual life of his Victorian contemporaries. This volume brings together all eleven of his shorter fairy stories as well as his essay "The Fantastic Imagination". The subjects are those of traditional fantasy: good and wicked fairies, children embarking on elaborate quests, and journeys into unsettling dreamworlds. Within this familiar imaginative landscape, his children's stories were profoundly experimental, questioning the association of childhood with purity and innocence, and the need to separate fairy tale wonder from adult scepticism and disbelief.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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