100 books like Over the Under, and Around the Square

By Craig Kunce,

Here are 100 books that Over the Under, and Around the Square fans have personally recommended if you like Over the Under, and Around the Square. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Where the Wild Things Are

Jane Yolen Author Of Giant Island

From my list on kids and mythical creatures.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hello! I am Jane Yolen, author of almost 450 books. I write picture books and novels, poetry, and graphic novels–mostly for children. I have published books about just about every subject imaginable. But I’ve always loved fantasy books especially. I grew up on the Alice in Wonderland books and the Arthurian legends. I, of course, carried that love into my writing life–having written about monsters, mermaids, and unicorns. I’m fascinated by fairies; they show up in a lot of what I write. Give me a real kid and a mythical creature of some sort, sprinkle in a bit of magicI’m in! 

Jane's book list on kids and mythical creatures

Jane Yolen Why did Jane love this book?

There is no doubt that this book is the classic example of a real kid with fantasy creatures. Not the first, but the one I return to over and over again. The first time I read it, I thought, “drat! Why didn’t I write this book?”

Not only is the story multi-layered, it is a story that reads like a poem and it has an unforgettable last line. 

By Maurice Sendak,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Where the Wild Things Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Read-along with the story in this book and CD edition!

One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him 'Wild Thing' and sends him to bed without his supper.

That night a forest begins to grow in Max's room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins.

But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet,…


Book cover of The Velveteen Rabbit

Aviva Gittle Author Of Kitten & Butterfly

From my list on kid’s picture books about unusual friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am pathologically allergic to “message” books. As the former host of The Gittle List contest for self-published authors, I’ve read hundreds of children’s books. Many were “tell, not show” books. Stories with phrases like “we all should respect each other’s differences” rather than showing characters respecting each other’s differences. My recommended books are, at least in part, about diversity. Like my own book series, they demonstrate diversity through unusual friendships. Showing how characters work out their differences by learning about each other and finding ways to get along. A good story can change hearts and minds when characters carry the message–not beat readers over the head with it.

Aviva's book list on kid’s picture books about unusual friendships

Aviva Gittle Why did Aviva love this book?

I love children’s books that provide lessons for both kids and adults.

The salient friendship is not between the stuffed rabbit and the boy but between the stuffed rabbit and another toy—the Skin Horse. The life lessons for adults are revealed mainly through the discussions between the Velveteen Rabbit and the Skin Horse. About love, loss, aging, and what true love truly means. Pay close attention to the part where the Skin Horse, old and wise, explains what it means to be “real.” 

I recognized myself as one of those people who “breaks easily” or has “to be carefully kept.” Life altered this, but this book raised my awareness. Published in 1922, some of the language is old-fashioned, but I find that makes it more charming. 

By Margery Williams, Charles Santore (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Velveteen Rabbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The beloved story of the Velveteen Rabbit, the toy rabbit made real by the love of a boy, is now available in a beautiful Little Apple Classic book.

Originally published in 1922, the classic story of a toy rabbit who loves a boy so much he eventually becomes real, has charmed children-and adults-for nearly a century. Author Margery Williams wrote this treasured classic that has warmed many hearts for decades. This story is among the top 100 books for children recommended by the National Education Association, chosen in a 2007 online poll, and also won the IRA/CBC Children's Choice award.…


Book cover of The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh

Aviva Gittle Author Of Kitten & Butterfly

From my list on kid’s picture books about unusual friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am pathologically allergic to “message” books. As the former host of The Gittle List contest for self-published authors, I’ve read hundreds of children’s books. Many were “tell, not show” books. Stories with phrases like “we all should respect each other’s differences” rather than showing characters respecting each other’s differences. My recommended books are, at least in part, about diversity. Like my own book series, they demonstrate diversity through unusual friendships. Showing how characters work out their differences by learning about each other and finding ways to get along. A good story can change hearts and minds when characters carry the message–not beat readers over the head with it.

Aviva's book list on kid’s picture books about unusual friendships

Aviva Gittle Why did Aviva love this book?

I love books that show children (and adults) how to get along with others who look and live differently from them.

The relationships in the Pooh stories go well beyond a bear and a boy. The other characters are more than just different animals—each has a unique personality. There are many Pooh picture books to choose from, but I like the classic version.

I was thinking of Winnie-The-Pooh when I wrote my series. Not the specific stories or characters but the tone of the stories and the feelings they evoke. As a child, the Pooh stories fostered curiosity, calmness, and kindness. Read any Pooh story and see if you, too, feel the zen.

By A. A. Milne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

This exquisite, deluxe edition contains the complete illustrated texts of both Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. In full-color and featuring a satin ribbon marker, it is the perfect gift and a cornerstone of every family's bookshelf.

Since 1926, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends-Piglet, Owl, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, and the ever doleful Eeyore-have endured as the unforgettable creations of A. A. Milne, who wrote two books of Pooh's adventures for his son, Christopher Robin, and Ernest H. Shepard, who lovingly gave them shape through his iconic and beautiful illustrations.

These characters and their stories are timeless treasures of childhood that…


Book cover of Ishkabibble Unafraid

Aviva Gittle Author Of Kitten & Butterfly

From my list on kid’s picture books about unusual friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am pathologically allergic to “message” books. As the former host of The Gittle List contest for self-published authors, I’ve read hundreds of children’s books. Many were “tell, not show” books. Stories with phrases like “we all should respect each other’s differences” rather than showing characters respecting each other’s differences. My recommended books are, at least in part, about diversity. Like my own book series, they demonstrate diversity through unusual friendships. Showing how characters work out their differences by learning about each other and finding ways to get along. A good story can change hearts and minds when characters carry the message–not beat readers over the head with it.

Aviva's book list on kid’s picture books about unusual friendships

Aviva Gittle Why did Aviva love this book?

Have you ever listened to a song that was just okay? But after hearing it several times, it grew on you? This is a book that I originally gave a 4-star review. But then I read it a few times more. Then I read it aloud. I just updated the review to 5 stars.

It’s a fun rhyming story about the assumptions we make about others—often based on bad information. Kids will enjoy a very humorous story about a monster who fears “hue-mans” who befriends a boy who fears monsters. Adults will have discovered a book about diversity with awesome illustrations that can be read on demand repeatedly without going insane.

By Cindi Handley Goodeaux, Jack Foster (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ishkabibble Unafraid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ishkabibble is a monster afraid of the sound in his closet. When he meets a human afraid of monsters, is there really anything to be afraid of after all? Ishkabibble is a fun rhyming story about overcoming fears and making new friends.


Book cover of Can I Play Too?

Andrew Wald Author Of A Surprising Friendship

From my list on friendship and diversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychotherapist working with individuals and couples since 1974 and have had over 57,000 sessions. How people relate to one another has been a fascination of mine since I was a youngster growing up in a suburb of Chicago. I believe that we are “wired” for relationships of all kinds and it takes a conscious effort to see the best in each other for them to thrive. Differences can be the spice of a relationship, not the division of them. My book, my practice, and my life focuses on those concepts. In 2012, I co-authored a popular book on relationships, Togetherness: Creating and Deepening Sustainable Love.

Andrew's book list on friendship and diversity

Andrew Wald Why did Andrew love this book?

This simple, sweet, picture book, like others in the Elephant and Piggy series, deals with different animals who are trying to solve a problem together. I liked the book because it portrays how differences don’t matter when you care about another. To show how differences can be overcome and not be reasons to divide is wonderful, especially when the concept is shown to the very young reader.

By Mo Willems,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Can I Play Too? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Perfect for children just learning to read, this highly original book is told entirely in speech bubbles with a repetitive use of familiar phrases. From the award-winning author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In Can I Play Too? Gerald and Piggie meet a new friend, Snake, who wants to join in a game of catch. But don't you need arms to catch...? Mo Willems creates another hilarious escapade starring the…


Book cover of Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

This very engaging, well-written (and weighty!) book shares Harry Green’s personal experiences with snakes, along with an overview of the history, biology, and wide range of snakes—from their unique lifestyles and diet to their behavior and amazing adaptations to living in so many different environments on land, under the earth, in the seas and water, and even gliding through the air.

The text is complemented by color images of many different snake species by internationally-known nature photographers Michael and Patricia Fogden. Overall, an excellent resource for all things Snake!  

By Harry W. Greene, Michael Fogden (photographer), Patricia Fogden (photographer)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a book about some of nature's most alluring and forbidding creatures, written by a man with an abiding passion for snakes, as well as for science, the fate of the planet, and the wonder of life. Harry Greene presents every facet of the natural history of snakes--their diversity, evolution, and conservation--and at the same time makes a personal statement of why these animals are so compelling. This book provides an up-to-date summary of the biology of snakes on a global basis. Eight chapters are devoted to general biology topics, including anatomy, feeding, venoms, predation and defense, social behavior,…


Book cover of Animal Kingdom

Kayla E. Green Author Of Aivan: The One Truth

From my list on clean fantasy books featuring animal companions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my childhood, my mother repeated the mantra, “Love your own, leave others alone.” Her purpose was to prevent me and my siblings from begging to keep every animal we saw. Arguably, the phrase had some impact because we obviously didn’t bring home every animal. (But we also adopted a opossum from the backyard and named him Mr. Jenkins, so you be the judge.) For as long as I can remember, I have loved finding fantasy adventure books that feature the animals I love so much as trusted companions. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I do!

Kayla's book list on clean fantasy books featuring animal companions

Kayla E. Green Why did Kayla love this book?

Do you love animals and seeing them within stories but sometimes just want something shorter than a full-length novel?

Then check out Animal Kingdom, a Havok anthology that includes 48 pieces of flash fiction (1000 words or less). Every piece features an animal and celebrates animal and human connections. Several pieces are fantasy, but (bonus) the collection also includes stories for fans of science fiction, thriller, mystery, and humor.

Pick up this book if you want a lot of different clean stories, fantasy and beyond, which feature many different types of animal companions (ranging from photogenic snakes, light-carrying moths, and more)! 

By Andrew Winch (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animal Kingdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Destroyed

Stacy Kristen Author Of Jax: An Age Gap, Second Chance at Love MC Romance

From my list on unforgettable spicy romance reads.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an indie romance author obsessed with all things romance, the spicier the better! I’m all about the happy ending, so all my books feature a happy ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN).

Stacy's book list on unforgettable spicy romance reads

Stacy Kristen Why did Stacy love this book?

Although this is book 4, I recommend starting with the first book of the series. I chose this book because it ended the American Street Kings with a bang and it’s my favorite out of all the books in the series, even though it’s super dark (readers should note the trigger warnings). Throughout the book, there were so many twists and turns that I wasn’t sure how, or even if, Ink and Neon would get their happy ever after (HEA).

By Bella J,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Her revenge starts...now.

Rage. It’s toxic. It poisons you. Corrupts you. Smothers your heart until it no longer beats.
You can’t run from it. There’s no escape. Once it seizes control, it won’t stop until revenge bleeds the tears of justice.

The day he took her, he destroyed my humanity, turning me into a bloodthirsty savage. Now, I’m driven by my hunger to see the snake bleed. To hear his screams and relish his cries.

He should have known she wasn’t his to take. By touching her, he dared the beast, sealing his fate to breathe his last breath while…


Book cover of Insights Into the Consciousness of Snake Remedies

Dawn Baumann Brunke Author Of Awakening the Ancient Power of Snake: Transformation, Healing, and Enlightenment

From my list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an animal communicator and author of many books about our deeper connections with the animal world. A powerful dream featuring an archetypal Snake ignited my curiosity about snakes and inspired me to learn more. I immersed myself into the history, biology, and incredible diversity of snakes as well as their role in art, myth, medicine, and dreams. I also lived with two rescue snakes: a shy ball python named Carl and lively corn snake named Chloe. What I found was not only fascinating but life-changing. This book celebrates the mystery of Snake and the undeniable wisdom and healing that it offers our world.  

Dawn's book list on the history, mystery, and healing power of snakes

Dawn Baumann Brunke Why did Dawn love this book?

Homeopath Sadhana Thakkar helps to dispel the negative image of snakes by revealing how profoundly snake remedies can help humans heal and awaken.

The author offers an introduction to the physiology, temperament, lifestyle, and survival strategies of many snakes, and reveals how homeopaths match these patterns to effective venom-based remedies.

Homeopathy itself is a fascinating study, and Thakkar does an excellent job of deepening our understanding of how and why it works through her many stories of humans successfully treated with snake remedies. I found this book super informative and fascinating to read!  

Book cover of The Beast Player

Henry Lien Author Of Future Legend of Skate and Sword

From my list on readers seeking unique Asian fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I had a tough time finding books with characters who looked like me after moving from Taiwan to America. That’s usually bad for most kids. However, I was a hideously self-absorbed kid. Having to read about characters who didn’t look or live like me made my childhood infinitely richer. Since becoming an author, I’ve written books that draw from my heritage and lectured about East Asian storytelling at various universities and writing programs. I do this as a love letter to my own heritage but also as a thank you letter to America for sharing its culture with me. Here’s a bit of mine in return.

Henry's book list on readers seeking unique Asian fantasy

Henry Lien Why did Henry love this book?

This wonderful Asian fantasy (the first of a duology) is about a young woman who has the rare ability to control flying wolf-like creatures. This ability plunges her into the middle of political intrigue as forces push her to weaponize this ability and use the beasts as battle mounts. The most unique thing about the book is how it questions the ethics of humans using animals for their purposes. Most fantasies unquestioningly use animal mounts as weapons/vehicles or at most use an animal’s death to trigger a cheap emotional response. This book puts the ethics of using magnificent creatures for human concerns at its very heart. It demonstrates a respect for the natural world that seems consistent with Shinto teaching and that I find too rare in fantasy.

By Nahoko Uehashi, Cathy Hirano (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Beast Player as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Elin's family have an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom's army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin's mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety.

Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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