The best hide and seek books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about hide and seek and why they recommend each book.

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The Runaway Bunny

By Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (illustrator),

Book cover of The Runaway Bunny

As a veteran preschool teacher, parent and grandparent, I have found this amazing rhythmic tale of hide and seek to skillfully convey to toddlers and preschoolers, the unconditional love a mother has for her child. Young children do understand and embrace this book’s age-appropriate loving, reassuring words and pictures: “If you run away, I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.” The lesson learned...They, too, can count on their steadfast mother to always have their back, no matter how they choose to test their relationship. This is a fabulous example of how a picture book can effectively communicate words and actions while serving to initiate more discussion with the child regarding his own behavior and feelings.

Who am I?

As an internationally respected discipline expert, I guide parents in how to get more compliance than defiance from their little ones. I coined the phrase “The Dance of Non-Compliance” between parent and child. In order to change the dance, the parent will usually have to change his/her dance step first. It is often impossible during the heat of the moment, to teach ‘the lesson’ to the child due to the agitated emotional state of both parent and child. A well-executed picture book, appropriately written and illustrated for young children's developmental thinking ability, can open the door for a meaningful discussion regarding their misbehavior and feelings.

I wrote...

The Pocket Parent

By Gail Reichlin, Caroline Winkler,

Book cover of The Pocket Parent

What is my book about?

The Pocket Parent is a classic, trusted A to Z  compendium, with over 200,000 copies in print and 17 translated editions worldwide. Just turn to the misbehavior that's driving you crazy to get some fast, bulleted sanity-saving suggestions to try along with a good dose of humor and compassion from the authors.

Communication is the key to solving all problems. Yet, in the heat of the moment, on one of those really bad days when your child becomes 'parent deaf', you may find yourself losing your mind... yelling, threatening, bribing, and criticizing in a way you’d never speak to your worst enemy. Although a parent’s job is to stop the undesirable/unsafe behavior immediately, that moment is the least effective time for both a parent to teach, or a young child to learn a lesson. 
Calmly revisiting the situation later with appropriate discussion makes way for a successful plan for next time. The Pocket Parent guides you every step of the way ;-)


By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Book cover of Circle

This is a difficult book to describe! It’s about shapes (the main characters are a square, circle, and triangle), friendship, fear of the dark, and imagination. As a picture book writer (but not illustrator), I love to see a book where a writer makes space for an illustrator to tell part of the story. This book does that really well, particularly in the part where it’s just Jon Klassen’s signature eyes in the dark! There are three books in this series but this one’s my favourite.

Who am I?

I write books for children of all ages but I began with picture books, and they will always have a special place in my heart. I like all different types of picture books. Sometimes we read for pure entertainment, and sometimes to find out about the world, but the books on this list hit the sweet spot between the two. They are all books that will inspire further conversation and might even lead to related projects at school or home.

I wrote...

The Leaf Thief

By Alice Hemming, Nicola Slater (illustrator),

Book cover of The Leaf Thief

What is my book about?

Squirrel is so cross. Yesterday there were loads of beautiful leaves on his tree, but today? Today some are missing. Squirrel is convinced that someone has stolen them. Is there a leaf thief on the loose?

Confused Squirrel and wise Bird form the perfect partnership in this brilliantly funny story, with a fact page at the back which helps explain the changing of the seasons.

Find Fergus

By Mike Boldt,

Book cover of Find Fergus

Poor Fergus is no good at hiding. In this funny seek-and-find book, Fergus, a big brown bear with glasses, gets tips from the narrator on how to get better at hiding. As the story goes on, Fergus starts to blend in better with the crowds, and it gets trickier and trickier to spot him. It’s a great read-aloud, and kids will find it hilarious how bad he is at hiding at first. But they’ll need to use their eagle eyes when all the fun characters from the book come together in a big crowd at the end.

Who am I?

I am the author-illustrator of funny picture books for kids, including the interactive book, Animals Go Vroom!. As an illustrator, I revel in creating jokes and storylines in the pictures that kids can follow along with by themselves. And as a mother of two small children myself, I know first-hand the magical experience of reading books with toddlers that keep them guessing and giggling along the way.

I wrote...

Animals Go Vroom!

By Abi Cushman,

Book cover of Animals Go Vroom!

What is my book about?

With a nod to Richard Scarry, this interactive picture book surprises readers with every turn of the page!

Hiss! Screech! Roar! It’s a noisy day in Bumperville! But are the sounds what you think they are? That Honk! must surely be a goose. But turn the page and it’s the taxi that a goose is driving! Using cleverly placed die-cuts, this inventive book hints at what is making the sound, but with each turn of the page, it’s an eye-opening surprise and part of an unfolding story that is part guessing game and part giggle-inducing caper.

Today I Found a Unicorn

By Jack Lewis, Tanya Glebova (illustrator),

Book cover of Today I Found a Unicorn

This is a heartwarming story about a special friendship that developed between a little girl and the beautiful unicorn who came to visit her. They shared a wonderful day together playing hide-and-seek and enjoying a picnic lunch on a gorgeous summer day. My granddaughter’s love of unicorns along with the colours pink and purple make this book an excellent choice for her, I am sure plenty of children will love it too!  

Who am I?

My only granddaughter and her love and fascination with unicorns is the reason why I dedicated Mysty the Mystical Unicorn to her! I hope that Mysty inspires children everywhere to focus on their imagination, creativity and to always believe in themselves! My desire to write a children’s picture book started at a very young age, reading is a passion of mine that my own children inherited and now my grandchildren too! My wish is that all children will love Mysty and enjoy her adventures as well as the five books that I have recommended. Always keep on believing in magic, miracles, and yourselves!

I wrote...

Mysty the Mystical Unicorn

By Kimberley Paterson, Ava Jahani (illustrator),

Book cover of Mysty the Mystical Unicorn

What is my book about?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit a magical, mystical universe surrounded by rainbows, moonbeams, and shooting stars? How would you like to visit a mythical land where anything is possible? What if this beautiful, enchanting universe was the home to a mysterious, magical, and very beautiful unicorn as well, would you love to visit now? Come along with us as we share in the magical adventures of the amazing unicorn named Mysty, where the fun is never-ending and your imagination can soar to new heights! Mysty would love for you to join her! Will you?

The Night Is Yours

By Abdul-Razak Zachariah, Keturah A. Bobo (illustrator),

Book cover of The Night Is Yours

"This is your night, my Amani!" The dark skies are still full of your laughter and joy, even though they get quieter as your friends go inside one by one." 

Do you love observing the night? It's something about the night that's peaceful and beautiful. I enjoy reading this story from the perspective of a father watching his daughter gain her independence and using melodic metaphors to empower her existence. Personally, I love reading literature that compares nature's beauty to something we adore...our child. I believe this is why I connected to this story and I know other parents will too. This is a delightful read-aloud to share with your child for many nights.

Who am I?

As a children's book writer, I want my books to be infused with S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, art, and science), imaginative adventure, and empowering words. These 3 elements are important for cultivating their minds. Great inventions and discoveries have come from people who were curious. I believe that it's our responsibility as parents to expose them to new interests and speak empowering words to their developing minds. Parents play a key role in how their children see themselves. I hope that my books encourage unity, spark the imagination, build strong parent-child relationships, initiate dialogue, and promote learning.

I wrote...

Bryla's Amazing Imagination: Bryla Visits the Moon

By LaTasha Reynolds, Mo Raad (illustrator),

Book cover of Bryla's Amazing Imagination: Bryla Visits the Moon

What is my book about?

Bryla Visits the Moon is centered on a 6-year-old little girl named Bryla who has a natural fascination for astronomy. Each night, Bryla's fascination grows stronger for the Moon and playing games of hide-and-seek just isn't enough. Bryla desires to visit the Moon but doesn't know how to reach the galaxy from her suburban home. After explaining her desires to her mother, she teaches Bryla the importance of using her imagination to make dreams come true.


By Kiersten White,

Book cover of Hide

Hide feels like a book tailor-made to pull me in and refuse to let go. The pitch—a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek in an abandoned amusement park—is solid gold, and the book delivers so much more than it promises. With relentless, cutting-class commentary and a truly ferocious sense of clarity, Hide excoriates systems of exploitation with incredible efficiency. I found myself sneaking chapters wherever I could.

Who am I?

I love books that keep me up at night. I'm constantly trying to get into a good, healthy bedtime routine—but I am also constantly sabotaging that effort by finding books that I simply can’t put down. The feeling of being drawn so deep into a story that the hours slip away is easily one of my favorite feelings in the world. I also love books that make me wake up in the middle of the night, books that slide into my brain and plant new ideas there. As an author, I am always striving to write those books. I can think of no higher compliment than “I stayed up all night reading it.”

I wrote...

Just Like Home

By Sarah Gailey,

Book cover of Just Like Home

What is my book about?

“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories—she's come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there, beneath the house he'd built for his family.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be? Vera must face the secrets of the notorious Crowder House and find out just how deep the rot goes.

My Best Friend

By Rob Hodgson,

Book cover of My Best Friend

Some of my favorite books are ones where the text is saying one thing and the pictures are saying something completely different. I also adore books where the reader is in on a secret from the very beginning. My Best Friend does both. It’s told from the perspective of a mouse who is describing their “best friend” Giant Owl. The reader knows Giant Owl is planning to eat Mouse, but Mouse is blissfully ignorant. You can’t help but laugh as Mouse recounts their playful games of hide-and-seek, and then praises Giant Owl’s generosity in giving him as many donuts as he wants. The ending is surprisingly sweet, but it leaves open the possibility of a darker future. By asking kids what they think will happen next, you prolong the fun and spark their creativity. 

Who am I?

Three of my favorite things are reading, writing, and laughing. So, of course, my favorite books are usually the ones that make me giggle. I also have a slightly dark sense of humor which means I have a soft spot for books where one of the characters may get eaten. But I think the very best books are ones where unexpected friendships occur instead. So often our perceptions about others are wrong, and if we just take the time to get to know the animal (or person) behind those extra sharp teeth, we may find we have more in common than we realized. 

I wrote...

My School Stinks!

By Becky Scharnhorst, Julia Patton (illustrator),

Book cover of My School Stinks!

What is my book about?

Dear Diary, Today is the first day at my new school and I think there’s been a mistake. My deskmate stinks, my locker buddy bites, and my teacher is unbearable! I told Mom my classmates are WILD ANIMALS, but she said all little kids are wild animals. I think I’m going to be sick tomorrow.

This hilarious back-to-school story is about a young boy who accidentally ends up at a school for real animals. When Stuart first arrives at Wildwood Elementary, not even deep breaths and happy thoughts can calm his nervous jitters. Stuart does his best to avoid his wild classmates, but soon learns friends come in all shapes, sizes, and species. 

Time for Bed, Fred!

By Yasmeen Ismail,

Book cover of Time for Bed, Fred!

When bedtime arrives, where is Fred? A big, fluffy dog, he’s busying himself with everything else, except getting ready for bed. He runs through flower beds and mud, needs a bath, plays hide-and-seek, and finally ask for one more story. Mirroring behavior of any toddler avoiding bedtime, Fred finally gets ready for a good night sleep. Drawn loosely in ink and watercolor, Fred will run away with your heart as well.

Who am I?

I am a librarian and a picture book author/illustrator – it’s a perfect combination as I get to spend lots of time around books. I’m also a huge animal lover, with a special fondness for dogs. I can’t resist a picture book about dogs, and it’s no surprise that my first picture book was based on a true story about one very brave little dog. It is not easy to recommend only 5 books, but these are certainly my top favorites both in text and art. Happy reading!

I wrote...

Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

By Mônica Carnesi,

Book cover of Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

What is my book about?

On a cold winter day, a curious dog wandered onto a frozen river, and before he knew it he was traveling fast on a sheet of ice. Many people tried to help, but the dog could not be reached. Finally, after two nights and seventy-five miles, the little dog was saved by a ship out in the Baltic Sea.

The gallant rescue of the little dog nicknamed Baltic made international news. Mônica Carnesi's simple text and charming watercolor illustrations convey all the drama of Baltic's journey. His story, with its happy ending, will warm readers' hearts. An author's note and map are included.

If You Ever Meet a Skeleton

By Rebecca Evans, Katrin Dreiling (illustrator),

Book cover of If You Ever Meet a Skeleton

I love this book which teaches kids that scary things (like skeletons!) aren’t always as scary as they appear. Rebecca Evans, the author, is a friend of mine and does a lot of volunteer work to help other children’s book writers and illustrators, so I love supporting someone so involved and helpful! When I saw Rebecca read this book at an event, she had an adorable craft where kids could make skeletons out of gluing dry pasta to black paper—activity idea!

Who am I?

I am a huge fan of Halloween and love decorating my porch to greet our neighborhood kids. This past year I gave away a couple dozen copies of my own picture books along with candy, which was a huge hit. I live in Baltimore with my family, including my silly, spooky kid, and love animals, especially dogs and horses. This past Halloween, my daughter wanted to dress up as a dentist, of all things, so my husband and I went along dressed up as giant teeth. She never got the irony of asking for candy while dressed as a dentist. We’ll have to wait until she is older for that. 

I wrote...

Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat

By Tracy C. Gold, Nancy Leschnikoff (illustrator),

Book cover of Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat

What is my book about?

An adorable rhyming Halloween book with educational nonfiction elements woven in, perfect for classrooms and libraries!

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me lots of bugs to eat! Follow along as a young bat takes flight on Halloween night and eats lots of delicious bugs along the way! Includes educational back matter with lots of fun facts about bats and their favorite insects.

The Quiet Book

By Deborah Underwood, Renata Liwska (illustrator),

Book cover of The Quiet Book

This is one of my favorite all-time picture books! Each page identifies one “type” of quiet accompanied by a whimsical illustration with delightful animal characters. Some of my favorites are “Hide-and-seek quiet,” which shows a baby moose trying unsuccessfully to hide behind an office chair; “Lollipop quiet,” which shows a bear and a rabbit with bandages comforting themselves with lollipops; or “Top of the roller coaster quiet,” which shows an assortment of animals anticipating that fateful moment! The words and illustrations are beautifully paired and children will want to invent their own stories about each scene. A sweet, evocative, and original book that expands the notion of quiet in imaginative ways.

Who am I?

Charlotte and the Quiet Place is somewhat autobiographical, as I tend to crave quiet. For many years, I’ve been meditating twice a day for 25 minutes. I relax my mind and body, sometimes silently repeating a word or sound or just breathing rhythmically. I’m almost always more peaceful and energized after meditating. In addition to being a writer, I’m a therapist with a mindfulness specialty. I believe deeply that every child (and adult, too) can tap into their quiet place inside by noticing what’s happening in their mind and body, no matter what’s going on in their lives. We all need this skill—now more than ever!  

I wrote...

Charlotte and the Quiet Place

By Deborah Sosin, Sara Woolley (illustrator),

Book cover of Charlotte and the Quiet Place

What is my book about?

Charlotte likes quiet. But wherever Charlotte goes, she is surrounded by noise—her yipping dog, Otto; the squeaky, creaky swings; the warbling, wailing sirens. Even in the library, children yammer and yell. Where can Charlotte find a quiet place? Sara Woolley’s vibrant watercolors bring Charlotte’s city to life when Otto leads her on a wild chase through the park. There, Charlotte discovers a quiet place where she never would have imagined.

Charlotte and the Quiet Place shows how a child discovers mindful breathing and the beauty of silence. Children will relate to the unfolding adventure and message of self-discovery and empowerment. 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Gold Award Winner, 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medalist, and 2015 National Parenting Publications Bronze Award Winner.

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