A picture book series is a great way to get kids interested in books and reading. Characters who appear again and again can become like trusted friends.
Whether they're lesson-oriented (like Arthur or The Berenstain Bears), or mainly good fun, like Amelia Bedelia or Fancy Nancy, the continuing adventures of a popular picture book character is a great hook.
Below you'll find the series (and individual books within those series) that we review onsite.
You'll find old classics and new, the wildly popular and the undeservedly obscure. When you find something interesting, click to read more.
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (mostly)
Amelia Bedelia teaches your children idioms and puns by being a complete moron! This politically incorrect series features a female housekeeper who takes her English literally. Ask her to stuff the Christmas stockings, and she'll load them with turkey stuffing. Apparently her employers aren't much smarter, because they keep setting her up for failure with idiom, after idiom, after idiom...
The Arthur books by Marc Brown
Arthur is just a regular, good kid - I mean, aardvark. He's pretty much unexceptional - except for all that goodness. With a family and classmates, he experiences pretty much every problem you could think of...and some you couldn't. And he gets through all of them with a healthy dose of decency. This picture book series is responsible for teaching a lot of kids a lot of good character lessons!
The Berenstain Bears books by Stan and Jan Berenstain
If there's an issue, chances are there's a book in this expansive, long-running picture book series to address it. Whether it's bullying or blaming or battling over bedtime, Mama, Papa, Brother and Sister Bear will have an experience that speaks to it.
The Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child
Charlie is the older sibling who knows better, while Lola is the younger sibling who doesn't. Charlie will be mature enough to babysit way earlier than your eldest. Charlie knows you should, Lola only knows I want and I don't want. Our reviewer gives you a taste of the latter with I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato.
The Danitra Brown books by Nikki Grimes
Aiming a little older than most picture books, poet Nikki Grimes pens odes to a best friend in this lovely series. Zuri Jackson is the viewpoint character, paying poetic tribute to her best friend Danitra Brown, whose unique approach to life gets Zuri through all her tough times. We review Danitra Brown, Class Clown.
Dragon lessons by Jean Pendziwol
The author uses a clueless dragon to demonstrate how to handle stranger danger, beach safety and, in the book our reviewer checked out, fire safety.
The Fancy Nancy books by Jane O'Connor
So many little girls like dress-up, but Fancy Nancy takes things to a whole new level. It's isn't just fancy dresses Nancy craves; she seeks to be fancy in every aspect of her life! Still, this little girl is far from all style over substance, and that's what makes her such a hit with children and parents. She even takes on the world of science in Fancy Nancy, Explorer Extraordinaire.
The Flying Foxes books
Lots of learning and story in this informative picture book series from Canada with a focus on the natural world, including books like Only Tadpoles Have Tails.
If You... series by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Author Numeroff really latched onto something with her absurdist "If...then" series of books, which started in 1985 with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The idea is that a toddler (in the role of parent) is confronted with a difficult animal (in the role of child) whose demands lead to all sorts of crazy difficulties. We review If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Well, she'll want some syrup, and then she'll get all sticky, and then she'll need a bath...
The Knuffle Bunny books by Mo Willems
Willems mixes drawings with photography in his typically bizarre and wonderful Knuffle Bunny books, about a little girl with a very important stuffed animal. We review both the original and Knuffle Bunny Too.
The LaRue books by Mark Teague
Ike LaRue is a dog with a penchant for trouble. And if you want a full understanding of what goes on in a LaRue book, you're going to have to pay excellent attention. Author-illustrator Teague only presents some of the information in straightforward prose. You'll have to pick up on the rest through visuals and by inference. Funny stuff, great for adults and children to tackle together.
The Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer
How many books are there now in the Little Critter picture book series? I doubt even Mayer himself knows, but what they always do best is offer comfort to little ones. You have parents who will love you and take care of you, Little Critter, even when you make trouble.
Little Wombat books by Charles Fuge
Wombat is big in Britain and Australia, where his hilarious expressions and problematic predicaments not only charm kids but usually teach them a lesson. Our reviewer dives into Swim, Little Wombat, Swim!
The Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney
These rhyming books feature two characters: cute baby llama, and cute baby llama's mom. Baby llama has all the normal hurts and frustrations any baby has, and mama llama has the near-constant unconditional love and patience we all wish we had. The link above features a review of the series. Another of our reviewers takes a closer look at one of the books, Llama Llama, Mad at Mama.
The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright
In this classic picture book series, Wright used black and white photography for illustration, posing Edith (the Lonely Doll) and her friends against adult-sized settings. The result is dramatic and touching, and our reviewer uses the books today in her kindergarten classroom.
The Lyle the Crocodile books by Bernard Waber
Our reviewer loves Lyle because the books aren't short on words (like so many contemporary picture books). With Lyle you get "Detail, plot, emotion and character development!" Introduce yourself to this picture book series with Lyle and the Birthday Party, featuring a jealous Lyle. You see, it isn't his birthday.
The Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells
This very popular series works for the very youngest kids, but the clever humor makes it something you can read to older kids at the same time. Older sibling Ruby is always out to teach baby Max the right way of doing things, while Max always manages to do things his way regardless. Check out Max's Breakfast for an excellent example!
Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke
This bird-brain (don't get offended; she's a chicken) teaches humor and incongruity to young children, as she mistakes animate for inanimate again and again. Think of her as Amelia Bedelia for the younger set.
Miss Malarkey, by Judy Finchler
Miss Malarkey is just a darn good - and somewhat dorky - teacher. Penned by a former teacher, this school-based picture book series makes the elementary school campus seem like a very good place. Standardized testing won't bring this teacher down! You're a Good Sport, Miss Malarkey features our favorite educator taking on soccer coaching duties...despite knowing nothing of the sport!
Miss Spider by David Kirk
Spiders must not live very long, because popular Miss Spider is sure getting a lot done in a little time. From being born to starting school to, yes, getting married, stunningly colorful Miss Spider is staying busy. Some books in this eye-popping picture book series that looks like it came straight from Pixar will even help your child with letters and numbers too.
The Moses books by Isaac Millman
Author Millman introduces some way cool deaf kids - though none more cool than Moses himself. Our reviewer examines the 2nd book in the series, Moses Goes to a Concert. Can the deaf enjoy the symphony? You bet! There's no feeling sorry for anybody in these books!
The Mungo books by Timothy Knapman
The genius of Knapman with these books is in combining things boys love but that don't belong together! That's certainly the case with Mungo and the Dinosaur Island, which combines dinosaurs (wait for it...) with pirates. Knapman also has a knack for weaving in tongue-twisters and challenging vocabulary.
Eager to share Little House with your little one, but she's just not growing up fast enough? Well, now there's Little House in picture book format.
The Olivia books by Ian Falconer
Olivia is a little pig with big dreams. She's the oldest little porker in her family, but that doesn't mean her feelings can't get hurt. She's drawn towards the arts and entertainment - not just as a viewer, but a participant as well.
Parts, More Parts, and Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold
The paranoid young protagonist in this trilogy is worried that all the parts that comprise him - teeth, nails, hair - are most certainly at risk. And idioms, like, "Will you give me a hand?," only make him more worried!
The Pigeon books by Mo Willems
It all began with Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, perhaps the greatest book ever for reading aloud to pre-schoolers. Willems' genius is in letting the pigeon address his toddler audience when he wants to weasel his way into something pigeons shouldn't do, which allows the audience to take on the role of parent, yelling, "No!" Words fail to describe how much they love that.
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
In the first book in this glittery picture book series, Rainbow Fish learns to share his beautiful scales. In the books to follow he learns things like how to settle arguments and be modest.
Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle
On the odd chance that the title leaves you wondering about the tone of this series, consider subtitles like, Banned from the Beach, or just have a look at the covers. Remember, they're called children's books, not parent's books.
Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas
Winnie is pretty much just a regular lady...with magical powers. When presented with a run-of-the-mill challenge, she gets to address it in fun ways that the rest of us don't! There are 11 books in this series from Australia. The one we've reviewed is Happy Birthday, Winnie!
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