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7 Of The Best Kids Books With More Than Meets The Eye

little girl reading to her teddy bear


In general, I consider myself to be frugal. I like finding the best deal without compromising quality too much. I compare price per unit at different places. I pass up the opportunity to get myself things without a second thought. Where I have to exercise incredible self-restraint is in the kids’ section of my favourite bookstore. I assume the reason is two-fold. One, when we were kids one of the signs summer was really here was when my mom was finished her own school year as a principal. She would get a laundry hamper or over-sized Rubbermaid container. We would head to the local library and we were allowed to grab everything and anything we want to read. Part of our summers were spent in the shade, by the pool, or away from the heat inside pouring over books. The other reason, I think I just want to fill my home with kids lit is that they are so whimsical, silly, and evoke some of the best feelings from childhood. No matter the reason, any chance to talk about my favourite kids books is one I will take! On Periscope, when I’ve shared my latest list of favourite kids’ books I have gotten such great feedback that I thought I would make my scope into a post. So here is my list of 7 of the best kids books with more than meets the eye.

7 Of The Best Kids Books With More Than Meets The Eye

Peace is an Offering


Peace is an Offering: My three-year-old LOVES this book. This book touches on more literal offerings of peace (i.e. when there is a dispute), but also demonstrates offerings of peace when someone is sad, sick, or hurt. When we read it, my daughter asks a litany of questions about each  situation depicted and what to do. It warms my heart that she shows such concern throughout and that this book promotes such tangible ways for children to offer comfort and peace to the people in their lives. This book is a wonderful way to teach ways to show empathy and support.


So offer a cookie, walk away from a fight.

Comfort a friend through the long dark night.

Sing a quiet song. Catch a falling star.

May peace walk beside you wherever you are.


Mix It Up

Mix It Up: On the surface this book appears to be WILDLY simplistic. Some pages only have the text, “Right!”, “Bravo!”, or “See?” But, man is there ever more than meets the eye with this incredibly fun, interactive, educational book! The follow-up to Press Here, this book prompts kids to interact with each page. Examples include closing their eyes and counting to five or pretending to mix one colour with another. The following pages show the result of prompts in very creative and exciting-for-toddlers ways. If it were up to my kids, we would read this multiple times, each day. Inspired by the book, we have done extension activities such as this window paint bag from Twitchetts. Also, I took the top off of my kids’ paints. I kept the lid of one primary colour for myself and then gave each kid their own primary colour. Sitting in a circle, we took turns painting on a given piece of paper and then passed the pages around, painting on top of what the person before us had done and adding our colour to a separate spot. It was so cool to see them make green, purple, and orange emerge before their eyes!






Ish: This book is currently my favourite kids’ book hands-down. In short, Ramon is a budding artist. He paints and draws everywhere and anywhere he goes. One day, his brother looks over his shoulder only to mock what he sees claiming it doesn’t look like what Ramon is trying to depict. Crumpled up drawing after crumpled up drawing, Ramon continues on, trying to get his art just right.  When suddenly, he sees his sister collect the discarded pages and carry them off to her room. When he follows her, he sees she has collected everything he’s thrown away. When he tries to explain to her it’s no good, the vase doesn’t look like a vase. She adoringly asserts, “It’s vase-ish”. Ramon goes on to celebrate his work and live Ish-fully ever after. I love that this book teaches that true beauty exists in our imperfections. It also showcases how celebrating someone else can have a profound effect on their outlook.



This Is Not My Hat


This Is Not My Hat: My kids cannot get enough of this book. I wonder if it is borderline morbid curiosity that has them hooked. This book is a very simple read. But like the other books in this list, there is a lot more to this simple prose than it may seem. You see this little fish does something terrible. He steals another fish’s hat and then justifies it in every single conceivable way possible making it seem like the perfect crime. But then, he gets caught! Like Peace is an Offering, this book elicits a lot of questions from my three-year-old daughter. “What happened to the little fish? Why? Why was the big fish angry?” It’s a great opportunity to talk about things like deception and stealing in terms they understand.



I Wish You More

I Wish You More: This book chronicles all sorts of well-wishes but juxtaposes them against the less desirable outcome in that same situation. “I wish you more ups than down… I wish you more pause than fast forward.” Mainly, the message is beautiful. In its eloquence, it illustrates opposites throughout.



The Day The Crayons Came Home


The Day The Crayons Came Home: Okay, I’ll admit. I don’t necessarily know there’s more than meets the eye on this one. Let’s say, it looks like a kids’ book, but you are going to love it just as much as them. The follow-up to The Day The Crayons Quit, this book is a little above my kids’ level of understanding. Fortunately, I’ve read it so many times, I just condense it for them and we are good to go. If you haven’t read the first of this series, all of Duncan’s crayons decide they’ve been used and abused long enough. Red gets used so much and then come the holidays, he’s overworked. White feels like he’s useless because he can’t even be seen on regular paper. All of them want a break from their regular gigs. In the follow-up, all of the obscure colours and some other misfits have either attempted to run away or are just plain tired of being forgotten. Neon red admits he was used once to draw a sunburn and then forgotten on vacation. He sets off to find his way home (the only problem is he’s very geographically disoriented). The whole book is nothing short of fun!

What are some of your favourite kids’ books? I would love to hear all about them!

  1. GREAT list! I am saving this and making notes for the 1.5 hours I spend in kindergarten every week!! I love the book Ish! I’ve been reading it to the older kids in grades 4-6 for years! Such wonderful lessons behind it!

  2. We don’t have any of these books but I think my daughter would LOVE This is Not My Hat. I’ll have to check these out. She really loves Good Night Moon and the Night Before Series books. ?

  3. I haven’t read many of these. I can’t wait to check them out. We are always looking for new books to read. I really want to read I wish you more!

  4. Omgosh, Alana, this is a god-send for me. I feel like I’m so wrapped up in big-girl (my) lit as a writer and blogger and marketer that I haven’t even taken the time to search for and enjoy children’s lit. This makes me so happy to have someone with good taste recommend awesome children’s books. Thank you–off to Amazon I go! After reading, I really also want to take my daughter to a bookstore and enjoy ourselves for a couple hours in the next couple weeks.

  5. I have the same problem as you do. I don’t need to buy much stuff. but books are hard to resist! You have really good taste in books, all of these books are awesome!

  6. We haven’t read either of the Crayon books yet…I definitely need to get them! That ISH book looks good too! My little one loves the Llama Llama and Pout Fish books right now. My 5 year old lives Dragons Love Tacos and Pete the Cat books.

  7. THANK YOU!! for the new book suggestions. We are avid readers in our home and I love finding books that send a positive message to our son in a subtle way his 3 year old mind and heart understands.

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