Pictures, pictures, pictures! That’s what makes a picture book great. Here are some great picture books that promote reading and creativity and help to move the story along.

Let’s begin with three books with longer stories. Fairies and the Quest for Never Land, by Gail Carson Levine, and illustrated by David Christiana, is filled with magic, adventure and the land of Peter Pan as Ms. Levine whisks the reader away to the land of make-believe.  Gwendolyn is taken to Never Land, a place she’s always wanted to see, and more than anything, she wants to meet the fairies. But she’s about to discover something about these fairies, as they are on the cusp of something very dangerous that’s headed their way. There are 32 exciting chapters with colorful pictures sprinkled throughout.

Tollins:  Explosive Tales for Children, by Conn Iggulden, and illustrated by Lizzy Duncan, is actually three stories about the Tollins rolled into one book.  Each story has short chapters which make this a perfect book for bed-time reading. Tollins are similar to fairies who have wings and live at the bottom of gardens, but they’re larger and seemingly tougher. Each story is light, humorous and ingenious, catching the imaginations of all who read or hear these delightful stories.

A Field Guide to Aliens, by Johan Olander, will surely get your creative juices going after reading through just a few of the aliens described here. The book is written like a scrapbook with sketches of amazingly out-of-this-world beings. And if the descriptions and illustrations aren’t enough, wait until you read the names of all 27 aliens.

The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon, by David Almond, and illustrated by Polly Dunbar, is a longer fable about an unimaginative boy who decides to go to the top of his apartment to touch the sky. What he discovers when he reaches the top floor, and who he meets along the way, will expand his horizon well beyond the sky.

Bink & Gollie, by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, and illustrated by Tony Fucile, is a new chapter book series about two unlikely friends who appear to be opposite, yet are the best of friends. The cartoon-like pictures are a perfect match for a book that’s light, fun and funny.

The rest of the books are picture books with short stories.  The Clever Stick, by John Lechner, knows that it’s very smart and knows mathematical equations, along with an appreciation of literature, but it can’t speak to all of the forest animals. Then it discovers that it can communicate by making designs and letters in the sand. This book is an inspiration to those silent geniuses in all of us!

Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World), by Mac Barnett, and illustrated by Dan Santa, is almost a wordless book with a powerful statement: “I should have done it another way”. When the heroine creates a robot who has now escaped, the digitally colorful illustrations stretch to the corners of every page. And don’t forget to check out the front and back inside covers!  I love this book!

Not All Animals Are Blue:  A Big Book of Little Differences, by Beatice Boutignon, is an outstanding book helping youngsters decipher small or unusual differences on each page.

Princess Hyacinth and the Surprising Tale of a Girl who Floated, by Florence Parry Heide, and illustrated by Lane Smith, is an unusual story with an unusual storyline: a girl who has anti-gravity as part of her make-up. She has to stay inside with her extra heavy crown that enables her to stay on the ground. But does she escape to the great outdoors? Read the book and find out.

The last of these picture books celebrate reading.  Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I Don’t), by Barbara Bottner, and illustrated by Michael Emberly, highlights the importance of the librarian and how her knowledge of the books in her library can help excite even the most reluctant reader.

Dewey:  There’s a Cat in the Library, by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter, has Dewey, a small kitten, becoming the library pet who not only loves books but loves children also. The watercolors are breathtaking and go perfectly with the story. 

Dog Loves Books, by Louise Yates, is a wonderful celebration of the magic of books. A small dog opens a bookstore, but no one comes. So he begins to read through his vast number of books and his imagination takes hold. The simple pencil and watercolor pictures seemingly take hold of the reader as well!

How Rocket Learned to Read, by Tad Hills, illustrates through oil paintings and words, how a

small dog and his teacher, a small bird, work together to capture the essence of stories and reading.

Holly Evans Newton is an award winning reviewer with over 10 years of experience of searching for the best and most appropriate books for kids. Her 25 years of teaching school and raising 5 children has helped her tap into books that kids want to read. She presents book review programs for elementary schools throughout the country.