Book Reviews For Category: Illustrated Books

A small selection of high-quality illustrated children’s books for younger readers

Strictly No Elephants

Children's Book

Published: 2015
Theme: Welcoming Diversity
Best for: 5 to 7

“The trouble with having a tiny elephant for a pet is that you never quite fit in.” A simple children’s book like this begins the process of opening hearts and minds to the beauty of diversity at an early age.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis

Illustrated Children's book

Published: 2016
Theme: Biography
Best for: 5 to 8

“John loved to tell the chicks the Good News. When he fed and watered them, he spoke about the value of hard work and patience…” The illustrations alone could make this an important book, but the subject matter is what we really want to read…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud

I Dissent – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Illustrated Children's Book - I Dissent

Published: 2016
Theme: Biography, Equality
Best for: 6 and up

“Boys were expected to grow up, go out in the world, and do big things. Girls? Girls were expected to find husbands.” This very appealing illustrated children’s book is perfect because it can spark important family conversations about justice…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Biography, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Ming Lo Moves the Mountain

Illustrated Children's Book

Re-Published: 1993
Theme: Dealing with Obstacles
Best for: 5 to 8

“Ming Lo and his wife lived in a house at the bottom of a large mountain. They loved their house, but they did not love the mountain.” This story reads like a classic Chinese folktale. It’s filled with lovely Asian artwork, and it offers a simple life lesson…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Classics, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Iridescence of Birds – Henri Matisse

Children's Book Iridescence of Birds

Published: 2014
Theme: Biography Henri Matisse
Best for: 4 to 6

“If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France where the skies were gray, and you wanted color and light and sun, what might you become?” The images and wonder of Matisse’s imagination come to life in a beautifully crafted children’s book.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

One Riddle, One Answer

Children's Book - One Riddle, One Answer

Published: 2001
Theme: Math Riddle
Best for: 5 to 8

“Aziza learned all there was to know. But her favorite subject was numbers. And her favorite game was riddles.” This is a simple and enjoyable way to present numbers and riddles to young children who are already showing signs up interest in numbers.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Blockhead – The Life of Fibonacci

Children's Book - Blockhead,

Published: 2010
Theme: Math Biography
Best for: 6 to 9

“You can call me Blockhead. Everyone else does. One day when I was just a boy, Maestro wrote out a math problem and gave us ten minutes to solve it. I solved it in two seconds.” If you have any young children who love numbers, this is definitely a children’s book they should read – a superb biography about Fibonacci.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Illustrated Books, Waldorf-Aligned

The Most Magnificent Thing

Children's book

Published: 2014
Theme: Perseverance
Best for: 5 to 8

“This is a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world. They do all kinds of things together. They race. They eat. They explore. They relax…” Right from the opening lines, you fall in love with this nameless little girl and her best friend, a very quirky looking dog …

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand

Children's Book: Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand

Published: 2007
Theme: Contentment
Best for: 5 to 8

“After drying her eyes on a leafkerchief, Rani kicked off her sensible walking shoes and slipped into the lagoon. of all the fairies, Rani was the only one who could swim, and that was because she had no wings to drag her under.” A true fairy tale about fairies, by a great children’s author, alas, co-opted by Disney, which means dreadful illustrations, but the story and writing are excellent.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud

The King’s Equal

Illustrated Children's Book: The King's Equal

Published: 1992
Theme: Equality in Relationships
Best for: 5 and up

“You will become ruler when I die,” the old king said, “for that is the ancient law that cannot be changed. But you will not wear my crown until the day you marry a woman who is your equal in beauty and intelligence and wealth.” This story has all the classical elements of a great fairy tale: an impoverished girl, tending her goats, who outsmarts a conceited prince, and in the end, rules happily ever after.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Smarty Marty’s Got Game

Children's Book - Smarty Marty's Got Game

Published: 2013
Theme: Baseball
Best for: 5 to 8

“Marty got her love of baseball from her Great Grandma Martha (Gigi), who loved baseball more than anything. Gigi followed the game faithfully and even kept her own scorebook. She taught Marty everything she knew.” This children’s book is all heart, even as it goes about its mission of explaining the rules of baseball to young boys and girls…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud

The Fortune Tellers

Children's Book: The Fortune Tellers

Published: 1992
Theme: Folk Tale
Best for: 5 to 8

“Rich you will surely be,” answered the fortune-teller, staring into the crystal ball on the table. “On one condition: that you earn large sums of money.” In this beautifully illustrated children’s book, we laugh aloud as a naive man becomes a fortune teller. The illustrations of Africa are superb.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Miss Rumphius

Miss Rumphius - Children's book

Published: 1982
Theme: Beauty in Simplicity
Best for: ages 5 to 8

“There is still one more thing I have to do,” she said, “I have to do something to make the world more beautiful. But what?” How wonderful to find an illustrated children’s book where the story itself is as important as the pictures…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

We Need A Horse

We Need a Horse - children's book

Published: 2011
Theme: Value Yourself
Best for: 5 and up

“The horse already had a question prepared. He shuffled his feet on the ground and said, ‘What is the reason I was made a horse and not some other animal?” The light said, ‘Because we needed another horse.” In this exquisitely painted and carefully crafted children’s book, the essential question of life is asked and answered.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Emily Dickinson

Children's Book - Emily Dickinson

Published: 1994
Theme: Poetry
Best for: all ages

“Hope is the thing with feathers/ That perches in the soul,/ And sings the tune without the words,/ And never stops at all” Do our children today love poetry? Can they tune into the subtle way that the poetic verse touches something outside the mundane? This children’s book asserts an affirmative…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Su Dongpo

Children's Book Su Dongpo

Published: 2006
Theme: Perseverance through obstacles
Best for: 7 to 10

“Just as Su Shih’s writing followed the laws of nature, do did his rulings, where were just and as brilliant as the sun. He was guided by the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, the Tao Te Ching…” It’s an interesting challenge to create a historical fiction children’s book that young children would be able to take in…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Art Lessons From Grandma

Children's Book- Art Lessons from Grandma

Published: 2013
Theme: Creativity
Best for: 5 to 8

“In school, we have lots of rules. At home, there are lots of rules too. I’m learning that with with art, there really are no rules. That’s what makes it so great. Artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso created new ways to make paintings… “ I encourage any adult who loves bringing art to children to consider this book. It illuminates the value of bringing a child into the world of creativity.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Brush of the Gods

Children's Book Brush of the Gods

Published: 2013
Theme: Artistry
Best for: 5 to 8

“Each day something new and surprising dripped out of Daozi’s brush. His straight lines splintered into trees. His hooks caught fish. His dots burst into eyes, then pigs and monkeys. From a stroke, a horse’s tail flew by.” This children’s book is exquisite from beginning to end, from front cover to back cover. The story is an imaginative version of the life of the great Chinese artist Wu Daozi…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Journey

Children's Book Journey

Published: 2013
Theme: Imagination
Best for: up to age 8

This is a children’s book without a single word. Is it great children’s literature? Absolutely, because the literature comes from the children themselves.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

On A Beam of Light

Beam of Light: Children's Book

Published: 2013
Theme: Curiosity
Best for: 5 – 8

“Suddenly he knew there were mysteries in the word, hidden and silent, unknown and unseen. He wanted, more than anything, to understand those mysteries.” Here’s a treasure – an authentic story about Albert Einstein, written with very young children in mind, accompanied by absolutely magical illustrations. I am so in love with this one…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Old Woman Who Named Things

Children's Book: Old Woman who Named Things

Published: 1996
Theme: Letting Love In
Best for: ages 5 and 6

“So she began to name things. But she named only those things she knew she could never outlive. Her car, Betsy, had more get-up-and-go than anything around. Her chair, Fred, had never sagged a day in his life…” Finally, a book that made me reverse my somewhat arbitrary policy of not reviewing picture books! This little illustrated children’s book totally stole my heart…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Contemporary, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

Children's Book - Librarian

Published: 1994
Theme: Mathematics
Best for: ages 9 and up

A historically accurate illustrated children’s book about Eratosthenes, a Greek librarian, and mathematician at heart, who figures out how to measure the earth using only a shadow, and some geometry…

Posted in Ages 9-12, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Illustrated Books, Waldorf-Aligned

The Velveteen Rabbit

Velveteen Rabbit Children's Book

Published 1922
Theme: Power of Love
Best for: ages 5 to 9
Five Stars

That night, he was almost too happy to sleep, and so much love stirred in his little sawdust heart that it almost burst.” I feel any list of great children’s literature which omitted this book would be quite remiss.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Classics, Illustrated Books, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned
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