Picture Books that Teach Lessons


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I am going to share three picture books that teach different lessons. Some are more serious than others. The books touch on things like the waste and accumulation of plastic and more, depression and anxiety and words and their meanings when you add another word. We will start with a perfect one for Christmas. It is Toy Mountain by Stef Gemmill and Katharine Hall. It is recommended for ages 3 to 6.

From the Publisher:

Sam’s dreams seem to have come true when he becomes a toy tester for the Tiny Hands Toy Factory, and his house is filled with plastic toys in all sorts of shapes and colors. But one by one and plonk by plonk, his shiny new toys start to break. Soon enough, Sam has a mountain of broken toys that just won’t stop growing!

This whimsically illustrated story highlights the huge amounts of plastic waste generated by ‘consumer culture,’ and empowers children to take sustainability into their own hands.

From Me:

Is your house full of toys? Does your child or children ask for the latest and greatest toys even though they have so many that they do not play with anymore? Or perhaps there are many parts to broken toys that are no longer played with in your house? If any of these are true at your house than this book is for you or really for your child! It is a sweet take on the desire to have more and more toys and come to the realization that there is such a thing as too many and too much. 

Not only does Sam have his dream come true he also doesn't want to share with his brother. The toy factory has so many toys for Sam to try but Sam discovers having so many toys is too much. The toys are made of plastic and break or he moves on to the next new toy and the pile of throw-aways grows and grows. He actually misses his simple old toys that were always fun and had him using his imagination. This book is perfect for the holiday season when there always seems to be more gifts coming at kids. There is a teacher's guide to go with the book as well!

Our next book delves into depression and anxiety and working through it all. The book is Cookie by Isabelle Duff and Susannah Crispe. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8.

From the Publisher:

Cookie loves Girl more than anything – even chasing balls and smelling smells! Sometimes Girl is too sad to play with Cookie, but that’s okay because Cookie is good at sad. You can lick it off, you know.

With beautiful words and playful illustrations, Cookie is both a heart-warming tale about the love between a dog and their person, and a sensitive exploration of depression and anxiety. From dog-lovers to children who share Girl’s feelings, everyone can learn something from this inseparable pair.

From Me:

This book delves into a look at depression and anxiety. The girl suffers from depression and has the sweet dog is there to cheer her up. The book is fun because it has such humor. It is written from the point of view of the dog. I love that the brother is called StopIt. It is a wonderful introduction to the serious subject. I can see conversations about emotions and feeling sad coming from this book whether if it is read at home or in a class.

This book gives young children the chance to talk about feelings as well as letting them know it is ok to feel sad and to seek help for it. Cookie is always trying to cheer the girl up throughout each bout of sadness and depression. I also love that Cookie got her name because the Girl said cookies always make her happy.

This book follows the family as Cookie grows up. It helps open conversations that are so important for all kids to have. It also shows the importance of friends and pets. There is a teacher guide for this book as well. 

Our final book takes a look at the words over and under and at different compound words from the two prepositions. The book is Over, Bear! Under, Where? by Julie Hedlund and illustrated by Michael Slack. This book is recommended for ages 4 to 8.

From the Publisher:

A hilariously clever story of wordplay and unexpected friendship, perfect for fans of 7 Ate 9 and Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.

Over and Under are two friends, and they're enjoying a day at the park. They go on the swings (Over goes over Under) and the seesaw (Under is under Over). They meet a hot-dog dog (who joins them for a hot dog). And then they spot . . . a bear! (Unbearable!) But is he really the overall scary creature they first understand him to be?

In this hilariously punny story that will have readers laughing out loud as they pick apart the wordplay, a pair of pals overcome their fears as they discover that friendship underpins all.

From Me:

This book is hysterical and perfect to be read aloud. I can see a group of pre-K or kindergarten students laughing their heads off as the teacher or a parent reads this book. The main two characters are named Over, a bird, and Under, a mole. Then they are playing at a park and are of course going over and under each other. Then more words get mixed into the conversation which lead to compound words like pushover and understand. Then a bear shows up and let's say that brings even more puns. Under and Over run to hide with a dog until they see the bear is sad and needs friends to play. This is one of those stories kids will ask you to read over and over just for the fun laughs. 

These three books are great for gifts, classes and more. I hope you will check them out!