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Pre-K

Growing Reader

11 Delightful Books for Kids Who Love Elephant and Piggie

by Lindsay Barrett

books-like-elephant-piggie

When Mo Willems announced that his 25th Elephant and Piggie book, The Thank You Book, would be the last in the series, fans breathed a collective dejected sigh. These titles delight readers in so many ways, from their expressive dialogue, positive messages, playful illustrations, and of course, the endearing characterization of the duo at the series’ heart. Fear not: If you and your kids love Elephant and Piggie’s hilarious, relatable antics, YOU’LL LOVE THESE BOOKS, TOO!!!!! (We were channeling our inner Gerald, there.)

  • Jack Blasts Off

    by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

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    This early reader series — starring an ornery rabbit named Jack and his canine friend, Rex — is packed with humor and heart. Wacky storylines will entertain fans of Elephant and Piggie, like in Jack Blasts Off, when the Lady “in charge” of Jack and Rex gets so tired of their shenanigans that she sends them to space! (Spoiler alert: they get into trouble there, too.) A fun how-to in the back teaches readers how to draw the simple-line characters to create their own Jack and Rex stories.

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  • Marigold Bakes a Cake

    by Mike Malbrough

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    Marigold is what one might call . . . fussy. But you would be, too, if Mondays were your day for baking cakes, and a bunch of birds were causing calamity in your kitchen. All is going fine and well until Marigold gets a pinch of finch — and then it’s all spectacularly, hilariously downhill from there. In the follow-up, Marigold Finds the Magic Words, the gang gets up to their old tricks, this time on Marigold’s birthday.

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  • A Pig, a Fox, and a Box

    by Jonathan Fenske

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    Like Mo Willems, Jonathan Fenske succeeds in conveying plenty of comic nuance with broad pen strokes and minimalist speech bubbles in A Pig, a Fox, and a Box. Fox is constantly trying to play tricks on his patient friend Pig, but they always seem to backfire in hilarious ways. These three simple stories will keep young readers giggling until the final page.

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  • Ducks Run Amok!

    by J.E. Morris

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    A large flock of noisy ducks takes over a turtle's peaceful pond. To make matters worse, the ducks think the turtle is a green duck! Will the green duck — er, turtle! — ever have quiet again? A delightfully silly and fun story told in hilarious rhymes and expressive comic-like panels.

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  • Rex Wrecks It!

    by Ben Clanton

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    This title checks many boxes for Elephant and Piggie fans even though it’s of traditional picture book size and length. Robot Gizmo, unicorn-bunny Sprinkles, and fluffy monster Wild are always so proud of the block structures they create together. Too bad Rex can’t help himself from thundering in and wrecking everything! The pals engage in some creative problem-solving to navigate the common childhood conundrum of how to reach a compromise. (Also, be sure not to miss the companion title Boo Who?, in which the same sweet characters make a new friend.)

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  • Friends Forever

    by Derek Anderson

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    Croc tends to be grumpy and particular, while Ally favors sunny optimism, but they do agree on one thing: Friends are important. In Friends Forever, three simple but enjoyable stories help early readers get to know these new characters. Also check out Croc and Ally: Fun, Fun, Fun!

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  • Fergus and Zeke

    by Kate Messner, illustrated by Heather Ross

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    This series debut centers around a likable pair of friends. It’s a perfect option for when developing readers are ready for more text. Four illustrated chapters introduce Fergus, the pet mouse in Miss Maxwell’s class, and describe his fortuitous meeting of a “buddy,” Zeke, on a school field trip to the museum. When the two new friends get carried away exploring, will Fergus be able to make it back to the bus in time to return to class?

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  • Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #1)

    by Ben Clanton

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    If you haven’t met the lovable sea creatures in this early graphic novel series yet, you’re in for a treat. When Narwhal and Jelly first encounter each other, they both wonder if their imaginations are playing tricks on them. Their new friendship is good enough to be true, though. The pair share easy conversation as they swap seaworthy facts, plan parties, and celebrate a shared love of waffles. The final vignette drops hints about the next installment in the series, encouraging readers to come back for more.

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  • Warren & Dragon Series

    by Ariel Bernstein, illustrated by Mike Malbrough

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    The appeal of themes around friendship, humor, and navigation of childhood predicaments endure as children transition to early chapter books. This series stars twins Ellie and Warren Nesbitt, along with Warren’s marshmallow-loving pet, Dragon. In 100 Friends, Warren learns an important childhood lesson: Quality matters more than quantity.

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  • I Don’t Want to Be a Frog

    by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt

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    Frog does not want to be a frog anymore — he can’t help but imagine all the fun he’d have if he were another animal instead. Fortunately, little Frog’s father (as well as a hungry wolf who eats everything but frogs) is there to remind him that being a frog has its own perks too. The conversation between Frog and his dad will have kids howling with laughter while also thinking about why it’s so important to accept and appreciate yourself, no matter what.

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  • NOPE

    by Drew Sheneman

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    Lots of things can feel scary when you’re a little kid — even though Mama Bird thinks Baby Bird is ready to leave the nest, the little bird isn’t quite convinced that flying is a good idea (“Nope!”) and that it could, in fact, end very badly. This picture book from the creator of Don’t Eat That has just a few words, but the giggle-inducing illustrations and relatable themes will pack a big punch for young readers who are trying something new.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2021.