If you’re looking for great books for bright kids, I’ve got seven picture books for bright readers that I absolutely love. Whether you are building a classroom or home library, or whether you are looking for great gift ideas, this list will help you find the perfect book.
This is a part of a series of videos and written reviews for books I recommend for bright young readers.
These books were sent to me by the publisher for review, but I have not received any compensation for the reviews, and the opinions are purely my own.
Here are 7 picture books for bright readers I think you’ll love as much as I do:
📚 Moose’s Book Bus by Inga Moore
📚 My First Pop-Up Mythological Monsters by Owen Davey
📚 Paper World: Space Illustrated by Gail Armstrong
📚 Squeak, Rumble, Whomp, Whomp, Whomp by Wynton Marsalis, Illustrated by Paul Rogers
📚 The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen
📚 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, Illustrated by P.J. Lynch
📚 We are One: How the World Adds Up by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Linda Yan
You may scroll down to read the reviews, or click the video below to watch or listen to longer reviews and see the books and their illustrations.
[Note: The links are affiliate links, which means that the website receives a small commission if you purchase the book.]
Moose’s Book Bus by Inga Moore
I’m a sucker for a book about books, and this one does not disappoint. The illustrations are adorable, with the anthropomorphized animals portrayed as cute but realistic. The premise is that Moose reads aloud and has run out of books to read. He discovers the library, and soon his home is full to the brim with animals wanting to listen to him read aloud. It becomes such a problem that he figures out how to make a traveling library and teaching other animals to read. I love the cleverness of the problem/solution, the charming illustrations, and the wonderful way the idea that reading connects us is portrayed.
✅ Get a copy of this book lovers’ book on Amazon.
My First Pop-Up Mythological Creatures by Owen Davey
Fifteen monsters inhabit this very cool pop-up book. There is very little writing about each one, but the pop-ups are quite intricate, making it interesting. The monsters represent different locations around the world (Greece, Philippines, Scandinavia, etc.). Some I’d never heard of! It says ages 3 – 7, but I think 3 is a little young (just because of damage to the pop-up.
✅ Get a copy of this very cool pop-up book on Amazon.
Paper World: Space Illustrated by Gail Armstrong
A fabulous, fabulous book, perfect for any budding astronaut or astrophysicist. The pages are full of flaps that lift up to reveal more illustrations and text. This allows there to be quite a bit of text on each page without seeming overwhelming. In addition to the flaps, there are cutouts that go through multiple pages and unusual page edges as well. I absolutely love this book. The illustrations make it fascinating, and the design makes it very tactile. It says ages 8 – 12, but I think it could skew younger if the child can handle the flaps with care. It’s more than a flap book, though, it’s truly a paper crafted book.
✅ Get a copy of this spectacularly crafted book for young astronomers on Amazon.
Squeak, Rumble, Whomp, Whomp, Whomp by Wynton Marsalis, Illustrated by Paul Rogers
It’s the onomatopoeia in this book that does it for me. And yes, it’s written by that, Every page takes the reader through the sounds that inhabit our everyday life. From the rumble of trucks on the highway to the tluck…tlock of a leaky faucet, the sounds of the world are shared with rhythm and stylized illustration. I especially appreciate how an African-American family is portrayed. This isn’t a book that purports to be about a certain culture, but rather about people. I love that. If you’re looking for a diverse book for your library, this is a great choice. If you teach onomatopoeia, it’s a must-have book.
✅ Get your copy of this wonderfully onomatopaiec book on Amazon.
The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen
This is quintessential Klassen, but longer. This book is quite thick, but with so few words per page, it’s not an overwhelming read aloud. It’s divided into five chapters, which helps pace the higher page length. In typical Klassen style, there’s some snark, which I adore. The book rewards the careful observer, and the illustrations are a key to following the plot. The book gets somewhat dark in the middle (not really scary, just a little bit scary). I like the way different color font is used to share the speakers in the dialogue. It makes for a very clean look that matches the style of the minimalist illustrations. If you like Klassen, you’ll love this.
✅ Get a copy of this book perfect for lovers of “I Want My Hat Back” on Amazon.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, Illustrated by P.J. Lynch
This is my favorite version of the classic poem ever printed because the illustrations by P.J. Lynch are absolutely outstanding. I mean outstanding! Lynch somehow makes it feel like night without being too dark, and there’s just the right amount of text on each page. It’s not just the quality of the illustrations I love – it’s also the clever perspective (just look at Santa going up the chimney to see what I mean). I love these reindeer. There’s a Polar Express feel to it to me, although it’s not the same style of illustration. This one belongs in everyone’s holiday book collection.
✅ Get a copy of my favorite version of the Clement C. Moore story on Amazon.
We are One: How the World Adds Up by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Linda Yan
Kid math meets kid pub trivia in this delightful book with a compelling message. The premise of the book is the Aristotelian idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It goes through the numbers 1 – 10, demonstrating with clever examples how this is true. At the end of the book, it sums up the beautiful idea that the world is one. It’s a simple, yet simultaneously profound message. The illustrations are very well done with diverse children portrayed. At the bottom of each page is more information about the number and example portrayed. I loved this one because it will appeal to a mixed range of children. A family could easily interest a three-year-old and a six-year-old in the same book at the same time.
✅ Get a copy of this beautiful book with a beautiful message on Amazon.
Great books help create great readers. If you would like to find more books for bright kids (as well as toy suggestions), my Amazon storefront has all of my recommendations.