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Word Play: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about word play?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to word play. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about word play.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

We hope this list of kids books about word play can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Max's Castle
Written by Kate Banks & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers
Max's Castle is a really clever book and sure to fascinate any early reader. The book brilliantly explores words by mixing around or swapping the letters in one word to create an amalgamation of similar words and anagrams. Early readers are sure to enjoy, for example, that by simply adding an "l" block to the word "adder," Max and his three brothers smartly create a ladder to escape from the dangerous adder in the dungeon of the castle. Kate Banks and Boris Kulikov have some fun with the illustrations and anagrams surprising us with threatening pirates in one page before turning "pirates" into harmless "rat pies" in the next page. This book is sure to delight readers with its wit and imaginative exploration of letters.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Max finds a pile of forgotten toys under the bed, his brothers Benjamin and Karl wonder what’s so special about some old blocks. So Max shows them. With some clever twists of both blocks and imagination, he constructs not only a castle but an entire adventure, complete with pirates and knights, a dark dungeon and a dragon. This ingenious sequel to Max’s Words and Max’s Dragons shows readers just how much fun wordplay can be.

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There's a Wocket in my Pocket
Written by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

In this silly Bright and Early Book classic by Dr. Seuss, a young boy goes exploring in his house and finds an array of fun characters! Are you certain there’s a Jertain in the curtain? Or have you ever had a feeling there’s a Geeling on the ceiling? From the pesky Nooth Grush on a tooth brush to a sleepy Zelf up on the shelf, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket will have young readers eager to explore their homes and the wonders of rhyming and wordplay.
Combining brief and funny stories, easy words, catchy rhythm, and lively illustrations, Bright and Early Books are an ideal way to introduce the joys of reading to children.

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The Alphabet Book
Written & illustrated by P. D. Eastman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A classic alphabet book by P. D. Eastman joins Are You My Mother? and Go, Dog. Go! in Dr. Seuss’s Bright & Early Book series.

This easy-to-read romp through the alphabet by P. D. Eastman–author-illustrator of Are You My Mother? and Go, Dog. Go!–is now available in Dr. Seuss’s classic Bright & Early Book series! From “an elephant on eggs” to “a zebra with a zither,” the perfect wordplay encourages beginning readers to pair words that start with the same letter in funny ways! Including a handy alphabet running down the side of each page, so that kids can keep track of which letter they’re on, this is an ideal addition to any family library and a great choice for back-to-school!

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Little Hoot
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Jen Corace
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

It’s not fair! All Little Owl wants is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, like his friends do. But Mama and Papa say little owls have to stay up late and play. So Little Owl spends all night jumping on his bed, playing on the jungle gym, and doing tricks on his skateboard—but he’s hooting mad about it! Children who have a hard time going to bed will love this fun twist on the universal dilemma.

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Little Oink
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Jen Corace
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Little Oink is a neat little fellow. Clean, clean, clean, that’s all he wants to do. But Mama and Papa won’t have it! They say in order to be a proper pig he has to learn to make a proper mess. What’s a little pig to do? Now available as a board book, Little Oink shows Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace applying their traditionally wry humor to the issue of cleaning up, in a laugh-out-loud romp that is sure to make readers giggle with recognition.

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  • Look - Look! It’s a book! Starring a brother and sister who go to the zoo, see kangaroos and baboons, and get to bring home balloons! Told entirely in words that contain a double o, this playful story is a great choice for emerging readers. Bright illustrations and an engaging, interactive text will invite repeated readings. Hooray! A brother and sister can’t wait to go to the zoo, where they have an exciting day ahead full of food, balloons, baboons, and so much more. This playful concept-and-story book is ideal for new readers. Author-illustrator Fiona Woodcock’s spare text uses only words containing double o’s, an important concept for early literacy. Each word is cleverly woven into stunning illustrations. And it all ends with a bedtime book, of course. Good night!

  • A Crash of Rhinos - Introduces in rhyming text the collective names used for various animal groups.

  • The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems - Be they practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) or fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake), the poems in this book boast a flair and joy that you won’t find in any instruction manual. Poets from Kwame Alexander to Pat Mora to Allan Wolf share the way to play hard, to love nature, and to be grateful. Soft, evocative illustrations will encourage readers to look at the world with an eye to its countless possibilities.

  • The Book with No Pictures - A #1 New York Times bestseller, this innovative and wildly funny read-aloud by award-winning humorist/actor B.J. Novak will turn any reader into a comedian. You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . . BLORK. Or BLUURF. Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY. Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)

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Chimpanzees for Tea!
Written & illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A silly, fun version of the game “telephone”—in which a grocery list committed to memory goes playfully awry.

One day, Vincent’s mother asks him to go to the store to pick up a few items: “a bunch of carrots, a box of rice, some China tea, a big, firm pear, and a tin of peas” to be precise. “And hurry home in time for tea!” she says. Sounds easy enough.

Yet distractions are at every turn, causing havoc with Vincent’s memory. All of a sudden, a tin of peas is replaced by a trapeze; a big, firm pear becomes a big furry bear; and a box of rice transforms into a box of mice!

Needless to say, Vincent’s mother is in for quite a surprise.

Told with a playful rhythm for reading aloud and illustrated with exuberance and great child appeal, this humorous picture book will have kids laughing and asking for repeated readings.

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Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Written & illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dr. Seuss’s wonderfully wise Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is the perfect send-off for grads–from nursery school, high school, college, and beyond! From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, “Seuss’s message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.’” A perennial favorite and a perfect gift for anyone starting a new phase in their life!

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Mirror Mirror
Written by Marilyn Singer & illustrated by Josee Masse
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

What’s brewing when two favorites—poetry and fairy tales—are turned (literally) on their heads? It’s a revolutionary recipe: an infectious new genre of poetry and a lovably modern take on classic stories.

First, read the poems forward (how old-fashioned!), then reverse the lines and read again to give familiar tales, from Sleeping Beauty to that Charming Prince, a delicious new spin. Witty, irreverent, and warm, this gorgeously illustrated and utterly unique offering holds a mirror up to language and fairy tales, and renews the fun and magic of both.

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A Hole Is to Dig
Written by Ruth Krauss & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What is a hole?
A hole is when you step in it
you go down

A hole is
for a mouse
to live in.

And, of course,a hole is to dig.

This is the funniest book
of definitions you’ll ever read!

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Orange Pear Apple Bear
Written & illustrated by Emily Gravett
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Destined to become a contemporary classic, this book has spare text and sweet illustrations but contains only five words: apple, pear, orange, bear–and there. Emily Gravett creates clever variations on this theme by rearranging the words–on one spread, a brown bear juggles an orange, apple, and pear; on another spread, there is an orange-colored apple and a pear-shaped bear. Simple and compelling, children will enjoy reading this book over and over again as they learn many different concepts.

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  • Echo Echo - A new book of unique reversible poems based on Greek myths from the creator of Mirror Mirror What happens when you hold up a mirror to poems about Greek myths? You get a brand-new perspective on the classics! And that is just what happens in Echo Echo, the newest collection of reverso poems from Marilyn Singer. Read one way, each poem tells the story of a familiar myth; but when read in reverse, the poems reveal a new point of view! Readers will delight in uncovering the dual points of view in well-known legends, including the stories of Pandora’s box, King Midas and his golden touch, Perseus and Medusa, Pygmalion, Icarus and Daedalus, Demeter and Persephone, and Echo and Narcissus. These cunning verses combine with beautiful illustrations to create a collection of fourteen reverso poems to treasure.

  • The Phantom Tollbooth - For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams!

  • Ava and Pip - The first installment in the Ava and Pip series, perfect for aspiring writers and anyone that loves palindromes and word play. Ava and Pip is a funny and heartfelt story of Ava, an outgoing girl who wants to help her sister come out of her shell, and become a writer when she grows up.A love letter to language.–The New York TimesMeet outgoing Ava Wren, a fun fifth grader who tries not to lose patience with her shy big sister. She can’t understand why Pip is so reserved and never seems to make friends with others, and decides to use her writing talents to help her sister overcome her shyness. She writes a short story based on the girl that ruined her sister’s birthday party … but it doesn’t quite go over like she wanted it to.Can Ava and her new friend help Pip come out of her shell? And can Ava get out of the mess she has made, and really be a real writer like she always dreamed?Great for parents, educators and librarians looking for: A heartwarming read that has messages of sisterhood, identity, and friendshipFunny books for girls ages 9 to 12A story that incorporates word play (especially palindromes!)A story with a character wants to be a writer, perfect for aspiring young authors

  • I Can Be Anything - When I grow up, what shall I be? This exuberant book offers up everything from a paper plane folder to a puppy dog holder, from a silly joke teller to a snowball smoother. Newbery-Award winning author Jerry Spinelli’s simple and charming rhymes are accompanied by internationally-renowned illustrator Jimmy Liao’s vibrant and fantastical illustrations. This book is an imaginative joyride about hopes and dreams, and a reminder of all the possibilities life has to offer. So, what do you want to be? Remember—you can be anything!

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Stegothesaurus
Written by Bridget Heos & illustrated by T. L. McBeth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Stegothesaurus has little in common with his fellow dinosaurs until he meets an allosaurus that seems as hungry for synonyms as he is.

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Maximillian Villainous
Written by Margaret Chiu Greanias & illustrated by Lesley Breen Withrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For anyone who loved Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, this is a humorous and important book about learning to follow your heart and proving that kindness can outweigh villainy any day.

Maximillian Villainous is a monster who doesn’t have the heart to be a villain. His famous family pulls pranks on the likes of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and Max spends his time undoing them. So when he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, Max’s disapproving mother hatches a plan. She challenges Max and the bunny to become a devious duo; otherwise . . . the bunny hops. If they want to stay together, Max and the bunny have no choice but to go against their nature. They blunder into villainy with comical effect until Max discovers that embracing his good heart may just be the key to pulling off the most devious deed of all and winning his family’s acceptance.

Delightfully fun and irreverent, Maximillian Villainous is an empowering story about embracing one’s true self and finding acceptance. Up and coming illustrator Lesley Breen Withrow brings the characters to life with bold and colorful illustrations in a style reminiscent of Richard Scarry.

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The Case of the Stinky Stench
Written by Josh Funk & illustrated by Brendan Kearney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

There s a stinky stench in the fridge and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery! Inspector Croissant begs Sir French Toast and Lady Pancake for help in finding the source of the foul odor. Could it be the devious Baron Von Waffle? A fetid fish in Corn Chowder Lake? Featuring delectable wordplay there s even an actual red herring and delicious art, this tasty tale is a treat for kids!”

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Oh, Say Can You Say?
Written & illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Tongue twisters abound in this classic Dr. Seuss Beginner Book!

“Bed Spreaders spread spreads on beds.

Bread Spreaders spread butter on breads.

And that Bed Spreader better watch out how he’s spreading . . .

or that Bread Spreader’s sure going to butter his bedding.”

This riotous collection weaves together a wonderment of words designed to twist the lips. Wordsmiths and beginning readers will love Oh Say Can You Say? and treasure tackling these tangled tongue teasers.

Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.

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Llamaphones
Written & illustrated by Janik Coat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

In Janik Coat’smuch-anticipated follow-up to Hippoposites and Rhymoceros, Llamaphoneswill feature witty words that may sound the same but are spelled differently–and have different meanings. Like the other books in the series, this one will feature surprising novelty features, including a touch-and-feel element, making homophones an easy and fun concept to learn.

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  • Hello - A brother and sister enjoy a brilliant day full of spills, thrills, and silly adventures in this playful story comprised only of words that contain a double L (such as spills, thrills, and silly)! The spare, engaging text works as an interactive read-aloud, and the stunning illustrations invite repeated readings. A great choice for family sharing, language arts teachers, emerging readers, and storytime fun! Hello! Are you ready for a brilliant day? There are plenty of spills and thrills as a brother and a sister collide in bumper cars, ride roller coasters, toss beach balls, and act silly in the chilly ocean water, where they meet a jellyfish! This playful concept and story book is ideal for new readers, who will love following along as a brother and sister enjoy a day full of adventure and unexpected surprises. Author-illustrator Fiona Woodcock’s spare text uses only words with double L’s, an important concept for early literacy. Parents and educators will appreciate the way each word is cleverly woven into eye-catching illustrations, from rabbit ears to a child’s boots. Fans of Kevin Henkes’s Egg and Fiona Woodcock’s acclaimed debut Look will love the playful tone and pace.

  • I Love You Like No Otter - Give hedgehugs and kisses to your little squeakheart with this pun-tastic book! There’s no better way to say “I love you” than with a sweet and heartfelt animal pun! I Love You Like No Otter combines a warm message of love with beautifully illustrated animals families will love to read and share together. Purrfect for anyone you love beary much!

  • Where Are the Words? - Period wants to write a story but can’t find the words, so his friends offer their help. Question Mark asks around and Exclamation Point finds some enthusiastic words from some unexpected place. Now all Period needs is an idea, but from whom?

  • Marigold Bakes a Cake - For fans of Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon… series. Baking the perfect cake is how Marigold spends Mondays. Being messy, noisy, and disruptive in Marigold’s kitchen are how one finch, two pigeons, and three loons spend their Mondays! Marigold the cat loves Mondays, for that is when he bakes cakes! With his favorite recipe in front of him, he rolls up his sleeves and gets down to it. He whips up egg whites . . . Easy. He adds a cup of milk . . . Peasy. Then he sprinkles in just a pinch of . . . of finch?! That’s not right at all! Neither are the smidgeons of pigeons or the spoonsfull of loons. Clearly a chase is in order! Yet all that leads to is a spectacularly messy kitchen. And no cake. With a recipe comprised of equal parts humor and charm, author-illustrator Mike Malbrough has cooked up a scrumptious laugh-out-loud addition to the great tradition of interruption books. Perfect for fans of Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and David Ezra Stein’s Interrupting Chicken.

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The Whole Hole Story
Written by Vivian McInerny & illustrated by Ken Lamug
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In Vivian McInerny’s playful debut, readers will fall in love with wonder again as Zia imagines what might happen if the hole in her pocket became big enough to fall right through. The Whole Hole Story is perfect for readers looking for a fresh take on the classic Harold and the Purple Crayon. Zia is used to the hole in her pocket–she frequently fills it with frogs and other objects. And as it gets bigger and bigger, she starts to wonder what might happen . . . if she fell right through. Would she cover it with a blanket to catch an elephant, or dig a tunnel to the other side of the world? The possibilities are endless, and readers will love following Zia’s adventurous imagination from beginning to end. With hilarious wordplay paired with Ken Lamug’s bright and colorful illustrations, The Whole Hole Story will appeal to kids’ divine sense of silliness. Perfect for fans of Du Iz Tak?, and They All Saw a Cat.

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The Day the Universe Exploded My Head: Poems to Take You into Space and Back Again
Written by Allan Wolf & illustrated by Anna Raff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Hang on tight for a raucous bounce through the solar system and back – propelled by funny, fanciful, factually sound poems and exuberant illustrations. The universe poured into me. My brain was overloaded. It smoked and glowed red-hot. And then it actually exploded. Ever wonder what the sun has to say about being the closest star to Earth? Or what Pluto has gotten up to since being demoted to a dwarf planet? Or where rocket ships go when they retire? Listen closely, because maybe, just maybe, your head will explode, too. With poetry that is equal parts accurate and entertaining – and illustrations that are positively out of this world – this book will enthrall amateur stargazers and budding astrophysicists as it reveals many of the wonders our universe holds. Space travelers in search of more information will find notes about the poems, a glossary, and a list of resources at the end.

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Say What?
Written by Angela DiTerlizzi & illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

With an interactive text and bright, playful illustrations, explore what baby animals really mean when they make their adorable baby animal sounds. When a lion says ROAR, does he really mean MORE? When a cow says MOO, does she really mean YOU? How do we know what animals say when they say what they say with their sounds everyday? With an interactive text and bright, playful illustrations, Angela DiTerlizzi and Joey Chou explore what baby animals really mean when they make their adorable baby animal sounds.

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Splat the Cat and the Duck with No Quack
Written by Rob Scotton & illustrated by Robert Eberz and Rob Scotton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A duck with no quack? Who has ever heard of that? Certainly not Splat–and he decides to investigate. Beginning readers will love the zany wordplay in this Splat book!

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Where's the Baboon?
Written by Michael Escoffier & illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A companion volume to the acclaimed “Take Away the A,” this is picture book word play at its very best!

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  • A Greyhound, a Groundhog - From a heavyweight author and illustrator duo comes a delicious tongue twister of a picture book that features a little round greyhound and a little round groundhog. With very spare, incredibly lively language, this is an entertaining read-aloud, with two amazing—and oh-so-adorable—characters at its heart. When a greyhound meets a groundhog, wordplay and crazy antics ensue. The two animals, much like kids, work themselves into a frenzy as they whirl around and around one another. (Around, round hound. Around, groundhog!) The pace picks up (Around and around and astound and astound!), until they ultimately wear themselves out.

  • Cockatoo, Too - Who can can-can? Find out in Cockatoo, Too, a hilarious book that features cockatoos, two more cockatoos, and tutued toucans too, now available as a board book! Cockatoo. Cockatoo two? Cockatoo, too? Two cockatoos! Two cockatoos, too? Cockatoo tutus! Two cockatoos meet two more cockatoos in tutus and two tutued toucans. And then two more! Can they all can-can? They can! The cockatoos and toucans join together for a dance and ask the reader: “Can you can-can, too?” Now even the youngest readers can experience fantastically funny wordplay and lush, vibrant illustrations in this new board book edition of Cockatoo, Too.

  • Bonesville - This stunning picture book from the bestselling team of Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet cleverly introduces many of the bones that make up the human body. A mysterious beast is terrorizing the resident skeletons of Bonesville. Under cover of darkness, it steals a different bone from each townsperson, from cranium to phalanges. It takes the washerwoman s humerus, the butcher s fibula, and Dr. Strongbones s coccyx. Thanks to his patience and cleverness, Detective Sherlock Bones traps the monster, revealing that the beast is only the harmless Spot of the Baskervilles, on a mission to rebuild the lost skeleton of his master, Dr. Watsbones. Jolivet s bold illustrations and Fromental s witty storytelling make for a winning combination in this striking picture book, perfect for young Sherlock Holmes fans. “

  • Blobfish Throws a Party - Introducing Blobfish Throws a Party, a wild and hilarious story from award-winning author Miranda Paul! Blobfish lives at the bottom of the ocean with no lights, no friends, and no delicious treats. The only two ways he can think to change this would be to 1) throw a party, or 2) save the world in true hero style. He decides to do the first one. However, when he announces, “Deep sea party! Bring a treat to share!”, the mermaids hear “Cheap, free party! Sling on a sheet to wear!”, and the shorebirds hear “Cheep-peep party! Sing a tweet with flair!”, and so on. Soon the whole world is partying in strange ways based on what they think they heard, and Blobfish is still sad and alone at the bottom of the sea. Will Blobfish ever get his lights, friends, and delicious treats?

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Lexie the Word Wrangler
Written by Rebecca Van Slyke & illustrated by Jessie Hartland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This clever celebration of words and their meanings features a strong cowgirl who wrangles words alongside cattle.

Lexie is the best wrangler west of the Mississippi—word wrangler, that is. She watches over baby letters while they grow into words and ties shorter words together into longer ones; she herds words into sentences, hitches sentences together, and pens them all in to tell a story. But lately, something seems off at the ranch. First the d goes missing from her bandana, leaving her with a banana to tie around her neck, and soon afterward every S-T-A-R in the sky turns into R-A-T-S. There’s no doubt about it—there’s a word rustler causing this ruckus, and Lexie plans to track him down . . . even if it means riding her horse through the sticky icing of a desert that’s suddenly become a giant dessert.

This fantastic spin on “cowboy” stories populates Lexie’s ranch with lively letters and words, alongside the typical cattle and horses, and stars a smart, confident, charismatic heroine. Rebecca Van Slyke’s creative, silly wordplay pairs perfectly with Jessie Hartland’s lively illustrations, and there’s even a glossary of helpful terms for up-and-coming word wranglers.

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Sharko and Hippo
Written by Elliott Kalan & illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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Donut Give Up
Written by Rose Rossner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Give your peanut a little encouragemint with this deliciously punderful board book for babies and toddlers!Show your little one you’re berry proud of them with a sweet read aloud you’ll love to share together again and again! Filled with adorable food illustrations, funny wordplay, and a heartfelt message of positivity and encouragement, Donut Give Up introduces growth mindset to little ones and inspires them to believe in themselves. It’s never too early to taco ‘bout dreaming big and never giving up with your child!The pearfect self esteem and encouragement book for kids ages 0-3–made just for their little hands–this punny treat makes a wonderful gift for birthdays, baby showers, Valentine’s Day, Easter basket stuffers, Christmas stocking stuffers, or other special moments all year long!Remember, donut give up, When what you’re doing gets tough.And here’s the inside scoop:, You’ll always be enough.More charming stories from Punderland, the perfect gift for any occasionI Love You Like No OtterI Love You More, BabysaurSomebunny Loves YouHappy Meow-loween, Little Pumpkinand more!

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Pirate Jack Gets Dressed
Written by Nancy Raines Day & illustrated by Allison Black
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

Ahoy, matey! Join jaunty pirate Captain Jack as he uses every color of the rainbow to pick out his outfit in this bright and bold read-aloud. It’s the crack o’ dawn, and dapper Pirate Jack is ready t’ get dressed for a day out on the high seas with his motley crew. He’ll need every color of the rainbow to make his outfit complete—from his itchy gray long johns and his toasty pink socks to his bright red sash and his cozy purple coat. And he won’t be forgettin’ his black eye patch and trusty brown peg leg, either! But just as he’s about to step outside, he realizes he’s still missing one color: green! Thank goodness a certain feathered friend is ready to jump from her swing and onto his shoulder to complete his colorful look. Squawk!

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Have You Seen My Trumpet?
Written by Michael Escoffier & illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Following “Take Away the A” and “Where’s the Baboon?,” this is Escoffier/Di Giacomo’s last book in their zany word-play trilogy.

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  • Hug a Bull: An Ode to Animal Dads - Take a look, my dad’s a Gander. Take a nap, our dads are Boars. From baby geese to kangaroos to humans, every mom and dad is known by his or her own special name. Bouncing texts full of fun wordplay and adorable illustrations feature animal parents of every shape and size, and encourage little readers to express big love. Go ahead and hug a bull!

  • Smick - Smick is a BIG dog. Sit, Smick. Chick is a little chick. Stay, Smick! So what happens when they see a stick? Written by New York Times bestselling author Doreen Cronin and ingeniously illustrated by newcomer Juana Medina, Smick is a story of unlikely friendship, a sense of adventure, and a lot of wonderful wordplay.

  • Ice Cream Summer - A little boy writes a letter to his grandfather about all the reading and studying he is doing this summer–but all his activities revolve around ice cream.

  • Toucans, Too - This hilarious follow-up book to Cockatoo, Too features cockatoos, toucans, two-can stew, and gnus! One can. Two cans. Toucans? Toucans, too. Toucan stew???! The cockatoos are back, and the toucans are too! But the toucans think the cockatoos say “toucan stew” and run away in a toucan canoe, so the cockatoos make them some two-can stew, which attracts the gnus, who ask the reader, “Can gnu?” Bethanie Deeney Murguia’s fabulous follow-up to the well-received Cockatoo, Too combines fantastically funny wordplay with lush, vibrant illustrations, making this a humorous read-aloud that both children and parents will love!

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I Scream! Ice Cream!
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Serge Bloch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Uses colorful illustrations to demonstrate examples of “wordles,” or wordplay phrases that sound alike but have different meanings, including “I see” and “icy,” and “I scream” and “ice cream.”

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Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast
Written by Josh Funk & illustrated by Brendan Kearney and Josh Funk
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A thoroughly delicious picture book about the funniest “food fight!” ever! Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have a beautiful friendship—until they discover that there’s ONLY ONE DROP of maple syrup left. Off they go, racing past the Orange Juice Fountain, skiing through Sauerkraut Peak, and reeling down the linguini. But who will enjoy the sweet taste of victory? And could working together be better than tearing each other apart? The action-packed rhyme makes for an adrenaline-filled breakfast . . . even without a drop of coffee!

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Who Can?
Written by Charles Ghigna & illustrated by Vlasta van Kampen
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Tongue-twisty teasers lead the reader through a miscellany of animals in this brilliantly illustrated hint-and-reveal book. Careful clues invite the child to guess what’s coming next, and rhythm and repetition invite early readers to try out this little riddle book on their own. From toucan to centipede, all will delight in Vlasta van Kampen’s colorful art and Charles Ghigna’s whimsical words.

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I'm Just No Good at Rhyming
Written by Chris Harris & illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-12

Meet the 21st century Shel Silverstein! Chris Harris’s debut poetry collection molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make you look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way. This entirely unique collection offers a surprise around every corner, from the ongoing rivalry between the author and illustrator, to the mysteriously misnumbered pages that can only be deciphered by a certain code-cracking poem, to the rhyming fact-checker in the footnotes who points out when “poetic license” gets out of hand. Adding to the fun: Lane Smith, bestselling creator of beloved hits like It’s a Book and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, has spectacularly illustrated this extraordinary collection with nearly one hundred pieces of appropriately absurd art. It’s a mischievous match made in heaven!

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Watersong
Written by Tim McCanna & illustrated by Richard Smythe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“A fox’s journey to take shelter from a rainstorm, told entirely in onomatopoeia”–

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