5 of the Most Creative and Clever Books for Early Elementary School Kids

Cleverist Kid's Books

I have said it time and time again, but we are a family who loves to read. Each of my kids started loving books very young and bedtime just wouldn’t be bedtime without a nightly story.

Let’s be honest. Sometimes kid’s books are just dumb. And you get through them because they are still cute or well loved or whatever. But they don’t inspire you or make you laugh out loud or make you think.

Then every once in a while you come across a book that is just so well done it elevates itself above the rest. Your kid loves it, but you also love it. Like you beg your kids to let you read it at night. Like you find yourself reading it when they aren’t around. And laughing. Out loud.

These are a few books that fall in that category in our house these days:


The Day The Crayons QuitHannah came home from school after her teacher read this book begging me to buy it. She got it for Christmas and I swear has read it every day since. She has the book memorized. An adorable story of what might happen if you crayon box could talk to you, this book is so ridiculously clever and the illustrations are amazing. It actually won Amazon’s best children’s book of 2013. Well deserved.

I want my hat back

I Want My Hat BackI saw this book on a shelf in a bookstore a year ago and picked it up and read through it. I bought it on the spot. I can literally say I have never done that before. I am not sure my kids even get the humor of this book because it might be over their head, but the punch line had me laughing out loud. And my kids don’t seem to mind if they get it though. The like the illustrations and the story just the same.

press here

Press HereIt is hard to even describe this book. It is kind of something you just have to experience. It is an incredibly simple concept. You simply follow the prompts on the page starting with pressing a yellow dot. The book responds when you obey it and you can’t wait to see what comes next. Children little to big and those of us who are still kids at heart will love this book.


the dot

The DotNot only is this book beautiful and clever, but it is inspiring. It encourages our kids to be creative for sure, but there is more to it. It encourages them to keep on creating even when the voices around them, or even inside their head, are telling them their creations aren’t good enough. The lesson has the potential to go beyond creative pursuits and open up conversations about what it means to try new things even when we might not be the best at them.

pigeon elephant and piggieknufflebunny

Anything by Mo Willems: Totally showing my own personal bias, but I just firmly believe you can’t go wrong with Mo Willems. From the pigeon to elephant and piggie to knufflebunny, I seriously never grow tired of his books. The illustrations are perfect, the humor is perfect for kids but with plenty of winks to the adults reading the bedtime story. He has mastered the clever kid’s book genre and is definitely my favorite.





  1. Ooooh, I love clever books! Going to find Press Here and The Dot from the library this week!
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  2. We love Press Here and The Day the Crayons Quit! I’ve seen I Want My Hat Back but haven’t picked it up yet. I think I will the next time I’m out.

    We just finished reading Charlotte’s Web with our four year old, he loved it! I think we’ll try Stuart Little or Peter Pan next. Do you have any other suggestions?

    • I really don’t! We never did chapter books that young, but my older kids definitely loved Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. I always loved The Littles when I was young. Ooh, I guess we did do a lot of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle when the kids were little. She is so much fun!

      • I’ll have to check out Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! Thanks! We started reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle with him the other night. He seems to really enjoy that time with us. It’s kind of his special time each day, without his two and a half month old baby brother.
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  3. Knuffle Bunny was not my favorite, but I do love Mo Willems. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is one I would always pick because it’s so stinking funny. “How to Be a Baby” by Sally Lloyd-Jones and “The Best Pet Ever” by Victoria Roberts are also ones that make me giggle.
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