6 Picture Books that Evoke Wonder for 4-9 (and 37) year-olds

I really, really love all these books. And so do my kids. They are a gift – check them out from the library and you’ll find yourself buying them eventually! (Tip - I love ThriftBooks for sourcing used books in great shape, even good enough for my Christmas gift giving.)


1. The Ox - Cart Man by Donald Hall and Barbara Cooney

This book captures the wonder of work well done and of life’s seasonal rhythms. Every sparse word is perfect, and it's somehow still captivating to my high-energy boys. It’s the Wendell Berry of children’s books.


2. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr

Do you remember the wonder of staying up late as a child? And of the first time you experienced the world transformed by snow? This will take you back there.


3. Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

This book gets at the wonder of adventure – going on one, and in making a real friend.


4. A Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

I love how this book subtly points to wonders in nature while the story revolves around everyday family life from a little girl’s perspective.


5. Bread and Jam for Frances by Russel and Lillian Hoban

The only picture book I’ve found so far that extols the glories of food. I love all the Frances books, but this one is my favorite. Maybe someday I’ll realize a lifelong dream of recreating and eating the book’s finale: Frances’ non-picky, spectacularly packed school lunch. Lobster salad sandwiches on thin white bread! Tomato soup! Cherries in a basket! (A boxed set of all six Frances books is finally back in print, woohoo, I already grabbed one for a Christmas gift for the boys from Costco online, don't tell them!)


6. Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Such beautiful illustrations and a simple, poetic text together evoke the wonder of the passing of time. And of light piercing the darkness.


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