Picture Books for Adventurers

Get ready for a world of adventure! With these picture books for adventurers, every day brings new excitement. Whales, pirates, dinosaurs, and wild things await your child in the pages of these books. So buckle up…there’s adventure ahead!

Read the synopses of my favorites below, and download my free library list to take with you on your next visit to the library.

Amos and Boris book cover

Amos & Boris
by William Steig

In this high-seas, Aesop-esque tale, a whale and a mouse prove that friendship isn’t always logicaland it should never be defined by how big or small you are, what you look like, or where you live. Amos lives on the land and Boris lives in the sea, but together they discover the true meaning of friendship.

Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad book cover

Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad
by Liz Climo

Do you remember the first time you ventured out into the world all by yourself? You may not have realized it at the time, but you probably weren’t quite as alone as you thought . This sweet picture book is a great reminder that as wonderful as all-by-myself adventures are, adventures with dad are always better!

Picture Books for Adventurers - Picture Book Reviews from All About Reading

How I Became a Pirate
by Melinda Long

Building a sandcastle may seem like a pretty safe activity, but if you’re not careful, you may find yourself being recruited by a band of pirates! Just ask Jeremy Jacob–that’s exactly how he became a pirate! At first, Jeremy thinks being a pirate is very exciting, but before long he realizes it may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Amazing Grace picture book

Amazing Grace
by Mary Hoffman

An adventurous spirit doesn’t start with a plane ticket or a tank of gas; it starts with the dream of something amazing. Amazing Grace is that kind of adventure, and Grace is that kind of girl. To Grace, stories aren’t just storiesshe lives them. And all her adventures convince Grace that if she just puts her mind to it, she can do anything!

Little Elliot Big City book cover

Little Elliot Big City
by Mike Curato

Elliot is a small elephant with a BIG problem: he’s a small elephant living in a BIG city. If you’ve ever felt small, this book is for you. It will help you remember that there’s always someone who is smaller than youand that smaller-than-you someone might really need a friend. Little Elliot Big City is about as sweet as it gets!

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole book cover

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
by Mac Barnett

Sam and Dave won’t stop digging until they find something spectacular. But somehow they just keep missing the big treasure! You’ll want to squeal! You’ll want to yell, “Just a little deeper!” or “Dig to the left!” You’ll want to see this adventure through to the very end, because somehow, Mac Barnett turns Sam and Dave’s adventure into yours.

Wherever You Go book cover

Wherever You Go
by Pat Zietlow Miller

Wherever You Go gives wings to the notion that “life is a journey, not a destination.” With enticing rhyme and whimsical characters, Pat Zietlow Miller invites you to remember that just outside every door is a road that leads to adventure. This book is an irresistible journeysweet and charming, but full of adventure.

Three Bears in a Boat book cover

Three Bears in a Boat
by David Soman

When three bears break their mother’s favorite blue shell, their hunt to find just the right replacement takes them on the adventure of a lifetime. On their voyage, they encounter some salty sailor bears, a pod of whales, and a very scary, dark cave. You just never know what wonderful places a mother’s love will take you.

Where the Wild Things Are book cover

Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak

It was in 1963 that Max first cried, “Let the wild rumpus start!” If you’ve never read Where the Wild Things Are with your childrenor if it’s just been a very long timeit may be time to join Max and the Wild Things for a rumpus of epic proportions. This classic is imagination and adventure at its very best.

The Day the Crayons Came Home book cover

The Day the Crayons Came Home
by Drew Daywalt

In this sequel to Drew Daywalt’s brilliant The Day the Crayons Quit, a motley crew of irritated crayons have had enough! They’re the lost and long-forgotten crayons and all they want is to get back to the safety and security of home…the crayon box!

Gorilla book cover

by Anthony Browne

Hannah loves gorillas, but her father just doesn’t have time to take her to visit the gorillas at the zoo. The night before her birthday, Hannah’s father gives her a toy gorilla…and that’s just the beginning of a real gorilla adventure for Hannah and her new friend!

Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken book cover

Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken
by Kate DiCamillo

Read along as Louise the chicken sets out to find herself an adventure! Her search for excitement leads her onto a pirate ship, into the circus, and to a bazaar—but will Louise find any place more wonderful than her own henhouse?

Harold and the Purple Crayon book cover

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson

Harold wants to take a walk in the moonlight—but first he has to draw the moon with his magical purple crayon. Before long, Harold has created an amazing adventure. This classic (and very purple!) picture book is a beautiful story of imagination and creativity.

Quest book cover

by Aaron Becker

If you’re ready for adventure, follow along as two children begin a quest to bring color back to their colorless kingdom. Armed with magical crayons, the children travel from place to place, drawing everything needed to complete their journey and save the king.

Sebastian and the Balloon book cover

Sebastian and the Balloon
by Philip C. Stead

What do you do when nothing fun ever happens on your street? Well, Sebastian decides he’s going to fly away—in a homemade hot air balloon! Are you bored, too? Why not join Sebastian and his new friends as they work together to tackle a difficult project?

The Secret Shortcut book cover

The Secret Shortcut
by Mark Teague

Wendell and Floyd are in big trouble. Their adventures keep making them late for school, and their teacher has had enough. She tells them they must get to school on time…or else! But how can the boys keep from being late when their walks to school are so … well … adventurous?

We're Going on a Bear Hunt book cover

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
by Michael Rosen

This is not your standard everyday adventure—it’s a bear hunt! But beware! Along the way, you’ll encounter long, wavy grass, a deep, cold river, and a big, dark forest. Can you go under them? Can you go over them? No, you’ll have to go through them! And what will you do if you find a bear?

The Circus Ship book cover

The Circus Ship
by Chris Van Dusen

What would you do if a ship full of circus animals washed up in your village? And what would you do if the zookeeper returned to take the animals back to the circus? Read along to discover what the villagers in Chris Van Dusen’s The Circus Ship do to help their new friends!

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend book cover

The Adventures of Beekle:
The Unimaginary Friend

by Dan Santat

Beekle is an imaginary friend who lives on an imaginary island with lots of other imaginary friends, all just waiting to be imagined by a child. But when it seems like Beekle is never going to be imagined, he does the unimaginable and sails away to find himself a friend!

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World book cover

How to Make an Apple Pie
and See the World

by Marjorie Priceman

When you want to make an apple pie and the market is closed, what do you do? Well, you might have to stow away on a boat to Jamaica for sugar. Or you could hitch a ride to England for cream. Because when you want to make apple pie, nothing will stand in your way!

FREE Picture Books for Adventurers Library List

Picture Books for Adventurers library checklist download

Would you like to read some of my favorite picture books for adventurers with your children? Click to download my list to take to your local library.

Looking for MORE books? You can find more great library lists here!

Picture Books for Adventurers Recommended by Our Readers

Do you have a favorite picture book for adventurers? Please share it in the comments and I’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks list!

FREE Picture Book LIbrary Lists

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Cathy Hall


My oldest grandchild and I have already read many of the books as we frequented the library but with my second grandchild and the pandemic we are looking more for books like these to own. I am very interested and enjoy when others post about good books; thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Cathy! I love that you are making reading together memories with your grandchildren!

Ashley Garstin


I’m always on the look out for books like these. My kids absolutely LOVED The Circus Ship. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad your kids enjoyed it so much, Ashley!



What a great list of fun imaginative adventures!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Nicole!



Picture books never get old. Thank you for this lovely list!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Gianna. I hope you find lots of books to enjoy in this list.

Lisa G.


This is a well-curated list!



Thank you for the ideas. I’ll check our local library.



Such a great list ?

Michelle Stichnoth


Love reading lists that enhance my kids’ education!



Thanks for the ideas!



We are actually in the minority that did not enjoy “where the wild things are”, my sons both felt that the boy was very ungrateful to his mom lol

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What a boring world this would be, Jennefer, if everyone enjoyed all the same books as everyone else! Although, I have to agree with Where the Wild Things Are. My children and I found it okay, but didn’t feel the need to revisit it.



We are always looking for new picture books! :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We have lots of picture book reviews, Casi! Check out our Picture Book Archive.



Thanks for the list! So much easier to take to the library.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Cassandra!



Love these suggestions



A chicken book!? Sold! ?

Rae-Ann Casillas


I didn’t even realize you gave reccomendations of books! I am so grateful to found this post! Let the library hunt begin!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes, we have lots of book review blog posts, Rae-Ann. Here can find them all here.



Love these books!



I have downloaded a lot of your free resources and am very excited to see if they help my daughter.

Victoria Lemp


I so appreciate when you share picture book theme printables. It saves me time when looking for something new. Please keep them coming!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Will do, Victoria! I’m glad you find these lists helpful.



These all look fun, and a great way to engage my two boys! I’m downloading the list, and may just have to go to the library this week! :)

Rachel Pankratz


How I Became a Pirate is one of our favorites! I printed the list to take with us on our next library trip. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Rachel. How I Became a Pirate is a great one!

Debbie Washburn


Love all the ideas.



Thank you for the suggestions!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Tanya! I hope you find lots of books to enjoy. ?



picture books are how my son learned to read. He could hear the full sentence I read and see the words as I said them. He was a “slow reader” but I think it was more he just did not like “clipped” reading: “Sam ran up the hill.” He wanted the whole sentence to make sense: “Sam decided to run up the hill so fast he almost fell!” Just an example, but picture books put full sentences out there for him and that’s how he wanted to read. My daughter….. she likes the clipped sentences. But still loves silly and funny picture books that help her visualize the whole story going on. These are all awesome books; we’ve read many of these!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Isn’t it wonderfully interesting how children learn so differently?

I’m glad you have enjoyed many of these books! We have lots of great picture book lists available to help you find more to enjoy.

Lauren McCray


This is a great list with some new to me books!



This is great! Can’t wait to read some of these books! Thanks for the suggestions!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re very welcome, Jessica!



Thank you for compiling such a comprehensive list. This is a wonderful resource.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jennifer! I hope you find lots of great adventures in books from this list. ?

Jen @ Every Morning New Mercies


Thank you for this list of picture books. There are millions out there and I love to hear about the really awesome amazing ones! Filling up our summer library list! Happy summer reading!

Nancy Lynn Barth


Penelope the Purple Pirate by Melissa Northway. Silverwing series about adventurous bats.



We love going on adventures through books! These are some great suggestions!



Always looking for good picture book recommendations to order through our library! Thanks!