Best Adventure Picture Books

Children reading a book together.

The best adventure picture books are ones that enthrall your child in a story. An adventure story usually involves excitement, danger, or both. An adventure book's premise might also document the main character's exploits, or journey from various points in his/her life or places in his/her life.

Appeal of Picture Adventure Books

Picture books that depict the character's crazy schemes, situations and mishaps are appealing books to children ages 4-8. Younger children can use the pictures to help narrate the story in their own words, while beginning readers can get clues to unknown words from the pictures. Older readers appreciate a richly told story that is well illustrated.

Adventure books are good books to use to get kids interested in reading. Reading is important and one of the best ways to get kids excited is to find books that appeal to them. Stories that focus on a crazy adventure, a funny adventure or even an adventure that children might embark on themselves one day are good books to introduce to children who are struggling or uninterested.

Recommended Best Adventure Picture Books

Many picture books follow the main character(s) on an adventure. However, not all adventure books follow the same plot. Though the most exciting adventures usually revolve around a fantasy, others will involve some sort of peril, mission or new life experience.

Fantasy Adventures

Fantasy adventures are usually the most loved by children. These stories often involve things that could never happen in real life, like talking animals or monsters. Fantasy adventures that spark the imagination include:

  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig: Follow the adventure of the donkey named Sylvester who finds a magic wishing pebble that turns him into a rock, rendering him unable to hold the pebble and wish to return to his former state. This book received the 1970 Caldecott Medal.
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman: Corduroy is a toy bear who comes alive in a department store one evening as he searches for a button for his missing overalls strap.
  • Sheep Blast Off! by Nancy E. Shaw (Author) and Margot Apple (Illustrator): Go on an outer space adventure with seven sheep as they navigate the cosmos in a spaceship that lands in their field.
  • Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg: Siblings Peter and Julie find an abandoned board jungle-themed game and take it home to play. Unfortunately, everything that happens in the game comes to life, from a lion to an erupting volcano. Jumanji won the 1982 Caldecott Medal and was made into a movie starring Robin Williams.

More Adventure Books

Not all adventure books involve fantastical creatures like the ones in the book above. Some adventures are funny, while others involve a real-life adventure, and yet others are "treks" that children embark upon with the charters. Try out these adventure books in those themes:

  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett (Author) and Ron Barrett (Illustrator): The people of Chewandswallow enjoy eating whatever "rains" down upon them, from pancakes to spaghetti. Follow them in this hilarious adventure when their weather takes a noticeable turn for the worse and they must come up with a solution to their oversized portion problems.
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans: Madeline is a young girl who lives in Paris with eleven other girls. In the first book in the series, she must visit the hospital to have her appendix removed. This real-life hospital adventure is sure to set many children's minds at ease who must also visit the hospital or doctor.
  • We're Going on a Lion Hunt by Margery Cuyler (Author) and Joe Mathieu (Illustrator): Join a teacher and her students as they embark on a quest to find a lion and navigate themselves through rivers and meetings with other jungle creatures.

The best adventure picture books are ones that engage your child's imagination and sparks his or her creativity. Recommend your own favorite children's adventure picture books by adding a comment in the box below.

Best Adventure Picture Books