11 Best Picture Books for a Rainy Day

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There’s a huge variety of delightful picture books out there but it goes without saying that some stories (and their illustrations) stir a little magic. Here’s out top 11 picks for rainy days when imaginations need fuelling and hearts need warming.

  1. Peepo : “Here’s a little baby, one, two, three…” I know this heartwarming tale off by heart thanks to the many years I have been reading it. It seems that every baby and toddler loves this book and because the pictures are so detailed (and so accurately portray a love-filled yet messy family home) there’s lots for preschoolers to look at, too.
  2. Pelle’s New Suit : Swedish author Elsa Beskow is a favourite in Australian Steiner schools and homes and yet she seems relatively undiscovered (I’ve never seen one of her titles at my local library). Beskow’s stories are quite traditional and yet they are imbued with life lessons and a profound sense of fairytale wonder. This story tells the tale of Pelle and his lamb – as the lamb’s wool gets longer, Pelle’s suit gets shorter, hence it’s time to make a new wool suit.
  3. Magic Beach : an Australian classic, Magic Beach stirs many beach-going memories and will prompt many plans for upcoming beach trips. It’s gentle rhyme and delightful illustrations will have the whole family dreaming of summer on the sand.
  4. Spring is Here : seasonally apt as our winter turns to spring, this simple yet evocative story has been a favourite of ours for almost seven years. Author/illustrator, Taro Gomi, creates beautiful poems and engaging images – a perfect choice for short attention spans.

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5. The Terrible Plop : one of the best rhyming books you’ll come across, this is the hilarious, laugh-out-loud story of a bear, a rabbit and a TERRIBLE PLOP!!!!! Read it with energy and a little drama and your preschooler will be giggling with glee. Comic-inspired illustrations definitely add a little quirk to storytime.

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6. The Alfie Treasury : what would childhood be without Shirley Hughes? Gosh, she captures it all so honestly; scraped knees, chubby cheeks, messy houses, gumboots in puddles. I have such fond memories of her books from my childhood and now I read them with my own kids (given the chance I will always pick one of Shirley’s books from the shelf). Set in England it’s not surprising that many of her tales feature dreary, wet weather which just begs for them to be read under a blanket on a rainy day. You can’t go wrong with any of her books but we particularly like Dogger and Out and About.

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7. This is Sadie : Sadie is one of my favourite storybook characters. Quirky and clever, fearless and free, Sadie can be anything she wants to be! Whimsical pictures tell a beautiful story of a wild imagination…one that will spark a few ideas when the kids are going a bit stir-crazy.

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8. Today We Have No Plans : author Jane Godwin and illustrator Anna Walker are a children’s book force to be reckoned with. Together they have created a few contemporary classics over the past few years and my favourite would have to be this relatable story of busy family life. Set in the Aussie suburbs, this is a timeless story of a family of five doing their best to juggle their way through the week. But come Sunday there’s an entire day with no plans – and everyone sighs relief! Sound familiar?

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9. A Forest : Australian author/illustrator, Marc Martin, has created an unforgettable story of renewal. The words are simple yet evocative but it’s the watercolours and texta art that really impress. And you know what my children love about it? They are inspired to pick up their own textas and copy the forest of trees, adding their own little houses and cars and rivers and animals.

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10. Atlas of Adventures : this grand scale book deserves to be in every single home. Indeed, it’s an eye-catching page turner and it’s big enough for the whole family to read at once. With detailed drawings and an abundance of fun facts, this is a geography lesson not to be missed.

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11. Amelia Ellicott’s Garden : this is an unforgettable story of community and it’s one that needs to be shared. Many people from many different places live in the apartments next to Amelia Ellicott’s house and one day, thanks to a disruptive storm, they all come together to put the chicken shed back together again. Heartwarming, to say the least.

What’s your favourite children’s book to snuggle up with?

More kids’ books to check out:

Top image: Jodi Wilson; all others supplied