25 Phenomenal Fantasy Books for Preschoolers

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July 2020

Everyone loves discovering new things about the world around us, but sometimes, it can be great to dive into a world of imagination. We have compiled a list of 25 great fantasy books for preschoolers for you to read with your child. Some explore the power of imagination and magic in our own world, while others transport you to a completely different world full of mythical creatures. Some will feel relatable, while others will stretch your imagination. All of them, however, offer something special to your child, their development, and your storytimes shared together.

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Some Questions You Might Have

Why is reading fantasy books to young children beneficial?

Fantasy books ask children to draw upon their imagination and think about a world completely different from their own. Engaging in imaginative thought is incredibly beneficial for child development. Firstly, it encourages children to engage in problem solving by getting them to think outside the box and by promoting the idea that sometimes there is more than one solution to a problem. Secondly, engaging in imaginative thought often helps children to express their ideas, as they come to believe that there is more than one way to look at the world around them.

Furthermore, reading fantasy books can also be beneficial to further engage young readers. For some children who are more reluctant to read, fantasy books can make a world of difference.
Some children find the idea of dragons or a magical land or donuts as characters much more exciting than more realistic fiction. And, in general, the idea of leaving reality can be a fun break from chores or schoolwork, for children and parents alike.

What age is appropriate to start reading fantasy books to children?

You can begin reading fantasy books to children as early as birth. Or as early as you start reading other kinds of books to them. It is never too early to encourage engagement in imagination and creativity. So long as the books are developmentally appropriate, children should have no trouble diving into a good fantasy book.

Fantasy Picture Books

The Red Book
Barbara Lehman
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-7

This book is about a magical red book without any words. When you turn its pages, you are transported to a whole new world of adventures. Crossing oceans and traversing continents, one little girl discovers a world of possibility and meets a new friend along the way. And, as with all the best books, the journey is far from over at the end of the book.

This book is full of imagination. Without any words, it allows you and your child to interpret the illustrations and make the story your very own. You can narrate it, add dialogue, or even change the storyline if you wanted it! We also love this book because it really reflects the magic of books (especially fantastical ones) and how they can transport you to an entirely different world to experience new places and meet new friends.

Strega Nona
Tomi De Paoloa
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

Strega Nona, or “Grandma Witch,” provides potion, cures, magic, and comfort to her small Spanish town. Big Antony visits Strega Nona one day and is tasked with looking after her house and tending her garden while the witch goes on an errand. But Big Antony is hungry and grows more and more tempted to use Strega Nona’s magic pasta pot. He realizes too late that he never should have touched the magic pot after it starts spewing enough pasta to engulf the whole town!

This is one of our favorite books about wizards and witches because it is written like an old cautionary folk tale with a village witch and spells and everything. In addition to the mystical and fantastical elements, this book is also very exciting and funny. You can’t help but laugh and feel bad for poor Big Anthony once his pasta making adventures run amok, and what more silly disaster to have than a whole town covered in pasta! There is no doubt that this book will make your family laugh.

Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo
William Joyce
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

After a trip to Africa, the Lazardo family brings back an unusual souvenir–a dinosaur. This might seem like a disastrous idea, but Bob is a very friendly and personable kind of dinosaur. He’s the kind that plays the trumpet and enjoys tossing around a baseball. Admittedly, though, he does face a little trouble after a few too many incidences of chasing cars around the neighborhood with his dog friends.

This book has a great mix of fantasy and reality. It has enough realistic elements (like bringing back souvenirs from vacation or having a pet) that children can relate to the story, but it also contains the right amount of fantasy to captivate and mesmerize your young reader. Bob the dinosaur is such a silly and fun character that you and your family are sure to fall in love with him and this book.

Room on the Broom
Julia Donaldson
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-7

One night, a witch and her cat are flying happily through the air… until the wind picks up and blows away her hat, her bow, and her wand. Luckily, three animals are willing to help recover the items, but on one condition: they want to take a ride on the broom. But is there room for so many friends? The witch is more than thankful to have them around, though, when disaster strikes and she is attacked by a hungry dragon!

This is another great book about wizards that we love because it’s lighthearted, silly, and adventurous. It will make you and your child want to hop on the broom as well! And the plot twist of having a hungry dragon attack at the end of the story gives this book the kind of excitement you expect from fantasy books. This is a such a great read, and not just around Halloween!

Flotsam
David Wiesner
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-7

A little boy who loves science heads down to the beach to explore its flotsam, or things that have been floating on the surface of the ocean and have washed ashore. Usually he finds things like bottles and lost toys, but this time, he finds an old, underwater camera. What he finds on the camera unlocks a whole new level of imagination and exploration for the young boy.

This book bridges the gap between the real world and a fantastical imaginary one. It suggests to children that they can find magic in the smallest, most unexpected of places and that adventure is everywhere you look. Another wordless picture book, this story offers the opportunity for you and your child to interpret the story and engage closely with the illustrations to discover a magical land through the lens of a camera.

Modern Fantasy Books

The Day the Crayons Quit
Drew Daywalt
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-7

Poor little Duncan just wants to color, but when he opens up his box of crayons, he discovers that all his crayons have quit! Each wrote him a letter detailing their grievances. Black Crayon wants to be used for more than just outlining, while Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking because they both believe they are the true color of the sun. Help Duncan get his crayons back to what they do best!

This book is so creative and fun! It will make you and your child rethink the way that you think about color. It is also a great opportunity to discuss color, from identifying individual colors to thinking about what each color is associated with. This is a must have for any preschooler!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Mo Willems
Book Type: Picture
Age: 2-6

A bus driver takes a little break and a pigeon comes to volunteer to take his place! Those riding the bus are skeptical. But this persistent pigeon begs, pleads, and wheedles his way through the book, with the reader controlling his fate.

This hilarious book by Mo Willems is a modern classic. With the pigeon speaking directly to the reader and pleading with them, this book is very interactive and sure to pull your child into the story. On top of that, the silly pigeon and his hilarious antics are sure to keep them engaged throughout the entire book.

The Color Monster: A Story about Emotions
Anna Llenas
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

One day, Color Monster wakes up and feels very confused. He is feeling a lot of different emotions at the same time. From anger to happiness to sadness to fright, his emotions are all over the place! To help him, a sweet little girl shows him what each feeling means through color.

This book is so great for socio-emotional development. It not only helps children identify different emotions, but it also shows that sometimes it is okay to be confused and to feel a lot of different things. The monster’s story also shows that talking to other people about what you are feeling can make a big difference. This is a fantastic book to explore feelings (as well as color) in a simple, friendly way.

The Littlest Witch
Brandi Dougherty
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-5

Wilma is the littlest witch in the Spooky Woods. She might be little, but she hopes that she is big and strong enough to fly with her family in the big broom-flying demonstration. Even though she tries her best, she just isn’t able to fly yet. She won’t let that get her down, though–she finds another way to participate in the broom-flying fun!

This book about wizards teaches children an important lesson about perseverance and positivity. It is common for children to feel frustrated when they are not yet old enough to participate in activities, and this book is a great way to show that there is often more than one way to share in these special moments. This book is also just an adorable story with great illustrations to share with your child.

Moomin’s Lift-The-Flap Hide and Seek
Tove Jansson
Book Type: Board
Age: 1-3

From beloved Swedish author-illustrator Tove Jannsoon comes another adventure from Moominworld. In this board book, Moomintroll searches for Little My, who has found a very clever hiding spot. Along the way, Moomintroll’s family and friends join in to find Little My, but they need your help too!

Moominworld is one of the most famous and imaginative fantastical worlds in children’s literature, and this board book makes it accessible for preschoolers. They will find the different characters’ names, like Snufkin and Fillyjonk and Moomintroll, entertaining and will beg to read them over and over again. Additionally, this hide-and-seek style story with interactive features will keep your child engaged in the story as they search for Little My.

Books about Magical Creatures

Dragons Love Tacos
Adam Rubin
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-7

Dragons love tacos. From chicken tacos to beef tacos, from great big tacos to teeny tiny tacos, you really can’t go wrong. Unfortunately, though, where there are tacos, there is often salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa… well… you don’t really want to know what happens next.

What is sillier than a dragon eating tacos? Maybe them shooting fire after they eat spicy salsa. You get to experience both in this hilarious and exciting fantasy book. Perfect for a funny read before bedtime or a pick-me-up during the day, your child is sure to love exploring what happens when dragons eat tacos.

Three Little Mermaids
Mara Van Fleet
Book Type: Picture
Age: 2-5

Join three mermaids for the underwater tea party of a lifetime. While you visit the bottom of the deep blue sea, meet sparkly fish, soft seals, dancing turtles, and a friendly octopus. Along the way, interact with pull-tabs and different textures to learn how to practice counting!

We think this fantasy book is such a way to help preschoolers learn to count. Every child will love the interactive features, and children who love mermaids will especially love joining this adventure. In addition to discussing numbers, you can also discuss different aspects of the sea or even the myths surrounding mermaids.

If I Had a Gryphon
Vikki VanSickle
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-7

When Sam gets a hamster for a pet, he finds it pretty boring. After all, all it does is eat and sleep. She longs for the type of pet that exists in her book of mythological creatures. But, she soon realizes that they might be a big handful: Sasquatches are messy, unicorns are shy, hipogriffs might scare off dogs at the dog park, and dragons might torch anything in sight. In the end, Sam realizes that her hamster is a pretty sweet and safe pet… unless?

We love this book because it is so imaginative and it includes many different mythical creatures. The storyline is fun and relatable, with the child dreaming of having a mythical creature as a pet. And the illustrations bring the story to life with bright colors and silly characters. Overall, this is a great read that will make your imagination soar like a gryphon.

Goodnight, Dragons
Judith Roth
Book Type: Board
Age: 3-5

Sometimes, everyone needs a cuddle–even dragons. In this book, a courageous boy sets out to put dragons to sleep. With soft blankets, tasty treats, and soothing words, he succeeds in getting even the toughest of dragons to bed.

Say goodnight to your little one with this board book about dragons. With its gentle words and soothing pictures, it is sure to tame any dragon. It is the perfect book to read before bedtime, as it signals to your child that it is ready to snuggle up and get some shut eye. If even dragons do it, so can they!

Love Monster
Rachel Bright
Book Type: Board
Age: 2-4

Love Monster, a googly-eyed, hairy monster, is just trying to fit in with the cute and fluffy residents of Cutesville. Feeling a little lonely, he sets out to find someone who will love and accept him just the way he is. It’s not easy, but after a lot of searching, he discovers that love will find you when you least expect it.

We chose this book because it is so heartwarming. It holds important messages about being proud of who you are and about being kind and welcoming of others. With cutesy illustrations featuring bright colors, this board book shares the power of love and acceptance, even when you don’t feel like you fit in.

Fantasy Books We Love

At Elephant Books, we love fantasy books. Not only do we think they often feature powerful themes and loveable characters, but we also think that they offer so much to children in terms of imagination and possibility. Here are a few books that we have included in our past packages that we think fit the bill of really phenomenal fantasy books.

Donuts: The Hole Story
David W. Miles
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

Donuts: The Hole Story is a hilarious ode to a fantastically fried treat. With donut cars, donut trains, donut cops, donut pirates, coffee jacuzzis, this book is an adventure through a world made entirely out of donuts. With tons of donut puns along the way, you will find yourself at your local donut shop in no time.

We chose this book because it is great for a lot of laughs. The author came up with some really silly ways that donuts could form their own world and interact with each other. He was also really creative with the illustration style, using an effective and fun mix of photographic and cartoonish styles to create intriguing and engaging pictures one every page.

10 Little Monsters Visit New York City
Jess Smart Smiley
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

10 little monsters take an trip to New York City. From Central Park to the Empire State building, these monsters have so many places to visit and so many things to see! Discover some of the most unique and interesting things about the City that Never Sleeps through this counting book.

We love this book because it is a great mix of educational and fun. As you learn about New York, you can also practice counting and number recognition. And, the entire time, you can join ten silly monsters on an adventure around an amazingly fun city. This is such a great book for preschoolers to learn and practice their numbers.

Unicorn (And Horse)
David W. Miles
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

Horse cannot stand the unicorn he shares a pen with. Unicorn dances while Horse sits grumpy. Unicorn has a blue horn, a silver coat, a rainbow mane, and perfect teeth, while Horse does not. But when robbers kidnap Unicorn, will Horse put aside their differences and save her?

Another one of our favorite fantasy books, this one is hilariously deadpan with an important message at the end. The comparison between the spunkiness of Unicorn and the seriousness of Horse creates such a fun dynamic between the two, as well as a good amount of humor. Their situation, however, also reveals an important lesson for children to put their differences aside and help others who need it because, deep down, we are all the same.

A Hippo in Our Yard
Liza Donnelly
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

Sally’s family doesn’t believe her when she says there’s a hippo in the yard. They don’t believe her when there’s a tiger either. Or when she spots koalas swinging in the hammock. It isn’t until everyone realizes that all the zoo animals have escaped that they believe Sally. Luckily, she knows just where to find the runaways.

We love this book because it is so full of humor and surprises. Watching Sally hide each of the animals is very entertaining, as is the shock at the end when everyone realizes there really was a hippo in their backyard. We also think this book is a great way to introduce different kinds of animals to children, perhaps talking about where these animals might normally live or what Sally might have to feed them to take care of them.

Giraffes Can’t Dance
Giles Andraea
Book Type: Board
Age: 4-8

Gerald the Giraffe wants nothing more than to dance. His long legs and crooked knees make it kind of hard, though. With help from an unlikely friend and his encouraging words, Gerald is finally able to achieve his dream and dances to his own tune.

This lighthearted board book teaches children how important it is to follow your dreams! Even though Gerald struggles, he never gives up on his dancing journey. And, in addition to this story being very encouraging and inspirational, it’s also very fun. It will make you and your child want to get up and make up some special dance moves of your own.

Elephant Books

At Elephant Books, we pride ourselves in selecting high-quality board and picture books for children. We look for engaging storylines, remarkable illustrations, powerful themes, and great educational value in each of our books. After hand picking some of the best books on the market, we add in some unique reading extras and deliver them right to our customers’ doors. Create lifelong memories around reading today, with Elephant Books.

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