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Picture Books About Magic

Updated on August 6, 2013

My Favorite Magic Picture Books

In planning storytimes for children in kindergarten through third grade, I have found that there is something about magic that appeals to most children. After all, it is fun to imagine the "what if this could happen?" Below I have reviewed some of the picture books I have used with children of this age group. I usually throw in a couple of magic tricks (very easy ones) between stories and the children are almost always amazed and super attentive. Hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do!

The Magic Hat, by Mem Fox

Mem Fox has come up with another delightful book. As the magic hat whirls through the park and touches down on each adult, it transforms them into an animal. The children love the rhyming language of this book and have fun trying to guess what animal is coming next. The ending is a surprise with a wizard appearing and transforming everyone back into their former selves. But then he puts the hat on himself and transforms himself. A fun book with bright and colorful illustrations that the children will love!

Milo's Hat Trick, by Jon Agee

Milo the Magnificent is a magician like me--horrible! He badly needs a new magic trick before he gets kicked off the stage. So he goes to the woods to look for a rabbit for his hat, but instead find a bear who can jump in and out of his top hat--amazing! He becomes very successful with the help of his new friend, but one day the bear becomes tired and lonely for his home so he leaves. Now what will Milo do? The children love to guess how Milo will save his magic act.

Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock, by Eric Kimmel

This is one of my favorite Anansi the Spider stories, and Janet Steven's illustrations are perfect. Anansi stumbles on a magic moss covered rock that when the magic phrase is said (the children love to repeat this phrase with you), the animal that says it goes to sleep for an hour. Being the trickster that he is, Anansi takes the animals in the forest one by one to experience this. As they are sleeping, he visits their houses and helps himself to all their food. It take shy Little Bush Deer (if you look carefully, you can see him hiding and observing on each page), to trick Anansi and get all the food back. This is a really fun story to read aloud and the children really get into it!

Jackalope, by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

An armadillo in cowboy boots narrates this tale about a jackrabbit who wishes for horns so he can be fierce and gets them from his bumbling Fairy Godrabbit on one condition, that he not tell a lie. Of course, this is what gets him into big trouble, and like Pinocchio, every time he does, his horns grow bigger. He attracts the attention of Coyote, and when his Fairy Godrabbit tries to come to his rescue, things get really hectic and funny. This book is full of puns, some of which the children get and some they don't. But regardless, this books is a hoot!

The Magic Rabbit, by Annette Cate

Ray the magician and his loyal rabbit assistant, Bunny, are inseparable. They do everything together from watching TV to sleeping in the same bed. But then one afternoon during a street performance, they are separated when a dog chases Bunny down the street and he becomes lost. As Ray searches, he spill yellow stars out of his hat wherever he goes and Bunny is able to follow the trail of stars to find Ray desolate in the subway station where they are reunited. Their reunion seems like magic. Every child would love to have Bunny for a friend!

Gorky Rises, by William Steig

Although this is an older book published in 1980, it has not lost it's enduring magical appeal. Gorky decides to work on his magic potion in his mom's kitchen while his parents are out. He finally finds the missing ingredient--half a bottle of his mom's attar of roses. As he waits for his potion to work, he heads over to Elephant Rock and falls asleep in the sun. When he awakes, he finds himself floating in the sky, clutching his bottle of magic potion. What an adventure Gorky has, but will he be able to come back down to Earth, or is he stuck floating forever? Kids love this story! If you like it, you might want to read more by William Steig. Try Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and Shrek.

Strega Nona's Magic Lessons, by Tomie DePaola

If you love Strega Nona and Big Anthony like I do, you'll love this story about Big Anthony disguising himself as a girl so that Strega Nona will take him on as an apprentice along with Bambolina, the baker's daughter. Bambolina excells at her lessons, but Big Anthony disguised as Antonia is a disaster. When Strega Nona gives Bambolina her magic book, Big Anthony is jealous and sneaks out at night to get his own copy. Another disaster strikes and Stega Nona and Bambolina must convince him to give up magic. The children will laugh out loud, especially when Big Anthony dresses up as a girl. Any of the other Strega Nona books could be read also, this one just happens to be my favorite!

P.J. Funnybunny's Bag of Tricks, by Marilyn Sadler

Although this is a Level 2 Step into Reading book, you won't want to miss this delightful story. The children can read this one to you. P.J.'s dad brings home a magic kit and P.J. practices and practices until he has all the tricks right. But his family soon loses interest so he decides to show them the best trick of all--disappearing! But best of all, at the back of the book, there is a coin trick you can learn and do during your storytime. Amaze the kids and then teach them how to do the trick and you'll be a big hit!

Great Stuff on Amazon

What's your favorite magic book?

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    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      It has to be Strega Nona's Magic lessons. I love Tomie dePaola