Pictures books about not judging by appearances

Thanks for joining my “Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my previous post on Their Eyes Were Watching God for a book summary and “quotable quotes”.

As you’re reading Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwon in bed (or in your favorite armchair), feel free to share these picture books with your children.

For every “mommy book” read, I’ll suggest a “me book” for your children with a similar theme. It is my hope that this “Mommy and Me” book club is a fun activity for you and your children.

Picture Books About Not Judging by Appearances

Little Ant and the Butterfly

1. Little Ant and the Butterfly (2017) | S.M.R. Saia

Little Ant believes he’s the best bug on the planet. When he meets a slow-moving caterpillar, he’s not enthused and let’s her know – has he been too quick to judge her? A reimagining of the classic Aesop fable, “The Ant and the Chrysalis“, this book teaches young readers that appearances can be deceiving and also includes the themes of kindness, friendship, and the importance of being yourself. (Age Range:  3-7 years)

Pout-Pout Fish

2. Pout-Pout Fish (2013) | Deborah Diesen

Deep in the water,
Mr. Fish swims about
With his fish face stuck
In a permanent pout.

Can his pals cheer him up?
Will his pout ever end?
Is there something he can learn
From an unexpected friend?

A fish with pouty lips feels he’s destined to be glum. With help from his fishy friends, he looks on the bright side and stops spreading “dreary wearies” all over town. This book no doubt turns a frown upside down! (Age Range:  2-4 years)

Big Al

3. Big Al (1997) | Andrew Clements

Al’s so big and unattractive, the other fish fear him. If they could look past his ugliness, they’d see Al’s the nicest fish in the sea. This book cautions not to judge a fish by its scales – one day that fish’s scary appearance might just save you from a fishermen’s net! (Age Range:  5-6 years)

The Hungry Coat

4. The Hungry Coat (Demi) | 2004

In this Turkish folk tale, party-goers judge a guest by his ragged coat. When Nasrettin Hoca returns to the party wearing a new coat, he feeds the delicious and fancy food to his coat thus teaching everyone a lesson about appearances. Using illustrations inspired by Turkish tapestries, this book brings to life Turkey’s most famous folk hero. (Age Range:  6-10 years)

Molly Lou Melon

5. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (2001) | Patty Lovell

Molly Lou is looked at as “different” by others. She knows she’s pretty great–and soon everyone else will know that too. This book acknowledges that appearances may be deceiving: Molly Lou may be tiny, but she’s mighty! (Age Range:  4-8 years)

New Bear at School

6. The New Bear at School (2008) | Carrie Weston

Boris the bear is desperate for friends. Unfortunately, everyone at school is afraid of bears, and it doesn’t help that Boris has a sharp-toothed grin. This book is a heartwarming story that touches anyone who’s ever felt left out! (Age Range:  4-8 years)

Don't Laugh at Me

7. Don’t Laugh at Me (2002) | Steve Seskin

This inspirational and celebratory book is an anthem, a call to action, for anyone who’s ever been bullied or a bully themselves. Seskin’s story will give you the words to take charge and break the cycle of teasing. An adaptation of a song about being ridiculed, this book encourages kindness to others. (Age Range:  3-7 years)

Miss Spider's Tea Party

8. Miss Spider’s Tea Party (1994) | David Kirk

Miss Spider invites other insects to her tea party, but everyone’s afraid to come. When a wayward moth falls into one of Miss Spider’s cups, she rescues it and finds herself surrounded by friends. This book emboldens the wary to make new friends. (Age Range:  4-8 years)

Chicken Big 2

9. Chicken Big (2014) | Keith Graves

A small hen lays a little egg and out hatches a humungous…uh, something. None of the chickens in the coop know what to make of Chicken Big. A twist on the classic Chicken Little tale, this hilarious rendition pushes you to change your perspective. (Age Range:  5-6 years)


10. Demo:  Story of a Junkyard Dog (2008) | Jon Bozak

Junkyard dogs are supposed to be stinky and mean, not clean and nice like Demo! Tired of the trash overtaking his yard and Demo’s friendliness, Junkyard Joe dumps his dog out onto the streets of Newton, USA. A supposedly tough junkyard dog teaches a shopaholic town a few lessons such as not judging by appearances. (Age Range:  7-9 years)

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

Appearances can be deceiving. 

So teach your little one not to judge a book (novel, picture, or otherwise) by its cover.

What other picture books would you add the list?

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