Children’s books that are also a good read for adults
A lot of children’s books have adults yawning way before their kids are. Most children’s books can be predictable, bland, and highly repetitive - which may be good for the kids, but to the adults , it feels like it’s the same story being told over and over again. Children’s books also have some kind of moral at the end, or woven throughout the story, and they’re almost exclusively geared towards children. The parents and caregivers almost always get the short end of the stick when it comes to reading them! So we’ve rounded up a list of seven children’s books that are also great to read as an adult: ones that either make us laugh, serve as an inspiration to awaken the magic in us, or at least remind us of an important lesson we might have forgotten.
‘Waiting Is Not Easy’ is a simple and cute story by Mo Willems that follows two best friends, Piggie and Elephant. Piggie has a surprise for Elephant, but he must wait for it. As time progresses, Elephant becomes increasingly impatient and periodically wants to give up waiting for the surprise. Piggie, meanwhile, tells Elephant that the surprise is worth the wait. Without giving away the ending, when the surprise eventually arrives, Elephant agrees that it was worth the wait.
How often do adults get impatient waiting for things to arrive, or waiting to get to a certain place in life. We forget so often that delayed gratification is a core basic skill, builds character, and makes the thing we’re waiting for even sweeter. As the saying goes, ‘Good things come to those who wait’. ‘Waiting Is Not Easy’ is a good reminder that, well, waiting is not easy, but it is worth it! In general, a lot of Mo Willems books (like all the best children’s books) are like that: simple to read, with profound messages coated in humor.
The Orangey-Tan by Sue Donhym is a personalized children’s book that revolves around Orangey-Tan, a vain ape that gets elected king of Manimal Forest, and then proceeds to lock up other animals in cages and spread hatred and division among all the Manimals. Your child comes to the rescue and helps the rest of the Manimals protest and stand up to Orangey-Tan. Of course, the Orangey-Tan’s uncanny resemblance towards a certain US President is entirely coincidental!
The book obviously has political undertones, all coated with sly humor, and is entertaining for adults as well as children. The adults and older kids can appreciate the satire in the book, while younger kids can read the story as an adventure story with strong values, of standing up for what is right. I could certainly use a reminder to keep taking a stand for what’s right, along with a dose of inspiration and courage. And that’s exactly what this book delivers.
Sue Donhym’s latest personalized children’s book, ‘The Zookeeper’ takes your kids on an Ocean’s 11-style heist to free Dandylion (one of the Manimals), who is being held captive in a zoo by the ZooKeeper. The story talks about how the ZooKeeper capture Dandylion and puts him in a cage for the entertainment of Hoomans. Your child (personalized in the book), helps come up with a plan to free Dandy with the rest of the Manimals.
The ZooKeeper is different from most children’s books because of the action-packed storyline, and the sheer pace of the story will keep kids and adults interested throughout! The book also has lines dropped into the story that only the adults might get - you might notice one above that’s a hat-tip to Top Gun!
‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ is perhaps one of the most popular children’s series ever - it’s been turned into blockbuster movies and a Netflix series. The series follows three orphans who move in with their uncle, Count Olaf, after their parents mysteriously die in an accident. One horrible thing after another happens to the children, and their list of allies grows smaller with every chapter.
The intricate characters and plots of the series makes it a great read for children and adults alike. Moreover, the children always keep pushing forward with creative solutions, resilience and courage - a great reminder for when adults feel like there’s just no break in the clouds.
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is another classic that was also turned into a blockbuster movie - twice! Charlie is a young boy from a poor family, whose dad works in a toothpaste factory, screwing the tops onto the tubes of toothpaste. He lives close to a huge and magnificent chocolate factory owned by Willy Wonka, the world famous chocolatier. When Mr. Wonka sends out five golden tickets for five lucky children to find, and come visit the factory, Charlie thinks there’s no way he’s ever going to find one - because he only gets one chocolate a year. Spoiler alert: He finds one, visits the factory, and by being the best child there, becomes the heir to Wonka’s chocolate kingdom.
The story is wondrous for children, full of impossible things and magic. For adults, it reminds us that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or how much money you have - magical things can still happen.
‘Oh, the Places you’ll Go’ recounts all the things a child might do in their life, and all the ways in which life can be fun, joyous, exciting, or even lonely and boring. The book narrates the reader’s travels through several different landscapes, eventually leading to a place called "The Waiting Place", where everyone is just waiting for something to happen. The story has an open ending as it continues to ponder all the places the reader might visit and go during the span of his life.
More than a children’s book, I’d call this one encouragement and inspiration for adults as they make their way through life, and it makes for a great gift at any major life milestone. Adults are reminded of all the paths they could choose to go down, and are also reminded not to waste away their life in “The Waiting Place”. Of course, this is just one of the many of Dr. Seuss’s books that are read and beloved by adults.
The Gruffalo is a story about a small brown mouse that takes a walk in the deep dark woods, and runs into many animals like the fox, an owl and a snake that wants to eat him. So, mouse comes up with what he thinks is an imaginary animal - the gruffalo. He makes the Gruffalo sound fearsome and includes that the fox, owl and snake are all the Gruffalo’s favorite foods. In fear of the Gruffalo, they all leave the mouse alone. As the mouse continues on his walk, he happens upon the Gruffalo (who, of course, is real)!
Now that the Gruffalo wants to eat him, the mouse claims that the entire first is scared of him, and invites the Gruffalo to follow him around and see for himself. Of course, all the animals bolt at the sight of the Gruffalo, and so the Gruffalo ends up being scared of the mouse too. With some clever thought, some risk-taking and a whole lot of courage, the mouse comes out on top - a good reminder for adults that, sometimes, that’s all it might take to overcome a seemingly hopeless and insurmountable problem.
Do you have any children’s books you still love reading? Tell us in the comments!