There’s something about oversize objects that immediately captivates people. Think giant rocking chairs or markers the size of a grown adult. When considering the scale of a book, particularly one for children, oversize books feel even bigger when they measure to be toddler size or larger. We’re not talking about big books designed specifically for a library or school storytime (think Five Little Ducks or Planting a Garden); rather, we mean books that are constructed to be enormous—and likely will often have to sit sideways on a shelf.
So sprawl on your stomach and spend a quiet afternoon pouring over these 10 oversize books, and be sure to check out the math-focused penguin picture book at the end of the list.
A Big Garden
By: Gilles Clement
Follow a multitude of tiny gardeners through a month-by-month journey of sowing, searching, waiting, watching, and harvesting. With winsome watercolors and a witty text, this book will astound readers with the tiny miracles of both creatures and earth, ever entwined. A marvelous book for children of all ages.
Anatomy: A Cutaway Look Inside the Human Body
By: Helene Druvert
If you’ve ever wanted an absolute stunner of a children’s book about the human body, this is the one. Thoughtfully designed with laser-cut technology, each element unfurls itself through a series of layers. Peruse the skeletal, nervous, and muscular systems, while simultaneously delving into internal organs, blood, and other anatomical features. Each page turn is truly awe-inspiring.
By: Ingela Arrhenius
From crocodiles to meerkats, this book boasts 32 poster-sized images of common animals with their name listed in beautiful typography. You may need two copies, one for reading, and one to dissect into framed art for your kids’ playroom.
Big Photo Book of Names and Faces
By: Pinhole Press
Four years ago we had reunions on both sides of the family and I took that opportunity to take photos of each family unit. I could hardly get home fast enough to create a book for my young daughter. It has been invaluable in learning the names of loved ones, all of whom live far away. A custom keepsake for children of all ages. (See my original post about this book here.)
By: Kathy Willis
To celebrate all things herbaceous, flowering or spore-like, this stunning oversized collection features seven galleries of every type of plant (bromeliads, cycads, trees, grasses, perennials, and earth’s earliest algae). In truth it reminds me of my training to become a Master Gardener. Expansive in scope, this is a collection you’ll want to spend hours with.
By: Ingela Arrhenius
Yes, we included two books by the same author/illustrator, but when they are both so expertly crafted they can hardly be parted in this oversize list. In City, readers follow characters through the market, train station, post office, and various other venues found in most busy urban areas.
Rivers: A Visual History from River to Sea
By: Peter Goes
If the stunning emerald cover isn’t enough to capture your attention, the detailed script and interior geography lesson will take hold from the moment you open this book. With a fluid interconnected look at the world’s waterways, this book will make you marvel at all the ways water has been used throughout history and how it continues to be integral in today’s modern world.
Under Water, Under Earth
By: Aleksandra Mizielinska
Two books in one, really. Readers will revel in uncovering organisms and mysteries hidden from everyday life. Explore coral reefs, animal-made burrows, sewer systems, and a host of other visual wonders. The consummate nonfiction title for curious kids.
Wee Hee Hee: A Collection of Pretty Funny Jokes and Pictures
By: Wee Society
Whimsical illustrations paired with silly and kid-friendly jokes. What’s the difference between a fish and a guitar? You can’t tuna fish. At the back of the book, kids can even put their joke creation skills to the test. This book guarantees a hearty belly laugh or two.
By: Jean-Luc Fromental
On New Year’s Day, an unmarked package arrives containing one lone penguin with a mysterious note. Each successive day, a new penguin arrives. By the end of February, the entire family is perplexed by their new penguin predicament. On and on the penguins come, along with the responsibility to feed, house, clean-up, and entertain them. At last, the ecologist Uncle arrives, explaining his reasons for sending the colony piecemeal. With little math lessons scattered throughout and a pleasing color palette, this oversize book is an absolute winner.
Miranda Rosbach is our resident book expert, as a librarian turned children’s book reviewer and stay-at-home-mama. In her spare time, she likes scouting new restaurants and colorful murals. She lives in St.Louis with her husband and two daughters. You can visit her Instagram page, @bookbloom, to learn more.