Carnival Books

Grab a corndog and hop on the Ferris wheel! We’ve got a lineup of 15 great books about carnivals, festivals, and parades around the world! There’s a preschool-favorite from Daniel Tiger, a brilliantly illustrated non-fiction book about the invention of the Ferris wheel, and a couple picks that dive into celebrations you’ve never heard of. Come one, come all, and pick out your favorite book!

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Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox: The Carnival Brigitte Luciani

The Fox and Badger families have spent the long, dreary winter in a cramped burrow. When Grandpa comes to visit, he suggests the family follow a tradition: putting on a carnival to welcome in the spring season! It’s a happy tale with cozy illustrations that will excite young preschoolers.

The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: The Story of Inventor George Ferris Betsy Harvey Kraft

In 1893, the world saw something they’d never seen before. It was a 26-stories-tall observation wheel that would later become known as the Ferris wheel! This book takes readers through the planning of the 1893 World’s Fair and the introduction of George Ferris’ iconic wheel. Vintage-looking illustrations are done in a mixed-media format and offer an awe-inspiring look at this invention. It’s a great STEM-themed book for early elementary children.

Children Just Like Me: Celebrations! Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley

For an entire year, the authors of this book traveled around the world and spoke with children about the celebrations in their country. The children’s stories are recorded in this book. It’s organized by season and several specific holidays are called out within each season. Children will learn about Chinese New Year, Carnival in Brazil, Esala Perahera in Sri Lanka, and many other interesting festivals. Vibrant photos throughout the book bring the children’s stories to life and children will be able to relate to other children all over the world!

Daniel Goes to the Carnival Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Based on a fun episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, this book tells the story of Daniel’s very first ride on a Ferris wheel. Daniel is nervous to ride the giant wheel, but his mom helps him face his fears. It’s a gentle read for preschoolers.

The Carnival of the Animals Jack Prelutsky

The Carnival of the Animals is a humorous 14-part musical composition by Camille Saint-Saens. This book adds new verses to go along with the music. A CD is included too, so kids can tromp like an elephant, glide like a swan, and dance along to all of the music. The colorful illustrations add to the fun! Preschoolers and elementary kids will love to act out this book.

At the Carnival! Hunter Reid

The fluorescent illustrations in this board book are sure to keep the attention of babies and toddlers! They’ll see jugglers, food stands, carnival games, a Ferris wheel, and much more. The simple text is the ideal complement to the vivid art.

A Ferret Named Phil and the Old Ferris Wheel William Reimer

The carnival is coming to Ferretville! The ferret friends are very excited, but as they ride the Ferris wheel, they get trapped. Who will save them? It’s a story of compassion and forgiveness that provides a teachable moment for preschoolers.

A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals Claire Grace

In this book, kids will learn about a wide range of holidays celebrated around the world. There’s St. Patrick’s Day, International Women’s Day, Passover, and several other lesser-known holidays. The author provides tons of details about each event and every page is illustrated in the style of folk art. It’s a great resource for teaching elementary kids about different cultures.

Bentley Bear Goes to the Fair A.R. Burger

A host of new and exciting adventures await Bentley Bear at the fair. He’ll see a Ferris wheel, enjoy carnival food, and meet up with a few new buddies. It’s a sweet little book that brings the fun of the carnival home for preschoolers.

Pepe and the Parade: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Tracey Kyle

Take a closer look at a Hispanic celebration with this fictional children’s book. The story follows Pepe, a Mexican-American child. Readers are brought into Pepe’s excitement as he dresses in native Mexican costumes and joins his friends at the Hispanic Day Parade. Vivid illustrations keep children engaged, and easy-to-learn Spanish words are mixed in to give children an introduction to the language. It’s a great choice for early elementary kids.

Biscuit and the Big Parade Alyssa Satin Capucilli

The adorable yellow puppy Biscuit loves to watch the parade, but he thinks it’d be even better if he marched in the parade! As the fire trucks, clowns, and jugglers pass by, Biscuit tries to join in. Will this little dream of his come true? This book uses simple vocabulary so beginning readers can tackle it with ease.

The Case of the Crooked Carnival Michele Torrey

In this modern take on Encyclopedia Brown, two fifth-grade detectives solve a series of puzzling mysteries. Each case involves a real scientific principle like ecosystems, magnetism, and more. There are 10 mini-mysteries in all and a few pages at the end covering “activities and experiments for super-scientists” that you can try at home. Upper elementary kids will love reading this book and busting the clues on their own, but it makes a good read-aloud for younger children, too.

Festival Folk: An Atlas of Carnival Customs and Costumes Rob Flowers

Spectacular costumes and bizarre rituals are on full display in this book. Forty folk festivals are included, plus a list of important dates and a calendar of the festivals. Kids will learn about straw bears, cowbells, masks, and much more. Quick, engaging snippets of information are given about each event. The illustrations bring each festival to life in a humorous, yet respectful, way. Upper elementary kids will love to page through this one.

Dev and Ollie: Colour Carnival Shweta Aggarwal

These two friends are a unique pair. Dev is a curious young boy and Ollie is a magical owl. This time, they are in India for Holi, a festival of colors and love. Everyone is throwing colorful paint around, but Dev doesn’t want any part of it. Will Ollie convince him that being messy can be fun? This book presents an easy exploration of a piece of Indian culture. It's a great multi-cultural book for early elementary kids.

Careless at the Carnival: Junior Discovers Spending Dave Ramsey

Well-known personal finance expert Dave Ramsey wrote this book to introduce little ones to the concept of responsibly spending money. Junior and his friends have a great time at the carnival—until their money runs out way too quickly! Even preschoolers will be able to see that Junior didn’t make the best choices. It’s a fun book that teaches an important lesson, too.

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