3 Precocious Picture Books Perfect for Back to School

The first day of school tends to go one of two ways for kids of all ages. Either they are breathlessly anticipating returning to the busy halls and classrooms packed with friends or they’re dreading the new experiences and people that a big change can bring.

No matter which camp your kiddo falls in, they’ll find something to love in these new picture books that show those two sides of school in charming and relatable tales. Pick up one (or all!) of them for the perfect book to read at bedtime on that last magical night of summer.

First Day of Groot!

There are not enough words in the thesaurus to describe how cute First Day of Groot! is. It’s adorable. Darling. Delightful. You get the idea. With sing-song rhymes and Marvel Easter eggs galore, you’ll get just as much of a kick reading this book out loud as kids will listening. Little Groot is getting ready for his big day with the help of his friends, from a breakfast cooked by Star-Lord to Yondu at the wheel of the bus.

Rocket Raccoon is with Groot every step of the way, and some of their best friends lend their support. Not even Thanos can ruin Groot’s first day, not when friends work together! Whether it’s the first day of school or the first day of any new adventure, this book will have kids greeting it with a smile.

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The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!

The Pigeon is back again in The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!, and this time Pigeon insists he doesn’t need to go. He already knows everything, after all! If your budding readers are already fans of the sassy bird, picking up Mo Willems’ latest picture book is practically a no brainer.

As The Pigeon worries about what might happen, echoing the apprehension many kids feel on that first day, kids won’t feel as alone when they see the overdramatic pigeon work himself up into a feathery frenzy. (Many parents also know that feeling well.) When the pigeon realizes he’ll have help every step of the way, it’s a good lesson for kids to keep in mind on their big day as well.

Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All

You might remember Bob Shea’s magical Unicorn, who befriended a skeptical Goat? He and Goat are back, and this time it’s the first day of school! In Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All, that first day is not all sunshine and rainbows for Unicorn. He’s either outright ignored by everyone or he messes up and gets in trouble. He decides he needs to make an even bigger sparkly splash by being someone he’s not—a New-nicorn, if you will. With go-go boots and a larger-than-life personality, Unicorn is determined to make the other kids like him. Unfortunately, his new look and attitude is a glitter bomb.

But it’s all okay, because Unicorn’s friends know and love him for who he really is, a sweet reminder for any kid who sometimes wishes they were someone else.

All Images: Disney Hyperion / Marvel

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This post was last modified on July 30, 2019 8:55 pm

Kelly Knox

Kelly Knox is a freelance writer in Seattle, WA. She also writes for,, Geek & Sundry, and Nerdist.

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