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What is the criteria for a best book? It will always be somewhat arbitrary. But in my view a truly outstanding picture book is one that is loved by children AND parents alike, one where they bond over while reading it together. There are many educational books with a message that parents love and kids are slightly bored with, and other books kids find funny, but parents find annoying... Here are 6 best picture books in German my children could not get enough of, and I enjoyed as well. And books that our costumers say they had to reread again and again. And again.

What are your favorite picture books?

Janisch Roher SCHNEELOEWE German picture book

Heinz Janisch / Michael Roher


Have you ever wondered, what animal you are deep down? Or others around you? A boy, the narrator of this story, has a secret to tell. He is a white snow lion. It is his true self. He is good at observing, fights for justice and moves like a cat. He knows that other kids - and teachers - deep down hide their true self in an animal being. There is a tiger, two zebras, giraffes. Nobody talks about their secret, but accepts others as they are.

Stunningly poetic , blue - and white ballpoint illustrations match the book. I initially thought the book might be too quiet to be a kids' favorite. How wrong I was, My younger son wanted to reread it several times in a row the first time, bring it to school and keeps asking for it.

It is nominated for this years Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, and rightly so!

4 years and up

Munch Buechner DIE PRINZESSIN IN DER TUETE picture book in German

Robert Munch / SaBine Buechner


The tale of a princess, that defies stereotypes of princes, princesses and possibly dragons. Lissy lives in castle with her future husband Prince Roland. But then a dragon kidnaps Roland - and leaves Lissy with nothing but a paper bag for clothing. Determined to free the prince, she follows the steps of the dragon, outsmarts him and frees the prince. Unimpressed by her courage and put off by her rugged look, the prince does not thank her but asks for her to dress better.

This book is a classic, it was first published in Canada 40 years ago. In German it was recently newly illustrated. It is lots of fun to read and also offers some talking material

Kling Henn DAS NEINHORN German picture book

Marc-Uwe Kling / Astrid Henn


It is land of fairytales, of milk and honey, or anyway, the unicorn land. Everybody speaks in rhyme and things are happy go lucky. But there is one little unicorn who is not happy. He says no to everything. And so the family calls him Neinhorn, or Nocorn. He refuses to speak in rhyme and decides to leave the candy land. He meets a dog who always says "so what", a racoon who asks "what?" no matter what and a princess who keeps muttering "but". They team up and keep grouching together.

Kids will shriek with laughter and parents enjoy the humor and word plays. It is not really a very educational book - or maybe it wants teach the parents something rather than the kids? Thumps of either way.

4 years and up


Jakob Martin Strid


Fishing one day cat Mika and elephant Sebastian find a message in a bottle with a seed. The message is a little blurry, but they plant a seed and soon a gigantic pear grows and disrupts everything. Unfortunately the pear can't be moved. Professor Glykose comes to see what he can do, but then there is some mishap and the three of them land in the ocean, sailing off to some incredible adventures with pitting darkness, monsters and a mysterious island...

A (not too) suspenseful story with lots of twists and ideas and illustrations with incredible details to discover this book is probably the book that has delighted our costumers the most.

Adbage DIE BESTIMMER picture book in German

Lisen Adbage


Do you know people who always get to decide? Ideally we all are friends and everything is great. But in real life there often are some who set the rules, not in a friendly way, and others who somehow let them rule. In this case a bunch of kids have fun playing together, Until the others come and tell them what to do. And send them away. Again and again. No matter what they do. For soccer though they order them to stay, as four is not enough to play a match. And our five friends finally say no.

A great book in simple language about power and learning to set boundaries. We reread and talked about this book many times. The bold, colorful illustrations with diverse characters fit perfectly.

4 years and up

Steffensmeier LIESELOTTE LAUERT German picture book

Alexander Steffensmeier


Lieselotte is a slightly unusual cow that loves to chase the mail man from the farm. Every day she hides somewhere else to scare him. The poor guy sleeps badly because he has nightmares of Lieselotte. Meanwhile the farmer is furious because she has not received an undamaged package in ages. So she comes up with a plan: maybe Lieselotte would stop if she received a package herself?

This is the first picture book in a series, all big hits with kids. The stories are all slightly crazy, and the illustrations of the farm offer lots of little side plots to discover on each page (a big favorite are the chicken and their chicklets.)

3 years and up

Interested in more outstanding picture books for 4 year olds? Find more suggestions here .

All books can be rented out from us (within the US only). Check out our plans


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