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Idioms can be tricky for young readers (and those learning ESL). However, this collection of funny picture books with idioms in them will help make the meanings clearer.
What is an idiom? It’s a common phrase that has a different meaning than what is being said. For instance, when you say something costs an arm and a leg, what you really mean is that the item is very expensive. Hold your tongue means be quiet. A piece of cake can mean something is easy to do.
This collection of picture books with idioms in them will help demonstrate the meaning of common idioms in a way that will help children understand them better.
Picture Books with Idioms in Them
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk | Idioms are a fun way of expressing yourself by using words and phrases which mean something different from what it actually says. Would you like an enjoyable way to learn common phrases?
Parts | I just don’t know what’s going on or why it has to be. But every day it’s something worse. What’s happening to me? So begins this uproarious new story…
More Parts | Give me a hand . . . hold your tongue . . . scream your lungs out . . . what’s a kid to do if he wants to keep all his body parts in place? Well, one thing is for sure, he’ll have to be creative.
Even More Parts | This time he’s made a list of all the strange, crazy things he’s heard people say: “I lost my head.” “My nose is running.” “I sang my heart out. . . .” It’s scary stuff, but he has a plan for making sure he doesn’t accidentally leave any of his parts behind.
You Are What You Eat | Mealtime should be a piece of cake, but this finicky eater eats like a bird. And that drives his mom bananas because he really should have three square meals a day. What will happen when he dines at the home of a friend whose mom is a real health nut? Maybe he’ll discover that variety is the spice of life!
Mad as a Wet Hen and Other Funny Idioms | Have you ever been so angry that you were mad as a wet hen? The meanings of 134 lively idioms are explained in this entertaining and useful book.
Idioms for Kids: Cartoons and Fun | Learn new idioms with cartoons and simple explanations. Perfect for kids and ESL readers. Each idiom has a fun cartoon and a simple step-by-step explanation. Learning idioms has never been so much fun!
Punching the Clock: Funny Action Idioms | Introduces and explains action idioms and their origins with comical illustrations that lend a literal interpretation.
Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms | If you think idioms are a “tough nut to crack,” pick up the revised SCHOLASTIC DICTIONARY OF IDIOMS. Fun new design and more than 700 common American phrases, sayings, and expressions.
My Teacher Likes to Say | From “Do you have ants in your pants?” to “Stick together!” and “Great minds think alike,” readers will be intrigued by the history of these adages, told in poetry form as well as expository text, and amused by the witty illustrations, depicting these sayings as a child might imagine them.
Reach for the Stars | The young hero of Serge Bloch’s delightful Butterflies in My Stomach is back, along with his loyal dog Roger. Having mastered the first day of school, the two are embarking further on the perilous journey of life. Like all of us, they encounter many FORKS IN THE ROAD and UPHILL BATTLES—but they also find that there’s no better time than right now to REACH FOR THE STARS and SHOOT FOR THE MOON.
Butterflies in My Stomach | You can bet your bottom dollar this funny story is the cream of the crop—and the best thing since sliced bread! Award-winning artist Serge Bloch will have kids laughing their heads off at this child’s-eye look at idiomatic expressions like “ants in your pants,” “homework is for the birds,” and “cat got your tongue?”
The World is Your Oyster | What do you do when your world is raining cats and dogs, you’re up to your neck in alligators, and all you want to do is bury your head in the sand? When children read this empowering book of animal idioms illustrated in gorgeous, vibrant watercolors, they learn new ways to express themselves. This playful book teaches the complexities of language — and that’s straight from the horse’s mouth!
Roller Coaster | The roller coaster car is going up, up, up to the highest spot. And at least one of the people in the car has never ridden on a roller coaster before . . . ever. Wheeeeeeee! (also featured in my onomatopoeia book list)
Pigsty | Wendell Fultz’s room isn’t a mess. It’s a total pigsty. But even Wendell’s own mother can’t get him to clean it up. Wendell doesn’t think the mess is so awful. In fact, he doesn’t even mind it when one day he discovers a REAL pig sitting on his bed. Then more pigs show up, and the mess grows and grows. Wendell finds hoofprints on his comic books. And his baseball cards are all chewed. Living in a pigsty isn’t much fun anymore. But Wendell’s got a plan to clean up the mess – with a little help from his new friends.
In a Pickle | Thirty popular expressions such as “straight from the horse’s mouth” and “white elephant” are amusingly explained and illustrated.
There’s a Frog in My Throat | 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me. An amusing and informative collection of animal sayings.
The King Who Rained | Confused by the different meanings of words that sound alike, a little girl imagines such unusual sights as “a king who rained” and “the foot prince in the snow.”
A Chocolate Moose for Dinner | A little girl pictures the things her parents talk about, such as a chocolate moose, a gorilla war, and shoe trees.
Why the Banana Split | So why did the banana split? Well, for the same reason that the jackhammers hit the road, the lettuce headed out, and the jump ropes skipped town. It was even enough to make the baseball players strike out. Here’s a hint: it’s bigger than a breadbox. And named Rex.
I’m Not Hanging Noodles On Your Ears | “I’m not hanging noodles on your ears.” In Moscow, this curious, engagingly colorful assertion is common parlance, but unless you’re Russian your reaction is probably “Say what?” The same idea in English is equally odd: “I’m not pulling your leg.” Both mean: Believe me.
Do you have a favorite book that you use when teaching idioms? If it’s not on this list, will you leave me a comment and let me know what it is? I’d love to check it out.