Early Elementary Books

Theme: Fears and Phobias

Dark Night - (ISBN: 9780375856877)

by Dorothée De Monfreid

As Felix is walking home alone through the darkening woods, he hears the sounds of a wolf, then a tiger, and then a crocodile. What does he find inside the hollowed-out tree where he runs to hide that helps him conquer his fear? What have you found in scary situations that made you feel better?

How to Save Your Tail: If You Are a Rat Nabbed by Cats.... - (ISBN: 978-0440422280)

by Mary Hanson

A book-loving, baker rat saves his life with freshly baked cookies after being captured by two evil cats. After the cats fill their stomachs with sweets and not with him, he goes on to tell them many amusing stories, all of which entertain cats and readers alike. The stories are parodies of favorite fairy stories. Try together to “fracture” some favorite fairy tales the same way Bob the rat does.

Never Smile at a Monkey - (ISBN: 978-0618966202)

by Steve Jenkins

Children will enjoy the cut paper collage-style illustrations of the animals but heed the warnings -- of what might happen if they pet a platypus, for example. This non-fiction approach to fearful stimuli cautions nature lovers against getting too close to a jellyfish or confronting an electric caterpillar or puffer fish. Knowing that attractive creatures and plants are sometimes dangerous cannot be learned too soon. Talk with your children about the poinsettia plant you might have in your home during the holidays or those rhubarb leaves in the garden. What else looks attractive but should not be approached too closely?

Tsunami! - (ISBN: 978-0399250064)

by Kimiko Kajikawa

The oldest and richest man in the village feels a portent of coming destruction when the earth feels spongy beneath his feet. In his effort to warn and save many, many villagers from a fast-moving tsunami they cannot see, he sacrifices his own rice crop by setting it on fire; he wants to lure others away quickly from the lower area of the village. Based on the true story of a legendary Japanese hero, this book’s marvelous illustrations recreate the fear those who have experienced tsunamis must feel. Have you ever seen scary weather stories on the news?

Who’s Afraid of the Dark? - (ISBN: 978-0064440714)

by Crosby Bonsall

In this easy beginning reader, the family dog is frightened of the night. She hears worrisome noises and imagines scary shapes. She shakes and shakes. What humorous things does Stella the dog do to overcome her fear?

Don’t Open the Door! - (ISBN: 978-0887767791)

by Veronika Martenova Charles

I Need My Monster - (ISBN: 978-0979974625)

by Amanda Noll

The Bump in the Night - (ISBN: 978-0590300711)

by Anne Rockwell

What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? - (ISBN: 978-0618152438)

by Steve Jenkins

Activities for this Theme

Make your own tsunami


Start with a frightening story you know and, with the entire family helping, rewrite it to add humor so it does not seem quite so scary.


Be aware that many common plants are dangerous for our pets.