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Books with Figurative Language

The list below contains the books I have used over the years for teaching figurative language. Some
of them are designed to teach about figurative language and some of them are books with figurative
language woven naturally into the poem or story.

Just recently, we shared how we used one of these books to do a text scavenger hunt, looking for
figurative language. We have a free graphic organizer and figurative language definition cards
included in that post.
*This post contains affiliate links.


These are books with a purpose of teaching kids about figurative language. Some are explicit, while
others are just plain silly and would need a little explanation for some children. Almost all of these

texts are sure to make your child’s giggle box turn over.
 A Chocolate Moose for Dinner and The King Who Rained by Fred Gwynne both
contain cliches and idioms while featuring homophones, too. These are both older books, but
both worth a read when studying figurative language.
 My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil or My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks by Hanoch
Piven feature similes and are very similar in style. My Best Friend is as Sharp as a
Pencil features school-related similes while My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks features
family-related similes.
 There’s a Frog in my Throat by Loreen Leedy is a great book for teaching idioms {all of
which have to do with animals}
 More Parts by Tedd Arnold – Oh my, so silly. Idioms that relate to the body. And if you like
More Parts, you’ll certainly like Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold!
 Crazy like a Fox: A Simile Story by Loreen Leedy obviously features similes. This one makes
for a good writing prompt for kids “I am as _____ as a _______.”
 Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What are Similes and Metaphors? by Brian P. Cleary is more
explicit in its presentation, but don’t let that make you think it’s boring. His illustrations are
great and his text is clever. His entire series is this way.
 In a Pickle by Marbin Terban is also more explicit in its teaching by presenting an idiom with
a silly picture, then explaining the idiom’s true meaning.


The books included below are texts that feature figurative language within the text naturally. These
would work better with our figurative language graphic organizer. Even though some of the books
may be for younger children, they can make a great text for older students when introducing and
practicing figurative language.
 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury complied by Jack Prelutsky is a favorite at our
house for many reasons. While not every poem contains figurative language, there are plenty
that do.
 The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton is a cute little book that may work better for younger
readers. The little house is personified throughout the text.
 Locomotive by Brian Floca is a FANTASTIC read, especially if you have an older train love r.
It features quite a few onomatopoeias and personifies the locomotive.
 Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Shel Silverstein’s poetry is a favorite of mine
for so many reasons. He does a great job playing on words. I love how his hand -drawn
illustrations often reveal the literal meaning of the figurative language.
 Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young is also a great book for younger kids and features similes
implicitly throughout the book and explicitly at the end.
 Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg is one of my all-time favorite books for SO many
reasons. Although it probably wouldn’t be on a top 10 list for teaching figurative language, he
speaks metaphorically throughout the entire book, leaving readers guessing at what’s really
happening to these two bad ants.
 White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt features many different kinds of figurative
language including metaphors, similes, onomatopoeias, personification, and assonance.
 Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets is an older book that personifies the wind. The boy
even talks to the wind throughout the book.
 Pigsty by Mark Teague has a few metaphors and idioms sprinkled throughout the book. It is

also a good book to read with your child if he doesn’t want to clean up his room.
 Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish- a book list about idioms and figurative language would not
be complete without including good ole’ Amelia Bedelia. Older kids may also enjoy
the Amelia Bedelia chapter books.
 Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe is one of our favorite reads in the summer months before we go
out to catch lightning bugs in our own back yard. Similes and metaphors are sprinkled
throughout the text. I love discussing them with my kiddos each time we read it.
 Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is a winter favorite of mine. I look forward to reading it each year.
And this is the book we used for our figurative language scavenger text hunt.
 The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is dripping with figurative language. I simply love
this book…and the movie.
 Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee is a fun book to read before visiting a theme park. It includes
a few idioms, personifies the roller coaster, and includes onomatopoeias.