10 unforgettable pairs in picture books

Children’s Book Week is coming up, so in honor of that, I give you 10 picture book duos that really stand out:

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Amos & Boris by William Steig (1971).

Amos the mouse and Boris the whale. These two mammals from totally different places each get the chance to save the other.

“They knew they would never forget each other.”



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George and Martha by James Marshall (1972).

Maurice Sendak had this to say about the pair: “These dear, ditzy, down-to-earth hippos bring serious pleasure to everybody.”

In the first installment of the series, there’s a split pea soup dilemma. The image of split pea soup in George’s shoes amuses.


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Ernest and Celestine by Gabrielle Vincent (1981).

I love the first of these books. Celestine, the mouse. Ernest, the bear. Gideon, Celestine’s stuffed bird who gets ruined. Oh the sweetness of these two!


(Now an animated film I have yet to see!)


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Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie (1997).

A set of roommates, these two pigs are so different but love each other so much. (The names alone, right?!)


Puddle prefers to stay put. Toot prefers to travel the world. We follow each one’s adventures until they meet again. At home.


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Chicken and Cat by Sara Varon (2006).


This one’s wordless and that country cat, city chicken pair is sweet sweet sweet!



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Duck and Goose
by Tad Hills (2006).


Fighting over an egg/ball sometimes comes before true friendship. Together, these birds are a hoot and a quack!




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Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary by Beverly Donofrio & Barbara McClintock (2007).

A title that has the look and feel of a much older book, in a good way. A girl and a mouse whose lives mirror one another, in childhood and grownup life. And then, when they each have a daughter, parallel lives meet.


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Hansel and Gretel by Rachel Isadora (2009).

I love this fairy tale and I especially love this version of it for the artwork: bold, cut shapes and color. And the setting: an African Jungle.

Fairy tales are destined to be adapted and this one does a fabulous job.



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Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon (2012).


A recent favorite pair is made up of these two. Herman the crocodile and Rosie the deer. Music-loving New Yorkers who finally, finally, finally through jazz music meet.


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Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (2012).

One last recent addition to unforgettable picture book pairs? Affirmative!







For a related post, here are my picks on love and friendship picture books.

13 Responses to 10 unforgettable pairs in picture books

  1. Um, I haven’t seen Chicken and Cat before, but I think I’m in love with them.

  2. We love many of the pairs you featured here (Boy and Bot is a special favorite). Plus, there are some on your list we’ve never heard of! Can’t wait to check them out.

    A couple of our other favorite pairs are Mr. Putter & Tabby and Bink & Gollie.

  3. Amos and Boris is my favorite picture book of all time. And George and Martha have, I think, informed everything I do, always.

  4. Rachel Isadora – new to me – a disciple of Eric Carle? Will have to study and compare! TY

  5. Frog & Toad are the inimitable pair, but George and Martha do hold a special place in my heart. My latest OTP, Flora & Ulysses!! What a super fun post.

  6. Oh! You picked some good ones!!! I’m going to have to look for that Chicken and Cat! I might add Henry and Mudge and Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. And my newest favorites – Flo and Wendell from William Wegman.

  7. amybronwen says:

    Squid and Octopus. Omar and Bobo (grandma and dog). Hondo and Fabian. Definitely Henry & Mudge and Frog and Toad!

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