17 spectacular picture book sequels + zombie in love sequel giveaway

What must a sequel do to gain our affection?

I think it needs to have the stuff we loved about the first, but then a new spin that makes it fresh. It should also be a good book in its own right. For whatever reason, that can be tough to pull off (in any genre). But I think these picture book sequels (or quasi-sequels) do just that.

zombie-in-love-sequelIn the first installment by Kelly DiPucchio with pictures by Scott Campbell, Mortimer is alone until he finally finds true love.

In just out Zombie in Love 2+ 1, Mortimer and Mildred are new parents. Of course! Only having a non-zombie baby is pretty baffling. Until he starts to act more like them (aka shrieking and staying up all night). And then the whole family smiles, like this! (Remember that gag?!)


In honor of this brand new sequel, I give you 16 more spectacular picture book sequels!


It’s astounding how Molly Idle followed up one stunner with another. And Flora and the Penguin is just that. (I guess the only explanation is Idle’s brilliance!)



There have been a lot of Scaredy Squirrel follow-ups and let’s face it: they’re all awesome! Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend is a personal favorite.


blackout-sequel-blizzardI adore the first and admire the second. Yin and Yang, that’s Blackout and Blizzard by John Rocco.



Mix It Up is proof that genius begets genius!



Not an exact sequel, but hats, right?! Also, the same ironic humor, the same visual clues.
This is Not My Hat is a favorite.


pomelo-sequelPomelo Explores Color is just as fun-loving and sometimes hilariously awkward as the first.



I’m breaking some rules here. While these two aren’t related by character or much else necessarily, they’re just begging to be read side by side! If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin Stead.



The Loud Book is a perfect complement to the first magical installment. It naturally flows from it and relates to in strategy, specificity, and even the way some loud things are only loud when quiet surrounds them. Just perfect.


rosie-revere-engineer-sequelSame team, similar theme, and look at those covers. I’m gonna call sequel on fabulous Rosie Revere, Engineer.



Betty Bunny has had a number of installments, but this one might be my favorite. In Betty Bunny Wants a Goal, we get the great stuff about the original—Betty herself, the family characters, the laughs—in a new, inventive situation.


spoon-sequel-chopsticksAgain, more of a follow-up than a direct sequel, but Chopsticks wouldn’t exist without Spoon. How I love these utensils.


garmann-stian-hole-sequelsThere are three in Stian Hole’s Garmann series and all as engagingly rendered in story and illustrations as one another. Garmann’s Street follows Garmann’s Summer perfectly going from first day of school fears to bullies and people who aren’t what they seem.


rocket-picture-book-sequelSweetness for word-lovers times two. Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills.



All three in the Henry series by Saro O’Leary and Julie Morstad are charmers. When I Was Small is a wonderful denouement!


bats-at-the-library-sequelThere’ve been a few bat books by Brian Lies, but Bats at the Ball Game, in my view, hits a home run.



This boy/penguin pair is charming in any story. It’s hard to follow such a perfect first book, but  Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers satisfies.



I’m giving away a copy of ZOMBIE IN LOVE 2 + 1

over on twitter, courtesy of Atheneum.

Come see!




Now you go! What’s your favorite from this list? Or any spectacular sequels I’ve left out?





20 Responses to 17 spectacular picture book sequels + zombie in love sequel giveaway

  1. I’d like to nominate the Knuffle Bunny books. They rock! I’ve read Blackout and loved it, so it must be time to read Blizzard. Brrrrrr

    This is the second post I’ve read today that features Spoon and Chopsticks, so I’ve got to read those.

    Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere are two favorites. I love the rhyming text and zippy illustrations. And I just saw another post highlighting the Hervé books. Another one is called The Trail Game. The way it splits is pages is ingenius. Gotta get it…I love the Bats books, too.

    I saw the Klassen book, This is Not My Hat, discussed by an editor at an SCBWI conference last year. She got to the part where the little fish disappears into the weeds and then I think it gets dark, doesn’t it. She talked about how kids go humming right through this part while adults are often taken aback by what this means to the little fish. Did you get that jolt?

    So many others on your list I haven’t read. Got to get crackin’

    • We’re seeing the same blog posts! 🙂
      Yes, I’m confident others will agree with you on KNUFFLE BUNNY. (I’ve only read the first though.) 🙂
      I first heard THIS IS NOT MY HAT at the book launch here in Los Angeles, and Klassen read it to a group of kids. In that case, the kids did understand what had happened, but it didn’t bother them I don’t think. I love that kind of darkness in a kids book, when it feels tricky yet authentic. It’s so rare in American books.

      • Yes, I agree. That thrill of danger and uncertainty that mirrors real life is very cool when an author pulls it off, something that I agree is missing for the most part in American picture books. Maybe they save it all up for YA, the “wall of death” as Annie Barrows called it in a workshop I took from her recently. 😀

      • “Wall of death!” Whoa.

      • Yeah, she was pretty down on the whole YA genre, as it stands today, saying that she thinks there’s a big disconnect happening between adults and youth and that many YA books are representative of the disconnect. She did give a shining example of a great YA book she’d selected at a bookstore after a recent reading. It’s called “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” She lauded its virtues, in that it deals with death and coming of age and all the reality that goes with it without being cruel or riddled with sex/drugs/violence. It’s on my TBR pile.

  2. I’m so excited to read the books on the list we haven’t seen yet. WHOOP! And I hadn’t heard of the zombie books- my 5 year old is a bit obsessed with zombies at the moment…

  3. Great selections! Several familiar, several new to me. I’ve put SPOON and CHOPSTICKS on my library list because I really want to make an inanimate object PB ms work one of these days. So far, the writing also comes out inanimate. 😉

  4. I am head over heels for Carin Bramsen’s HEY DUCK! and it’s sequel JUST A DUCK?. Both books are gorgeous and two of my favorites for sure.

  5. Sara O'Leary says:

    Hi Danielle — I love this and am so happy to see my little pair of books included. I showed the page to my son and he noticed that When I Was Small seems to have a variant cover. I can’t figure out how this can be but the title is laid out differently! It doesn’t matter, of course, but it is funny. Funny too that I didn’t even notice.
    Also, thinking about sequels, do you know Melanie Watt’s Chester books? We really like them: http://www.kidscanpress.com/creators/m%C3%A9lanie-watt/223

  6. Sara O'Leary says:

    There’s nothing to apologize for, Danielle! I just thought it was odd. It’s a great list and I’ll be looking for the books I wasn’t already familiar with. Did you see the interview with Melissa Manlove about the Klassen books? Really interesting. http://boingboing.net/2015/03/02/noir-and-horror-for-your-kinde.html

  7. You have done it again, a brilliant choice of books (though may I add Lee Wardlaw’s Won Ton and Chopstick to your marvelous mix?), and several I wasn’t familiar with but can’t wait to peruse.(e.g. Pomelo books, Spoon & Chopsticks). ALWAYS looking forward to seeing what you pull out of your Mary Poppins review satchel. Your blog is simply brimming with wonderful surprises.

  8. Love this list. I’m a big fan of Bonny Becker’s mouse and bear books. The sequel to “A Visitor for Bear” is “A Birthday for Bear.” There are three more books. Love them all.

  9. Picture books are indeed fantastic for children. It helps them to introduce their eyes to a whole new dimension. I specifically love the ‘Scaredy Squirrel’, but really, all of these books are masterpieces in their own ways. Really love this list and I’m sure most kids will appreciate them as well!

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