The Best Children’s Books About Fungi: Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Maxwell Martinson
Updated: March 28, 2023
© Stephan Morris/Shutterstock.com

Advertisement


This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species.

Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall children’s book about fungi is Mushroom Rain by Laura K Zimmermann.
  • When choosing a book about fungi for your child you should consider the age of the child, reading level, and the type of book.
  • You can purchase picture books, coloring books, story books, and encyclopaedia books about fungi.

So, it’s time to start teaching your kids about the fungi kingdom. It’s certainly something that doesn’t always get enough attention. Not only is it a full kingdom of life, but it’s also one that gets a relatively bad name. We tend to think of fungi in limited terms, mostly imagining them as mushrooms, and poisonous ones at that. Fungi is an expansive and interesting kingdom, however.

Fungi encompass nine massive lineages, sprawling out across the globe and interacting with literally every other species on the planet. From the yeast in our bread to the mycelium feeding the tree in your backyard, fungi matter.

As a result, it’s important to teach our kids about the fungi kingdom in all of its glory. We have to look at the dangers of poisonous mushrooms, sure, but we should also look at the amazing impact that fungi have on the world at large.

The following books are our top picks about fungi for children. Let’s take a look!

  1. Mushroom Rain
    • 32 pages.
    • Customers recommend this book for children ages 4 through 8.
    • Describes the wide variety of mushrooms that spring up following rain.
    Check Amazon
  2. Mason Goes Mushrooming
    • 32 pages.
    • Recommended for children ages 4 through 9.
    • A whimsical story about a boy and his dog foraging for mushrooms in Vermont.
    Check Amazon
  3. The Mushroom Fan Club
    • 56 pages.
    • Recommended for children ages 6 and older.
    • Made it to the best of 2018 lists from Quail & Quire and the Globe and Mail
    • Kids learn about the strikingly beautiful coral mushroom
    • Customers rate this book 4.9 out of five stars
    Check Amazon
  4. Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color
    • 48 pages.
    • Recommended for children ages 8 and older.
    • A coloring book with 92 mushroom species to color.
    Check Amazon
  5. Nature's Treasures: Tales of More Than 100 Extraordinary Objects from Nature
    • 192 pages.
    • Customers recommend this book for children ages 5 through 9.
    • Perfect for children between the ages of seven and nine interested in nature
    • Brimming with all sorts of different animal facts
    • Customers rate this book 4.9 out of five stars
    Check Amazon
  6. Humongous Fungus (Underground and All Around)
    • 64 pages.
    • Recommended for children ages 7 through 9.
    • Filled with gorgeous illustrations by Wenjia Tang, a popular freelance illustrator.
    Check Amazon
  7. Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum
    • 80 pages.
    • Recommended for readers ages 8 through 12.
    • A detailed survey of all types of fungi.
    Check Amazon

A-Z Animals Top Picks for Children’s Books About Fungi

#1 Best Overall: Mushroom Rain by Laura K Zimmermann

In our opinion, the best overall children’s book about fungi is Mushroom Rain by Laura K Zimmermann.

Written for four to eight year olds, Mushroom Rain explores all of the ideas and interesting things about mushrooms that adults know and love. From the underground information networks to the wild and fascinating expressions of fungi in nature, your child will get an appreciation for the wonder that fungi inspire.

The book even explores how fungi are related to humans, uncovers the nature of the fruiting body, and touches on some of the unique and bizarre species you might not be familiar with. For example, did you know that some mushrooms shine neon green when it’s dark?

Mushroom Rain is 32 pages long, available on Kindle and in hardcover, and has an excellent 4.9/5-star rating on Amazon.

Pros and Cons of Mushroom Rain by Laura K Zimmermann

ProsCons
This books explores interesting ideas and facts about mushrooms.None
It includes information some unusual species.
It explores how fungi are related to humans.
It is suitable for four to eight year olds.
There are Kindle and hardcover editions available.
Best Overall
Mushroom Rain
  • 32 pages.
  • Customers recommend this book for children ages 4 through 8.
  • Describes the wide variety of mushrooms that spring up following rain.
Check Amazon

2. Best Story: Mason Goes Mushrooming by Melany Kahn

The book with the best story is Mason Goes Mushrooming by Melany Kahn.

Mason Goes Mushrooming is an illustrated story with stunning pictures and is written in a classic children’s book format. As such, it interweaves educational ideas with an engaging story about a young boy who sets off into the woods with his dog.

Their goal is to forage for mushrooms, a practice that requires some knowledge and expertise. The watercolor images set the imaginative tone and reflect just how exciting and magical mushrooming can be.

This is a great pick for anyone looking to shake their child’s common fears about mushrooms. It’s also excellent for families that plan to go mushrooming sometime soon and would like to give their children a good idea of what it’s all about.

Instead of a simple walk in the woods, Mason shows us that mushrooming can be a magical journey through the imagination. The book is for children aged four to nine years old, 32 pages long, and available on Kindle and in hardcover formats.

Pros and Cons of Mason Goes Mushrooming by Melany Kahn

ProsCons
This book combines educational ideas with an engaging story.None
It features stunning watercolor illustrations.
It is an ideal introduction to mushrooming for children.
It is aimed at children aged four to nine years old.
There are Kindle and hardcover editions available.
Best Story
Mason Goes Mushrooming
  • 32 pages.
  • Recommended for children ages 4 through 9.
  • A whimsical story about a boy and his dog foraging for mushrooms in Vermont.
Check Amazon

3. Best about Mushrooms: The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel

As the best book about mushrooms we suggest The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel.

Appearing on the “Best of 2018” lists of big names like Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire, The Mushroom Fan Club is an imaginative and illustrative children’s book by Elise Gravel. The story is about mushroom hunting, one of the author’s favorite family pastimes. Instead of focusing on science, however, Gravel unweaves the wonder of mushrooming by turning all life forms into English-speaking, curious characters in the story.

All of these characters tell their story in personal terms rather than scientific detail. Children who read this book might see the forest floor in new ways, engaging with the natural world as if it were intelligent, sentient, and friendly.

The Mushroom Fan Club was written for kids aged six and older, is 56 pages long, available in Kindle and hardcover formats. It’s also extremely well-rated with over 400 five-star reviews on Amazon.

Unfortunately, some customers reported that this book is a little too lengthy for children to enjoy.

Pros and Cons of The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel

ProsCons
This book is an imaginative story about mushroom hunting.Some customers reported that it is too long for children to enjoy.
It turns all life forms into curious, English-speaking characters.
It allows children to engage with the natural world as an intelligent, sentient being.
It is suitable for children aged six and over.
There are Kindle and hardcover editions available.
Best about Mushrooms
The Mushroom Fan Club
  • 56 pages.
  • Recommended for children ages 6 and older.
  • Made it to the best of 2018 lists from Quail & Quire and the Globe and Mail
  • Kids learn about the strikingly beautiful coral mushroom
  • Customers rate this book 4.9 out of five stars
Check Amazon

4. Best Coloring Book: Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color by Jeanette Bowers and David Arora

If your child is a visual learner then Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color by Jeanette Bowers and David Arora is the perfect fungi book for them.

This book features detailed and specific photos of more than 90 species of mushrooms that are ready to be colored in.

The images are illustrations, but they’re near-exact replicas of the real thing. Alongside the color-in pictures are clear descriptions, written for eight to 18-year-olds, that inform children about the important details of various mushrooms.

For example, they’ll know which species are poisonous, which are safe to eat, how those species interact with their ecosystems, and much more. There’s also a section that gives general details about mushrooms and the fungi life cycle.

This book is a perfect way for any child who’s curious about mushrooms to explore their creativity while generating a deep interest in fungi. Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color is 48 pages long, available in paperback, and has a fantastic 4.7/5-star rating on Amazon.

Unfortunately, the paper in this book is quite thin and as there is no blank page behind the picture the colors can bleed through to the next picture.

Pros and Cons of Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color by Jeanette Bowers and David Arora

ProsCons
This book features pictures of 90 species of mushrooms that are ready to be colored in.The paper is quite thin which means that color can bleed through to the next page.
Each picture comes with a detailed description and important details about the mushroom.
It identifies which species are poisonous and which are safe to eat.
It has a section with general details about mushrooms and the fungi life-cycle.
Best Coloring Book
Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color
  • 48 pages.
  • Recommended for children ages 8 and older.
  • A coloring book with 92 mushroom species to color.
Check Amazon

5. Best Nature Book: Nature’s Treasures: Tales of More Than 100 Extraordinary Objects from Nature by Ben Hoare

If you’re looking for a children’s book that is about nature in general and not just fungi then we recommend Nature’s Treasures: Tales of More Than 100 Extraordinary Objects from Nature by Ben Hoare.

While this book isn’t solely focused on fungi, it dedicates a great deal of attention to them. Not only that, but it also details every other walk of life on earth.

Nature’s Treasures details all of the primary sections of life on this planet, looking into animals, plants, fungi, algae, and even rock formations. Your child will traverse a wide geographical range as well, learning about how these aspects of the world interact from far and wide.

While it’s a generally scientific book written for seven to nine year olds, it still takes on a storytelling style and engages readers with a narrative. The story pieces itself together by focusing on various objects that occur naturally in the world, detailing them with beautiful photos and graphics. The book will resonate points of deep interest for any child who’s interested in various aspects of the natural world.

It is 192 pages long, available on Kindle and in hardcover format, and has an exceptional 4.9/5-star rating on Amazon. However, due to its length and detail it may be better suited to slightly older children.

Pros and Cons of Nature’s Treasures: Tales of More Than 100 Extraordinary Objects from Nature by Ben Hoare

ProsCons
This book includes details about many different aspects of nature.It is a long and detailed book which may be suited to slightly older children than the recommended age group.
It talks about animals, plants, fungi, algae, and rock formations.
It has an engaging narrative.
It is suitable for seven to nine year olds.
It is available in Kindle and hardcover formats.
Best Nature Book
Nature's Treasures: Tales of More Than 100 Extraordinary Objects from Nature
  • 192 pages.
  • Customers recommend this book for children ages 5 through 9.
  • Perfect for children between the ages of seven and nine interested in nature
  • Brimming with all sorts of different animal facts
  • Customers rate this book 4.9 out of five stars
Check Amazon

6. Best Illustrations: Humongous Fungus (Underground and All Around) by Lynne Boddy

Books with amazing illustrations are always a great way for children to learn, and that’s why Humongous Fungus (Underground and All Around) by Lynne Boddy is the perfect choice.

Humongous Fungus is a quintessential children’s science book. It’s equipped with engaging illustrations and snappy turns of phrase that will transform your child’s ideas about fungi from sticky, smelly growths into a wonderous walk of life.

The science in the book is soft, entering into the narrative both through fun language and interesting illustrations. In many ways, the science is slipped into the story like crushed-up medicine in a tasty treat.

Your child will learn about the microscopic fungi floating through your yard as well as the humongous networks of fungi that power our forests. They’ll also explore how fungi are used as medicine, how species usually pop out more clearly in the fall, and how they can even be foraged right from the forest floor in some cases.

All the while, you’re taken on a soft and easy journey with the aid of excellent artwork and storytelling craft. The book was written for seven to nine yearolds, is 64 pages long, and has a 4.9/5-star rating on Amazon. It is also available on Kindle and in hardcover formats.

Pros and Cons of Humongous Fungus (Underground and All Around) by Lynne Boddy

ProsCons
This book features engaging illustrations.None
It uses fun language to slip science facts into the story.
This book teaches children about the vast network of fungi.
It is aimed at seven to nine year olds.
There are Kindle and hardcover editions available.
Best Illustrations
Humongous Fungus (Underground and All Around)
  • 64 pages.
  • Recommended for children ages 7 through 9.
  • Filled with gorgeous illustrations by Wenjia Tang, a popular freelance illustrator.
Check Amazon

7. Most Comprehensive: Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum by Ester Gaya

If you’re looking for a detailed book for slightly older children then check out Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum by Ester Gaya.

Fungarium is a little more comprehensive and intended for readers aged eight to 12. The book goes into extended detail about particular species of mushrooms and how they interact with the world.

As a more scientific read, this is a great option for children who have already expressed a interest in mushrooms. Kids with a love for fungi can use the book as a constant companion, even referencing it to identify some of the fungi around your home.

Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum also details the overwhelmingly positive impact that fungi have had on human life. For example, the use of fungi in penicillin.

The book is 80 pages long, available on Kindle and in hardcover formats, and has more than 700 reviews on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.9/5-stars.

Unfortunately, some customers have reported that the illustrations are not the best quality, especially when compared to some other books.

Pros and Cons of Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum by Ester Gaya

ProsCons
This book gives detailed information about several species of mushrooms.The illustrations are not the best quality.
It can be used as a reference to identify fungi around the home.
It is suitable for children aged eight to 12.
It explains the positive impact that fungi have had, including the use of penicillin.
Most Comprehensive
Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum
  • 80 pages.
  • Recommended for readers ages 8 through 12.
  • A detailed survey of all types of fungi.
Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Selecting one of the books above is easiest when you think of them in terms of your child’s current relationship with fungi. Are they scared of fungi? If so, books like The Mushroom Fan Club that anthropomorphize fungi might be a good option.

Have they spent a lot of time in the woods, and do they have an interest in exploring the forest more often? Mason Goes Mushrooming is an excellent option for kids who might show an interest in getting out and engaging with fungi in nature.

Those who are more engaged with visuals and creativity might benefit from Mushrooms of The World. Kids with a general interest in science and a willingness to engage with new topics might love Humongous Fungus as it’s scientific but smoothly tailored for children to learn from.

Fungi are weird and strange things, so children might not immediately take to them. Still, at least one of the options should serve as a welcome introduction to this interesting walk of life—enjoy!

About the Author

Hi! I'm Max and I'm a writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've been freelancing for more than five years and love the freedom and variety that this profession offers. Animals are also a big part of my life, and a lot of my time is dedicated to playing with my cat, Herbie.

The Best Children’s Books About Fungi: Reviewed and Ranked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are picture books a good option for teaching children about fungi?

It depends on the age of the child in question.  For younger children then a picture book or one with a simple story and a lot of illustrations would be ideal.  However, if the child is older then a more comprehensive book would be best.

What are the advantages of getting my child a book about fungi?

Quite often fungi has a bad rep — especially when it comes to poisonous mushrooms.  However, there is so much more to learn, and a good book can open this exciting world up to your child.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.