Shimmer and Shine Readalikes


Wikipedia’s Description:  Twins Shimmer and Shine are genies-in-training who grant wishes for their best friend, Leah. The wishes don’t always go as smoothly as they plan, though — after all, they’re still in training — and the girls must clean up the magical mess that results from the issues.

Read-a-likes for ages 3+



Main appeals:  Girl power, female friendships, magic/fantasy worlds, comedic misadventures, colorful animation style

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima 

Amazon’s Description: Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. Sure, he’s always been a little bit different—his tusk isn’t as long, he’s not as good of a swimmer, and he really doesn’t enjoy the cuisine. Then one night, an extra strong current sweeps Kelp to the surface, where he spots a mysterious creature that looks just like him!

Crossover Appeal: Since a substantial part of Shimmer and Shine’s appeal is its shiny (pun intended), colorful animation style, picture books like Not Quite Narwhal, with its softly-saturated ocean palette and sweetly silly visuals (Kelp’s scuba helmet and floaties alone!) are easy sells.

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Brigette Barrager

Amazon’s Description: In this clever twist on the age-old belief that there’s no such thing as unicorns, Uni the unicorn is told there’s no such thing as little girls! No matter what the grown-up unicorns say, Uni believes that little girls are real. Somewhere there must be a smart, strong, wonderful, magical little girl waiting to be best friends. In fact, far away (but not too far), a real little girl believes there is a unicorn waiting for her.

Crossover Appeal:  The overlap of the fantasy and real worlds mirrors Shimmer and Shine’s basic plot and the rich detail of the colorful illustrations lends itself to lingering over the pages.  Add in the magical creature element, and you have a winner.


Jane O’Connor’s “Fancy Nancy” series (illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser)

Amazon’s Description: Meet Nancy, who believes that more is ALWAYS better when it comes to being fancy. From the top of her tiara down to her sparkly studded shoes, Nancy is determined to teach her family a thing or two about being fancy and using fancy words.

Crossover Appeal:  Frequently, a preference for fantasy in television translates into a love for dress-up centered pretend play — complete with tiaras, beads, and dangerously high heels — so Shimmer and Shine fans will likely find more than a bit of themselves in the precocious Nancy’s exasperation with the ordinariness of her family.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Amazon’s Description: This graphic novel for all ages follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

Crossover Appeal: 
This graphic novel is full of cozy world building (with many varieties of tea dragons and even a ‘care and keeping of your dragon’ guide included) that really brings the its fantasy elements to life as Shimmer and Shine does in introducing its viewers to Zahramay Falls — the home of the genies.  The relationships between the characters in both Shimmer and Shine and The Tea Dragon Society are central to the appeal of the narrative.

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