Attending a PTA luncheon or school fundraiser, a birthday party, or even a baby shower? Jump starting a discussion about your favorite children’s picture books is what we call a perfect table topic. This topic creates discussions are animated and fun, yet not divisive or political. So prior to your event, refresh your memories by glancing over this list of the top 100 children’s picture books of all time. You'll find old favorite from your childhood and maybe even some new children's picture books to enjoy!
New Idea for Book Theme Baby Shower!
Party Idea Pros' hands down favorite baby shower theme is a book-themed baby shower. Whether you call it Owl Love You Forever or Once Upon a Baby Shower, the new mom will thank you forever. She will get plenty of cute little outfits, diaper genies, and hooded animal towels, none of which the baby will remember. On the other hand, children's picture books will foster a child’s imagination, vocabulary, understanding of the world, and love for learning. Most importantly, a great book gives kids and their parents a chance to create a happy family memory together. Buy the mom-to-be a children’s bookshelf and fill it with all 100 top children’s picture books, and maybe throw in a parenting book or two for good measure.
Another option is to add a book request card to any baby shower theme you choose. These are from our ever popular Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Party.
Top 5 Children’s Picture Books
Where the Wild Things Are: Author Maurice Sendak offers a tale of suspense, action, and fun, with this story about a young boy named Max who wears a wolf suit to bed. Max has been naughty and is sent to bed without any dinner. The real adventure begins with a forest growing in his bedroom and wild beasts appearing. Winner of the Caldecott Medal and listed in the “Best Illustrated Children’s Books” for many years, this beautifully-illustrated book is a timeless classic. Let the wild rumpus begin!
The Giving Tree: “Once there was a tree.. and she loved a little boy.” In this beloved children's picture book, Shel Silverstein tells the story of the unconditional love a tree has for a boy. From the time the boy is young and needs shade as he plays, to growing up and being allowed to climb in her branches, to the time when he is older and wants something that may mean the end of the tree, the tree keeps on giving to him- out of love.
Goodnight Moon: Bedtime stories are a favorite among children and parents alike, and this is one of the best bedtime stories of all time. Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, saying goodnight has never been more fun than with this tale of a room full of entertaining objects to bid ‘goodnight.’ The story is written in rhyming verse that makes it easy for even the youngest children to memorize, so they will soon be able to ‘read’ it along with you. Parents and children have been sharing this story for more than fifty years, and it has become one of the best loved children's picture books of all time.
Green Eggs and Ham: These unforgettable words stay with you forever. “I am Sam, Sam I am” begins this amazing tale. An “I Can Read” book, this story for young children only contains fifty words, all of which are easily read and understood. With rhythm and rhyme that is easy to follow and tons of silly humor, this book will be a hit with children of any age. Reading this book with a child may offer you more than you bargained for, especially when you try to read it faster and faster!
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: Nothing beats a good downpour, especially when it consists of fun and yummy treats, right? Maybe that sounds good as a treat now and then, but when food raining from the sky takes a turn for the bigger portions and the messier things we love to eat, it can be quite messy and scary. Judy and Ron Barrett bring this fantasy to life with a spin might surprise you!
6-10 Children’s Picture Books
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: What better combination than a children's picture books that offer a delightful tale with a lesson? Teaching the days of the week and counting, Eric Carle’s imaginative illustrations unfold the life of a caterpillar from the moment it is in an egg to the transformation it makes into a beautiful butterfly. With such magnificent illustrations, and attention-grabbing detail, it’s no wonder that this story has won numerous awards and has been recognized in many countries as being among the best in children’s picture books.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day: One way to know your day is going to be bad is waking up with gum in your hair. After that awful start, Alexander finds himself seeing more and more problems as the day goes on. From dropping his sweater in the sink to tripping on his skateboard, he finds himself in the midst of one of the worst days ever. Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz tell this tale of a little boy and all the things that go wrong for him both in story and in pictures. Sharing a funny story about a bad day will help teach kids how to see the humor in life, even when things don’t go your way.
Guess How Much I Love You: What parent and child hasn’t tried to outdo each other when expressing their love for each other? Little Nutbrown Hare wants his daddy to know just how much he really loves him. Having a difficult time putting it into words and not knowing how to express his love for his father, Little Nutbrown Hare keeps coming up with more and more as his father tries to outdo him each time. After the little bunny falls asleep, the father wins with an expression of love that can’t be outdone. Endearing to moms, dads, and children everywhere, this tale brings home the ‘I love you more’ game. It may even help you come up with more ways to express your love for your little ones.
Pat the Bunny: Even the youngest children love to know that they can do the things that other kids can do. This story shows young children how two kids, named Paul and Judy, can do many things. It is an encouragement to young children to do the same things. Smelling flowers, interacting with the world around them, and seeing the delightful illustrations will have your youngsters moving and discovering in no time. Dorothy Kunhardt brings to life a story that will help open your children’s eyes to the beauty in the world around them. Sharing it will be something to treasure.
Love You Forever: You will want to share this classic story over and over again. In this story, a mother sings those words to her own son each night even after he’s an adult. In the end, when roles switch, it’s the son declaring his love to his mother, and then to his own baby girl. Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw bring home the sentiment that the love between a parent and child really is endless. Whether you are a mom or a dad, this story of a mother and her son will strike a chord with you. You may find yourself saying to your own children, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll love you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
11-15 Children’s Picture Books
The Lorax: Dr. Seuss has done it once again, with a tale of rhythm and rhyme along that will make anyone who reads it think about their role in nature. The narrator, named Once-ler, has lived a life of carelessness, disregard for nature, and selfishness. Now, with the natural beauty of the truffula trees taken away, the Lorax has moved up and away. How can it be restored? The key to restoring the natural beauty of the area lies in the hands of a small child- who happens to have a seed, a single hopeful seed to a truffula tree.
Peek-A Who?: Nothing makes a better first book than one that will keep a child coming back. Nina Laden brings together this surprise and guessing book with colorful illustrations and windows to look into to see what is hiding behind the scenes. From a cow to a choo-choo train, this book offers the stimulation needed to make reading into a game and enjoy the colors and patterns throughout it. Reading children's picture books together takes on new fun with a book that’s a game as well as a story.
Moo Baa La La La: Children love animals. Learning animal sounds with fun and whimsical children's picture books nurtures a love of animals and reading. Written by Sandra Boynton, this book has a sing-song style. The rhythm and rhyme make this a delightfully humorous book to share with any toddler or preschool age child. Not only will they learn about the sounds animals make, but the addition of having some of the animals say “La, la, la!” makes it into a game as well. Catching the wrong sound and telling the right sound become a part of this hilarious story.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?: Fun with reading takes on a new face, with this children’s picture book by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. There is nothing like having a story to share with your little one that is easy for them to memorize and repeat along with you. The easy rhyming phrases and the poetic verse make it simple to remember. Your children will think they are reading, which will encourage them to read more. Not only is it fun, but there are also different textures for exploring the sense of touch along with the story.
Harold and the Purple Crayon: Harold is a little boy who has an imagination that can help get him out of many jams, especially with the help of his purple crayon. Author Crockett Johnson has brought one of the most adventurous and endearing children's picture books to life with a tale that will not fail to amaze and amuse you and your children. Harold receives help from his crayon by drawing a boat to get him out of water and by creating landmarks to help him find his way home. His imagination and sense of adventure will inspire every child that reads this book.
16-20 Children’s Picture Books
The Going to Bed Book: We all know that sometimes kids just refuse to go to bed! Luckily, there are certain children's picture books that make bedtime easier. Sandra Boynton has done it once again with a tale that will entertain little ones and be a pleasure for families to share. The ark of animals watches the sunset and then gets ready to go to bed with bath time fun included. Bedtime is never easier than with a tale that will draw you back together, again and again.
Pinkalicious: Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann tell the tale of a little girl who loves pink. She loves it so much that she only wants to eat pink treats. When she begins to turn pink, her parents take her to the doctor who insists that she begin to eat more green vegetables- yuck! After her parents insisting that she eat more vegetables so she can return to normal, she sneaks just one last pink treat and turns even darker! That’s when she decides that vegetables aren’t so bad after all and finally returns to normal. The only problem is that now her little brother loves pink treats! Oh no! Here we go again!
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!: Mo Willems brings to lifethe tactics of a small child to get his own way. When the bus driver has to leave the bus for a few minutes, he cautions those who are left behind not to let the pigeon drive the bus. Asking nicely doesn’t ensure he gets what he wants so he moves from pleading, bribery, arguing, manipulating, and finally throwing a tantrum just like small children will to get their own way at times. Humor and true life comments throughout this tale will leave you laughing and offer you a sense of reality in a delightful story.
Animalia: Graeme Base brings storytelling to a whole new level with puzzles made out of illustrated animals and different layers used to create illustrations that will draw the eye to find all the hidden treasures. This is like no other children’s alphabet story, and it will amuse and entertain anyone from age 2 to 102. Colorful, exciting, and entertaining, the detail is a virtual eye feast. Each page of detailed puzzles is matched to a letter of the alphabet and will encourage the reader to take their time finding all that is hiding within the pictures.
No, David!: As parents and children all know, there are many times during the growing up years that children hear the word “No!” David Shannon took this story from one he wrote when a small boy and made it into something that is amusing to children and brings a reminder to parents about what it’s like to be a mischievous child who is always being told “No!”. David may not be every parent’s vision of the perfect child, but he will give you a lot of laughs while you share this endearing tale with your little ones at bedtime or anytime.
21-25 Children’s Picture Books
Everyone Poops: Scientific, humorous, and silly, this story will be helpful to those who are in the midst of potty training. It's also a riot for kids who love bathroom humor. Reading it together is sure to give you a lot of laughs. This story is in the ‘My Body Science Series’. However, written by Taro Gomi and Amanda Mayer Stinchecum, there is more humor than science in the pages of this book.
Go, Dog, Go!: P.D. Eastman has used one of the favorite animals of all time to create a story that is fun, engaging, and fast paced. Dogs, dogs everywhere, and ending in a dog party in a tree! Reading this with your children, and watching the ease with which they can read it on their own, will both be something to enjoy. Dog lover or not, this is one tale that will bring you back for more.
Zen Shorts: Jon J. Muth tells the tale of three children who meet their new neighbor, a Panda bear named Stillwater. As they listen to the stories told by Stillwater, the kids learn to look at the world in new ways. This introduction to Zen is good to use as a group story to read aloud, or as a bedtime story between you and your child. Throughout this children’s book, an introduction to Buddhism is carefully integrated. Simple illustrations make it easy to follow.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: An alphabet story that is amusing and funny with a twist that is sure to bring laughs, this is one little story that you will never tire of reading with your little ones. As each little letter invites another to the top of the coconut tree, and each next letter follows along, the tree ends up getting heavier and heavier, and finally results in the tree being bent. That is, until all the letters are shaken off as the tree snaps back to standing tall, and they are tossed in a heap underneath. Children's picture books don't get much better than this!
Good Night Gorilla: Everyone loves a funny story, and this is one that will give you and your children more laughs than you bargained for. When the night watchman at the zoo checks on the gorilla and tells him ‘good night.’ The gorilla steals the keys to all the other cages of all the other animals. While he follows the watchman around and watches him say good night, completely unobserved, he lets each animal out, one at a time. Your children will love to find out what happens next.
26-30 Children’s Picture Books
Fancy Nancy: Nancy is a little girl who loves everything fancy, and the fancier the better. If it’s frilly, fluffy, shiny, sparkling, or glamorous, Nancy wants to wear it or own it. Not only is she fancy, she tries to make her entire family be fancy too. Boring and ordinary will never do for Nancy. Dressing up means wearing her tiara and her bright jewelry. Jane O’Connor weaves a tale of laughs, glamour, and adventure, with each Fancy Nancy story. Nothing is the same once you have been exposed to a fancier way of life with Nancy and all her fancy adventures.
Blueberries for Sal: Writer Robert McCloskey knows that one of the highlights of summer is picking berries, and this tale makes that a reality for children of all ages. When little Sal and her mother go out to pick blueberries to can for winter, they run into a little problem. As Sal and her mother pick their berries, there is also a mama bear and her cub picking berries. Sal isn’t paying as much attention to her mother as she is to eating the berries, and eventually ends up following the bear rather than her mother. The problems they face and the adventures they share with the bears will be entertaining and fun to share.
Flotsam: This story, winner of a Caldecott Medal, was written by David Wiesner. The word ‘flotsam’ means something that floats on water and may eventually be found on the beach. Anyone who reads this book may find himself becoming a treasure hunter of sorts. Wiesner brings things into perspective that will be educational and inspiring to adults and children alike. Becoming more aware of the hidden things on the beach will offer hours of fun and excitement. This is one of many children's picture books that will be special to share, whether at home or on a family vacation.
Corduroy: This classic tale about one of the most beloved children's toys, a teddy bear, is heartwarming. Corduroy is a little bear who wears green overalls. He sits and waits for someone to buy him off the store shelf. As he sits, there is also a little girl who is searching for a special toy to be more than just an ordinary toy; she wants a toy that will also be her friend. When you read the story of Corduroy and his new owner, not only will you be sharing a touching story with your children, but you will also be taken back to loving a toy of your own.
Stellaluna: Janell Cannon tells the story of a little fruit bat named Stellaluna. This little one gets separated from her mother and is found and taken care of by a mama bird. The mama bird insists that Stellaluna do everything the way ordinary birds do, which is totally different than the way bats do things. When Stellaluna can finally fly, and actually ends up finding her mother, she is told that what she feels is the right way to do things are her natural instincts, and that she should follow them. She is very relieved to be able to do all the things bats naturally do once again. Sharing this story will teach you and your children about how bats look, live, and are different from birds.
31-35 Children’s Picture Books
Are You My Mother?: This ‘I Can Read’ book by P.D. Eastman is a wonderful story that will be something your child can soon read on her own. A bird hatches from his egg while his mother is away, and sets out to find her. In his search he comes upon a dog, a cow, and even a plane, and asks each one, “Are you my mother?”. When he finally finds his real mother, he instantly recognizes her and the reunion is a very happy one. Educational, entertaining and one of the most beloved children's picture books for all ages, this is a great one to share.
Oh, the Places You'll Go!: Dr. Seuss has taken a simple story and made it one that applies to everyone at one time or another. Each milestone in life opens new doors of opportunity, and that is what this story implies. As you read it with your children, you may even be inspired yourself. Not only does it inspire and encourage the reader about the opportunities in life, but it is also entertaining with the traditional Seuss wit and rhyme.
Olivia: Every child loves to hear stories of another child, even if that other child happens to be a little pig named Olivia. Precocious and energetic, Olivia has a way of wearing her mother out. Each night as her mother puts Olivia to bed, she tells her that she loves her- even though she wears her out. Ian Falconer has brought together reality and fantasy in a way that will touch your heart and give you a laugh.
Strega Nona: Everyone loves lovable grandmothers, but this is no ordinary grandma. Strega Nona actually means ‘Grandma Witch’. The lovable and magical things she can do with her magic pasta pot will amaze, astound, and humor you and your children as you share this story. Everyone in the village comes to her for help and advice, even the priest and the nuns in the convent. Her powerful pot is put to the test and the hilarity that results will leave you laughing. Winner of the Newberry Award, Tomie dePaola has created a classic.
Not a Box: Antoinette Portis has brought to the list a book that touches the heart and imagination of children of all ages, with this delightful story about a bunny and his cardboard box that is in his eyes anything but a box. As every child knows, a cardboard box can become whatever you want it to be, and the things that the bunny turns it into will open up the imagination to create many things you and your children may not have thought of creating with your own cardboard boxes. Sharing the story and sharing the ideas to create will be inspiring and fun. After reading, don't be surprised if your children beg you for a box!
36-40 Children’s Picture Books
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish: Dr. Seuss is as silly as ever with this classic that will have you and your children enjoying reading and rhyming more than ever. From flying a kite in bed, to walking around with ten cats on your head to counting and seeing new kinds of fish and creatures, you will not be disappointed. One of the most exciting things about reading a Dr. Seuss book is the never ending temptation to read it as fast as you can. With this story, you will have the rhythm and rhyme rolling off your tongue as you share it with your children. Before long they will be reading it with you. This is an easy to read book with words that are simple, and it leads the way to reading aloud.
Curious George: This little monkey has become one of the most beloved of all pets. With all the trouble he can get into, stories about him are winners in almost every household. George knows how to have fun, but gets into trouble because of his curiosity. One good thing about the trouble George manages to find is that is almost always followed by something good or funny. The man with the yellow hat is always understanding with the little monkey. Sharing these tales will give you and your children lots of laughs and offer entertainment for years.
Jumanji: Chris Van Allsburg created a story of fantasy, adventure and fun, with this book about two kids who get more than they bargained for with a board game. The game takes them from boredom to excitement. The trouble they encounter along the way will thrill you and be fun to share with your own children. Playing a game may never be the same again, once you find out what happens with this simple little board game!
We’re Going On a Bear Hunt: Written by Michael and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, this is one little book that will offer more fun and adventure as you reenact the bear hunt adventure with your own children. A father and his four children set out on a fine day to go on a bear hunt. They go through the grass, through a stream, and into the wild. As they reach the end of the hunt, they come upon a bear who chases them all the way home. Was the bear real or did they pretend it into existence? Sharing this story with your children will offer you many explanations as to whether it really was a bear or not.
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type: Cows may seem quite boring to most people, especially when they are plain old ordinary cows. The way Doreen Cronin tells it, Farmer Brown’s cows are no ordinary cows, at least not after they find an old typewriter that someone left in the barn. When the cows begin to learn how to spell and write, they insist on being treated differently and end up going on strike when Farmer Brown refuses their demands. Betsey Lewin's illustrations will delight even the youngest readers.
41-45 Children’s Picture Books
Where is Baby’s Belly Button?: What better way to teach babies and toddlers about body parts than with children's picture books? Karen Katz has created one of the most interactive and teachable peek-a-boo type of stories that will help you as you and baby have fun learning. Finding the belly button, the eyes, and other parts of baby’s anatomy will be exciting and fun as you make a story into a game. Interacting with the baby and the story will be one of the easiest ways to teach simple concepts. Play time, nap time, any time, this story will keep you and baby having fun for a long time.
The Little Engine That Could: Watty Piper and Loren Long brought us this inspiring story of a little train engine many years ago and it is still inspiring and encouraging millions of people, children and adults alike. When the little train gets stuck at the bottom of a hill, the little engine keeps his focus, and keeps telling himself “I think I can, I think I can” until eventually he makes it to the top of the hill. The message this leaves the reader with is one of how important it is to be determined, persevere, and never stop trying. One of the most inspirational children’s books ever, this one is a true classic.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit: The beloved story of this little rabbit boy who learns a lesson the hard way will bring you and your children a lot of entertainment, laughs, and a lesson that may last a lifetime. Beatrix Potter has brought to life a family of rabbits, their struggles with the same things every family struggles with, and their determination to love each other even when it isn’t easy. Being entertained is good, but having the addition of important life lessons is even better. This story will become a family favorite and be enjoyed together for many years to come.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: Sharing a cookie may be fun, but when you share it with a mouse, be prepared to be put to work. In this charming tale of a boy and his mouse, Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond have created a story that will give good attention to cause and effect, consequences to actions, and offer enough fun and entertainment to keep you coming back again and again. The illustrations will give you an even bigger picture about the hilarity behind the story, and make reading this tale even more fun.
The Kissing Hand: Audrey Penn is the author of this truly one of a kind story. When little Chester, a young raccoon, is scared to leave his mother and go to school, she gives him something that makes everything alright. She kisses his palm and tells him that the kiss will help make school as warm and nice of a place to be as home is. When Chester begins to feel lonely or scared, he presses his hand to his chest and feels the warmth of his mother’s kiss in his heart. Your little ones will feel loved and safe as you read this story together.
46-50 Children’s Picture Books
Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day: This story brings to life part of the adult world to children who want to know what people do all day. There are examples of jobs and a connection made from one person to another. It gives the reader the sense that we are all connected, and the each profession is not only important to itself, but is dependent on and supportive of the other jobs out there. Reading it together may offer windows of opportunities to discuss with even the youngest children the importance of work, money, and being helpful to others. Richard Scarry has a way with connecting pictures and stories to keep the interest and draw the reader back again.
Caps for Sale: What do you get when you put together a peddler, some monkeys, and the story telling gift of Esphyr Slobodkina? You get a classic story that has been around for decades. Caps for Sale is just as entertaining and fun as it was when first published in 1938. Generations of children have grown up with this and other children's picture books that have made storytelling an art. With the humor and warmth found only in the past, this book will continue to amuse, delight, and inspire families for many more years to come. Family classic and a treasure to share – what more could you want?
Sheep in a Jeep: Five sheep driving a jeep? Only in this sillytale by Nancy Shaw Seussian. Not only are the sheep hilarious and driving wild, but the story is rhythmical and rhyming, making it very easy to read and follow. Sharing a laugh will be the highlight of the day when you read this story to your little ones. Over the hill, through a mud puddle, and forgetting to steer, all go together to make this story one that will be enjoyed many times over. If you are looking for a story that is fun, goofy, and entertaining, this is the one for you.
Tuesday: Winner of a Caldecott Medal Award and also one of the ALA Children’s Book titles, this is one that will become a favorite from the first time you read it. David Wiesner has used more imagination than anything else with this story that is more pictures than words. With the colorful and vibrant illustrations, you can ‘read’ the book by looking at the pictures. Frogs are the focus, enjoying themselves as only frogs can, on lily pads, in the swamp, and into town, the frogs are out to have fun. That is until morning comes. Tuesday night is their time and enjoying this book with a little one will make it your time, too!
Tikki Tikki Tembo: This tale of Chinese folklore is one that will amuse you and may leave you humming or repeating the little rhyme that many children enjoy after reading. Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent have done an amazing job at bringing a classic story of a little boy who falls into a well. The rescue takes longer than it should because his name is so long and must be completely said before he can be rescued. This story is sure to be loved by young and old alike and will be treasured by many as something to savor as they read and enjoy it together with loved ones.
51-55 Children’s Picture Books
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel: One of the most beloved books for boys and girls is the story of Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne- his steam shovel. Mary Anne is an old steam shovel, and isn’t as shiny and pretty as some of the newer models are. Mike Mulligan still uses her though, and insists that she can do just as good a job as those more modern models can. When he insists on using her in Popperville, Mike and Mary Anne are put to the test, with the entire town watching. An inspiring story that is fun to share with little ones, this one is a true classic.
Eleventh Hour: Graeme Base has created yet another astounding book to add to the list of the best. This beautiful and amazing picture book will have you looking for clues throughout it to find out the answer to the question, ‘Who stole the birthday feast?’ A mystery like no other with clues on each page and in every illustrated picture, the fun is just beginning with the reading. When you think you know the answer, you may find something that will tell you whether you are right or wrong. Guessing as you read along is half the fun of this great story. Mystery lovers young and old will find this story one to enjoy over and over.
In the Night Kitchen: Maurice Sendak has brought to families everywhere the story of a little boy named Mickey who dreams that he is floating in the Baker’s Kitchen. Or is it a dream at all? Mickey finds himself falling out of bed and out of his night clothes after hearing some noise downstairs. When he yells “Be quiet!”, he is suddenly floating past the moon, and past his mom and dad’s room where they are sound asleep. As you enjoy this story of Mickey and the Night Kitchen, you will be taken back to your own childhood dreams and share the humor of dreaming with your own little ones.
The Runaway Bunny: First published in 1942, this story has become a classic. A little bunny thinks he might want to run away. Similar to the stage that many children go through, this little bunny thinks life will be better away from home. His mother, though, tells him that if he runs away she will run after him. A true tale of the love a mother has for her young, this story is one that will keep you and your children coming back. Each situation the bunny mentions he might be in, the mother has an answer for as to how she would rescue him. Delightful and heartwarming, this is one of the best.
Someday: This book by Alison McGhee and Peter Reynolds is one that will touch the heart of any mother and child. A mother reflecting on her love for her child, and imagining each milestone with beautifully illustrated watercolor pictures, will draw you in. From that first meeting at the moment of birth to holding hands as they cross the street to riding a bike for the first time to seeing her grown up daughter waving goodbye, this story will keep you reading and maybe touch a part of you that has been hiding.
56-60 Children’s Picture Books
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs: This story told from the perspective of the wolf who is considered the bad guy in the original story, offers another side to the classic tale. Alexander T. Wolf has a different way of telling the story, with an explanation as to what he says really happened. You see, he wasn’t huffing and puffing, trying on purpose to blow those houses down. The truth, according to him, is that he had a bad cold. All he wanted was to borrow a cup of sugar so he could bake a cake for his granny. Fun, hilarious, and a riot to compare to the original, this is one that you will enjoy reading.
Once Upon a Potty: More than just a storybook, this is an instruction manual of sorts. Written by Alona Frankel for her own child originally, it has become a must have for parents and toddlers everywhere. There is a version of this childrens book for boys and one for girls. Each version has a child learning to use their own potty chair and is a great help in both helping the parent potty train a toddler, and helping the toddler develop the confidence needed at this point in life. Fun, charming, and helpful, this is sure to be one that every parent and young child will want to own.
The Red Book: This story, completely done in pictures by Barbara Lehman, is a delightful depiction of a little girl who finds a magic book and is shown the way to the place inside the book by maps, landmarks, and a boy who is in the book and shows her where she is. After school, she buys some helium filled balloons and floats away, but while she is on her way to the magical land of the book, she drops the book. As she goes higher and higher, she sees another child pick up the book. When the book is opened, the person who found it sees the girl with the balloons reach the desired area, and the cycle begins all over again.
What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?: There is nothing like reading and sharing a story that is educational, interactive, and funny, all at the same time. Robin Page and Steve Jenkins have created such a story with this factual and entertaining book. Learning together about the different body parts of animals and what they do will even teach the most educated adults some things they didn’t know. For instance, a cricket’s ears are located on his knees. Learning fun facts like this makes for a great time for all. Eyes, ears, tails, legs, mouths, and noses, will all be something that you and your children may be surprised at when you learn some of the functions different animals have for them.
The Rainbow Fish: A story with a moral to learn is something to treasure, and this is one such story. These educational stories are very easy to add to the best children’s books of all-time. The rainbow fish happens to be the most beautiful fish in the ocean, and he knows it. His beauty has gone to his head and has even made him become proud and rude to his friends. When his friends all abandon him, he knows that there is something wrong, but can’t imagine what it is. He finds the wise old octopus and asks for some advice. The octopus tells him to share some of his beauty with others, and to begin looking at the beauty that comes from the inside as being what really makes someone beautiful. Though it is shiny and colorful, this is one story that offers more than outer beauty.
61-65 Children’s Picture Books
The Snowy Day: This Caledecott Medal winner has become one of the most popular stories for enjoying winter fun. Ezra Jack Keats wrote this story in 1963, and it has been delighting millions of families every since. It is the tale of Peter, a little boy who loves the snow, and the first snowfall of the year. As Peter plays in the snow, makes snowballs and snow angels, even the older reader will be taken back to childhood and the wonder experienced when that first snowfall happens. Sledding, snowball fights, catching snowflakes on your tongue, will all come back to you, and will offer your children ideas about how much fun they can have in the snow.
Madeline: This story has become a favorite among little girls everywhere. The story happens in Paris where there is a school that the girls go to. “Twelve little girls all in line, and the littlest one is Madeline.” This heartwarming tale is full of adventure and humor. Madeline has a bad stomachache and must go to the hospital to have her appendix removed. A Caldecott Medal winner, this is one story that little people everywhere will want to read again and again. Fun to read aloud with the rhythm and rhyme making it flow off the tongue, this is one you will find yourself wanting to share over and over again.
The Little House: Author Virginia Lee Burton has made this story a Caldecott Medal winner. Originally published in 1943, the moral of the story is even more relevant now than it was then. The little house is happy living way out in the country. When she eventually notices things changing, roads being made, and other buildings and houses being built closer, while trees and fields are being replaced with them, she begins to worry. By the end of the story, she is all alone in the middle of all the newer development. There is a happy ending, though. Her past owner comes and rescues her from the new and unwelcome city life, and takes her back to the country where they were both happier.
The Paper Bag Princess: This classic by Robert Munsch offers adventure, suspense, humor, and romance. What more could you want in a children’s book? Princess Elizabeth and Prince Ronald are to be married, but when a dragon kidnaps Prince Ronald and catches the castle on fire, burning everything owned by the princess- even her clothes, it puts a damper on their plans. Undaunted by this setback, Princess Elizabeth puts on a paper bag for a dress, and goes out to find her prince. After she manages to rescue him, the prince tells her to come back after she is dressed like a real princess. Hilarity and humor will keep you laughing as you share this romance gone wrong.
The Napping House: This charming tale by Audrey Wood and Don Wood will make a wonderful bedtime or anytime story to share. Everyone in the house is napping. Everyone, that is, except one little flea. What happens when the flea decides to bite a mouse? Well, that’s when the real fun begins. Written in a flowing rhythm and rhyme, this story will be fun to read aloud and share with your children. Fun, silly, and imaginative, this is a story that will become a family favorite to share time and time again. Join Granny, the young child, the dog, the cat, and the very wakeful flea, for an afternoon of napping- or not.
66-70 Children’s Picture Books
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?: As many parents and children know, bedtime is not usually a child’s favorite time of day. In this delightful tale of a dinosaur at bedtime, there is every excuse not to go to bed, every reaction that most parents have been given by their children at one time or another when bedtime rolls around, and it’s all done in a humorous and silly way. Human moms and dads, trying to put their huge dinosaur children to bed make this story one that will give you and your children lots of laughs, and bring home the point of making bedtime easier and more loving. Hugs and kisses, and saying a happy ‘goodnight’ wins out, even with dinosaurs.
The Cat in The Hat: Two bored children sitting in the window with nothing to do, and mother has gone out for the day. Oh, no, here comes the cat in the hat, and he is full of mischief and unwelcome surprises. It’s a good thing Dr. Seuss knows just how to make him clean up his messes in this fun story that will keep you and your children coming back for more. In classic Seuss style, with all the humor anyone could want, you will see the tricks that the cat has up his sleeve, and the results that follow.
Make Way for Ducklings: Robert McCloskey earned the Caldecott Medal for this winner with families everywhere. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are looking for a place in the city of Boston to raise their young ducks. They need a place where there will be no threat from wolves, foxes, or turtles. When they decide to nest in Boston’s Public Garden, they are right at home with the help of a police officer and others. The illustrations of Boston’s famous landmarks adds to the authenticity of this story.
Open the Barn Door, Find a Cow: This is one of the classic board books for babies through preschool age. Christopher Santoro created a flap book that will help your children learn about farm animals and help them with motor skill development as they learn how to open and close the flaps. Hiding behind each flap is a different animal for your child to find. Making a peek-a-boo game with this book will offer you and your child an interactive way to enjoy it together. Since this is a board book, it’s easy for little hands to hold and handle, and durable enough for the rough way the younger child will handle it.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales: These fairly stupid tales are not like the fairy tales you may have known while growing up. Instead, they are a total mockery of fairy tales. Similar to the other children's picture books by Jon Scienszka, they're written with sarcasm and wit. He takes the originals apart and interjects characters who belong in other fairy tales into some old favorites. Kids love to read stories that offer the unexpected, and bring in sarcasm and surprises. This one will not disappoint, and may become a favorite to share whenever you want a laugh or a new look at the way things should be, and the way things could be.
71-75 Children’s Picture Books
The Polar Express: This is the delightful tale of a young boy and his struggle with believing in Santa Claus. When he goes to bed on Christmas Eve, he is sure there is no such thing as Santa. Much to his surprise, a train pulls up in front of his house to take him to the North Pole. Along with other children, he experiences the reality of Santa and Christmas. Adventurous and heartwarming, this is one of those children's picture books that is sure to be treasured for many years.
The Story of Ferdinand: Ferdinand is one of the most beloved fictional characters over the last fifty years. He is different than other young bulls. They all love to run, jump, play, and be as rowdy as they can be, but Ferdinand likes the peace and quiet that he finds under his cork tree. That is until he has a bad experience with a bee. Unfortunately for Ferdinand, the bee sting happens when the rodeo men have come to choose the best young bull for a bullfight. Ferdinand, with all of his jumping and snorting from that horrible bee sting, is just what they want. Join him as he experiences the bullfighting arena.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Grinch isn’t really bad, he just has a heart that is too small. Dr. Seuss has given us this heartwarming tale of the Grinch and his heart problem. When the Whos of Whoville begin to celebrate, the efforts of the Grinch to take Christmas from them fails. It turns out Christmas doesn’t depend on the things they do, and the presents they share. It depends on what is in the heart. When he finally realizes that the heart is what holds Christmas, the Grinch finds his own heart growing and becoming warm. He begins to see the true meaning of Christmas.
Hop on Pop: Dr. Seuss has brought many winning children's picture books to the world of reading. Hop on Pop is another to add to the list. Not only is it a simple story that is fun to read, but it is also very helpful in teaching kids to read. The words are simple and the phrases have a lot of wordplay. The wild illustrations fit with traditional Seuss style, and will keep you looking with wonder as you turn each page.
Jamberry: A boy and a bear going to look for berries. The more berries, the better! Berry Land has as many different kinds of berries as can be imagined, and author Bruce Degen does a masterful job of imagining many. Written in poetic rhyme, this is one fun story to read aloud. You may even find that as you read, you and your young audience begin to dance or almost sing the story.
76-80 Children’s Picture Books
Dear Zoo; A Lift-the-Flap Book: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is twenty-five years old — and still as popular as ever! With an updated look, this classic about a youngster looking for a perfect pet is sure to delight a new generation of readers!
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale: This is a heartwarming story about a little girl named Trixie who has a favorite bunny , Knuffle Bunny. When her daddy takes her to do the family’s laundry, something awful happens. But because Trixie is too little to talk yet, she can’t tell her daddy what has happened, and he thinks she is just being fussy. Thankfully, Mommy notices that the loved bunny is missing, and Daddy sets off to find it.
Kitten’s First Full Moon: This Caldecott Medal winner is one of the sweetest kitten stories ever. The kitten, seeing the full moon for the first time, is convinced that it’s a bowl of milk. The fun begins when she decides to try to drink it. Trying to lick it from her place in the universe makes for a fun and silly story with pictures that will bring delight and giggles. Watching as a bug lands on her tongue, and the rest of the funny antics that kitten takes part in while trying to reach that bowl of milk in the sky will give you a good laugh.
Llama Llama Red Pajama: As many little ones have experienced firsthand, bedtime can be lonely and sometimes even scary. When mom or dad leaves the room, and it’s time to go to sleep, that’s when they want something. A drink, another kiss, a bedtime story, anything to get mom or dad back in the room. Baby Llama is no different. When his mama kisses him goodnight, and he wants her to bring him a drink, she is taking her time in coming. He begins to really worry and ends up crying very loudly. Mama comes running, as any mama would, and makes everything alright again. This is one of those children's picture books with a message, and a heartwarming story.
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear: The most fun types of children’s picture books, are those with story lines that will help you participate. This is one of those types of stories. It is interactive enough to give the reader a voice of his own and even allow you to take part in being one of the characters. A little mouse has found a yummy, ripe, red, strawberry, and he is not willing to part with it. You, the reader, take on the voice of the bear and try to get the mouse to hand over the strawberry. Fun and exciting, getting into this story is easy and will keep you coming back for more.
81-85 Children’s Picture Books
Time For Bed: This is a great bedtime story that will help children as they prepare to go to sleep. Animals of all kinds are saying goodnight to their little ones, and bed time is pleasant through the world. The verse is rhyming and flows easily off the tongue, and the pictures are portraying bedtime rituals that will be familiar to you and your children. From taking a bath to brushing teeth to giving a kiss and a hug, all the parents and children offer something that you will cherish. It is one of the best children's picture books to help little ones settle easily for the night.
The Dot: When lack of self esteem convinces Vashti that she can’t draw, her teacher encourages her to try. Just making one dot on the page, and seeing where it will lead, opens up a new world of being artistic. That is some of the best advice she could have given her. When Vashti finds that she can mix some colors to create other colors, she begins to experiment and see just how much she can do. This is one of the most encouraging children's picture books to read aloud or even alone. Trying in the midst of doubt can help anyone find hidden talent, and reach places they would have never made it to.
How I Became a Pirate: When Jeremy Jacobs is building a sand castle on the beach, his parents don’t notice the ship pull up along the shore. Jeremy does though, and he also recognizes that it is full of pirates. He decides to join them and becomes one of the ship hands. He likes the pirate’s life with no bedtimes and no manners being used. He is determined, though, that he must be back home in time for his soccer team to practice. Hilarious, fun, and imaginative, this story is told from the viewpoint of Jeremy, who of course may be exaggerating, just a little.
Owl Moon: One of the highlights of childhood is experiencing an adventure with a parent. In this charming story, a little girl gets to stay up past her bedtime and go owling with her dad. With the magnificent descriptions of what they hear and illustrations of what they see, everyone who reads this story will in a sense experience the awe and excitement that the little girl felt. It’s no wonder that this is a Caldecott Medal winner and has been one of the most loved children's picture books by many for more than 20 years.
Amazing Grace: This beautiful story will offer encouragement to anyone. Grace is a little girl who loves stories, and she loves to pretend. When the opportunity comes for her or one of her classmates to play Peter Pan in a play at school, Grace really wants to be Peter Pan. Her friends discourage her. After all, Peter is a boy, and Grace is a girl. With the encouragement and support of her mother and grandmother, Grace decides that she can do whatever she sets her mind to do.
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The Wump World: The wumps live in a world that is much smaller than ours. As a matter of fact, their world is also more peaceful than ours. The wumps just wander wherever they please, because they have no enemies, and nobody will try to harm them. But one thing they don’t know is that they are being watched by someone. This charming story by Bill Peet will entertain you and your children, and give you some more tools for your own imagination to think about.
ABC3D: More than simply a picture book, this book is actually more like a work of art. Not only is each letter of the alphabet done in 3D, some of them move and even change into the shape of the next letter. This book that will amaze you and your children. One fun thing to do is to try and figure out how it was made and how the letters work. Maybe it could even become the focus of an art project as you try to create a similar work of your own.
The Three Little Wolves and The Big Bad Pig: This spoof on the three little pigs will have you laughing and wanting to know more within the first few pages. When the three little wolves go out on their own, they build a house that should stand up to the big bad pig. But the pig is armed with more than simply his huffing and puffing. He has dynamite! Sharing this hilarious tale will make a family reading time more fun than ever. And the ending may surprise even those who think they can tell what will happen next.
Miss Nelson is Missing: The kids in Miss Nelson’s class know she’s the nicest teacher in the entire school. So why are they so naughty and disrespectful to her? When she suddenly is absent and nobody knows where she is, the kids get worried about her. She has disappeared! Now they are stuck with a substitute who is not nearly as nice as Miss Nelson. They want her back, and they want her back now! This story will make teacher appreciation an everyday art.
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat: This Caldecott Medal winner is a tale about a man named Joseph, who absolutely loves his overcoat. He loves it so much, that when it wears out, he makes it into a jacket. When the jacket wears out, well- you'll have to read the book to find out! Safe to say that Joseph is quite creative in saving at least a part of the overcoat to make other things that he can use and enjoy. This fun rhyming story is taken from a Yiddish song.
91-95 Children’s Picture Books
Have You Filled a Bucket Today: Learning how to be kind to others can be something that takes more than simply saying “be nice!” Reading this story will teach the important lessons in life about being a person who encourages others, is kind, generous, helpful, and inspiring. We can make a difference in everyone we come in contact with by how we treat them. When you share this story with your children, you'll engage their compassion and caring.
Swimmy: Swimmy, a little fish who was swimming with all his little fish friends, finds himself suddenly alone after a bigger fish comes along and swallows all the other fish in his school. When he makes new friends, Swimmy comes up with a plan about how they can all survive by disguising themselves. This is not just a fish tale, but a story with a purpose. This story teaches readers how to work together and make the best out of a bad situation.
George and Martha: Though they are both hippos, George and Martha are best friends. One of the things about best friends is that they do everything together. Even best friends need to have time alone, though. That is only one of the lessons your children will learn from the relationship that George and Martha share. This story will help the reader be an even better friend.
Russell the Sheep: Little Russell can’t fall asleep. All the other sheep are sound asleep, but nothing has helped Russell. He decides to try counting things. As he counts everything he can think of, and is still wide awake, he remembers hearing that he can count sheep. Russell begins to count all the other sheep, and guess what? It works!
Bark George: Every mother wants to hear her child’s first words. When George’s mother wants to hear him, she says “Bark George”. George is a puppy, so when he opens his mouth and says “meow”, his mother knows that something isn’t right. After hearing a number of animal sounds from George, none of which are barks, she decides to take him to the vet. Much to their surprise, there is a very good reason that George was making all those animal sounds! Read the book to find out why.
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The Story of Babar: Babar has been one of the most loved characters in children’s books for almost 80 years. Written in 1931, it has since been translated into more than 12 languages. For a fictional elephant, that is quite an accomplishment. Babar has lost his mother, and afterwards moves to the city. When he returns to his home in the country, he has grown up, gotten married, and is now considered a king. With so much popularity, he has a lot to learn and a lot to teach the other elephants. This is one story that will offer fun and entertainment many times over.
Miss Rumphius: This story will help children and adults alike look at their part in the world around them in a more productive way. Miss Rumphius shows how much difference one person can make in the beauty of the world they occupy. Even if you can’t travel far, or spend a lot of money, you can do simple things like plant flowers. Miss Rumpius finds ways to touch those around her with beauty. Sharing this book may offer you and your children ideas about what you can do in your part of the world. Inspiring and encouraging, this book may become a favorite.
On the Night You Were Born: As every parent knows, there is no greater moment than when your child was born. This story is the celebration of the birth of a baby, and the memory of how wonderful it was for the parent. Sentimental and sweet, the verse is poetic and flows easily. There is an emphasis on the uniqueness of each baby, with the words “You are the one and only ever you.” Reading this story with your child will offer you an opportunity to express your love and happiness for them being yours. This is one story that may become a family favorite, and be shared whenever you feel the need to express your love in a special way.
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: This story is an African folktale. When a mosquito tells a lie, that simple act leads to the whole forest being affected in one way or another. With the simple truth of one little lie being able to cause a whole lot of trouble, this story is one that will offer a moral and teach a principle that is very important to learn while young. The truth is always the best choice. Told in a way that is more like an old folktale than a modern story, this is a great read aloud to share with your children and would also be good for them to read alone.
Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book: Rufus Butler Seder has created a masterpiece with this new form of animation called scanimation. The pictures actually look like they are moving. With this story, you will see a horse running, a rooster strutting, a turtle swimming, and birds flying. Seeing the animals move with very natural action as you flip each page gives you a sense of awe as you try to figure out the science behind the magical movements. This is one story that will amaze adults as much as children. Enjoying it together as you try to figure it out may become the highlight of your day.
Just Missed the List – Children’s Picture Books
As with any list, there are always people who will quibble with both the choices to include and the choice to exclude certain books. Here are a few of the books our kids enjoyed reading over and over.
The Night I Followed the Dog: “I have a dog. Nothing exotic or special, just an ordinary dog. In fact, I always thought he was a boring dog. What I mean is, he can fetch, roll over, and shake hands, but mostly he sleeps and eats.” Or so the little boy in this story thinks, until one morning when he opens the door a little early and sees his dog jump out of a limousine. That night he decides to follow his dog, and that’s when the fun starts. Before he knows it, he has entered the little known world of doggy glamour. His dog, distinctly reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart, treats him to a nighttime adventure where he learns where dogs go to relax and sees what they do while their masters are fast asleep. A terrific read aloud, Nina Laden’s story will have everyone captivated by the coolest dog around.
Stone Soup: This is the classic folktale that has been told by many. When a beggar asks an old woman for some food and she refuses, he decides to make a pot of soup. He asks her for a pot and some water and throws a stone in the pot. As he tricks her into giving him one thing after another, beginning with some onions, he is putting his pot of soup together. He ends up getting many vegetables from her and eventually even some meat bones. By the time the soup is done, will the old woman realize she has been had? Stone soup is one of the most loved stories to read and share with children.
The Keeping Quilt:“We will make a quilt to help us always remember home,” Anna’s mother said. “It will be like having the familyback home in Russia dance around us at night. And so it was. From a basket of old clothes, Anna’s babushka, Uncle Vladimir’s shirt, Aunt Havalah’s nightdress and an apron of Aunt Natasha’s become The Keeping Quilt, Passed along from mother to daughter for almost a century. For four generations the quilt is a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket that welcomes babies warmly into the world.In strongly moving pictures that are as heartwarming as they are real, Patricia Polacco tells the story of her own family, and the quilt that remains a symbol of their enduring love and faith.
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti: Anansi the Spider is one of the great folk heroes of the world. He is a rogue, a mischief maker, and a wise, lovable creature who triumphs over larger foes.In this traditional Ashanti tale, Anansi sets out on a long, difficult journey. Threatened by Fish and Falcon, he is saved from terrible fates by his sons. But which of his sons should Anansi reward? Calling upon Nyame, the God of All Things, Anansi solves his predicament in a touching and highly resourceful fashion. In adapting this popular folktale, Gerald McDermott merges the old with the new, combining bold, rich color with traditional African design motifs and authentic Ashanti language rhythms.