What parent and child hasn’t tried to outdo each other when expressing their love for each other? Little Nutbrown Hare wants his daddy, Big Nutbrown Hare, 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. Fun to read together and endearing to moms, dads, and children everywhere, this tale brings home the ‘I love you more’ game. Bedtime or not, this is one story that you will want to share over and over again, and who knows, it may even help you come up with more ways to express your love for your little ones
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 is one story that may make teacher appreciation something that is an everyday art ( at least for some children). Sharing this story at bedtime or anytime will give some laughs and a lot of entertainment.

We have a wide range of ages in our family, from toddler to grade-schooler – and a healthy variety of reading tastes, too. And so I can’t guarantee that every kid will love every book on these lists of the best picture books, but I can tell you that every one of these books wowed my test audience of three very different kids, plus me and my husband. I’m also pretty annoying about telling friends and family to give these books as birthday and holiday and “just because” presents, and every single time they report back: Everyone loved the book! The kid and the parents.

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. This anytime story will be one to read over and over again.
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 because 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, and brings all the things he took from the Whos back to them.
Since Jenkins's subtitle - Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-Loving Rubber Ball - provides the gist of the story, let's cut to the chase: the snowy explorations of this trio of toys, captured in expansive detail in Zelinsky's illustrations and Jenkins's wonderfully understated wit, brim with the magic of discovery, the joy of companionship, and the beauty of seeing the world through multiple perspectives (even when one is a rubber ball that, technically, lacks eyes).
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 the forest growing and creatures appearing as wild and free. Being wild with the wild things can be tiring, as Max discovers on his adventure. As things begin to happen in his room, creatures appear that are a cross between scary and funny. Winner of the Caldecott Medal and listed in the ‘Best Illustrated Children’s Books” for many years, this is a winner worth a look. Illustrations that will grab your eye and a written tale that will draw you and your children back again and again are what this story has to offer. Adventure, artwork, and fun are all wrapped up in one small package here.
Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann tell the tale of a little girl who loves pink. She loves it so much, in fact, that she only wants to eat pink, yummy treats. The pinker, the better and the gooier, the yummier. When she begins to turn pink, her parents take her to the doctor who insists that she begin to eat more green in the form of 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- almost red! That’s when she decides that vegetables aren’t so bad after all and finally returns to normal. The only problem is her little brother has now decided that he loves pink food! Oh no! Here we go again!
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 stories for all ages, this is a great one to share
This was Mayer’s first book, published in 1975, and it was an instant classic, thanks to the honesty with which it portrays a common phenomenon: a kid trying to help his mom out, but goofing up the job. “I wanted to wash the floor just for you, but the soap was too bubbly,” he says, as soap bubbles fill the floor and fly up into the air and his mom has a weary look that many of us can relate to. Even though Little Critter’s mom is frequently exasperated in this book, she’s more often amused by his missteps, and in the end enjoys his bedtime kiss.

Dr. Seuss has done it once again, with a classic tale of rhythm and rhyme along with a story 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
Amos McGee is a kind, friendly older gentleman who works at the zoo. Each day he finds time to spend with his five special animal friends: the elephant, penguin, rhino, owl, and tortoise. Until one day, when Mr. McGee is too sick to make it to work. After waiting patiently, his friends decide to hop on the bus and visit him. Each animal finds their own unique way to help make Amos feel better, whether it’s playing chess with him or keeping his feet warm. This is one of the best children’s books for teaching kids the importance of compassion and taking care of one another.

Originally published in Germany, this thought-provoking picture book consists of a series of encounters between a king and various people, objects, and intangible forces, which offer profoundly revealing insights on the nature and limitations of power. "I don't believe in ghosts," the king tells a spirit in one scene. "I don't believe in kings" is the pointed response.

Thank you for the wonderful list! I’ve been teaching elementary learning support for 16+ years, and there are 2-3 books in particular I find myself reading over and over and over . . . The kids can’t get enough of them – Taxi Dog” and “The Baby Beebee Bird!” Thankfully, I adore these books too! Oh – and can’t forget “Room on the Broom;” it’s a favorite all year long! 🙂
This was Mayer’s first book, published in 1975, and it was an instant classic, thanks to the honesty with which it portrays a common phenomenon: a kid trying to help his mom out, but goofing up the job. “I wanted to wash the floor just for you, but the soap was too bubbly,” he says, as soap bubbles fill the floor and fly up into the air and his mom has a weary look that many of us can relate to. Even though Little Critter’s mom is frequently exasperated in this book, she’s more often amused by his missteps, and in the end enjoys his bedtime kiss.
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 (lower case) 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. Charming and delightful, this is one tale to share time and time again.

Since Jenkins's subtitle - Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-Loving Rubber Ball - provides the gist of the story, let's cut to the chase: the snowy explorations of this trio of toys, captured in expansive detail in Zelinsky's illustrations and Jenkins's wonderfully understated wit, brim with the magic of discovery, the joy of companionship, and the beauty of seeing the world through multiple perspectives (even when one is a rubber ball that, technically, lacks eyes).
A boy and a bear going to look for berries, and the more 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 about the two friends frolicking in berry land, you and your young audience begin to dance or almost sing the story. Adventure, animals, food treats, and fun, all in one story that will become a family favorite to share many times over.
For my needs I recently created - Best Popular Picture Books on Goodreads with pretty limited criteria - that is 5000 ratings and shelved at least 500 times as "picture book". Sure it won't be as long as this list - and if people ever start voting on it, I'll probably end up doing a lot of deletion. But it will always be a good starting place for picture books.
Hilarity rules, as this mighty storm comes to pass. 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 that you might be surprised at. When there is orange juice rain, hamburger hail, and mashed potato snow, there is no need to cook or shop, only the need to eat all that comes down and not get hit by any giant food- such as the huge pancakes that might crush you. Fun to read and even more fun to think about as you discuss the story with your children, this is one story that you will want to share over and over again
Picture books are most often aimed at young children, and while some may have very basic language especially designed to help children develop their reading skills, most are written with vocabulary a child can understand but not necessarily read. For this reason, picture books tend to have two functions in the lives of children: they are first read to young children by adults, and then children read them themselves once they begin learning to read.
I bought this for my 6 year old who became a big sister and she loved it! I thought it would be an easy read for her but I bought it anyway and although it is an easy read for her, the story is just too cute. She enjoyed it and all I wanted was for her to feel special and get used to the idea of becoming a big sister and this book definitely helped. I recommend the book to any age group under the age of 7.

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 is one story that is sure to become a family favorite and be enjoyed together for many years to come
I appreciate your interest in instilling morality, but it is built on a weak foundation. You could just have them read a children's Bible.... pretty much covers all these topics... plus gives some backing for "Why" should you care. Without some reference to a "high power", there is no reason to be selfless. If there is no higher power, or final judgement..... just do what you think is best for you!!! It is called "Moral Relativism"... and its growth aligns directly with growing divisions in our society. Moral Relativism is built on sand lacking foundation for persistence when theory meets real life situations..... or as we like to say.. "All hat, No Cowboy"
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 is one book that will offer the stimulation needed to make it into a game and enjoy the colors and patterns throughout it. Attention grabbing and fun to read, children’s books such as this are something to share. Cuddling up and reading together takes on new fun with a book that’s a game as well as a story

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.


Many more picture book biographies appeal to upper elementary school age kids while still others appeal to both upper elementary and middle school age kids. Some recommended picture book biography titles include and A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, both of which were written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet and The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter.


A picture book is a book, typically for children, in which the illustrations are as important as (or even more important than) the words in telling the story. Picture books have traditionally been 32 pages long, although Little Golden Books are 24 pages. In picture books, there are illustrations on every page or on one of every pair of facing pages.
What parent and child hasn’t tried to outdo each other when expressing their love for each other? Little Nutbrown Hare wants his daddy, Big Nutbrown Hare, 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. Fun to read together and endearing to moms, dads, and children everywhere, this tale brings home the ‘I love you more’ game. Bedtime or not, this is one story that you will want to share over and over again, and who knows, it may even help you come up with more ways to express your love for your little ones

There are several subgenres among picture books, including alphabet books, concept books, counting books, early readers, calendar books, nursery rhymes, and toy books. Board books - picture books published on a hard cardboard - are often intended for small children to use and play with; cardboard is used for the cover as well as the pages, and is more durable than paper. Another category is movable books, such as pop-up books, which employ paper engineering to make parts of the page pop up or stand up when pages are opened. The Wheels on the Bus, by Paul O. Zelinsky, is one example of a bestseller pop-up picture book.


In 1937, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), at the time a successful graphic artist and humorist, published his first book for children, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. It was immediately successful, and Seuss followed up with The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins in 1938, followed by The King's Stilts in 1939, and Horton Hatches the Egg in 1940, all published by Random House. From 1947 to 1956 Seuss had twelve children's picture books published. Dr. Seuss created The Cat in the Hat in reaction to a Life magazine article by John Hersey in lamenting the unrealistic children in school primers books. Seuss rigidly limited himself to a small set of words from an elementary school vocabulary list, then crafted a story based upon two randomly selected words—cat and hat. Up until the mid-1950s, there was a degree of separation between illustrated educational books and illustrated picture books. That changed with The Cat in the Hat in 1957.
A classic story full of sentiment and humor, this is one that you will want to share over and over again. Whether you are a mom or a dad, this story of a mother and her son will strike a chord with you, and you may find yourself saying to your own children, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” 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. An endearing story that touches the heart each time it’s read, this is one tale that will remain at the top of the list for a long time to come. Sharing it with your children or even with a parent will be something special that you will treasure forever. Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw bring home the sentiment that the love between a parent and child really is endless.

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.
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. This anytime story will be one to read over and over again.
Author Kira Willey is a children’s music and yoga expert. You can feel her wide-awake energy in the pages of Breathe Like a Bear. Thirty bite-sized mini-meditations—with names such as “Candle Breath” and “Wake Up Your Face”—are accompanied by fanciful, super-inviting animal images. The author has sectioned off the meditations by energy: “Be Calm,” “Focus,” “Imagine,” “Make Some Energy,” and “Relax.” But I could easily see this as being a family-friendly coffee table book that adults and children alike can pick up, open to any random page, do the tiny practice and be a just a bit more mindful and centered because of it.
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