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.
One of Aesop’s most beloved fables, The Lion & the Mouse is retold in this brilliant and unique adaptation. Award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney tells the entire story without a single word. In short, a ferocious lion takes mercy on a tiny, scared mouse, and instead of eating him, he sets him free. When the lion later becomes ensnared in a trap, the mouse comes to his rescue. This book is chock full of awe-inspiring landscapes of the African Serengeti, and wonderful, warm characters. Without a word, this book captures the imaginations of children, adults, and anyone who turns the pages in this beautiful book.
Tumford isn’t a bad cat . . . he just has a terrible time with two simple words: “I’m sorry.” We all make mistakes, but Tumford won’t apologize for them. Instead, he hides when his mischievous ways are found out about. Despite this seemingly bad behavior, Tumford’s loving owners never stop loving him. Will Tumford finally apologize? What will it take to get him to see the err of his ways? This is a book that’s both gorgeously illustrated and whimsically written, and that will remind children that everyone makes mistakes – and of how important it is to say you’re sorry.
These fairly stupid tales are not like the fairy tales you may have known while growing up. They are, rather, a total mockery of them, similar to the other books by Jon Scienszka, written with sarcasm and humorous scandal. Taking the originals apart and interjecting characters who belong in other fairy tales into some old favorites, the humor and hilarity may amaze you. 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.
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.
Between 1957 and 1960 Harper & Brothers published a series of sixteen "I Can Read" books. Little Bear was the first of the series. Written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by a then relatively unknown Maurice Sendak, the two collaborated on three other "I Can Read" books over the next three years. From 1958 to 1960, Syd Hoff wrote and illustrated four "I Can Read" books: Danny and the Dinosaur, Sammy The Seal, Julius, and Oliver.
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 and is still just as entertaining and fun as it was when first published in 1938. Generations of children have grown up with this and other classics that have made storytelling an art. With the humor and warmth found only in the past, this is one children’s book that will continue to amuse, delight, and inspire many families for many more years to come. Family classic and a treasure to share – what more could you want in a story?
Cows may seem quite boring to most people, especially when they are plain old ordinary cows. The way Doreen Cronin tells it with pictures by Betsy Lewin that prove it to be true, 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. Funny, delightful and entertaining, this is a great book for the entire family to share.
The half-wall next to my eight-year-old daughter’s desk is filled with post-it notes marked with mis-spelled positive affirmations: “you got ths” and “you r luvd,” they say. I could easily sneak one in there that says, “I m a worior godiss.” The book, I Am a Warrior Goddess feels as simple as a collection of pages of encouraging self-talk for my daughters. The illustrations are fun and lively, telling us the story of a sweet little redhead who talks to herself wisely and affirmatively— the way we are teaching our young girls to speak to themselves.
Hi, I'm Kelly. I'm a mom of four, a recovering perfectionist, and the author of Happy You, Happy Family. Parenting is hard enough without all the guilt we heap on top of ourselves. So let's stop trying to be perfect parents and just be real ones. Sound good? Join my mailing list and as a bonus, you'll get 25+ incredibly helpful cheat sheets that will ease your parenting struggles.

This is a marvelous children's book. I have always loved children's literature, so have read a lot of it, from many ages. Rarely have I come across one done in such a thoughtful manner as this one. When I finished it the first time, I really stopped to ponder what else in my world am I missing out on, just because I haven't taken the time to stop and think about one idea in different contexts.

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.

When self esteem, or the lack of it, tells 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 childrens 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.
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.
The most fun types of children’s 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.
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.

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 classic.
Because of the success of The Cat In The Hat an independent publishing company was formed, called Beginner Books. The second book in the series was nearly as popular, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, published in 1958. Other books in the series were Sam and the Firefly (1958), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Are You My Mother? (1960), Go, Dog. Go! (1961), Hop on Pop (1963), and Fox in Socks (1965). Creators in the Beginner Book series were Stan and Jan Berenstain, P. D. Eastman, Roy McKie, and Helen Palmer Geisel (Seuss' wife). The Beginner Books dominated the children's picture book market of the 1960s.

Between 1957 and 1960 Harper & Brothers published a series of sixteen "I Can Read" books. Little Bear was the first of the series. Written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by a then relatively unknown Maurice Sendak, the two collaborated on three other "I Can Read" books over the next three years. From 1958 to 1960, Syd Hoff wrote and illustrated four "I Can Read" books: Danny and the Dinosaur, Sammy The Seal, Julius, and Oliver.
When self esteem, or the lack of it, tells 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 childrens 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.
The most fun types of children’s 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.
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.
This beautifully conceived book tells the story of a little brown rabbit who desperately wants to become the Easter Bunny, but is repeatedly scorned by the elite, city rabbits who live in fine houses. Eventually, after raising twenty-one bunnies of her own, the brown rabbit achieves her greatest dream. A story of doggedness and grace, with an underlying message of feminism and anti-racism.
These kids stories emphasize basic developmental and emotional concepts such as sharing, compromise, and bedtime. "The Land of Words" series is an ongoing collection of alphabet stories which tackle moral lessons. "Don't Judge a Book" and "Gnarble's World" (a rich web of content with twelve interconnected stories) help introduce and sharpen deductive reasoning skills.
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