This little monkey has become one of the most beloved of all pets, and with all the trouble he can get into, stories about him are winners in almost every household. George knows how to have fun, but getting into trouble because of his curiosity is what usually happens. Sharing these tales will give you and your children lots of laughs and offer entertainment for years. One good thing about the trouble George manages to find is that is almost always followed by something good or funny, and the man with the yellow hat is always understanding with the little monkey.
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.
Small miracles—like weedy flowers that fight for life in an unforgiving urban environment—are everywhere, if you just look. That's just one of many ideas readers can glean from Lawson and Smith's wordless tale, something of a small miracle itself, which traces a father and daughter's travels through gray city streets that gain color through acts of kindness and reverence.
Crab and Whale tells us the simple story of a crab that helps a whale make it through a tough day by using calming breathing and encouraging awareness of his senses. When the whale is washed up onto the shore, the crab tells him, “I’ll stay with you until the tide comes in.” I was touched by this gesture, and the profound significance of staying withour loved ones when they are going through a hard time. Readers will find this tiny tale helpful in that it shows how mindfulness can be an offering not only to ourselves, but to others when they may need it most.

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
Finally, this is the original not-so-scary monster book that generations of kids have enjoyed. Grover spends the story terrified about the monster at the end of the book, begging the reader not to turn the page. But kids know better—Grover himself is the monster! Plus, it’s fun to watch him sweat. As a bonus, this book introduces kids to metafiction.
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. Reading together has never been more fun, than it is when you are reading about wumps and their special world.
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.
Classic Picture Books: Often, when you see lists of recommended picture books, you'll see a separate category of books titled "Classic Children's Picture Books." What's a classic? Typically, a classic is a book that has remained popular and accessible for more than one generation. A few of the best-known and best-loved English language picture books include Harold and the Purple Crayon, written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson, The Little House and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, both written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton and by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd.
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.

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.

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 that was put there just for her. 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 even 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 and anyone else who is paying attention, a good laugh.


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.


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.
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.
This is a book that’s unlike any of the other best picture books out there. It all begins with a single yellow dot, and the instructions to press it. The reader is then sent on a magical journey that shows them that things are not always what they seem! This is a book full of surprises, and excitement! Kids will giggle with delight as they see the dots change direction, get bigger, and even multiply! When a unique book is needed, this is a great option – especially for kids who are used to interaction and who typically don’t get excited about flat words on a flat page.
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. This is a wonderful book to share with little ones at bedtime or any time. Winner of the Newberry Award, Tomie dePaola has created a classic.
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.
Mo Willems brings to life, through this charming story, the 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 (the readers) 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

Author and illustrator Esther Averill wowed readers with her Cat Club stories starring Jenny Linsky and friends, and this gem about Pickles the bad cat, who longs to be a good fire cat, is the perfect introduction to one of the most beloved children’s series around. Charming and timeless in both look and message, The Fire Cat is sure to be requested again and again.
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. Mystery lovers young and old will find this story one to enjoy over and over, alone or with a loved one.
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I Am Peace (one of three books in a series, between I Am Yoga and I Am Human) reads more like an aspiration than a tale. It takes us through one, slowed-down moment with a child who is using mindfulness to bring about peace when his thoughts are worrisome. “I give myself a moment. I take a breath. And then I tell myself, it’s alright.” Peter Reynolds’ illustrations are simple and endearing, peace signs abound. In a perfect world, people of any age will have access to the same sanity and peace that the child in this book has.
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