Pictures books are some of the earliest reading experiences for many children. We love how they introduce kids to storytelling and provide a rich multi-sensory experience perfect for reading aloud. The picture books we selected for our Best Books for Kids of 2017 list include a new version of Humpty Dumpty, a Langston Hughes picture book, and a Mixtec-inspired story. Have other picture books you love? Let us know in the comment section below.
Five sheep driving a jeep? Only in this classic tale 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, silly, and entertaining, this may be the one for you.
The poor bear can’t find his hat – and he wants it back! He sets off on a journey to ask every animal he finds if they’ve seen his precious hat. The animals all say no, they have not seen his hat – in increasingly elaborate ways. Just when the bear is ready to give up, a friendly deer bounds along and asks an intriguing question that gets the bear on the right track. This is a book that’s told entirely in dialogue, and is a new twist on the classic repetitive tale. Visual humor and clever illustrations abound.
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.

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.
Today, the number of well-written, thought-provoking children’s picture books with a mindful component is growing by the moment. Adding a mindful book or two to the current cannon of bedtime stories feels like adding an extra nutrient to the meal. We are planting seeds of empowerment in our youngsters to grow into young adults who can appreciate their world from the inside out.
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.
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 set back, 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 with your children.
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.
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 may make it your time too.
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.
This story, winner of a Caldecott Medal, was written by David Wiesner. The word ‘flotsam’, simply 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 childrens books he has written that will be something special to share whether at home or on a family vacation

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
A picture book combines visual and verbal narratives in a book format, most often aimed at young children. The images in picture books use a range of media such as oil paints, acrylics, watercolor, and pencil, among others. Two of the earliest books with something like the format picture books still retain now were Heinrich Hoffmann's Struwwelpeter from 1845 and Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit from 1902. Some of the best-known picture books are Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings, Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat, and Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. The Caldecott Medal (established 1938) and Kate Greenaway Medal (established 1955) are awarded annually for illustrations in children's literature. From the mid-1960s several children's literature awards include a category for picture books.
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.

Oh, Harry! He hates baths so much that he’s willing to run away from his beloved family for a romp through construction sites and coal chutes until he’s no longer a white dog with black spots, but a black dog with white spots. When Harry finds himself unrecognizable to his loved ones, he learns that being clean might not be so bad after all. A book that will make anyone sit up and beg for another reading.
First published in 1942, this is one story that 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.
One way to know your day is going to be bad is waking up with gum in your hair. Alexander finds himself seeing more and more problems as the day goes on. From the gum in his hair to 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 in a way that will make you sympathetic for this little boy and how his day is going and appreciate life as it goes well. Children and adults alike will love this tale of a boy, his bad day, and the hilarity that comes with the story. Bad days happen to everyone. Sharing a funny story about a bad day will help learn to see the humor in life even when things don’t go right.
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.
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.

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.
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 books by many for more than 20 years. Told from the perspective of the little girl, this is one special story to share with your own children.
Cal and his best friend, the tactless but loyal Soy, learn that the frog (who prefers the name Deli) has sought them out for a reason. When a school administrator named Ream reveals himself to be a dragon, the boys discover that fairytales are real, and that there is magic afoot in Stagwood. With Ream on their tail, the trio must unearth a powerful tool protected by riddles and rile (the magic that fuels nightmares) to save the fate of all fairytales past. Their only means on conveyance, Cal's now-flying bed, takes them on a journey beyond the home of the fairies (a cloud floating somewhere over Iceland) to set things right. But, before Cal can defeat Ream and his kidnapped army of fairies, he has to deal with Soy's knack for arguing with magical creatures, discover the truth about Deli's identity, and earn his place as the hero of the story. 
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