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?
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.
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.

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. Sal loves picking the berries, but she loves eating them even more. That is not the problem though. 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.

Most of the Moomin books by Finnish author Tove Jansson were novels, but several Moomin picture books were also published between 1952 and 1980, like Who Will Comfort Toffle? (1960) and The Dangerous Journey (1977). The Barbapapa series of books by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor was published in France in the 1970s. They feature the shapeshifting pink blob Barbapapa and his numerous colorful children. The Mr. Men series of 40-some books by English author and illustrated Roger Hargreaves started in 1971. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs was published in Britain in 1978 and was entirely wordless. It was made into an Oscar nominated animated cartoon that has been shown every year since on British television.

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.

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.
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Children love animals and learning animal sounds with such a fun and whimsical picture book is one way to help develop a love of reading. The sing-song style and 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. This is a great anytime book to break boredom and have some fun. Written by Sandra Boynton, this is one great book for sharing
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.

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.
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.
This story has become a favorite, as have all the Madeline tales, 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.

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