Wordless Picture Books: Picture books that tell the story completely through illustrations with no words at all, or only a very few embedded in the artwork, are known as wordless picture books. One of the most stunning examples is The Lion and the Mouse, an Aesop's fable, retold in illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. Pinkney received the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration for his wordless picture book. Another wonderful example, which is often used in middle school writing classes as a writing prompt is A Day A Dog by Gabrielle Vincent.
Orbis Pictus from 1658 by John Amos Comenius was the earliest illustrated book specifically for children. It is something of a children's encyclopedia and is illustrated by woodcuts. A Little Pretty Pocket-Book from 1744 by John Newbery was the earliest illustrated storybook marketed as pleasure reading in English. In Japan, kibyoshi were picture books from the 18th century, and are seen as a precursor to manga. Examples of 18th-century Japanese picture books include works such as Santō Kyōden's Shiji no yukikai (1798).
There is nothing like reading and sharing a story that is educational, interactive, and funny, all at the same time. Robin Page and Steve Jenkins have created such a story with this factual and entertaining book. Learning together about the different body parts of animals and what they do will even teach the most educated adults some things they didn’t know. For instance, a cricket’s ears are located on his knees. Learning fun facts makes for a fun time for all. Eyes, ears, tails, legs, mouths, and noses, will all be something that you and your children may be surprised at when you learn some of the functions different animals have for them.
When Trixie’s stuffed bunny gets left behind at the laundromat, missing-plaything panic ensues. The chaos is further heightened when Trixie, who cannot yet talk, attempts to communicate her despair with a series of meltdowns. Outrageously funny and replete with Mo Willems’s singular style of illustration, this must-own resonates with kids and parents alike.
This classic tale of one of the most traditionally beloved toys every child has, a teddy bear, is heartwarming. Corduroy is a little bear who wears green overalls. As he sits and waits for someone to buy him off the store shelf, there is also a little girl who is searching for a special toy to be more than just an ordinary toy; she wants a toy that will also be her friend. When you read the story of Corduroy and his new owner, not only will you be sharing a touching story with your children, but you will also be taken back to yesterday, simpler times, and loving a toy of your own.
This is a great bedtime story that will help children as they prepare to go to sleep. Animals of all kinds are saying goodnight to their little ones, and bed time is pleasant through the world. The verse is rhyming and flows easily off the tongue, and the pictures are portraying bedtime rituals that will be familiar to you and your children. From taking a bath to brushing teeth to giving a kiss and a hug, all the parents and children offer something that you will cherish. It is one of the best bedtime stories to help little ones settle easily for the night.
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.
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.
As every parent knows, there is no greater moment than when your child was born. This story is the celebration of the birth of a baby, and the memory of how wonderful it was for the parent. Sentimental and sweet, the verse is poetic and flows easily. There is an emphasis on the uniqueness of each baby, with the words “You are the one and only ever you.” Reading this story with your child will offer you an opportunity to express your love and happiness for them being yours. This is one story that may become a family favorite, and be shared whenever you feel the need to express your love in a special way.
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.
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.
P.D. Eastman has used one of the favorite animals of all time to create a story that is fun, engaging, and fast paced. Dogs, dogs everywhere, and ending in a dog party in a tree. Reading this with your children, and watching the ease with which they can read it on their own, will both be something to enjoy. Dog lover or not, this is one tale that will bring you back for more when you want to share a story that will be silly and entertaining with your children. Colorful, and enjoyable for all, this is one fun story to share.
100 Great Children’s Books has been published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The list was selected by The New York Public Library’s Jeanne Lamb, Coordinator, Youth Collections, and Elizabeth Bird, Supervising Librarian.