No child’s room is complete without a budding bookshelf, and we’re here to help you build your little one’s library. From classic to contemporary reads, we’ve brought together 50 of the most unforgettable picture books of all time. Knowing that most children (or babies, even!) receive The Cat in the Hat, Goodnight Moon The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Where the Wild Things Are as shower or birthday gifts, we bypassed those four to make room for a few other delights. (For example: have you ever heard of Fortunately? Well, fortunately, now you have!) Happy shelf-stocking!
Akbar & Birbal – Birbal who was an advisor in the court of the Emperor Akbar, was known for his intellect, wit and sense of humour. In all the stories, Akbar places a problem in front of Birbal, and Birbal cleverly finds a solution. He wins hearts and admiration every day. Children can learn a lot about the Mughal dynasty and Indian rulers too, through these stories.
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.
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.
What better way to teach babies and toddlers where each body part is than with a game and a book? Karen Katz has created one of the most interactive and teachable peek-a-boo type of stories that will help you as you and baby have fun learning. It is one of the best children’s books. Finding the belly button, the eyes, and other parts of baby’s anatomy will be exciting and fun as you make a story into a game. Interacting with the baby and the story will be one of the easiest ways to teach simple concepts. Play time, nap time, any time, this story will keep you and baby having fun for a long time
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 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.
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.
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
Fun with reading takes on a new face, with this children’s book by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. There is nothing like having a story to share with your little one that is easy for them to memorize and repeat along with you. This book, full of humor and silliness, is one of those books. The easy rhyming phrases and the poetic verse make it simple to remember. Your children will think they are reading which will encourage them to read more. The brown bear sees a red bird who in turn sees a yellow duck and on and on. Not only is it fun, but there are also different textures for exploring the sense of touch along with the story
This Caledecott Medal winner has become one of the most popular stories for enjoying winter fun. Ezra Jack Keats wrote this story in 1963, and it has been delighting millions of families every since. It is the tale of Peter, a little boy who loves the snow, and the first snowfall of the year. As Peter plays in the snow, makes snowballs and snow angels, even the older reader will be taken back to childhood and the wonder experienced when that first snowfall happens. Sledding, snowball fights, catching snowflakes on your tongue, will all come back to you, and will offer your children ideas about how much fun they can have in the snow.
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Rufus Butler Seder has created a masterpiece with this new form of animation called scanimation. The pictures actually look like they are moving. With this story, you will see a horse running, a rooster strutting, a turtle swimming, and birds flying. Seeing the animals move with very natural action as you flip each page gives you a sense of awe as you try to figure out the science behind the magical movements. This is one story that will amaze adults as much as children. Enjoying it together as you try to figure it out may become the highlight of your day.
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.
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.
This story, completely done in pictures by David Wiesner, is a delightful depiction of a little girl who finds a magic book and is shown the way to the place inside the book by maps, landmarks, and a boy who is in the book and shows her where she is. After school, she buys some helium filled balloons and floats away, but while she is on her way to the magical land of the book, she drops the book. As she goes higher and higher, she sees another child pick up the book. When the book is opened, the person who found it sees the girl with the balloons reach the desired area, and the cycle begins all over again. Imaginative and charming, this is one of those picture books that you will want to look at over and over again.
Expansive yet intimate, Ellis's study of what makes a home recognizes that there's no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Ellis whisks readers around the world (and into the realms of the fantastical and strange) as she moves from cozy Russian kitchen to nursery-rhyme shoe and city apartment, inviting children to contemplate what home means to them.
Picture Book Biographies: The picture book format has proved effective for biographies, serving as an introduction to the lives of a variety of accomplished men and women. Some picture book biographies like Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, with illustrations by Marjorie Priceman, and by Deborah Heiligman, with illustrations by LeUyen Pham, appeal to children in grade one to three.
A picture book is a book, typically for children, in which the illustrations are as important as (or even more important than) the words in telling the story. Picture books have traditionally been 32 pages long, although Little Golden Books are 24 pages. In picture books, there are illustrations on every page or on one of every pair of facing pages.
Mattick provides a lovely and intimate account of how her great-grandfather Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian during WWI, acquired and cared for the bear that would inspire Winnie-the-Pooh. Playfulness and tenderness go hand in hand in both text and art, as Mattick and Blackall reveal the real-life backstory behind one of the most beloved characters in children's literature.
This story about a little boy who is looking for the perfect pet will open doors to your child’s learning (no pun intended). As he looks for a pet, each flap can be lifted to see a different animal inside. Making a game out of it with guessing what lies behind the flap, or even learning animal sounds along with reading the book, will be something that will make it even more loved. Easy for little hands to hold, and fun with looking under the flaps make this one of the best picture books for young children. It’s educational and fun all in one.
Hilarity rules, as this mighty storm comes to pass. Nothing beats a good downpour, especially when it consists of fun and yummy treats, right? Maybe that sounds good as a treat now and then, but when food raining from the sky takes a turn for the bigger portions and the messier things we love to eat, it can be quite messy and scary. Judy and Ron Barrett bring this fantasy to life with a spin that you might be surprised at. When there is orange juice rain, hamburger hail, and mashed potato snow, there is no need to cook or shop, only the need to eat all that comes down and not get hit by any giant food- such as the huge pancakes that might crush you. Fun to read and even more fun to think about as you discuss the story with your children, this is one story that you will want to share over and over again
This is the delightful tale of a young boy and his struggle with believing in Santa Claus. When he goes to bed on Christmas Eve, he is sure there is no such thing as Santa. Much to his surprise, a train pulls up in front of his house to take him to the North Pole. Along with other children, he experiences the reality of Santa and Christmas, and is brought to the obvious conclusion that he was wrong. Adventurous, heartwarming, and fun to read alone or to share, this is one of those childrens books that is sure to be treasured for many years.
When life doesn't offer happiness on a platter (say, when one has just moved to a new house in the woods with one's father), the Steads suggest a direct approach: make a few protector-friends for company, and real friends might just follow. Written and illustrated with delicacy and restraint, it's another emotionally incisive offering from this husband-and-wife team.
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 story by Alison McGhee and Peter Reynolds is one that will touch the heart of any mother and child. A mother reflecting on her love for her child, and imagining each milestone with beautifully illustrated watercolor pictures, will draw you in. From that first meeting at the moment of birth to holding hands as they cross the street to riding a bike for the first time to seeing her grown up daughter waving goodbye, this story will keep you reading and maybe touch a part of you that has been hiding. Reading it with your children may offer both of you a sentiment that is only brought on by being deeply moved.
In this magnificent visual and literary masterpiece, a young Native Canadian boy, who longs to see the Atlantic Ocean, carves a tiny boat and figurine from wood and sets them on a journey both dangerous and delightful through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Full of adventure, geography, and natural wonders, Paddle to the Sea belongs in every home.
A World of Pausabilities pulls us into a neighborhood on a summer day that could be any neighborhood on any day. There, we see both children and adults applying mindfulness to everyday moments by taking a pause. The illustrations are crisp and active, depicting all sorts of people delving into the richness of moments like eating an apple and taking a slow, silent walk. The words rhyme, child-like in their simplicity. After reading this book, I started noticing pausabilities all over the place in my world—little bursts of extra mindfulness while brushing my teeth and walking the dog.