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!
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
Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published in 1902 to immediate success. Peter Rabbit was Potter's first of many The Tale of..., including The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Tom Kitten, and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, to name but a few which were published in the years leading up to 1910. Swedish author Elsa Beskow wrote and illustrated some 40 children's stories and picture books between 1897–1952. Andrew Lang's twelve Fairy Books published between 1889 and 1910 were illustrated by among others Henry J. Ford and Lancelot Speed.
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.
L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, and Baum created a number of other successful Oz-oriented books in the period from 1904 to 1920. Frank Baum wanted to create a modern-day fairy tale since he loved fairy tales as a child. In 1910, American illustrator and author Rose O'Neill's first children’s book was published, The Kewpies and Dottie Darling. More books in the Kewpie series followed: The Kewpies Their Book in 1912 and The Kewpie Primer 1916. In 1918, Johnny Gruelle wrote and illustrated Raggedy Ann and in 1920 followed up with Raggedy Andy Stories. Other Gruelle books included Beloved Belinda, Eddie Elephant, and Friendly Fairies.

The German children's books Struwwelpeter (literally "Shaggy-Peter") from 1845 by Heinrich Hoffmann, and Max and Moritz from 1865 by Wilhelm Busch, were among the earliest examples of modern picturebook design. Collections of Fairy tales from early nineteenth century, like those by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen were sparsely illustrated, but beginning in the middle of the century, collections were published with images by illustrators like Gustave Doré, Fedor Flinzer, George Cruikshank,[6] Vilhelm Pedersen, Ivan Bilibin and John Bauer. Andrew Lang's twelve Fairy Books published between 1889 and 1910 were illustrated by among others Henry J. Ford and Lancelot Speed. Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by John Tenniel in 1866 was one of the first highly successful entertainment books for children.


The kids in Miss Nelson’s class know she’s the nicest teacher in the entire school. So why are they so naughty and disrespectful to her? When she suddenly is absent and nobody knows where she is, the kids get worried about her. She has disappeared! Now they are stuck with a substitute who is not nearly as nice as Miss Nelson. They want her back, and they want her back now! This is one story that may make teacher appreciation something that is an everyday art ( at least for some children). Sharing this story at bedtime or anytime will give some laughs and a lot of entertainment.
My Magic Breath is a colorful manual on how to use breath as a tool that can be practiced alongside specific visualizations in order to work with negative, unwelcomed thoughts. Personally, I’m not a fan of the notion that we need to blow sad thoughts completely “off the page,” as I believe there is a place for them in the holistic narrative as well. But, using breath with positive imagery is a very effective way to create space in the psyche for more pleasant thoughts. My two-year-old—who adores blowing out fake birthday candles—really resonated with this one. Regardless of the specifics, I’m a big fan of bringing awareness to the breath, as this book most certainly does.

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

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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.

There are certain types of stories that make bedtime easier. This is one that will engage the imagination, feed the hunger for verse that rhymes, and be soothing to hear over and over again. Sandra Boynton has done it once again with a tale that will entertain little ones and be a pleasure for families to share. The ark of animals watches the sunset and then gets ready to go to bed with bath time fun included. They offer fun, silliness, and a story to enjoy all at the same time. Sharing bedtime is never more fun than with a tale that will draw you back together, again and again
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.

In 1931, Jean de Brunhoff's first Babar book, The Story Of Babar was published in France, followed by The Travels of Babar then Babar The King. In 1930, Marjorie Flack authored and illustrated Angus and the Ducks, followed in 1931 by Angus And The Cats, then in 1932, Angus Lost. Flack authored another book in 1933, The Story about Ping, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. The Elson Basic Reader was published in 1930 and introduced the public to Dick and Jane. In 1930 The Little Engine That Could was published, illustrated by Lois Lenski. In 1954 it was illustrated anew by George and Doris Hauman. It spawned an entire line of books and related paraphernalia and coined the refrain "I think I can! I think I can!". In 1936, Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand was published, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Ferdinand was the first picture book to crossover into pop culture. Walt Disney produced an animated feature film along with corresponding merchandising materials. In 1938 to Dorothy Lathrop was awarded the first Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in Animals of the Bible, written by Helen Dean Fish. Thomas Handforth won the second Caldecott Medal in 1939, for Mei Li, which he also wrote. Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline was published in 1939 and was selected as a Caldecott Medal runner-up, today known as a Caldecott Honor book.
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.
A story with a moral to learn is something to treasure, and this is one such story. These educational stories are very easy to add to the best children’s books of all-time. The rainbow fish happens to be the most beautiful fish in the ocean, and he knows it. His beauty has gone to his head and has even made him become proud and rude to his friends. When his friends all abandon him, he knows that there is something wrong, but can’t imagine what it is. He finds the wise old octopus and asks for some advice. The octopus tells him to share some of his beauty with others, and to begin looking at the beauty that comes from the inside as being what really makes someone beautiful. Though it is shiny and colorful, this is one story that offers more than outer beauty.
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
More than just a storybook, this is an instruction manual of sorts. Written by Alona Frankel for her own child originally, it has become a must have for parents and toddlers everywhere. There is a version of this childrens book for boys and one for girls. Each version has a child learning to use their own potty chair and is a great help in both helping the parent potty train a toddler, and helping the toddler develop the confidence needed at this point in life. Fun, charming, and helpful, this is sure to be one that every parent and young child will want to own.
This tale of Chinese folklore is one that will amuse you and may leave you humming or repeating the little rhyme that many children enjoy after reading it. Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent have done an amazing job at bringing a classic story of a little boy who falls into a well. The rescue takes longer than it should because his name is so long and must be completely said before he can be rescued. This story is sure to be loved by young and old alike and will be treasured by many as something to savor as they read and enjoy it together with loved ones.

Care.com does not employ, recommend or endorse any care provider or care seeker nor is it responsible for the conduct of any care provider or care seeker. Care.com provides information and tools to help care seekers and care providers connect and make informed decisions. However, each individual is solely responsible for selecting an appropriate care provider or care seeker for themselves or their families and for complying with all applicable laws in connection with any employment relationship they establish. Care.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment or engage in any conduct that requires a professional license.


Amos McGee is a kind, friendly older gentleman who works at the zoo. Each day he finds time to spend with his five special animal friends: the elephant, penguin, rhino, owl, and tortoise. Until one day, when Mr. McGee is too sick to make it to work. After waiting patiently, his friends decide to hop on the bus and visit him. Each animal finds their own unique way to help make Amos feel better, whether it’s playing chess with him or keeping his feet warm. This is one of the best children’s books for teaching kids the importance of compassion and taking care of one another.

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