There are several subgenres among picture books, including alphabet books, concept books, counting books, early readers, calendar books, nursery rhymes, and toy books. Board books - picture books published on a hard cardboard - are often intended for small children to use and play with; cardboard is used for the cover as well as the pages, and is more durable than paper. Another category is movable books, such as pop-up books, which employ paper engineering to make parts of the page pop up or stand up when pages are opened. The Wheels on the Bus, by Paul O. Zelinsky, is one example of a bestseller pop-up picture book.
What better combination story for children than one that weaves a delightful tale with a lesson? Teaching the days of the week and counting, Eric Carle’s imaginative illustrations and dramatic storytelling in this book unfold the life of a caterpillar from the moment it is in an egg to the transformation it makes into a beautiful butterfly. With such wonderful text, magnificent illustrations, and attention grabbing detail, it’s no wonder that this story has won numerous awards and has been recognized in many countries as being among the best in children’s literature. Everyone loves a great children’s picture book, but this one goes to the top of the list when looking at the most loved by children and adults alike. Warmth, a winning storyline, and lessons that can be shared and observed in nature itself will bring you and your child together as you share this amazing story. Reading together is something to cherish especially when it happens to be with a story that you will keep in your hearts and one of the top 100 children’s books of all-time.
Since then, Selznick has gone on to write two more highly regarded middle-grade picture books. Wonderstruck, which also combines pictures with text, was published in 2011 and became a New York Times bestseller. The Marvels, published in 2015, contains two stories, set 50 years apart that come together at the end of the book. One of the stories is told entirely in pictures. Alternating with this story is another story, told entirely in words.
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.
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.
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.
Author Kira Willey is a children’s music and yoga expert. You can feel her wide-awake energy in the pages of Breathe Like a Bear. Thirty bite-sized mini-meditations—with names such as “Candle Breath” and “Wake Up Your Face”—are accompanied by fanciful, super-inviting animal images. The author has sectioned off the meditations by energy: “Be Calm,” “Focus,” “Imagine,” “Make Some Energy,” and “Relax.” But I could easily see this as being a family-friendly coffee table book that adults and children alike can pick up, open to any random page, do the tiny practice and be a just a bit more mindful and centered because of it.
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.
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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.