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.
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.
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.

3 years & up. Explore early childhood concepts while using the rhythm, rhyme, and repetition that children love with this Dr. Seuss favorite. Bring the mischievous twins from Cat In The Hat, Thing 1 & Thing 2, to life with this double-sided plush hand puppet. One side of the puppet features a delightful Thing 1 twin with open eyes and the other side features Thing 2 with closed eyes. Puppets are surface wash only. Puppet size 10" tall. Hardback book has 72 pages. Included: Cat in the… More »


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

When self esteem, or the lack of it, tells Vashti that she can’t draw, her teacher encourages her to try. Just making one dot on the page, and seeing where it will lead, opens up a new world of being artistic. That is some of the best advice she could have given her. When Vashti finds that she can mix some colors to create other colors, she begins to experiment and see just how much she can do. This is one of the most encouraging childrens books to read aloud or even alone. Trying in the midst of doubt can help anyone find hidden talent, and reach places they would have never made it to.
This precious 1942 book tells the story of a little country cottage that bides its time on a hillside, watching the seasons pass. After many generations, urban sprawl surrounds the little house and its original owner’s great-great-granddaughter sets out on a mission to return the house to the countryside. Complete with detailed illustrations and the happiest of endings.

Creating stories for the youngest book-lover is not child's play. The best books have similar traits. Life-affirming messages pitched appropriately for this audience, in a way that engages, while bringing out the best in an older reader. When it all comes together the result is a book that transcends age. We feel these are the best of the best. (Many of these are available as "board books.")
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