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.
Japanese author and illustrator Mitsumasa Anno has published a number of picture books beginning in 1968 with Mysterious Pictures. In his "Journey" books a tiny character travels through depictions of the culture of various countries. Everyone Poops was first published in Japan in 1977, written and illustrated by the prolific children's author Tarō Gomi. It has been translated into several languages. Australian author Margaret Wild has written more than 40 books since 1984 and won several awards. In 1987 the first book was published in the Where's Wally? (known as Where's Waldo? in the United States and Canada) series by the British illustrator Martin Handford. The books were translated into many languages and the franchise also spawned a TV series, a comic strip and a series of video games. Since 1989 over 20 books have been created in the Elmer the Patchwork Elephant series by the British author David McKee. They have been translated in 40 languages and adapted into a children's TV series.

Toy books were introduced in the latter half of the 19th century, small paper bound books with art dominating the text. These had a larger proportion of pictures to words than earlier books, and many of their pictures were in color.[7] The best of these were illustrated by the triumvirate of English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway whose association with colour printer and wood engraver Edmund Evans produced books of great quality.[8] In the late 19th and early 20th century a small number of American and British artists made their living illustrating children's books, like Rose O'Neill, Arthur Rackham, Cicely Mary Barker, Willy Pogany, Edmund Dulac, W. Heath Robinson, Howard Pyle, or Charles Robinson. Generally, these illustrated books had eight to twelve pages of illustrated pictures or plates accompanying a classic children's storybook.
Mrs. Biddlebox – This is possibly my favorite picture book of all time, and I don’t say that lightly. Unfortunately, it’s out of print. The good news is you can get a used copy in good condition on Amazon. Mrs. Biddlebox wakes up in a bad mood, but instead of sitting around like a grouch, she tackles that bad mood and turns it around in time for sleep. We reach for this book anytime my little ones and I have butted heads during the day, and it’s the perfect tool to help us process the bad mojo and end the day on a positive note.

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A young Japanese man travels to the United States where he falls in love with California’s Sierra Mountains before returning home to marry his sweetheart. After several journeys back and forth between Japan and America, and several generations later, the young man’s grandson repeats the same path. A story about voyages, longing, and two places called home.
Robert McCloskey has won the Caldecott Medal for this winner with families everywhere. Mr. And Mrs. Mallard are looking for a place in the city of Boston to raise their young ducks. They need a place where there will be no threat from wolves, foxes, or turtles. When they decide to nest in Boston’s Public Garden, they are right at home with the help of a police officer and others. The illustrations of Boston’s famous landmarks adds to the authenticity of this story. A treasure to share and educational too, this is one that may become a family favorite to read together.

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.
Graeme Base brings storytelling to a whole new level with puzzles made out of illustrated animals and different layers used to create illustrations that will draw the eye to find all the hidden treasures. This is like no other children’s alphabet story, and it will amuse and entertain anyone from age 2 to 102. Colorful, exciting, and entertaining, the detail is a virtual eye feast. Each page of detailed puzzles is matched to a letter of the alphabet and will encourage the reader to take their time finding all that is hiding within the pictures. Fun to share and even more fun to enjoy alone, this is one story that will keep you coming back.

The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Since 1965 the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth literature prize) includes a category for picture books. The IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration has been awarded since 1966. The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, first presented in 1967, includes a category for picture books. In 2006, the ALA started awarding the Geisel Award, named after Dr. Seuss, to the most distinguished beginning reader book. The award is presented to both the author and illustrator, in "literary and artistic achievements to engage children in reading."
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.
Picture books are most often aimed at young children, and while some may have very basic language especially designed to help children develop their reading skills, most are written with vocabulary a child can understand but not necessarily read. For this reason, picture books tend to have two functions in the lives of children: they are first read to young children by adults, and then children read them themselves once they begin learning to read.

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.
I'M GIVING AWAY A FREE eBOOK TODAY (Friday July 31st) to all my Facebook friends. The Sandcastle Princess; is a rhyming picture book/bedtime story for ages 2-6. Its a quick 5 minute read and one that is sure to entertain with it's imaginative storytelling. We're hopeful that you will give the book an honest review on Amazon once you've read it. We appreciate your time and willingness to help. We cannot thank you enough. Thank you! http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0116N0XKQ

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.

This Caldecott Medal winner is one of the sweetest kitten stories ever. The kitten, seeing the full moon for the first time, is convinced that it’s a bowl of milk that was put there just for her. The fun begins when she decides to try to drink it. Trying to lick it from her place in the universe makes for a fun and silly story with pictures that will bring delight and giggles. Watching as a bug lands on her tongue, and even the rest of the funny antics that kitten takes part in while trying to reach that bowl of milk in the sky will give you and anyone else who is paying attention, a good laugh.
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

The most fun types of children’s books, are those with story lines that will help you participate. This is one of those types of stories. It is interactive enough to give the reader a voice of his own and even allow you to take part in being one of the characters. A little mouse has found a yummy, ripe, red, strawberry, and he is not willing to part with it. You, the reader, take on the voice of the bear and try to get the mouse to hand over the strawberry. Fun and exciting, getting into this story is easy and will keep you coming back for more.


This story, winner of a Caldecott Medal, was written by David Wiesner. The word ‘flotsam’, simply means something that floats on water and may eventually be found on the beach. Anyone who reads this book may find himself becoming a treasure hunter of sorts. Wiesner brings things into perspective that will be educational and inspiring to adults and children alike. Becoming more aware of the hidden things on the beach will offer hours of fun and excitement. This is one of many childrens books he has written that will be something special to share whether at home or on a family vacation
For my needs I recently created - Best Popular Picture Books on Goodreads with pretty limited criteria - that is 5000 ratings and shelved at least 500 times as "picture book". Sure it won't be as long as this list - and if people ever start voting on it, I'll probably end up doing a lot of deletion. But it will always be a good starting place for picture books.

These are books that have stood the test of time. The books we remember fondly from our own childhoods and look forward to sharing with our children and grandchildren. The ones that end up ragged and dogeared from being read over and over again. And while some may be considered controversial, and others not seen as conforming with our changing social values, they each certainly provide us with a platform for enjoying the process of reading with our children, and for opening discussion about life and the many issues we face as inhabitants of the world we live in.
This is one story that will offer encouragement to anyone. Grace is a little girl who loves stories, and she loves to pretend. When the opportunity comes for her or one of her classmates to play Peter Pan in a play at school, Grace really wants to be Peter Pan. Her friends discourage her. After all, Peter is a boy, and Grace is a girl. With the encouragement and support of her mother and grandmother, Grace decides that she can do whatever she sets her mind to do. The surprises that await are many, and the illustrations will offer even more to the reader.

Picture books are most often aimed at young children, and while some may have very basic language especially designed to help children develop their reading skills, most are written with vocabulary a child can understand but not necessarily read. For this reason, picture books tend to have two functions in the lives of children: they are first read to young children by adults, and then children read them themselves once they begin learning to read.


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 tricky tale tells the story of hungry soldiers who outsmart villagers unwilling to share their food. The soldiers concoct a soup made of stones, that little by little requires vegetables and meat, until the soldiers ultimately cook up a hearty meal. A book about sharing and cleverness, Stone Soup also featuring drawings that reveal something new with each view.
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