In 1937, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), at the time a successful graphic artist and humorist, published his first book for children, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. It was immediately successful, and Seuss followed up with The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins in 1938, followed by The King's Stilts in 1939, and Horton Hatches the Egg in 1940, all published by Random House. From 1947 to 1956 Seuss had twelve children's picture books published. Dr. Seuss created The Cat in the Hat in reaction to a Life magazine article by John Hersey in lamenting the unrealistic children in school primers books. Seuss rigidly limited himself to a small set of words from an elementary school vocabulary list, then crafted a story based upon two randomly selected words—cat and hat. Up until the mid-1950s, there was a degree of separation between illustrated educational books and illustrated picture books. That changed with The Cat in the Hat in 1957.
Ferdinand has been one of the most beloved characters of many children over the last fifty years. He is different than other young bulls. They all love to run, jump, play, and be as rowdy as they can be, but Ferdinand likes the peace and quiet that he finds under his cork tree. Sitting in the shade while the others are out in the hot sun playing and laughing, Ferdinand is quite content. That is until he has a bad experience with a bee. Unfortunately for Ferdinand, the bee sting happens when the rodeo men have come to choose the best young bull to have in a bullfight. Ferdinand, with all of his jumping and snorting from that horrible bee sting, is just what they want. Joining him as he experiences the bullfighting arena and seeing how he handles it will be something to treasure with this fun story.
This story told from the perspective of the wolf who is considered the bad guy in the original story, offers another side to the classic tale. Alexander T. Wolf has a different way of telling the story, with an explanation as to what he says really happened. You see, he wasn’t huffing and puffing, trying on purpose to blow those houses down. The truth, according to him, is that he had a bad cold. All he wanted was to borrow a cup of sugar so he could bake a cake for his granny. Fun, hilarious, and a riot to compare to the original, this is one that you will enjoy reading.

Joanna, thanks so much for this fantastic article. I now have lots of homework and a new author to follow as well. I’m one of the people who has been bugging you for more info on indie publishing for children’s books and I really love that you listen to the requests of your listeners. Love your podcast and blog. You’re really inspiring, and so is Darcy!

This bright, bold, biology book of sorts has entertained and educated kids and parents for decades. Maybe it’s the array of images of animals and people going about their business (pun intended) that delights. Or maybe it’s the unapologetic honesty of the text that readers find refreshing and fun. Whatever the case, this classic that brings new meaning to the term “potty humor” belongs in every young library!
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.
The book Pink Tears is really cute, I love how it teaches about emotions and how to not bottle them up. My son really liked the book as well and kept pointing at Lolly! I wish the book would have gone into some more detail about how or why the others were not playing with Lolly and then the end was a little sudden with her just going back out and everything was fine.
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.
What do you get when you put together a peddler, some monkeys, and the story telling gift of Esphyr Slobodkina? You get a classic story that has been around for decades and is still just as entertaining and fun as it was when first published in 1938. Generations of children have grown up with this and other classics that have made storytelling an art. With the humor and warmth found only in the past, this is one children’s book that will continue to amuse, delight, and inspire many families for many more years to come. Family classic and a treasure to share – what more could you want in a story?
The beloved story of this little rabbit boy who learns a lesson the hard way will bring you and your children a lot of entertainment, laughs, and a lesson that may last a lifetime. Beatrix Potter has brought to life a family of rabbits, their struggles with the same things every family struggles with, and their determination to love each other even when it isn’t easy. Being entertained is good, but having the addition of important life lessons is even better. This is one story that is sure to become a family favorite and be enjoyed together for many years to come
It has been said that the true example of love is being willing to give of one’s self for the benefit of another. Shel Silverstein tells the story of love between a boy and a tree that is an example of this sacrificial love. From the time the boy is young and needs shade as he plays to growing up and being allowed to climb in her branches to the time when he is older and wants something that may mean the end of the tree, the tree keeps on giving to him- out of love. Though there are many ways to interpret this story, the true message of love shines through. Even when the boy is an old man and long after the tree has been cut down, what is left of the tree is still giving. The old man, once the little boy who played under the tree, now uses the stump of the tree to rest on.
The wumps live in a world that is much smaller than ours. As a matter of fact, their world is also more peaceful than ours. The wumps just wander wherever they please, because they have no enemies, and nobody will try to harm them. But one thing they don’t know is that they are being watched by someone. This charming story by Bill Peet will entertain you and your children, and give you some more tools for your own imagination to think about. Reading together has never been more fun, than it is when you are reading about wumps and their special world.
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.
Bedtime stories are a favorite among children and parents alike, and this is one of the most beloved bedtime stories of all time. Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, saying goodnight has never been more fun than with this tale of comfort, loving goodnights, and a room full of entertaining objects to say ‘goodnight’ to. Written in rhyming verse that makes it easy for even the youngest children to memorize, they will soon be able to ‘read’ it along with you. This is one story that will soon become a family favorite. Parents and children have been sharing this story for more than fifty years, and it has become one of the best loved picture books of all time. “Goodnight” time has never been more quiet and loving than when you share this timeless tale of saying “goodnight” with your children and grandchildren.
Miss Merriweather, the librarian, is firm on no running and no noise in the library. But what about lions? This gentle, artful read tells the story of a lion who makes himself quietly at home among children in a library, until the day an emergency strikes. A sweet tale about friendship, the love of reading, and those times when rules must be broken.
A new year brings new opportunities, new possibilities, and, yes, plenty of brand-new books. If you’re excited for a fresh year of reading with your young ones, take a minute to look through some of the picture books we’re looking forward to in the months ahead. 2017 boasts new offerings from bestselling authors, funny debuts, poetry collections, inspirational biographies, and much, much more. This list couldn’t possibly include all the amazing titles being published in 2017, but we think it’s a good start.
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.
Horse is brown. Horse is plain. And Horse can’t stand the unicorn he shares a pen with. Unicorn dances. Tra la la! Horse does not. Blah blah blah. But when robbers kidnap Unicorn for a local circus, what will Horse decide to do? Packed with forty-eight pages of hilarious illustrations and deadpan wit, Unicorn (and Horse) is a funny yet endearing lesson on envy with one important truth: We are sometimes unicorns. We are sometimes horses. And happiness doesn’t always come from pink cupcakes for breakfast.
One of the most beloved books for boys and girls is the story of Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne- his steam shovel. Mary Anne is an old steam shovel, and isn’t as shiny and pretty as some of the newer models are. Mike Mulligan still uses her though, and insists that she can do just as good a job as those more modern models can. When he insists on using her in Popperville, Mike and Mary Anne are put to the test, with the entire town watching. An inspiring story that is fun to share with little ones, this one is a true classic.
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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