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.
Classic Picture Books: Often, when you see lists of recommended picture books, you'll see a separate category of books titled "Classic Children's Picture Books." What's a classic? Typically, a classic is a book that has remained popular and accessible for more than one generation. A few of the best-known and best-loved English language picture books include Harold and the Purple Crayon, written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson, The Little House and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, both written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton and by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd.
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.
Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.
From picture books to graphic novels, fantasy to family fun, these must-read books have the power to hook both boys and girls. Some are cultural touchstones that belong in every kid's library. Others open kids' minds to cultures beyond their own. And some are modern releases that have the timeless quality of classics -- the kinds that get handed down to siblings and passed around classrooms. Whether you have a reluctant reader or budding bookworm, check out these surefire, kid-tested titles. (We've included a few rated best for 12 and up for the precocious readers out there!)
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.
Wordless Picture Books: Picture books that tell the story completely through illustrations with no words at all, or only a very few embedded in the artwork, are known as wordless picture books. One of the most stunning examples is The Lion and the Mouse, an Aesop's fable, retold in illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. Pinkney received the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration for his wordless picture book. Another wonderful example, which is often used in middle school writing classes as a writing prompt is A Day A Dog by Gabrielle Vincent.
In 1949 American writer and illustrator Richard Scarry began his career working on the Little Golden Books series. His Best Word Book Ever from 1963 has sold 4 million copies. In total Scarry wrote and illustrated more than 250 books and more than 100 million of his books have been sold worldwide. In 1963, Where The Wild Things Are by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak was published. It has been adapted into other media several times, including an animated short in 1973, a 1980 opera, and, in 2009, a live-action feature film adaptation directed by Spike Jonze. By 2008 it had sold over 19 million copies worldwide. American illustrator and author Gyo Fujikawa created more than 50 books between 1963 and 1990. Her work has been translated into 17 languages and published in 22 countries. Her most popular books, Babies and Baby Animals, have sold over 1.7 million copies in the U.S. Fujikawa is recognized for being the earliest mainstream illustrator of picture books to include children of many races in her work.
Isn't it just important to get books into the hands of children? Any old book will do? Definitely not! While fantastic children's books can spark a love of reading and learning, average or boring books can, sadly, have the opposite effect. Children who are repeatedly exposed to uninspired children's books eventually find reading, well, uninspiring. Quality matters! Picking the best children's books matters! Few things can generate more excitement about a subject than a clever, thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated children's book. Let us help you find books to create that spark.