The Best Children's Books
Good Story Books and Picture Books for Kids
To Delight, Inspire and Teach
The best children’s books delight, inspire, and teach. You open the world to a child when you read together. Here are good story books and picture books for children. Would your child like these favorites?
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
A young rabbit who doesn’t want to go to sleep says goodnight to everything he sees and hears. Each object in this short poem of goodnight wishes can be found somewhere in the illustrations. This is perhaps the perfect children's bedtime book. Reading Level 4 to 8.
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Have you ever wondered about being locked in a department store at night? Corduroy the teddy bear has a series of adventures in a store. When all the shoppers have left the store for the night, Corduroy the teddy bear climbs down from the shelf to look for his missing button. It's a brave new world full of mysterious elevators and furniture! He tries to pull a button off the mattress, but he ends up falling off the bed and knocking over a lamp. Then he has a lucky day! A little girl buys him and Corduroy finds his true home. Ages 3 to 8
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
"The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house All that cold, cold, wet day..."
Everyone has read the story of the cat in a tall striped hat who transformed a dull, rainy afternoon into a magical and messy adventure. Dr Seuss books, with their engaging characters and simple, repetitive vocabulary, help children learn to read. Every child will enjoy The Cat in the Hat. Reading level 4-8
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Snowy Day is the simple tale of a boy Peter who wakes up one morning to discover that snow has fallen during the night. Peter enjoys the snow-covered city, experimenting with footprints, knocking snow from a tree, creating snow angels, and trying to save a snowball for the next day. The Snowy Day was a trailblazer as the first full-color picture book to feature a young black hero. Winner of the 1963 Caldecott Medal, the book is as unique as a snowflake. Reading level 4-8 years
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. Max puts on his wolf suit for some mischief and is sent to bed without supper. A forest grows in his bedroom, where he carries on with his wildness. The illustrations of wild things with scary eyes are delicious. And each page brings some new wonder. Reading level 4 to 8 years.
Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard and James Marshall
Miss Nelson is a dedicated teacher with a class of misbehaving students. The children act up and never pay attention. When Miss Nelson doesn’t show up for class one day, the substitute teacher is mean and tough on them. She assigns lot of homework. To get Miss Nelson back the children ask a detective to find her. Readers enjoy the memorable illustrations and learn a lesson about the Golden Rule. Reading Level 4 to 8.
The Boxcar Children Books by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Four children, who are newly orphaned, set up house in an abandoned boxcar in the forest. They are resourceful, take care of each other and find work. They get along fine on their own, until one of the children becomes sick and needs a doctor. In the meantime, their loving grandfather has been searching for them all along, and the family is reunited with a fairy-tale happy ending. Written in 1942, the first Boxcar book has many sequels. The first four books come in a boxed set. Reading Level 9-12.
Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad agreed: it was a perfect day for a swim. And Frog was kind enough not to look at Toad in his bathing suit, per Toad's request. But when the swimming was over, a crowd had gathered to see Toad in his funny-looking suit, and neither Frog nor Toad could make them leave.
The endearing pair of buddies hop along through five enchanting stories in the series, looking for lost buttons, greeting the spring, and waiting for mail. Their genuine care for each other makes Frog and Toad two of the finest amphibious role models around. Winner of several awards for children’s literature, it was also adapted to a Broadway musical. Reading Level 4-8.
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume and Sonia Lisker
Andrew desperately wants to look like a classmate who has freckles. Because Andrew wishes he had freckles, a student promises to sell him a secret recipe for freckle juice. Of course, the other boy, who wants to get rid of his freckles, gets a secret recipe freckle remover. In the end Andrew learns to love himself just the way he is. This is a wonderful way for children to learn respect and self-esteem.
Miss Spider's Tea Party: The Counting Book by David Kirk
Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk
Every guest invited to Miss Spider’s tea party runs away in mortal dread when they meet her. Miss Spider is perplexed and sad. What's a sociable spider to do? Out of the goodness of her heart, she rescues a rain-soaked moth with tea and sweets. News of her good deed travels quickly, and before long her web is abuzz with a full-scale tea party. There are two beetles, three fireflies, four bumblebees, and so on. Original illustrations accompany the rhyming text. Ages 4 to 8.
Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
A peddler walks around selling caps from a tall, tottering pile on his head. On a particularly slow morning, he goes into the countryside, sits down under a tree, checks that all the caps are in place, and falls asleep. When he wakes up, the caps are gone. But the tree is full of monkeys wearing his caps. His attempts to get the caps back will captivate 3- and 4-year-olds. Caps for Sale has become a classic since it was published in 1940.
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
An African-American girl and her father count down to bedtime while she snuggles in his lap. There are ten toes on her feet, nine fuzzy friends, including a clever and playful kitty, eight windowpanes displaying the snow outside. And so the story goes. After some goodnight kisses and a big hug with her furry bear pet, it's off to bed for the sleepy little girl. This is a relaxing, comforting story suitable for most young children.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein's book is a collection of poetry that is fantastical, imaginative and creative. You'll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist. Your child will never outgrow this book. Reading Level Ages 9-12.
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline is an orphan who attends a French convent school. She is the fearless leader of her many friends. Every day, she and her friends break their bread, brush their teeth, go to bed, and go for a walk in two straight lines. The book also shows Madeline's bravery and kindness. Madeline takes pride in her adventures, her surgical scar, and her famous yellow coat. The illustrations are lovable, too. First published in 1939, there are now 16 books in the Madeline series, plus a movie and a TV show.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book by Eric Carle
Hatched from a little egg, the newborn caterpillar starts to eat his way through the world. He tries a variety of foods that your child will be able to identify. The caterpillar builds a cocoon and then emerges as a large beautiful butterfly. Children learn about nature, food and the days of the week in one stunningly illustrated book. You can't get much better than this for young children.
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard looked for a safe place to live where they could raise a family. They visited many Boston landmarks. Eventually she laid her eggs on an island in the Charles River. She and her 8 ducklings, Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack Pack, and Quack, made their way to the Public Garden in Boston. With the help from a policeman, the Mallard family were reunited and lived happily ever after. In Boston today, there are statues of the Mallard family and a parade in their honor. Ages four to eight.
The Velveteen Rabbit: Or, How Toys Become Real by Margrey Williams
The velveteen rabbit in the nursery yearns to be real. But the Skin Horse teaches the rabbit, “Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” When the boy recovers from scarlet fever, his toys, including the beloved velveteen rabbit, must be burned to disinfect the nursery. Full of love for the boy, the rabbit cries a real tear, and magically becomes a live rabbit, playing in the fields. The Velveteen Rabbit has been enchanting children since 1922.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Potter)
"Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter." Who doesn’t remember that famous introduction? Peter disobeyed his mother by visiting farmer McGregor’s garden. After a series of adventures, he got a bad scare and had to run for his life. Of course the good rabbits ate bread and milk and blackberries for supper, while Peter was sent to bed. The illustrations by Beatrix Potter are charming. In all, Beatrix Potter wrote and illustrated 23 of her delightful animal stories. Ages Baby to Preschool.
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Olivia is an energetic and precocious pig. She loves to dress up, sing loud, paint like an artist and built sandcastles. She reminds readers of the famous character Eloise, if Eloise were a pig. When her mother tucks her in at night and says, "You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway," "I love you anyway, too," Olivia replies. Young readers learn it’s fun to be unique. Ages 4 to 8.
Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes
Chester is a mouse who likes his routines. He always eats the same thing for breakfast. He always uses hand signals when he rides his bike. He cuts his sandwiches diagonally. And he never leaves the house without double-knotting his shoelaces. Chester and his best friend Wilson feel uncertain about Lilly, who has her own different way of doing things. When Lily rescues Chester and Wilson from the neighborhood bullies, they become fast friends and learn to appreciate their differences.
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Amelia Bedelia is the confused housekeeper who is adored by children everywhere. She takes words literally when it comes to putting out the light, dusting furniture and drawing the curtains. This leads to many funny misadventures, but her cooking skills make up for her shortcomings. Still popular after 40 years, there are many books in the series, including Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia, and Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Willy Wonka, the reclusive and eccentric chocolate maker, allows five contest winners to visit his chocolate factory, the five who find a gold ticket hidden in a bar of chocolate. Young Charlie Bucket finds a ticket, and his dream comes true. There are rumors and gossip about the factory and its mysterious owner. However, the gossip can't compare to the extraordinary truth, and for Charlie, life will never be the same again. After a series of fantastical and humorous accidents, Charlie becomes owner of the Chocolate Factory. The book has twice been adapted to movies.
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham
Harry is a white dog with black spots who likes everything, except getting a bath. To avoid his bath, he runs away from home. Harry gets dirty playing in the street, dirtier at the railroad, and dirtier still playing tag with the other dogs. Soon he changes from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots! Of course, his family doesn’t recognize him, not even when he does all his clever tricks. He begs for a bath, so his family will recognize him and take him back. Youngsters happily identify with Harry. Reading Level 4-8years.
Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban and Garth Williams
It's bedtime for young Frances, an adorable and irrepressible little badger, At 7:00 p.m. Frances is wide-awake and bursting with energy. She tries to postpone bedtime by asking for hugs and her teddy bear and imagining monsters in her room. Frances and her father brush their fangs before bed, and eventually she drifts off to sleep. Frances is the perfect bedtime story.
Clifford The Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
Emily Elizabeth has a big red dog named Clifford, a dog large enough to catch cars in his mouth, and large enough to chase lions. Clifford’s dog house is much larger than Emily’s house. She loves him and stands up for him through lots of antics and escapades. What fun they have together. Young children everywhere are delighted with Clifford.
The Complete Adventures of Curious George by H. A. Rey
A curious little chimp in Africa meets the man with the big yellow hat. George, one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature, is a good little monkey, always curious and sometimes naughty, who gets into many scrapes. During the German occupation of Paris, H.A. and Margret Rey escaped with the draft of Curious George strapped to their bicycle. The 60th anniversary edition of Curious George includes seven classic adventures. Ages 4 to 8.
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