Parents, let’s be honest; there’s no tougher book format to pick for your little one than picture books. That’s partly because toddlers — the biggest fans of picture books — are a particularly difficult demographic to please.
A toddler can love maracas or nut butter & jelly sandwiches one day and look at you like you’re handing them poison the next. Young readers, especially 1 to 3-year-olds can be equally finicky and choosy when it comes to books.
The best picture books, however, can instantly turn your little tantrum thrower into a joyful, curious, and focused kid. Even better, you can create a lifelong reader if you do picture books right from the outset.
When choosing the best picture books for your kiddo, you really want to match the subject matter (i.e. dinosaurs, robots, trucks, animals, etc.) with their interests and tastes. Don’t forget that picture books also differ in substance and style, both of which can help keep young readers hooked.
In saying so, look for picture books that have plenty of positive messages pertaining to kids’ lives, catchphrases, and other call-&-response elements. Ultimately it’s the visual and emotive quality of the illustrations that will make a picture book stand out.
Still not sure what to get? Don’t worry — we’ve compiled the most comprehensive list of the best picture books you can get right now. Whether they are new releases or classics, all of these titles are artful, engaging, and rich, so much so that I wish I read them as a kid.
1- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Blueberries for Sal
165 used from $1.36
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I was able to get my hands on this beautiful picture book in my preschool, and it’s easily my favorite as a child. A Caldecott Honor book originally published more than seven decades ago, Blueberries for Sal is a classic that’s basket-full of fun and adventures for your little one.
Ever wondered what would happen if you were to pick berries for a hungry pair of baby and mamma bear? This book is a heartwarming yet funny and witty tale of Sale and her mom. While on an outing to pick blueberries, a baby bear and a baby get mixed up with the wrong moms. Blueberries for Sal is one of the best picture books that let your kiddo’s imagination run wild.
2- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
160 used from $1.15
|Is Adult Product|
|Number Of Pages||28|
Eric Carle’s Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? Is a classic, and that’s by no accident. Part of the beloved Brown and Bear Friends series, this picture book is vividly illustrated and features delightfully enjoyable rhymes, making it an eye-candy for toddlers and other fans of picture books.
You and your toddler will go through this classic over and over again, as it can hold up and remain refreshing even after many readings. We can’t emphasize this enough; you’ll be hard-pressed to get sick of this book and that’s because it appeals to children’s wit and a wide range of interests.
Instead of insulting your little one’s intelligence, it kicks off with a subtle conversation, giving them a chance to make reading interactive and enjoyable. The colorful characters, however, make this one of the best picture books of all time.
3- Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! by Kelly Bennett
Norman: One Amazing Goldfish!
$16.99 in stock
27 used from $5.85
|Number Of Pages||32|
Most picture books are devoid of deep messages and rather focus on illustrations and simple storyline. That’s why Kelly Bennett’s Not Norman: A Goldfish Story is a fresh breath of air for any young curious reader.
This crowd-pleaser follows the story of Norman, an extraordinary goldfish. His pet parent knows that the amazing goldfish can wow the crowd at the upcoming Pet-O-Rama with his fancy flips, bubbles, and circles. When the big day comes, Norman suffers a stage fright and hides behind a plant.
If you’re after the best picture book for reading aloud to your kid, look no further than Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! It’s a longtime favorite and has a vital lesson for youngsters – that they can overcome their fears and showcase their talents in a myriad of ways.
4- The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart
The World Needs More Purple People
$14.35 in stock
97 used from $1.49
|Number Of Pages||40|
A #1New York Times bestseller created by the creative duo of producer-cum-actress Kristen Bell (you probably know her from The Good Place) and Benjamin Hart, The World Needs More Purple People uses beautiful illustrations to challenge both children and parents to be more tolerant.
What does it take to be a Purple person? Let Penny Purple and the lovely group of diverse friends show you important steps to become this person who is kind, candid, and hardworking. The book is an ode to embracing oneself and finding common ground with others around you.
Benjamin Hart’s charming picture book also teaches us about owning what makes us unique and special and acceptance of our differences in an amicable way.
5- Hungry Bunny by Claudia Rueda
$11.89 in stock
33 used from $2.93
|Number Of Pages||64|
If you are looking for the best first picture book for your little one, we’ve got one that’s sure to please both parties. A lot of interactive features, a simple plot line, and a short, small format make this a great book for transitioning from board books to picture books.
Young readers will love how the Hungry Bunny requests their help while picking apples, asking them to shake the picture book so that leaves can strip into the wind and apples can fall down.
If you have enjoyed Claudia Rueda’s other favorite titles like Here Comes the Easter Cat or the award-winner Bunny Slopes, then you are in for a special treat!
6- Star in the Jar by Sam Hay
Star in the Jar
$4.68 in stock
32 used from $1.48
|Number Of Pages||32|
What makes Star in the Jar one of the best picture books for bedtime reading includes the charming storyline, simple text, and eye-catching illustrations by Sarah Massini.
The book follows the story of a five-year-old preschooler named Savannah who is on a mission to help a lost star get to their home safely. This outer space plotline is sure to delight most young fans of films like E.T., Star Wars, Gravity, and Planet of the Apes.
The vast majority of parents commented that the title has only one to two sentences per flap, placing it in the area of being fun and enjoyable without a seemingly never-ending plot. Besides, the unexpected twist at the end makes for a great fantasy read.
7- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
168 used from $1.18
- Beloved by generations of readers and listeners
- Quiet poetry and gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day
- Author: Margaret Wise Brown; Illustrator: Clement Hurd
- 32 pages
How could Goodnight Moon not be on a list of the best picture books? A bedtime favorite that withstands the test of time, Margaret Wise Brown’s classic is the ultimate book to read to your newborn through middle-grade. In fact, if most parents were given a chance to pick only one picture book for their little ones, this would definitely be the one.
Quite frankly, you will read Goodnight Moon hundreds of times over the 2-3 years if it ends up becoming your kiddo’s must-read. And every time your newborn’s brain grows, it becomes even more refreshing and soothing. It’s a great starter book for encouraging your toddler to become an avid reader.
8- Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Are You My Mother? (Beginner Books(R))
|Number Of Pages||88|
Parents looking for starter books for their children will find P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? to be one of the best picture books available in print today. Edited by one and only Dr. Seuss, this book follows the story of a baby bird that goes on an impromptu quest, looking for her apparently missing mom. It’s only that the mother bird had dashed out to bring something for her little one to eat.
As most parents know, repetition and rhyming are two powerful tools that can help a baby or a toddler breeze through early learning. On every page of this book, the baby bird sees every creature she stumbles upon as a potential mom. But don’t let that bog you down; you and your kid will be relieved when the little bird finally finds her mother.
9- Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
$10.62 in stock
88 used from $2.13
|Number Of Pages||32|
This one is quite relatable to most toddlers and young readers. After all, everyone has been through particularly rough days when you feel down for no particular reason.
Grumpy Monkey is a rib-cracking #1 New York Times bestselling picture book that has entertained millions of kids and parents worldwide. It’s about a chimpanzee named Jim who can’t seem to shake off being in a terrible mood.
Jim is always in a bad mood, feeling down for no reason. Perhaps the chimp didn’t get enough sleep or awoke on the wrong side of the bed. It’s up to Jim’s friends to try to encourage the chimp to smile more. Despite all their efforts to cheer Jim up, things are not getting better.
This picture book is an ideal read for kids learning to cope with mixed feelings and confusing emotions. It teaches them that it is okay to be in a foul mood when having a bad day, as long as it doesn’t affect those around them.
10- Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Tricia Springstubb
Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures
$15.59 in stock
33 used from $1.99
|Number Of Pages||32|
This cute and heartfelt cross-generational picture book celebrates our self-acceptance and how trivial shared experiences can place a big role in bringing family, friends, and communities together.
When Mr. Hagerty is busy on his farm digging for veggies, he notices that Khalil is digging for hidden treasure. It was only natural for the two to strike up a friendship. Parents will appreciate how this picture book is not only enjoyable to read but also helps children improve their vocabulary. That’s because it gives clear and well-illustrated examples of vocabulary words.
11- If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul
I remember clearly how my dad used to read If Animals Kissed Good Night to my little sister. He loved this title so much so that he read it aloud almost every other night. So, in the back of my mind, this is one of the best picture books. And it’s easy to see why my dad loved it so much.
Picture it: all sorts of colorful animal parents kissing good night to their lovely babies. Call me crazy, but that sounds marvelous! This is an incredibly engaging and sweet story that empowers young readers to use their imagination.
Don’t miss out on other picture books in this delightful series, including If Animals Gave Thanks!, If Animals Went to School, If Animals Celebrated Christmas, and If Animals Said I Love You.
Buy If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul on Amazon here.
12- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin and John Archambault
This New York Times bestseller by the duo of authors Bill Martin and John Archambault is an unbeatable classic that has remained fresh and evergreen for years. It’s actually a cardboard picture title rendered in large Technicolor illustrations.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom makes generous use of colorful art and hilarious rhymes to engage your child while helping them learn about the alphabet. As such, this is one of the best picture books for not only educating but also entertaining your kiddo. It leans more toward entertaining, though.
Buy Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin and John Archambault on Amazon here.
13- Corduroy by Dan Freeman
Dan Freeman’s Corduroy is an unquestionable superstar in the world of children’s literature. It’s a longtime favorite tale of a stuffed teddy bear who happens to come to life to give company to his loving friend.
First published back in 1968, Corduroy is as fresh and enjoyable to read as it did more than half a century ago. Parents love that this classic speaks directly to children’s love of toys and how it fosters imaginative play.
Corduroy is far from being a perfect teddy bear, but Lisa sees him as a perfect teddy in whatever state. This teaches young ones to appreciate and accept others for they are. If you’re on the market for the best picture book on friendship, it can’t get better than Corduroy, and you can take that to the bank.
Buy Corduroy by Dan Freeman on Amazon here.
14- Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper
A visit to grandma’s, a snowy day, a small pause to appreciate nature, and quality time spent preparing scrumptious meals with loved ones – is there anything more appealing for a kid?
Cathy Camper’s Ten Ways to Hear Snow follows the story of young Lina. Excited to make a trip to grandmas and help her cook delicious grape leaves, she wakes up only to find the ground blanketed by thick snow. On her way to grandma’s, she comes up with a lyrical list of ways to listen to snow.
This is an excellent picture book that helps toddlers get one foot into the world of poetic and narrative writing.
Buy Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper on Amazon here.
15- You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith
Motivational speaker and highly-acclaimed author Monique Gray Smith whip up this impressive title to trigger a conversation among young readers, educators, and care providers about the power of forgiveness, as well as the importance of social bonds kids make with their families, classmates, and friends.
True to its calling, this is one of the best picture books for positive reinforcement. It’s delightfully illustrated and has a lovely vibe to it. When all’s said and done, this book is a basket full of optimism, teaching kids how satisfying kindness can feel.
Buy You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith on Amazon here.
16- Hi-Five Animals! by Ross Burach
How about a chapter book in which your child says the name of animals out loud while high-fiving them? Perfect for kids ages one through four, this smartly interactive story with rhyming text and cartoonish art is going to hold the attention of your little one for hours on end.
Just as the title says, the children will get to push their little fingers against lion paws, elephant trunks, octopus tentacles, and moose antlers to give them hive-5s. Recognized by many authoritative magazines, including Parents, as one of the best picture books of recent years, Hive-Five Animals! will win over your kiddo with its offbeat hilarity.
Buy Hi-Five Animals! by Ross Burach on Amazon here.
17- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler is impressive in almost every aspect. Scheffler’s characterful, witty illustration and Donaldson’s signature rhymes come together beautifully to create one of the best picture books we’ve seen so far. It’s a perfect book to read aloud to your little one.
Gruffalo is a real monster – or is he? If your kid softens to the monster-like looks of Gruffalo, then you might have found a regular in your bedtime reading routine. This classic story epitomizes the true power of imagination and creative play. A small, vulnerable mouse is forced to invest Gruffalo in a bid to prevent other animals from eating him.
Buy The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson on Amazon here.
18- Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton
I bet you and your older kids can recite Pajama Time! page to page from memory. Catchy, sweet, and relatable, Sandra Boynton’s timeless masterpiece is fun to read aloud and the illustrations are simple yet alluring, making it the perfect picture book for babies and kids up to age 4.
The book is now available in an extended sturdy board format that makes it effortless for small fingers to grasp. It’s also just the perfect size for adults to use it for reading aloud to their little one. Parents love that the bright, colorful illustrations add a pop of color and pizzazz to the story.
Buy Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton on Amazon here.
19- The Runaway Bunny by Clement Hurd and Margaret Wise Brown
I’d admit it – I had not read The Runaway Bunny until I was grown, and I must say without a tinge of doubt that it is one of the best picture books for curious young readers. My toddler found it to be fun and delightful, just like I did.
Well, what rabbit, bunny, or person doesn’t want to keep an eye on their newborn at all times? First published in 1942, the book has remained an undefeated classic, just like the ranks of Corduroy and Goodnight Moon. It’s available in a lovely cardboard version that’s ideal for your kid’s small hands.
Buy The Runaway Bunny by Clement Hurd and Margaret Wise Brown on Amazon here.
20- I Am Actually a Penguin by Sean Taylor
If your little one has developed a habit of over-using the word “actually’, then they are in good company. This hilarious picture book by the award-winning author Sean Taylor and illustrated by Kasia Matyjaszek is actually easy to read and brilliantly-illustrated.
When a young curious girl is given a penguin suit as a present, she’s excited to find out that living as a penguin is actually much more breezy and fun than simply dressing like a bird. This humorous tale about a little girl who wants to convince loved ones that she’s actually a penguin is for every child’s bookshelf. The story teaches kids they can be whatever or achieve anything they set their minds on.
Buy I Am Actually a Penguin by Sean Taylor on Amazon here.
21- Gossie and Gertie by Olivier Dunrea
Olivier Dunrea’s Gossie and Gertie is about two friends who seem to have very different personalities. One of the little barnyard friends is bossy and wishes that others would follow what she says. The other friend is humble and willing to follow, but how long will that last?
Naturally, Gossie and Gertie are among the best picture books recommended for the 3rd sibling in the family. This is a young one that’s most likely to be picked on and bossed around frequently by her brothers or sisters. She will hopefully be able to chart her own destiny and assert herself with the help of the little barnyard friend.
Buy Gossie and Gertie by Olivier Dunrea on Amazon here.
22- The Nice Book by David Ezra Stein
The Nice Book is what it sounds like – a love intro to playing/acting nice and good manners, and brainchild of Caldecott Honor winner David Ezra Stein. He’s also the award-winning author of other best picture books like Leaves (which won Jack Keats New Writer Award) and Chicken, Pouch! (also the winner of Charlotte Zolotow Honor award).
Not only is The Nice Book an adorable title for reading aloud to a newborn; it also teaches other kids to be kind and gentle with new babies.
Buy The Nice Book by David Ezra Stein on Amazon here.
23- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The picture book that put Eric Carle on the children’s literature map, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is something of beauty, a classic that has paved way for other timeless titles. You will find it hard to meet a kid that doesn’t love pushing their little fingers through caterpillar-bored holes in this picture book. No wonder a copy of the book is sold every half a minute!
Part of the highly successful bestselling Rise and Shine series, the Very Hungry Caterpillar is a perfect addition to your child’s library.
Buy The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle on Amazon here.
24- Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
Veteran children’s book writer Mo Willems has churned out so many of the best picture books that it’s tough to choose just one. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale is one of the most charming picture books to read aloud to your toddler or baby.
The story highlights the Knuffle Bunny’s trip to the Laundromat that eventually turns into a fascinating adventure for the youngster. This cautionary tale evokes so many emotions and is impressively funny, with everything beautifully captured by the colorful illustrations.
This picture book retains its charm and holds up even after so many reads. And parents and kids alike agree that it’s relatable and super adorable.
Buy Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems on Amazon here.
25- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
If you enjoyed this classic title in your childhood, then you will be delighted to introduce it to your own little ones. Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, this masterpiece from Michael Rosen is one that should never miss on your kid’s bookshelf.
Parents and little ones alike will be charmed by the fancy-sounding, rhyming texts. The rhymes also lend themselves gorgeously to such a vividly-animated book that’s best to read out loud to your toddler.
Buy We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen on Amazon here.
26- Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
With clever illustrations by Felicia Bond and rhyming text, Margaret Wise Brown’s Big Red Barn is serene and adorable about a beautiful day on the farmyard. When all the workers and owners of the farm are away, you will get an all-inclusive tour of the barnyard and get to meet all the lovely animals that call it their home.
The picture-perfect barnyard is teeming with chickens, goats, horses, cows, roosters, and of course a pink piglet that is just getting the hang of squealing. Bond’s ambiance-building illustrations bring some sense of tranquility and love into the mix.
Buy Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown on Amazon here.
27- Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Bruce Degen’s Jamberry is one of the catchiest and the most exciting children’s books you and your little reader will ever get to read. It’s also one of the best picture books for those who are looking for a splash of color and a fruity theme.
The New York Times bestselling classic sports a loveable rhyme-spitting bear and a berry-loving boy. Together, they frolic through forests of berries, streams, and lush meadows. They couldn’t be happier and brighter, all the more so that they can eat all the berries they can pick.
The bright, highly-detailed illustrations and fun rhymes make Jamberry a longtime kids’ favorite. The latest board book version is great for any stocking stuffer.
Buy Jamberry by Bruce Degen on Amazon here.
28- Piggies by Audrey Wood and Don Wood
Most kids are familiar with the little piglets that went berserk at a local market and ate all the roast beef they could find. These piggies, which live on fingers, are not your beef-eating piglets. They are packed with style and personality, whether they’re ruffling through the mud, playing at the beach, or whatnot.
Your kid will utterly love this lab-sized picture board book edition of the story. There are great details on each illustration and that story pops out of the page effortlessly.
Buy Piggies by Audrey Wood and Don Wood on Amazon here.
29- Fruit Bowl by Mark Hoffman
Who could have thought that a simple bowl of fruits can be so interesting? One of the best picture books for 2nd graders, Mark Hoffman’s Fruit Bowl is a well-written book that’s easy to read out loud, plus it pulls double duty for young readers.
This colorful book offers up some of the most fascinating facts about veggies vs fruits. But it also forwards several well-meaning themes of open-mindedness, inclusion, and self-acceptance.
My kid almost peed herself when she read the part where tomato makes a case for a spot in the fruit bowl. What’s even funnier is how other fruits are quick to say Tomato doesn’t belong with them. We were all glad that Tomato finally got his place at the fruit bowl.
Buy Fruit Bowl by Mark Hoffman on Amazon here.
30- How to Write a Story by Kate Messner
How about an inspiring picture book that helps kids make a foray into the world of story writing? Follow along as the young writer illustrated with bubbled tips and hacks on how she undergoes her story writing process.
Your child will get a chance to learn all the steps that go into narrative writing, from nurturing an idea from seed, to creating the first draft, doing revision, editing, and eventually presenting your work. Get this wonderful board book to inspire a young author.
Buy How to Write a Story by Kate Messner on Amazon here.
31- Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
If your toddler is not yet able to read the words but still enjoy perusing through the beautiful pictures, you’ve just found the best picture book for them. It’s part of Carl’s book series, all of which are wordless, downright amusing, and beautifully illustrated.
This classic picture book follows the story of Carl, a Rottweiler who is left with the task of watching the baby. Is Carl cut out for babysitting? Young readers will be delighted by Carl’s antics as he leads his baby friend on a silent yet mischievous romp through the home. Together, the pair causes a lot of mischief and destruction, but they are able to get the house in complete order before the mom returns.
Buy Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day on Amazon here.
32- Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex
More suitable for older preschoolers and mid-grade children, Michael Rex’s Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots has everything kids at this age will drool over. With fun and interactive chapters, this book will make such a crucial concept unforgettable and enjoyable.
This is a suitably hilarious book that broaches the conversation about the differences between opinions and facts. From the #1 bestselling board book Goodnight Goon, the savvy robots in this colorful title teach young readers about the importance of acknowledging the opinions of others while knowing what a fact is and what’s not.
Buy Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex on Amazon here.
33- Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Alma and How She Got Her Name is a heartwarming book about a young girl who gets asked a lot about her long name. Yes, she knows that Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela is a pretty long name, but what she doesn’t understand is how and why it is so.
The fact that she doesn’t know how she got her long name bothers Alma until her father shows her all the relatives and people her name actually honors. This picture is a perfect read for a preschool to get young readers excited and encourage them to talk about the fascinating stories behind their own monikers.
If you are searching for the best picture books on the subject of self-identity and knowing your background, this is a great choice.
Buy Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal on Amazon here.
34- The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald
If you loved Jory John’s blockbuster books The Good Egg, That’s What Dinosaurs Do, and The Bad Seed, then you will absolutely love his latest addition to the series: The Cool Bean. Well, who could have guessed that beans can be such great role models for kindness and coolness?
This third title from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, Jory John, is a clever tale that is packed with vital lessons and deep messages about the power of helping others, compassion, and the importance of friendship. It is fun to read aloud and a joy for the little ones to read on their own.
Buy Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald on Amazon here.
35- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
This children’s classic picture book by Rod Campbell comes in a large-sized jacketed board version that makes for a fabulous gift. Your kid will love lifting the flaps to reveal the zoo animals that have been potentially sent out as pets. They range from a lion, a monkey, a giraffe, and even an elephant. But will the little one ever find the most ideal pet for their family?
Every kid likes to read an interactive lift-the-flap picture book and Dear Zoo is one of the best picture books in this category. Here’s how it goes: a kid pens a letter to the zoo requesting a pet. However, each time the zoo delivers a crated animal, the kid finds an excuse to send it back to the zoo. It’s all about finding that perfect pet for the family.
Buy Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell on Amazon here.
36- Perfect Pets by Roger Priddy
The story of the perfect pets is fun, delightful, and easy to read for even the littlest member of the family. Roger Priddy’s Perfect Pets is jam-packed with adorable things and super cute animals to touch.
The pictures in the book are textured, making it much more fun for kids to run through their soft fingers. It’s the perfect book for small hands to explore sensations and touch right from a tender age. Aside from the feel and touch elements, you and your little one will love the fun rhyming text.
Buy Perfect Pets by Roger Priddy on Amazon here.
37- Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres
Good question: Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? Do their dads kiss them goodnight while their moms sing a bedtime story? Do they get tucked in or snuggle into a cozy parking space?
One of the best picture books for reading before going to bed, Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres gives a human touch to these heavy machines and their imposing structures. Ideal for kids ages 2 through 5, this book helps lull your baby into a slumberland with firefighters, dumb trucks, and diggers.
Buy Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres on Amazon here.
38- Crayon’s Book of Colors by Drew Dewalt and Oliver Jeffers
If you loved Drew Dewalt and Oliver Jeffers’ #1 New York Times bestsellers The Day the Crayons Came Home and The Day the Crayons Quit, then you will likely also like reading Crayon’s Book of Colors. It’s a banger of a board book and one of the best picture books we’ve seen so far.
Part of the tremendously popular and successful series, this classic is most suitable for toddlers under the age of two. The delightful basic illustrations and bright colors will appeal to these young readers. Of course, the oddly compelling commentary and humor make this book an evergreen read even if you read it over and over again.
Buy Crayon’s Book of Colors by Drew Dewalt and Oliver Jeffers on Amazon here.
39- “More More More,” Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
What could be more adorable than the love for your little one? This charming Caldecott Honor-winning book about kids being shown love by different family members is one of the best picture books you can have on your child’s bookshelf.
In this book, you will find cute Little Bird, Little Pumpkin, and Little Guy. Their parents and other family members think the world of them and love them to the moon and back. And you will also love them! You will appreciate how multiracial families and bright, colorful illustrations make this book extra unique and special.
Buy The “More More More,” Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams on Amazon here.
40- Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Jessica Hische
Released early in 2020, Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind is the creation of the award-winning author and illustrator Jessica Hische. It’s a suitable follow-up to Hische’s Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave. Both of them have already been ranked among the best picture books of the past decade.
With charmingly adorable illustrations, this book brings to life another collection of touching scenes and inspirational words. The book features Hische’s signature hand-lettering and themes of love and treating others with respect. The story also reminds you and your kids to always have compassion for others and treat other people with kindness. Is that too much to ask?
Buy The Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Jessica Hische on Amazon here.
41- Livre des Bruits by Soledad Bravi
This timeless yet simple and noise-filled book by Soledad Bravi leverages onomatopoeia as a powerful tool for engaging younger readers who are starting to build their vocabulary.
Even though this title is available in English, it is also featured in several other languages, including German and Spanish. This makes it one of the best picture books to introduce your child to a second or even a third language. This book is also fun and exhilarating for parents and teachers, as they learn the new rhyming words in foreign languages, such as the “Shihan” of the donkey and the “Ratata plan plan” of the drum both in French.
Buy the Livre des Bruits by Soledad Bravi on Amazon here.
42- Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry
No one knows why, or how it all started, but it’s no secret that toddlers and babies do love their trucks. They love dumb trucks. They love firefighting trucks. They love digger trucks. And more importantly, they love this adorable truck picture book.
Created by the beloved duo of author Alice Schertle and illustrator Jill McElmurry, Little Blue Truck is a joyful basket full of amazing truck and animal sounds. This well-written with highly-detailed, fun, and beautiful illustrations will captivate your child while helping out his pals.
If your child is a fan of Monster Trucks, this book will help encapsulate their love for trucks. Besides, Little Blue Truck is part of a truck-filled series with some of the best picture books out there.
Buy Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry on Amazon here.
43- The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder
Another huge hit from kids’ favorite author Vanessa Roeder, The Box Turtle is the “new kid on the block” and one of the best picture books with cuteness overload.
Here’s the problem. Terrance the turtle is not your ordinary turtle; he was born without that protective shell. To give him the illusion of a shell, his mom and dad dressed him in a cardboard box.
For Terrence, it is all fun and games in his box shell until one rowdy fellow decides to make fun of his artificial shell. This not only puts Terrence down but also prompts the poor turtle to go on a quest, looking for a new, more realistic shell. The Box Turtle is a heartfelt story with a box-load of lessons on striking lifelong friendships, embracing one’s flaws, and loving oneself.
Buy The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder on Amazon here.
44- The Bug Girl: A True Story by Sophie Spencer and Margaret McNamara
Ever since she was a toddler, Sophie, a 7-year-old curious girl has always had a deeply-set fascination for bugs. It’s only the other children don’t seem to get why she is so in love with bugs.
With so many bullies breathing down her neck to stop discussing bugs, it takes encouragement from a group of hundreds of women scientists to keep her interest going. This book teaches young readers to stay the course and follow their passions no matter what others say.
What makes this book special is that it’s based on Spencer’s own experience. It’s what self-doubting curious minds need to embrace their weird interests and curiosities.
Buy The Bug Girl: A True Story by Sophie Spencer and Margaret McNamara on Amazon here.
45- Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
Experts often say that books that truly capture your kiddo’s attention and interests are a must-have in their home libraries. And which kid doesn’t love those cute and nubby bunnies?
Rhyming stories like Pat the Bunny make for the best picture books, plus they both feel and sound great. Picture books with buttons, flaps, and other interactive elements turn a reading session into a kind of imaginative play for young readers. The same is also true for books that feature different sounds and textures. Pat the Bunny has them all!
Buy Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt on Amazon here.
46- The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan
Written and illustrated by the brother duo of Eric and Terry Fan, The Night Gardener is a doubly-gorgeous book that has plenty of touching messages and chuckle-filled moments. This is one of the best picture books for 2nd-grade students.
This book is authored in the spirit of The Curious Garden and Goodnight Moon, which speaks volumes of its hilarious characters, whimsical storyline, and its ability to strip your child’s imagination. It’s about William, a gardening-loving boy who wakes up one morning sees a strange topiary in their garden. Soon, similar topiary arts are seen all over the region. Who could be the night gardener?
Buy The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan on Amazon here.
47- Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! by Trudy Ludwig
Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! Is the brainwork of the illustrator-author tag team that created the award-winning classic The Invisible Boy, Patrice Barton, and Trudy Ludwig. The book narrates the tale of a young boy, a chatterbox who can’t seem to stop speaking. And we mean, ALL the time! Unfortunately, he is diagnosed with laryngitis, which helps him appreciate the power of silence.
This is among the best picture books for use inside and outside of classrooms. It’s a perfect book you can read with your little one if you want to broach the subject of listening and not talk too much.
Buy Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! by Trudy Ludwig on Amazon here.
48- Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein
If your first-day preschooler, daycare goer, or kindergartener has a tough time adjusting to the new life away from home, Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein might just be the best picture book for your little one.
As we all know, every toddler gets separation anxiety, whether you go to work, they are starting preschool, or away to a camp. Toddlers have an affinity for sensing unfavorable changes and that can be bothersome to them. This beautiful classic by Ruth Bornstein helps in reassuring your kiddo that getting bigger and being away from loved ones for a while is nothing to fret about.
Buy Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein on Amazon here.
49- ¡Me gusta cómo soy! / I Like Myself! By Karen Beaumont
I’m going to come out and say it: Karen Beaumont’s ¡Me Agusta cómo soy! / I Like Myself! is perhaps one of the best picture books for bilingual kids of all time. With reassuring them of self-affirmation and self-discovery, this Spanish-English board book follows the story of a curious girl who happens to know that she is the most important person to her.
Breathtaking yet crude illustrations by David Catrow and excitingly rhyming text make this awkward-sounding yet serious story read easy and stay memorable.
Buy ¡Me gusta cómo soy! / I Like Myself! By Karen Beaumont on Amazon here.
50- To the Moon and Back for You by Emilia Bechrakis Serhant
A masterpiece from the Million Dollar Listing actress Emilia Bechrakis Serhant, To the Moon and Back for You is the first picture book by the author. It journals her own challenging path towards having a baby, marked by troubles with conceiving a child.
It’s true; there are thousands of titles that celebrate the overwhelming love a mom or dad has for their little one, but only a few do so this way. This book explores the joys and tribulation of motherhood through an unusual lens of barrenness. It’s essentially a letter of appreciation to all moms that went to the moon and back to have their babies.
Buy To the Moon and Back for You by Emilia Bechrakis Serhant on Amazon here.
51- Grandma’s Gardens by Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton
If you’re looking for a modern title that is on its fast-track to becoming the best picture book, look no further than Grandma’s Gardens by former US First Lady and daughter Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.
Some families pass on vintage furniture, jewelry, or vases as heirlooms. That’s no “good enough” for the women of the Clinton family. Instead, they pass down their love for nature. Through this heartwarming picture book, Grandma Dorothy (Hillary Clinton’s mom) left her granddaughter with lovely memories of quality time they spend in the garden together.
This touching story is a celebration of the special connection that cuts across multiple generations when it comes to sharing passion and love for something meaningful.
Buy Grandma’s Gardens by Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton on Amazon here.
52- Freight Train Board Book by Donald Crews
Just as with trucks, it’s obvious that young children do love trains (and some adults do, too!) There is of course a whole boatload of books written about or in praise of trains for babies and toddlers. And it’s not difficult to understand why: toddlers deeply, crazily, and truly love their choo-choos. What makes Freight Train Board Book one of the best picture books for train lovers includes the bright colors and bold, clean shapes.
Donald Crews uses rich illustrations and powerful yet simple words to appeal to your toddler’s love for trains. The board book is not only sturdy but comes in just the right size for young readers.
Buy Freight Train Board Book by Donald Crews on Amazon here.
53- Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
Do we have some fans of Karate Kid and Kung Fu Panda in the house? Meet the Zen Panda. From the best-selling author of The Three Questions, Jon J. Muth, Zen Shorts is a deeply-entertaining and heart-touching picture book that will teach young readers about being Zen while cracking their ribs with funny scenes.
Stillwater is an incredibly wise panda. Count on Muth to turn complex life lessons into easy-to-digest stories for tots. This neighborhood wise guy is sure to be a big hit with small and big kids alike.
Buy Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth on Amazon here.
54- Jasper & Ollie Build a Fort by Alex Willan
This hilarious follow-up to Alex Willan’s Jasper and Ollie highlights the power of self-love and embracing other people who are different from us. This is one picture book that’ll also tickle your little one’s funny bones.
When the comical pair of Ollie and Jasper decides to each construct a separate fort in their compound, the results and their efforts are as stark different as themselves. On the one hand, Ollie takes some time to plan and build a meaningful fort where the friends’ pair can live together.
On his end, Jasper chooses to build an elaborate place for himself in a breeze. Who passed the friendship test? This book teaches kids about the importance of friendship and embracing our differences while staying true to ourselves.
Buy Jasper & Ollie Build a Fort by Alex Willan on Amazon here.
55- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrea
A true ode to learning to love yourself, Giles Andrea’s Giraffes Can’t Dance is as educational as it’s entertaining. With their long, crooked legs and awkward built, giraffes are not designed to be dancers. Or are they?
Giraffes Can’t Dance is a heart-moving story of Gerald the Giraffe who wants to learn to dance more than anything else in this world. He’s set on this mission but his feeble body and thin legs can’t seem to allow him to do so. It’s only after a small nudge by a friend that he learns to dance to his own tune.
Wacky yet deeply inspiring, this contemporary classic has burgeoned to become one of the best picture books for kids of almost all ages. It has a big lesson for them, too: that they can do anything they dream of achieving.
Buy Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrea on Amazon here.
56- My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom
This unsung hero of the children’s literature space has gone through a renaissance of the sort in the last few years. My Dog Mouse is a beautiful and rather quiet tale of a young girl who decides to help walk her neighbor’s dog.
With fantastic illustrations and many examples for kids to use in story writing, this book has been lauded for its educational and entertainment potential. It’s a great place to start if your child wants to improve or perk up their vocabulary.
Buy My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom on Amazon here.
57- Where Do Speedboats Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres
Let me say one thing right off the bat: while Brianna Caplan Sayres’ theme of “where do **** sleep?” is pretty catchy and fun, it is the dreamy illustrations by Christian Slade that puts this loveable title right over the top.
Children obsessed with the Sayres’ contemporary classics Where Do Trucks Sleep and Where Do Diggers Sleep? will absolutely flip over this new addition to the ever-popular bedtime favorite.
This book that is full of rhyming text and repetition will soon lull your little one into the world filled with watercraft, speedboats, and other types of boats as they prepare to dock and call it a night.
Buy Where Do Speedboats Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres on Amazon here.
58- A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman
Best for kids who are learning about big numbers and the concept of vastness, Seth Fishman’s A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars will hit the sweet spot with most preschoolers and middle-grade schoolers. At its core, this book addresses the mind-blowing notion of massive numbers.
If you dig deeper, you’ll find that this book has much more to share, making an amazing book for math, science, and reading aloud to little ones. It’s well-structured and perfectly-illustrated with text that appeals to curious math heads and budding scientists.
It’s been praised by a number of reputable magazines including the New York Times. More than that, the book has won the Mathical Book Prize and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Award. Definitely one of the best picture books on these subject matters.
Buy A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman on Amazon here.
59- Moo, Baa, La, La, La By Sandra Boyton
Sandra Boyton is the author to beat when it comes to sounds in children’s literature, and Moo, Baa, La, La, La is a testament to her prowess in this field. This kids’ picture book is one that’ll captivate and entertain your little one for hours on end.
This silly yet informative story about the sounds made by animals that include a trio of pigs that squeal “la la la,” is so engaging you and your child will read over and over again without wrecking your nerves. It’s just the perfect book to read out loud to your budding vocalist.
Buy Moo, Baa, La, La, La By Sandra Boyton on Amazon here.
60- I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
Need a reason to boogie? On one otherwise pedestrian visit to the local park, the bliss and joy of music wash over a daughter and her mom. What could bring people better than good music? If you and your small person have a soft spot for music (who doesn’t, right), then this should be one of the best picture books you can get your kid today.
Connie Schofield-Morrison’s I Got Rhythm is a tale of a young girl who finds the joy of music in the simplest of things around her in the neighborhood. The beautiful, rhyming text dances elegantly off the colorfully illustrated pages. Here’s to the start of music lessons for your little one!
Buy I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison on Amazon here.
61- The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Despite being strong, muscular, and built for the “ring”, Ferdinand is a gentle giant who prefers the ways of peace over showcasing his prowess like other bullfighting bulls. He prefers to smell the sweet scents of wildflowers and marvel at nature at its best.
But when a bumblebee stings Ferdinand, he reacts by pawing the ground, snorting, and puffing – all telltale signs of a ferocious bull designed for the bullfighting ring. Will Ferdinand heed the primal call and prove his mettle in the ring?
Robert Lawson’s genuine illustrations land The Story of Ferdinand on most top-pick lists of the best picture books. The story also teaches young readers about staying true to themselves and choosing peace, tranquility, non-violence over fighting and violence.
Buy The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf on Amazon here.
62- Frederick by Leo Lionni
Marking its 50th anniversary, Frederick is Leo Lionni’s award-winning tale of a small mouse that collects unusual stuff in preparation for a long winter. The long spell of cold winter is fast approaching, a time which sends mice into a frenzy, looking for food and other things that’ll keep them warm and nourished throughout the period.
While other field mice are gathering straw, wheat, nuts, corn, and what not to keep for winter, Frederick collects words, colors, and sun rays. Why? Frederick will use these unusual things to perk up their spirits and warm their hearts during the darkest and coldest months of winter.
Buy Frederick by Leo Lionni on Amazon here.
63- The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth
Retold by veteran children’s literature author Jim Aylesworth and illustrated afresh by Barbara McClintock, this retelling of the classical Ukrainian fairytale is not only charming but also full of lessons for the youngsters. It’s the tale of a young boy who misplaces his favorite mitten.
One loss, as they say, is another’s gain. The lost mitten is now home to a bunch of otherwise freezing animals, including a squirrel. How many animals do you think can squeeze into the mitten? Unfortunately, the mitten becomes so overcrowded that it bursts at the seams into pieces and bits of sewing yarn.
Buy The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth on Amazon here.
64- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Another imaginative story of crayons that pays homage to The Day Crayons Quit and The Day Crayons Came Home, Harold and the Purple Crayon is one of the best picture books you wish you had read as a kid.
On one night while taking a walk with his favorite purple crayon, he realizes that he has stepped into the creative scenes that he had drawn earlier. It is now up to Harold (with the help of his purple crayon) to find their way back home and get to bed before his mom gets worried.
Buy The Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson on Amazon here.
65- Fortunately by Remy Charlip
Ned’s day is not going so well, at least not how he expected it to pan out when he went to the airport for his flight. His day is packed with a series of unfortunate events. First of all, he fell from a plane, only to land on a sea teeming with ferocious sharks.
Can Ned’s day get any worse? Thankfully, a turn of good fate often follows every disaster in this classic story of surprise, adventure, and a bit of dark humor. Although this is considered one of the best picture books for older kids, preschoolers and kindergarteners can also find it fun and engaging.
Buy Fortunately by Remy Charlip on Amazon here.
66- The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, then you have probably read The Tale of Peter Rabbit (or watch the movie version of the story). It’s a tale loaded with lessons about perseverance, deviance, acceptance of others, and the power of working together for common good.
Peter the Rabbit is not your everyday hare who is content with picking wild berries and eating on the fringes. He has eyes on Mr. McGregor’s garden that’s rife with fresh and delicious veggies, fruits, and other goodies. However, he must think and act expeditiously to outwit fuming Mr. McGregor and get home safely.
The polished text, realistic yet beautiful illustrations, and short storyline make this one of the best picture books for intimate reading aloud to your little one.
Buy The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter on Amazon here.
67- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Another marvelous picture book from seasoned author Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are is satisfying and educational for both kids and parents on many fronts. This wonderful title is, without a doubt, the best work from the veteran author – and one of the best picture books of our time.
A true classic of kids’ literature, the book follows the wonderful tale of Max. When his mom sends him to bed hungry for being mischievous, Max is so angry that he makes a decision to venture into the world of the wild things. Here, he is right at home, and in fact, he might be the wildest of them all.
Buy Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak on Amazon here.
68- Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
Another true classic of children’s literature, Millions of Cats is by far one of the best picture books written by Wanda Gag. Most parents today will be surprised to learn that this evergreen picture book was first published in 1928. In fact, it is one of the oldest children’s books still in print in the US.
What’s more, the wonderful book of canines has clinched a long list of awards, including the Newbery Honor award which it won a year after launch. Young readers will love chanting along: 100’s of cats, 1000’s of cats, billions of cats, and trillions of cats!
It’s about a touching story of an old man who goes on a question to find one ideal canine for his lovely wife. But what does he come back with: millions of cats! This classic story is brought to life with exuberant black-and-white illustrations with hand-lettering and rhyming text.
Buy Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag on Amazon here.
69- Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman
This woof-static picture book by the highly-respected author P. D. Eastman is going to knock your little one’s boots off. It’s a great picture book for school learning and can make for a fantastic bedtime read.
Part of Bright and Early Board Books, Go, Dog, Go! is a classic book for toddlers, babies, and preschoolers. It’s a book filled with fun dogs riding unicycles, bikes, cars, and whatnot. Young children, from kindergarteners to beginner readers, will be wowed by the doggo antics and adventures in this hilarious illustrated cartoonish book.
Buy Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman on Amazon here.
70- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Here’s a picture book that will likely fill your wells with tears. It’s a classic that has entertained many generations of kids without losing its appeal, and we think it will continue to do so for many other generations.
At a very tender age, children can learn about love, affection, and the weight these virtues carry from this poignant and beautiful story about Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare. They are competing to see just how much they love each other. For this reason alone, this is one of the best picture books for kids ages 2 through 5.
Buy Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney on Amazon here.
71- If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! by Elise Parsley
There are myriads of cautionary tales on the market, and this one from Elise Parsley is perhaps one of the best picture books in the subgenre. In If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! Marigold is hell-bent on impressing her peers by taking a grown alligator to the school’s talents event.
This book is brimming with tips and advice on what you ought to do when a twelve footer of an alligator runs berserk in a classroom full of untrained students. Your little one will definitely get a few laughs and giggles as Marigold tries unsuccessfully to take her 74-tooth alligator.
Buy If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! by Elise Parsley on Amazon here.
72- Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
When most kids (and parents) hear about a broom-riding witch, they often imagine a ginger-making, child-eating ruthless monster. That’s not what is happening here.
In Room on the Broom, your kiddo will get to fly into the land of dragons, broom-flying witches, magic, and a particularly surprising twist. A witch with a broom has room for all the animals that need her help. But one day when she is encountered by a fire-breathing dragon, all the animals must reciprocate and try to save her from the burning trap. What’s not to love about this wishful tale that teaches us about the importance of friendship.
Buy Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson on Amazon here.
73- Peace at Last by Jill Murphy
With all the ticking, dripping, and tapping the house; an overexcited baby bear, and a snoring mama bear, how is papa bear going to get some ZZZs? This bestselling timeless tale has been delighting kids for more than four decades and is equally loved by grumpy dads and moms who can’t seem to get enough sleep.
The plight of the poor papa bear is relatable to most people. That’s what makes Peace at Last one of the best picture books for bedtime reading. The stunning and realistic illustrations really bring this sweet bedtime story to life in a big way. It’s a great read for younger readers, especially 2-year-olds.
Buy Peace at Last by Jill Murphy on Amazon here.
74- When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
During toddler years, feelings and emotions can really run wild, leading to explosive tantrums. This is especially true when the little ones don’t have the right words to express their feelings.
When her sister takes Sophie’s beloved stuffed gorilla, she justifiably gets really, really angry. Molly Bang captures the realistic feelings of Sophie through vivid illustrations that burst out with bright, saturated colors.
Kids of all ages will find Sophie’s tantrums relatable. But more crucially, the little ones will get a good lesson on how to identify their feelings, acknowledge their emotions, and ultimately determine the best ways to calm themselves down. Do you need more convincing why this is considered one of the best picture books for kids?
Buy When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang on Amazon here.
75- Percy the Park Keeper by Nick Butterworth
Percy the Park Keeper has always found a way to fend for his zoo animal friends. He always finds good food to nourish them. But one night in the middle of a harsh winter, Percy notices that his park friends will also need a warm, protected place to get their ZZZ’s.
This book from the highly-acclaimed best-selling illustrator-writer Nick Butterworth is a true show-stopper. It is part of a series that is full of fantastic stories about a gentle, caring park keeper and his animal friends. With great lessons, impressive illustrations, and simple text, it’s easy to see why this title has been voted among the best picture books for little ones ages 3 and up.
Buy Percy the Park Keeper by Nick Butterworth on Amazon here.
76- If I Had a Raptor by George O’Connor
Do you wish you ever had a Velociraptor as a pet? This poignant and exhilarating story of a preschool whose wishes of getting a raptor as a companion comes true is not one to miss in your child’s bedtime reading list.
Although they are totally different in size (and the fact the raptor has been extinct for 75+ million years), the preschooler and her dino are best of friends. It’s wishful thinking kind of a story that journeys what it feels like to snuggle with and have a raptor as a pet friend from being a tiny fluff ball to a menacing-looking adult. This spunky tale is sure to spark your kid’s imagination.
Buy If I Had a Raptor by George O’Connor on Amazon here.
77- The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
This audacious list of the best picture books wouldn’t ever be complete without this classic from the highly-celebrated children’s literature veteran, Dr. Seuss. A tongue-twister of a classic tale for children of all ages, The Cat in the Hat actually laid the foundation for some of the best picture books you’ll find on this list, such as Green Eggs and Ham and Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Dr. Seuss’s signature silly rhymes are known to create some groundwork for kids to not only learn to read but also improve their vocabulary. They also make for a fun read, which may be the reason why this book is one of the bestsellers of all time.
Buy The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss on Amazon here.
78- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
For those parents who are interested in teaching their kids about cause & effect at an early age, Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is their safest choice. It is hands down the most adorable picture book that touches on the theme in children’s literature history.
It’s a tale of a mouse that has an insatiable appetite for candies, sweets, and all things cookies. This cute mouse with a sweet tooth will certainly win over the heart of your little one, as it has done for more than three decades. After all, it is a #1 New York Times bestselling book for a reason.
Buy If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff on Amazon here.
79- The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
The charming stories of Enid Blyton have over the decades redefined the world of children’s literature, and The Magic Faraway Tree might be his best work. This book actually brings together 3 magical faraway tree stories under one roof.
When Frannie, Beth, and Joe relocate to the idyllic countryside, they realize that their new home is located just adjacent to the revered Enchanted Wood. This is the fairytale home of the Magic Faraway Tree that ships the three friends on all kinds of fantastic adventures.
Kids aged between 5 and 9 will find The Magical Faraway by the veteran storyteller Enid Blyton to be one of the best picture books they have ever read.
Buy The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton on Amazon here.
80- Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now by Lauren Child
Clarice Bean is a mess. However you look at Clarice’s life, you have no choice but to wonder that there are a ton of things to worry about her. She can’t seem to fall asleep at night. Advice from Ruby Redfort doesn’t seem to lull her to sleep, too. Clarice is far tumbling into a rabbit hole!
In this sweet but troubled girl, veteran writer Lauren Child has magicked up a relatable and loveable anti-hero that kids can learn a lot from. Clarice Bean journals all of her dreams, hopes, worries, and wins – and lets her wild imagination ship her away to a land of wonder, fun, and possibilities.
Buy Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now by Lauren Child on Amazon here.
81- Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett
Named the 2015 Best Illustrated Book by New York Times, Leo: A Ghost Story is exactly that – a lighthearted story told from the perspective of a big-hearted and sweet-tempered ghost boy named Leo. He looks dashing and handsome in a beautiful bow tie. Every child would love to be friends with Leo.
This is the best picture book for every child or adult who has even had a make-believe friend. Or, anyone who has wrongly been frightened of ghosts. This is a clever story of a not so frightening ghost who can get enough of snacks, loves drawing, and is fond of her young companion Jane. It’s a truly moving tale of misunderstanding and friendship.
Buy Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett on Amazon here.
82- How to Read to a Grandma or Grandpa by Jean Reagan
A truly helpful follow-up to New York Times bestsellers How to Babysit a Grandpa and How to Babysit a Grandma, How to Read to a Grandma or Grandpa boasts a bagful of tips, hacks, and genuine advice on how kids can share the beauty of reading with their grandparents.
From how to catch Santa to scaring ghosts and how to babysit grandpa, Jean Reagan’s “instructional manuals” have become some of the best picture books for households. In this latest book, little ones learn how to teach their grandpas and grandpas how to weave the perfect storytime.
Buy How to Read to a Grandma or Grandpa by Jean Reagan on Amazon here.
83- Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town by Richard Scarry
If your kid is already a fan of Richard Scarry’s series — Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Fire Station, Richard Scarry’s The Best Mistake Ever!, Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks, Richard Scarry’s The Night Before Christmas! Ma … the list goes on and on … then they’ll absolutely drool over Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town
Preschoolers, babies, and toddlers alike are fond of the elaborate, comprehensive illustrations by one and only master of details, Richard Scarry. Well, there’s something comforting about plunging into the encyclopedic world of Scarry’s stories. Even adults appreciate the entertaining nature of these books.
Buy Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town by Richard Scarry on Amazon here.
84- The Bed and Breakfast Star by Jaqueline Wilson
Jaqueline Wilson tales have over the years become favorited by millions of young and growing readers. That’s because it’s easy to carry forward to adulthood their strong and influential messages of resilience, facing diversity, self-acceptance, and kindness.
In The Bed and Breakfast Star, Elsa dreams to be a big superstar hopefully sooner rather than later because her family has been kicked out of their house and they are homeless. They live in a cozy bed and breakfast where they are afraid of being abused or taken advantage of.
The theme of resilience really takes center-stage as Elsa and her mom pull through this trying moment. Although it’s easy enough for any preschooler to read, this picture book is best for kids aged 8 and up.
Buy The Bed and Breakfast Star by Jaqueline Wilson on Amazon here.
85- Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
Let’s face it – what could be funnier and more ironic than a pack of taco-loving dragons eating spicy food? Well, everyone loves taco, and apparently, so do the fire-breathing other-worldly creatures
In Adam Rubin’s sassy title Dragons Love Tacos, the beastly dragons have no issue with any human or other creatures, for that matter. All they want is to party all night long and enjoy a couple of crunchy, savory tacos. They’re misconstrued as monsters – they are not.
This part hilarious (and part educational) story has some serious lessons for young readers on conquering their craziest and wildest fears, including those within.
Buy Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin on Amazon here.
86- Citizen Baby Series by Megan E. Bryant and Daniel Prosterman
Are you looking for the best picture book for your highly inquisitive child? Use this set of well-written, deeply-informative board books to raise your child’s awareness of our nation and government.
Illustrated by Micah Player and written by the author duo of Daniel Prosterman and Megan E. Bryant, the Citizen Baby series teaches your kid everything about our system of government, including how to vote, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidency.
The simple, somewhat rhyming text and richly colorful illustration make this series an ideal intro for your little one to the US government.
Buy Dragons Citizen Baby Series by Megan E. Bryant and Daniel Prosterman on Amazon here.
87- Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel
The Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury comprise all 4 complete stories of the amphibian pair in a single volume. Arnold Lobel’s fun, well-illustrated, and easy to read classics make even a toad and a frog appealing as the pair of friends goes through a series of troubles such as baking awful-tasting cookies and losing precious buttons.
This is an endearing story of friendship, standing by one another during times of uncertainty, and celebrating our differences. The treasury brings Days with Frog and Toad, Frog and Toad All Year, Frog and Toad Together, and Frog and Toad Are Friends.
Buy Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel on Amazon here.
88- The Complete Adventures of Curious George by H.A. Rey
Meet George the monkey who once lived happily in African jungles. He was a lovely young monkey until he found an even more loving home. George is curious.
Curious George gets to behave and act on every kid’s whim and impulse. In his journey to exercise his curiosity, there are loads of mischiefs and equally many lessons to be learned.
This complete collection consists of seven best picture books in the Curious George series, including Curious George Learns the Alphabet, Curious George Takes a Job, Curious George Goes to the Hospital, Curious George Rides a Bike, Curious George Flies a Kite, Curious George Gets a Medal, and Curious George: Curious George. Talk about Curious George overload!
Buy The Complete Adventures of Curious George by H.A. Rey on Amazon here.
89- Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada by Jimmy Fallon
If you are on the market for the best picture book that’s fun to read and hilarious for all story-reading fathers, you have come to the right place. The famous TV host and a former cast of Saturday Night Life (SNL), Jimmy Fallon whip up this picture book for his lovely daughters.
You and your kiddo will love reading this pleasant and witty story about a dad’s wildest dreams and hopes for his little ones.
Buy Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada by Jimmy Fallon on Amazon here.
90- Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
We’ve already touched a bit on some of the best picture books in Andrea Beaty’s The Questioneers series that has taken the world of children’s literature by storm. By now, you are probably familiar with Ada Twist, the no-nonsense young Scientist.
Now, meet Rosie Revere, Engineer extraordinaire. She is a budding inventor with huge dreams and even higher hopes of designing an extremely cool new contraption. This is a great picture book for all those kids who like to dabble in the world of engineering.
Buy Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty on Amazon here.
91- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl has produced some of the best picture books your child will ever read. The English author’s picture books are observant, crazily imaginative, and immaculately illustrated with a sprinkle of dark humor, just enough to keep the young readers on the edges of their seats.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a dream come true for any child thanks to its setting in a candy workshop and eccentric yet loveable characters.
Buy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl on Amazon here.
92- Home by Carson Ellis
The cliché that there’s no better place like home couldn’t be truer here. This picture book by renowned illustrator and graphic novel creator Carson Ellis is a striking celebration of all the comforts of a home but in a visual and fun way.
With this classic, kids learn that there’s no place like home, be it a shoe, a palace, a condo, an igloo, or a mansion.
Buy Home by Carson Ellis on Amazon here.
93- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Here’s another picture book that’s a travesty if it’s not in your child’s reading list: The Day the Crayons Quit. This classic back-to-school tale of the day a boy’s heavily-battered and neglected crayons staged a strike.
They were simply tired of being broken in two, misused, called silly names, and left under the couch. Drew Daywalt is truly the master of children’s comedy.
Buy The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt on Amazon here.
94- Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
A surprisingly relatable tale of a cheeky Llama named Llama and his mother uses modern illustrations and simple rhyming text that makes it one of the best picture books for the modern-day. It’s a wonderful story that teaches about separation anxiety.
Buy Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney on Amazon here.
95- What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Encouraging innovation and imaginative play is all good and dandy, what does it mean to incubate a great idea? This book by Kobi Yamada dwells on the themes of hard work, innovation, and inspiration required to nurture a big idea into reality.
Buy What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada on Amazon here.
96- Abuela by Arthur Dorros
For those looking for Spanish-English picture books for their bilingual kids, this gem from Arthur Dorros will surely fit the bill. Simple Spanish phrases are dotted all over this title about Rosalba and her grandma (aka Abuela). The two decide to take a sweeping journey across the Big Apple.
Buy Abuela by Arthur Dorros on Amazon here.
97- Stone Soup by Heather Forest
This refreshed retelling of an ancient folktale focuses on two hungry travelers. After reaching the next village, they were surprised to discover that no one is willing to give them some food. Shocked, the duo decides to make a soup out of stone as a show of compassion.
The heartfelt story of the travelers, the message of turning compassion into something big, and top-notch illustrations make this one of the best picture books for preschoolers and older children
Buy Stone Soup by Heather Forest on Amazon here.
98- Winter’s Tale by Robert Sabuda
Winter’s Tale by Robert Sabuda is an amazingly complex pop-up classic that tells tales of winter adventures and challenges of forest families. It may not be a cross-generational book but it’s gorgeous and quite sharable.
Buy Winter’s Tale by Robert Sabuda on Amazon here.
99- Free Fall by David Wiesner
If your child is a big fan of wordless books, then you’ll love David Wiesner’s Free Fall, an utter master of wordless children’s literature, in our humble opinion.
Rated one of the best picture books by both educators and parents, Free Fall features a small boy whose dreams come to life when he drifts off to slumberland.
Buy Winter’s Tale by Robert Sabuda on Amazon here.
Tips for Choosing the Best Picture Books
When you’re on the hunt for the best picture books, the last thing you want is to rush through the catalog and grab random titles, hoping you have landed something worth your money and your little one’s time.
Here are some expert tips on picking and using the perfect picture book for your kid.
– Consider something that the whole family will love to read
Any well-put-together picture book is going to do for reading with the entire family. Toddlers love talking about stuff happening around them and so do adults. That’s why you need to look for picture books your child, their siblings, and adults in the family can relate to.
For instance, if your child is entering daycare, starting kindergarten, or going to preschool, invest in a set of books about these situations. If you have just moved to a new place, a good picture book that talks about relocating can do the trick. The same goes for families with a law enforcement officer, doctor, and so on. The idea here is to find favorite books that display interactions among family members.
– Consider award-winning titles
There’s a good reason award-winning picture books end up becoming classics. Most picture books that have won awards like Seuss or Caldecott are children’s favorite, and your little one will love them too.
Good thing is that the New York Times, WSJ, and other powerful media houses have well-curated bestseller book lists that can be resourceful for parents and guardians. They are an excellent place to find the most popular and the best picture books on the market.
– Don’t lock your child out of the decision
Sometimes, picking the best picture book can be as easy as asking your kiddo. Show them several books and flip through a few pages — or, preferably, read aloud to your bundle of joy.
You can do this in your local library; most of them have a dedicated reading area for young readers. Your little one will be more than willing to pick the titles they find to be appealing to them.
– Variety is the name of the game
Again, toddlers are finicky readers who change their reading interests and states on a regular basis. While your child may want to read a book over and over again, you should invest in a variety of excellent picture books. A lovely blend of different themes and topics, from outer space and robots to pets and wild animals, will keep your child interested in reading for a while.
– Match your child’s interests
Children’s picture books run an eclectic gamut of topics, which makes it easy to pick the right ones. If your small person has developed a liking for princesses, superheroes, cats, dinosaurs, bears, or monkeys, be sure to find picture books with stories, topics, and characters that scratch their itch when it comes to interests. Don’t focus on a single interest or topic, though.
– Consider your child’s age and reading level
Young toddlers are not yet able to read picture books with longer, more complex texts. They often prefer simple picture books with a ton of repetition and rhyming text. The storyline should be simple, while the text should be inviting, straightforward, and predictable.
Children who still want to be read to often prefer books with mostly pictures and little else. Those who are comfortable reading with their parents should be okay with mid-level picture books with flowing text and rhymes.
Independent readers, including most preschoolers, are usually into early chapter books, but longer picture books with rhyming text will also suffice.
– Pick picture books from familiar beloved authors
Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Road Dahl, and Maurice Sendak are some big names that you won’t go wrong with. Be that as it may, it’s important to select picture books from authors that are fairly familiar to your kid. There’s of course nothing wrong with throwing in a few new authors to the mix.
For example, if your child is a fan of What Do You See?, then they will likely enjoy reading What Do You Hear? The same can be said of fans of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, and Brown, Brown Bear. Children enjoy familiar illustrations and writing style.