Top 60

Part of the impetus for this blog was the nagging thought that there are many amazing picture books in the world that I do not want to miss sharing with my children. This thought has reared its head again and spurred me to come up with the following list of 60 books that I absolutely do not want to miss sharing with my children. These 60 books are books that I hope my children will read repeatedly and remember fondly as part of their childhood.

Why 60?  I was aiming for my top 50 picture books, but 50 felt a little too restrictive and is not divisible by 12.

Why divisible by 12?  While I could simply share my Top 60 list with you today, I thought it would be more helpful and exciting to reveal five not-to-be-missed picture books on the first of each of the 12 months of the year.

Without further ado…

1.  The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Ages 1+

A young boy named Peter explores and frolics in the snow. The Snowy Day features lovely illustrations, with lots of texture.

 

2.  Crictor by Tomi Ungerer. Ages 3+

“Once upon a time in a little French town…” Madame Louise Bodot received a boa constrictor in the mail. She named the boa constrictor Crictor, and it became her pet. So begins Crictor, a delightfully apsurd exposition about what it might be like to have a boa constrictor as a pet.

 

3.  Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan and Sophie Blackall. Ages 4+

A story of sibling rivalry that feels authentic, with a satisfying good ending. The big red lollipop on the front cover does not hurt this book’s chances of appealing to kids.

 

4.  Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. Ages 4+

The heart-wrenching tale of a donkey who discovers a magic red pebble and unwittlingly turns into a rock. This miserable plot is tempered by William Steig’s wit and the perfect set-up for a well-delivered message about being thankful for what you have.

 

5.  Art and Max by David Wiesner. Ages 4+

An energetic, imaginative tale that only David Wiesner has the artistic skills to pull off. I could have selected any one of Wiesner’s three Caldecott-award-winning picture books for this list – FlotsamThe Three Pigs, or Tuesday. All three are super innovative, artistic masterpieces. Art & Max is pure, unadulterated fun.

6.  The Daddy Book by Todd Parr. Ages 1+

Todd Parr’s colorful, bold illustrations are great for babies and toddlers, while his humor and messages entertain older children. The Daddy Book, intentionally or not, also offers encouragement for parents.

7.  Fredrick by Leo Lionni. Ages 3+

A story about a family of field mice preparing for winter that celebrates the value of art and poetry. Leo Lionni is one of my favorite authors. His stories are always carefully crafted and give you something to think about.

 

8.  Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr. Ages 3+

A charming book about a young girl and her father who head out on a winter night in search of an owl. In lesser hands, this wisp of a storyline would fall flat. However, Yolen’s poetic prose and Schoenherr’s muted pen and watercolor illustrations are captivating.

 

9.  Wolves by Emily Gravett. Ages 5+

Emily Gravett is awesome. She is funny. She is clever. She is an amazing artist. I think Wolves is Gravett’s best book thus far. A rabbit checks out a book at the library about wolves, begins reading, and the book comes to life.

 

10.  Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson. Ages 7+

The true story of a man Henry “Box” Brown who, born a slave, had himself packed in a box and mailed North to freedom. The story of Brown’s life as a slave, brought to life by Kadir Nelson’s rich illustrations, is heartbreaking.

 

11.  Spring is Here by Taro GomiAges 3+

I am a fan of Taro Gomi’s illustrations in general. Of Gomi’s books, Spring is Here stands out because it features a clever and beautifully executed concept. In addition, the evocative text describing the change of seasons is a joy to read aloud.

 

12.  Elena’s Serenade by Campbell Geeslin and Ana JuanAges 3+

Ana Juan’s illustrations are captivating. In Elena’s Serenade, Juan’s illustrations transport readers on a magical journey where a girl can pass as a man, animals can be tamed by pipe music, and blown glass creations can take flight.

13.  Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo WillemsAges 3+

Knuffle Bunny Too is the second is a series of three stories about a girl Trixie and her beloved Knuffle Bunny. While the stories of Trixie’s attachment to her stuffed animal are familiar, Willems’ tellings of them are not. Willems’ humor — aimed at parents as well as kids — is spot on. His illustrations — a mixture of black and white photographs and colorful cartoon drawings — are fresh and fun.

14.  Press Here by Hervé Tullet. Ages 4+

An innovative, interactive book that is sure to delight kids. Press Here is perfect for the four to seven-year-old set who are old enough to follow the directions in this book and young enough to have the capacity to suspend reality for a bit.

15.  A Birthday for Frances by Russell Hoban. Ages 4+

A wonderful story written by a wonderful storyteller. A Birthday for Frances is chalk full of material to satisfy kids: a protagonist grappling with feelings of jealousy, mild misbehavior, amusing dialog, and descriptions of birthday party preparations. A Birthday for Frances not only withstands, but truly gets better, with repeat readings.

16.  My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell. Ages 2+

As a young girl searches her backyard for her “spring robin,” she notices many signs of spring — a bee taking honey from a crocus, a yellow forsynthia bush, fuzzy fiddleheads sprouting, etc. This is a perfect story for toddlers, without a word out of place.

17.  Creature by Andrew ZuckermanAges 2+

 An amazing alphabet book that stands out both due to Andrew Zuckerman’s phenomenal photographs and its engaging format. Many of the spreads in this alphabet book include a picture of an animal body part and the first letter of the animal’s name on one page and a picture of the entire animal on the following page. My kids love guessing which animal they will see next.

18.  George and Martha by James Marshall. Ages 3+

A delightful collection of humorous stories about two best friends. These remarkably pithy stories make my kids and I laugh out loud and contain wonderfully accurate descriptions of imperfect interactions between two true friends.

19.  Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco. Ages 4+

An engaging tale about an old woman who witnesses two miracles while decorating eggs for an Easter festival. As with other Patricia Polacco books, Rechenka’s Eggs features a unique, meaningful storyline and beautiful, energetic illustrations.

 

20.  Can you whistle, Johanna? by Ulf Stark. Ages 5+

A charming and memorable story about a boy without a grandfather who adopts one from the old people’s home.

 

 

21.  The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson. Ages 1+

A beautiful, simple story of a boy’s unwavering faith that the seed that he plants and cares for will grow into a carrot.

 

 

22.  Vera’s Baby Sister by Vera RosenberryAges 3+

Vera’s Baby Sister does a great job of accurately depicting the negative feelings that can accompany the birth of a younger sibling, has a heartwarming ending and stars a bean tent. If you enjoy this book, look for Vera Rides a Bike and other books featuring Vera.

23.  I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Ages 5+

I Want My Hat Back is a brilliantly crafted story that reminds me of the carefully worded and illustrated stories of Leo Lionni, without the deep messages. Instead, I Want My Hat Back delivers humor.

 

24.  Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen LeedyAges 5+

Loreen Leedy has devoted her writing career to creating picture books that introduce kids to a range of challenging topics, from fractions to energy to maps. Leedy has written a handful of nonfiction picture books that are true gems. Mapping Penny’s World is one of those nonfiction picture book gems, clearly and engagingly introducing kids to maps.

25.  Zen Shorts by Jon Muth. Ages 5+

A giant panda named Stillwater befriends three children and shares three short stories with beautiful messages.

 

26.  Slowly Slowly Slowly said the Sloth by Eric Carle. Ages 2+

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is better known. Do You Want to be My Friend? is more beloved by the author himself. But, Slowly Slowly Slowly said the Sloth is my favorite Eric Carle book. Carle’s illustrations of rainforest animals are beautiful. I like the rhythm of the book and enjoy reading it aloud. Most of all, I love the message about being true to yourself and about the value of moving slowly.

27.  Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel IsadoraAges 2+

A simple yet moving story about a young boy who longs to play the trumpet like the trumpeter he hears at the Zig Zag Jazz Club. The illustrations are remarkably varied and incorporate graphic patterns that give readers a sense of jazz music playing behind the text.

28.  I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren ChildAges 3+

Lauren Child has a distinctive voice and illustration style. My children cannot get enough of her offbeat stories about brother and sister team, Charlie and Lola.

 

29.  Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. Ages 5+

An extremely satisfying read. My kids and I both enjoy reading this humorous tale with instructions for turning a best enemy into a best friend. Enemy Pie is a fantastic book to read during the summer, full of mentions of baseball, tree forts, and other summery fun.

 

30.  Fox by Margaret Wild. Ages 7+ 

A powerful picture book about friendship, jealousy, and betrayal. Fox reminds me that picture books are for adults as well as for children.

 

31.  Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham. Ages 1+

A delightful story about an amiable man named Mr. Gumpy who agrees to take two children and a slew of animals on a boat ride. While the outcome of the boat trip is predictable, my 2-year-old son is superbly entertained each time we read about Mr. Gumpy’s boat tipping. John Burningham’s illustrations are rich, textured and beautiful.

32.  Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney. Ages 2+

A story about a boy Max who imitates the sounds he hears in his neighborhood by hitting a variety of objects with his two sticks. A lovely story about music found and made everywhere. Max Found Two Sticks is well paced and fun to read aloud.

 

33.  Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer. Ages 4+

My view of this book is colored by the fact that it is my husband’s favorite book. My husband and children have a lot of fun laughing at Olivia’s efforts to imitate an entire marching band. This is one in a series of books about Olivia – a spunky character who Ian Falconer brings to life with his fantastic illustrations.

 

34.  The Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid. Ages 5+

An adventure story about a subway mouse who sets off one day in search of a mysterious world that he has heard exists outside the subway system. While The Subway Mouse lacks a strong arch of a storyline, it draws readers into a convincingly rendered underground world. Barbara Reid’s illustrations made of plasticine and found objects are impressive.

35.  Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. Ages 6+

I laughed out loud reading Diary of the Worm for the first time…and the second…and the third. Diary of a Worm is a series of jokes told in the form of a diary written by a worm. This is a very fun book to read aloud to a group of 7 to 9-year-old kids.


36.  Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho and Holly Meade. Ages 2+

A father and daughter engage in a playful game of jut-ay (Thai hide-and-seek). This is one of my children’s favorite books; they enjoy searching for the daughter hidden on each page. Illustrator Holly Meade received a Caldecott Honor for Hush!: A Thai Lullaby, and Meade’s illustrations in Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek are equally impressive — colorful and textured, with unusual perspectives.

37.  The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Ages 3+

A magical story about a young boy who discovers a patch of wildflowers growing on an abandoned railway. When the boy cares for the wildflowers, they begin to thrive and transform the city. Peter Brown has imagined and created a extraordinary green city that my children are delighted to visit.

 

38.  Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni. Ages 4+ 

A masterfully told story about identity and friendship. In Fish is Fish, a fish dreams of exploring the world outside the water like his good friend the tadpole turned frog. One day, with a great whack of his tail, the fish leaps out of the water only to find himself laying on the grass gasping for air.

39.  Stella: Star of the Sea by Marie-Louise Gay. Ages 4+

The story of a boy Sam’s first trip to the sea that features entertaining banter between Sam and his older sister Stella and beautiful illustrations. In Stella: Star of the Sea, Sam is full of questions about the sea, and Stella is full of delightfully absurd answers.Stella: Star of the Sea spawned a series of books about this unforgettable pair of siblings.

40.  Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Cristina Bjork and Lena Anderson. Ages 6+

An enchanting story of a girl’s trip to Paris and to Monet’s garden in Giverny. Linnea in Monet’s Garden does a wonderful job of introducing kids to impressionism and Monet as well as helping kids imagine what it would be like to travel to Paris. Linnea’s curiosity is contagious.

 

41. Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming. Ages 1+

A jaunty rhyming book that is very fun to read aloud to toddlers and also great for sharing with kids just learning to read. Barnyard Banter features richly colored and textured illustrations that Denise Fleming created by pouring colored paper pulp through hand-cut stencils.

 

42.  Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. Ages 3+ 

This story is clearly set in a different era…an era when people dressed up to visit the Public Garden, police officers made phone calls from police booths, and it was natural for dad to go off on an adventure and leave mom to raise the kids. Yet, McCloskey’s phenomenal illustrations and his story of eight ducklings’ adventures as they walk through the streets of Boston still captivate kids. According to Anita Silvey, McCloskey bought ducks, raised them in his bathtub, and fed them red wine to slow them down so that he could practice drawing the Mallards.

43.  The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons. Ages 4+ 

Gail Gibbons has churned out nonfiction books about nearly every topic a kid could want to read about. However, in The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree Gibbons does more than simply convey information. Instead, Gibbons created a portrait of a young boy’s attachment to his apple tree that charms.

44.  The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein. Ages 4+  

A joyful adventure story about a French aerialist Philippe Petit who walked on a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. From the slough of concept books and predictable storybooks written for children, this suspenseful and unique story sticks out.

 

45.  Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges and Sophie Blackall. Ages 4+

A moving true story about a girl Ruby who lived in Old China during a time when girls were expected to get married rather than attend university. Shirin Yim Bridges teamed up with one of my favorite illustrators, Sophie Blackall, and Blackall created beautiful illustrations for this book. In a world of muted greens and yellows, young Ruby, always dressed in red, stands out.

46.  Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert. Ages 2+

A simple story about a child planting a maple tree that is a wonderful choice for celebrating fall leaves. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf features colorful and textured collages created with seeds, roots, fabric, ribbon, wire, paper, plastic, cardboard, watercolors, crayons, pencils, pens, and oil pastels. Lois Ehlert is one of the best author/illustrators creating books for the one to three-year-old set, and this is my favorite Lois Ehlert book.

47.  A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead and Erin Stead. Ages 3+

A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a very sweet book about a friendship between a zookeeper named Amos and the animals he cares for. When Amos gets sick, his friends elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinocerous and owl come to his house to comfort and care for him. Erin Stead’s lovely, layered illustrations convincingly depict the friendship between Amos and the zoo animals. The Steads have only begun, but thus far they seem to be at their best when they team up, as they did to create this gem of a book.

48.  Crazy Hair Day by Barney Saltzberg. Ages 3+

A school story about a boy who mistakenly dresses up for crazy hair day on the wrong day. Crazy Hair Day includes a super-satisfying mix of humor (sure to generate roomfuls of giggles) and emotion (that kids can related to). The surprise ending will leave readers feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Oft repeated line from this book: “Is that a hairdo or a hair don’t?”

49.  Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams and Catherine Stock. Ages 4+

A story about a young Malawi boy who goes to great lengths to collect wire to make a galimoto, a toy vehicle. With industriousness and creativity, the young boy creates an impressive toy.

 

50.  This is London by M. Sasek. Ages 5+

This is London is one in a series of fantastic picture books by M. Sasek that introduces readers to famous cities around the world. Sasek is a witty tourguide. This is London begins with a spread that is entirely grey: “This is London,” reads the caption. “But don’t worry, it is hidden in fog like this only a few times a year in winter.” Although many facts are out-of-date, Sasek’s mid century modern illustrations of London scenes look fresh and new.

51.  Snow by Uri Shulevitz. Ages 3+

This is the picture book that I pull out when the first snowflakes of the season fall. Uri Shulevitz does a wonderful job of capturing the magic of the first snowfall when you are a child.

 

52.  Toot & Puddle: You Are My Sunshine by By Holly Hobbie. Ages 3+

One of a series of books about two adorable pigs, Toot (the adventurer) and Puddle (the homebody), who are best friends. In all Toot and Puddle books, the two friends are affectionate, picking out thoughtful gifts, writing postcards to eachother, and looking out for each other. In Toot and Puddle: You are my Sunshine, Puddle goes to great lengths to try to cheer up his friend Toot.

53.  Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. Ages 4+

 A collection of five, often-humorous, short stories about two best friends Frog and Toad. Frog and Toad Together has well-developed characters; lovely, muted illustrations; and stories with creative, quirky plots. See also Frog and Toad Are FriendsDays with Frog and Toad, and Frog and Toad All Year.

 

54.  Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. Ages 4+ 

In Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Lilly gets in trouble with her teacher for not listening, and Lilly’s very understanding teacher and parents teach her to take responsibility for her actions. Kevin Henkes is great at telling stories that are at once humorous and capture childhood emotions.

55.  Are We There Yet? by Alison LesterAges 5+

 I have always liked books that begin with maps, and Are We There Yet? begins with a map, a map depicting the route eight-year-old Grace’s family takes during their three-month family vacation around Australia. Are We There Yet? enables readers to imagine what it might really be like to take a road trip in Australia. It begins with a fun description of the fold-out camper that Grace’s family travels in and then briefly and humorously describes each of Grace’s family’s adventures.

56.  Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. Ages 2+

Bear Snores OnA fun story told in rhyme about animals who seek cover from a storm in a bear’s den. The animals enjoy tea, popcorn, honey nuts and a warm fire, while the bear sleeps through the party. Few stories are more fun to read aloud.

57.  Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Ages 4+

Where the Wild Things AreA story about a boy Max who, when sent to his room, sails to the land of the wild things and leads a wild ruckus. When Max is ready to return home, he is wecomed back to the comfort of his bedroom where a warm supper is waiting for him. Childhood emotions are allowed to freely express themselves in the pages of Maurice Sendak’s book. Where the Wild Things Are feautures beautiful, textured illustrations and lyrical prose.

58.  Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman. Ages 4+

Boundless Grace Grace is a wonderful character — creative, adventurous and thoughtful. In Boundless Grace, Grace is invited to visit her father, who she has not seen for years, in The Gambia. Boundless Grace is a compelling story about Grace trying to make sense of her family after meeting her father’s new wife and children.

59.  The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver JeffersAges 5+

The Incredible Book Eating BoyA story about a boy who devours books — no really devours books — until he begins to feel sick to his stomach. While the incredible book eating boy loves the knowledge he acquires by eating books, he knows that he must find a better way. The Incredible Book Eating Boy is a one-of-a-kind tale that celebrates reading. I am a big fan of Oliver Jeffers’ minimal designs, beautiful color pallets, tender characters and offbeat humor.

60.  Grandpa’s Angel by Jutta Bauer. Ages 7+

Grandpa's AngelA humorous and, to me, comforting tale about the narrator’s grandfather and an angel who looked after the grandfather throughout his life. While the words tell one story of disaster miraculously avoided and unexplained good luck, the illustrations tell another story of a hardworking and resourceful angel responsible for the grandfather’s good fortune.

10 More Books That You Definitely Should Not Miss

These 10 books were recommended most frequently by my book-loving and discerning readers! Thank you to all of you who participated in our year-end poll. It was fun!

The GruffaloThe Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.“Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when the quick-thinking mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake and a hungry gruffalo…” *

 

Owl BabiesOwl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson.  “A charming, reassuring book for any child who has ever worried about Mummy leaving them alone.”

 

The Very Hungry CaterpillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. “Its imaginative illustration and clever cut-out detail charts the progress of a very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week.”

BeeguBeegu by Alexis Deacon. “This [is a] simple, bittersweet picture book that shows us our world through the three eyes of an innocent outsider with the help of stylish art and a wry, understated text.”


Brown Bear Brown Bear
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. 
“On each page, we meet a new animal who nudges us onward to discover which creature will show up next: ‘Blue Horse, Blue Horse, What do you see? I see a green frog looking at me.’”

 

A Bit LostA Bit Lost by Chris Haughton. “Uh-oh! Little Owl has fallen from his nest and landed with a whump on the ground. Now he is lost, and his mommy is nowhere to be seen!…A cast of adorable forest critters in neon-bright hues will engage little readers right up to the story’s comforting, gently wry conclusion.”

Green Eggs and HamGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. “Sam-I-Am mounts a determined campaign to convince another Seuss character to eat a plate of green eggs and ham.”

 

 

Harry the Dirty DogHarry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion. “Harry is a white dog with black spots who loves everything . . . except baths. So one day before bath time, Harry runs away…”

 

 

Mog the Forgetful CatMog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr. “Mog always seems to be in trouble because she is such a very forgetful cat. But one night, when an uninvited visitor turns up at the house, Mog’s forgetfulness comes in very handy!”

 

The Snail and the WhaleThe Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. “One tiny snail longs to see the world and hitches a lift on the tail of a whale. Together they go on an amazing journey, past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins, and the little snail feels so small in the vastness of the world. But when disaster strikes and the whale is beached in a bay, it’s the tiny snail who saves the day.”

* The book descriptions for these last 10 books come from Goodreads. Click on the bookcover images to read more about these books on Goodreads.

81 Responses to Top 60

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  2. Linda says:

    I can’t find one of my favorites- something like “The House That Tony Built” about a boy who kept getting in the way of family members as they were moving into a new house, so he went into the woods and built his own house. Does anyone remember this? I think it was written by a celebrity, but I can’t find it. Thanks!

  3. Stephanie says:

    @jennifer weller if you still post on here. ..I have a book that’s driving me crazy. ..its about a little boy who is trying to hide but his body parts keep peeking out… something like “he tried hiding behind the wall but out peeked (or poked ) his belly button” etc… any thoughts? ?

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  5. Denise says:

    trying to find the name of a book about a little girl who digs an elephant out of her backyard. Her name was Balooky (?).

  6. a says:

    It’s hard to come by well-informed people on this topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

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  8. Emily says:

    I have a few to add since so many of my favorites have already hit the list(s):

    The Cinder Eyed Cats and Time Flies, both by Eric Rohman (my favorite author!)
    The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis and S.D. Schindler
    The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool and Alison Jay
    The Wall by Peter Sis (love his work)
    If you give a mouse a cookie by Laura Numeroff (all of the series)
    The mole sisters and the rainy day by Roselyn Schwartz (all of the series)
    Gossie by Olivier Dunrea (all of the series)
    Weslandia by Paul Fleischman
    One grain of rice by Demi
    Moo, Baa, La, la, la by Sandra Boynton

    Love this site!

  9. Ardine Curio says:

    Great list! I am trying to remember the title of a book I used to read to my son who is now 12. It was about a little girl who either took a penguin home from a field trip she was on or he followed her home and she tried to keep him. She tried to keep her bedroom cold so he wouldn’t shed and he would be happy. She realized after a while she could not do it and he would have to go . She gave him either a hat or a scarf and later on TV she saw a group of penguins and 1 was wearing her exact hat or scarf and she knew it was him! I would love to buy it again as a special gift for my son. ( long story behind it) any help would be very much appreciated!

    • Jennifer Weller says:

      Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon sounds similar to this, but not quite the same. Give it a look. Great book about friendships that have to change but love still exists from afar.

  10. Lili says:

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone knows about an old picture book (don’t remember the name) which is about a girl in a school. In this school someone (the girl or a teacher) twists (anagram twists?) the words such as “jumble, mumble.” Any help would be appreciated.

  11. Allison says:

    GREAT list! I’m so happy to have found your blog. You’ve got some books on here that are on my favorite list and that I rarely see talked about. Plus, you have many I haven’t seen. Thanks so much!

  12. Heather says:

    Was it the McDuff books by Rosemary Wells? “McDuff Moves In”. She also wrote and illustrated the Max and Ruby series which might be where you are getting the Max from?

  13. Charlene says:

    There is a picture book that I read to my daughter a long time ago. It was about a dog, a white west highland terrier I think , who got lost and ended up being taken in by a couple. I think it was written within the last 10 or more years but the setting seemed to be in and around the 1940′s according to the dress and cars. The illustrations were gorgeous and the dog was particularly endearing. There were a few books with the same dog, one in which the couple had a baby and another one in which he gets lost. In this one, an old woman on a motorcycle helps him to find his way home. (He barks to indicate which way to turn on which streets. Quite cute.) I had thought the dog’s name might have been Max but having checked several sites I’m not sure about the name anymore. If anyone recognizes this book from my brief description I would really appreciate hearing from you.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Does anyone remember a book about a boy who wants to go to a costume party but is too poor to buy a costume? And all the kids in the village give him a piece of their costume. And he sews all the pieces together to make a beautiful multi-colored costume. I would appreciate if anyone could help me. Thanks.

    • Becca says:

      I suspect you might be looking for Harlequin, the Gift of Many Colors by Remy Charlip and Burton Supree.

      Hope this helps:)

  15. Heather says:

    Thanks to you and everyone who gave their list of favorites. We’ve read a lot of them but you’ve now given our family a couple months of library holds full of quality reading! I’m finding it harder and harder to find good books. We’ve read about 2000 unique picture books in the last 3 years (my daughter LOVES to read) and when I do searches the same books come up over and over again. Admittedly they are the best of the best but it’s refreshing to find some different yet highly rated titles to try. So thanks!!!!

    Does anyone else use Goodreads to keep lists of books they’ve read or want to read, rate and review them? I’d never remember them all otherwise.

    • I just started using Goodreads this year, mainly to keep track of the books we read together. Up to 230 unique picture books for this year, but many of them are read again and again and again of course :-)

      • Heather says:

        Of course! :) How many times my daughter requests to read a book in the two weeks we have it from the library is part of the indicator of how much or little she enjoyed a book. How else does everyone find great books to read? Anyone want to connect on Goodreads to share what they are reading? I’d love to know everyone’s secrets to finding all the hidden gems! :) Does anyone walk around the book stores with their smart phone and photograph the covers of all the new releases and recommended reads? I think my husband thinks I’m nuts!! :D

    • Becca says:

      If you haven’t found it yet, vintage Kids Books My Kid Loves is a blog worth checking out for great suggestions. Since she focuses on vintage, many of them are lesser knowns that don’t make it to the typical modern day “best books” lists but are still enchanting.

  16. Lynn Connolly says:

    I am a desperate granny! Does anyone know a storybook about a little girl who wishes she could have a star of her own. She gets one (can’t remember how) and keeps it in a box in her room but each time she looks at it its light has faded a little more. She learns that to be beautiful she has to give it back to the night sky. I read it to my class of 5 year olds about six or seven years ago. Please help if you can. Thanks

  17. Hi, Amy! Here’s a recent picture book, ideal for Black History Month ahead, you might want to check out. Confession: I’m the editor of the indie press that published it.

    Didn’t We Have Fun! is a vibrant, colorful look at African-American family life and culture, seen through the eyes of an accomplished artist. Hilda Robinson’s wonderful paintings, based on her memories of growing up in a loving family in Philadelphia, offer very positive images of African-American urban family & neighborhood life. The images of family life, reading, studying, chores, playground games, and neighborhood social events are rich and warmly drawn in a jazzy, impressionistic style.

    You can see a few of the images at the artist’s website:
    http://hildarobinson.wordpress.com/

    (Just let me know if you’d like to see a review copy.)
    Philip Martin, Editorial Director, Crickhollow Books

  18. lori says:

    Santa’s Book of Names, Rapunzel (Paul Zelinsky), Goldilocks (Emma Chichester Clark), Out and About (Shirley Hughes), Superhero ABC (Bob McLeod), Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, Over and Under the Snow (Kate Messner), The Applie Pie Tree, The Hullabaloo ABC, The Little Wild Horse, Chicken Soup with Rice. — oops that’s 11!

  19. Lisa says:

    How Droofus the Dragon Lost his Head by Bill Peet
    Go, Dog. Go! Eastman – taught generations of my family and friends to read. :)

    • Tanya says:

      I almost cried when I read your comment. I’ve been collecting my old storybook favorites and until I read what you wrote I’d completely forgotten about How Droofus the Dragon Lost his Head. It was one of my very favorites. Thank you so much.

  20. Liz says:

    My top 10 in no particular order except how they come into my head: Bear on a Bike (Stella Blackstone/Debbie Harter), Herb the Vegetarian Dragon (Jules Bass/Debbie Harter), The Gift (Carol Ann Duffy/Rob Ryan), We’re Riding on a Caravan (Lauri Krebs/Helen Cann), Lola’s Fandango (Anna Witte/Micha Archer), The Boy Who Grew Flowers (Jen Wojtowicz/Steve Adams), Jack and the Beanstalk (Richard Walker/Niamh Sharkey), and round out the list with anything illustrated by Miriam Latimer (Ruby’s School Walk, Ruby’s Sleepover, Shopping with Dad, Emily’s Tiger, The Prince’s Bedtime, Shrinking Sam). More than 10, but we love them all!

  21. Asari says:

    This is a great site! Here are a few favorites:
    **Picture Books**
    Fortunately – Remy Charlip (a classic)
    Shrek – William Steig (“Pheasant, peasant? What a pleasant present!”)
    Tuesday – David Wiesner (you and your kids can take turns making up the words)
    Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or, There Must Be More to Life – Maurice Sendak (An overlooked gem from Sendak)
    Paper Bag Princess – Robert N. Munsch and Michael Martchenko (Not just for girls!)
    **Chapter Book**
    Catwings – Ursula LeGuin
    Seven Day Magic – Edgar Eager (Anything by him is good, but this is my favorite)
    The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles – Julie Edwards (aka Julie Andrews! A fun magic adventure in the Edgar Eager, E. Nesbit tradition)
    The Enchanted Castle – E. Nesbit ( “Aa oo re o me me oo a oo ho el? ” The Ugly-Wugglies might freak out little ones, but my daughter got a kick out of it at 7)
    The Island of the Aunts – Eva Ibbotsen (Pure loveliness)

    My daughter loved puzzles and maze books when she was smaller – she had one copy of an Usborne “Young Puzzle Adventures” book that was so well-loved the seam split and the pages started falling out. If you ever start a “Top 60″ list for series books, I would recommend them!

  22. ReadItDaddy says:

    Late entry, relatively new book and perfect for the time of year, ‘When it Snows’ by Richard Collingridge. Deserves a place right up there with the best christmassy snowy books. Absolutely beautiful, just check out the trailer: http://youtu.be/h-fA4cL5fXM

  23. lishacauthen says:

    Who can read this and resist putting their opinion?
    1. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss–I can still recite the whole dang thing by heart. My youngest is 19.
    2. Jamberry by Bruce Degen–beautiful, dancing rhyme
    3. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey–kerplink kerplank kerplunk
    4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak–deliciously subversive
    5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle–fantastically designed book
    6. Those Terrible Toy-Breakers by David McPhail–charming drawings, cute story
    7. The Tawny Scrawny Lion–Little Golden Book–kids called our own dinner stew “carrot stew” after the book
    8. Barn Dance by Bill Martin jr. and John Archambault–written as a poem that is in the rhythm of a square dance. A miraculous book.
    9. Up and Down On The Merry-Go-Round by Bill Martin jr. and John Archambault–another poem written in the rhythm of a merry-go-round going aROUND and aROUND. Brilliant.
    10.Shoes by Elizabeth Winthrop–rhyming, illustrated by William Joyce. Toe-wiggly.

    Egad, there’s still King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Elizabeth Winthrop and Christmas! and Oh, Were They Ever Happy by Peter Spier and what about The Island of the Skog by Stephen Kellog?

    Stop me, somebody. Please.

  24. Kimberly says:

    I’m excited about your list and also the reader recommendations. Here, in no particular order, are ten books that we love in our home:
    1. Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn
    2. Mabel O’Leary Put Peas in Her Ear-y by Mary Delaney
    3. The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman
    4. Mary Had a Little Lamp by Jack Lechner
    5. How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
    6. If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
    7. Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox
    8. Miss Suzy by Miriam Young
    9. When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach
    10. Double Trouble in Walla Walla by Andrew Clements

  25. L says:

    great list with many of my favorites already on there! and I like the 60 over 50 thoughts. here are ten more (in no particular order):
    The Little Bit Scary People by Emily Jenkins/Alexandra Boiger
    Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever by Julianne Moore/LeUyen Pham
    Nora the Mind Reader by Orit Gidal/Aya Gordon-Noy
    Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley/Dan Santat
    Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother on Earth by Kate Klise/M. Sarah Klise
    Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
    Oscar and the Moon Cats by Linda Gene Rymond/Nicoletta Ceccoli
    Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson/Sophie Blackall
    Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio/LeUyen Pham
    Look, a Book! By Libby Gleeson/Freya Blackwood

  26. Liz says:

    One more – Monkey and Me, kids love that one too!

  27. Kary Henry says:

    LOVE these ideas! Thank you for the post. I’ll have to add a few of my own (even if they do repeat a few others from the comments section): We Are in a Book (Mo Willems), The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson), The Quiltmaker’s Gift (Jeff Brumbeau), Officer Buckle and Gloria (Peggy Rathmann), Snowballs (Lois Ehlert), Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes (Eric Litwin), Pouch! (David Ezra Stein), Nothing to Do (Audrey Wood), The Puddle Pail (Elisa Kleven), Think Big (Liz Garton Scanlon) and The Relatives Came (Cynthia Rylant).

  28. These are not necessarily books I’ve reviewed, but picture books that have resonated with me and are firmly in my heart. Mostly because of my son or students loving them, I guess. This is from memory so apologies for scratchy details or spelling errors.
    1. Are You My Mother, P.D.Eastman
    2. The Elephant and the Bad Baby, Vipont and Briggs
    3. Owl Babies, Martin Waddell
    4. The Jolly Postman and other people’s letters, Ahlbergs
    5. Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak
    6. Possum Magic, Mem Fox and Julie Vivas
    7. Feathers for Phoebe, Rod Clement
    8. How to Heal a Broken Wing, Bob Graham
    9. Mirror, Jeannie Baker
    10. For All Creatures, Millard and Cool

    • Amy says:

      Thanks for sharing these, Susan! I am surprised that you are one of the first if not the first to mention WTWTA. More on that later…

  29. emma says:

    1.Beegu by Alexis Deacon
    2.Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
    3.The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson
    4.Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
    5.Walking Through The Jungle by Julie Lacome
    6.Brown Bear What Can You See by Bill Martin Junior
    7.Wilfrid Gordon Mcdonald Partridge by Mem Fox
    8.Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
    9. The Great Pet Sale by Mick Inkpen
    10. One is a Snail Ten is a Crab by April Pulley Sayer & Jeff Sayer

  30. Only ten? That’s impossible! But here’s a non-definitive selection:
    1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
    2. The Elephant and the Bad Baby (Elfrida Vipont)
    3. Jack and the Flum-Flum Tree (Julia Donaldson)
    4. Kipper (Nick Inkpen)
    5. Any of the ‘Maisy’ books (Lucy Cousins)
    6. Harry the Dirty Dog (Gene Zion)
    7. Pumpkin Soup (Helen Cooper)
    8. Goldilocks and Just the One Bear (Leigh Hodgkinson)
    9. Zerald’s Ogre (Tomi Ungerer)
    10. Owl Babies (Martin Waddell)
    But that’s really a very random selection- there are loads more I could have included!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks, Elli! You have a few classics on your list. The kids and I enjoy Harry and the Dirty Dog. I do not know how I haven’t heard of Zerald’s Ogre. I’m going to go look that one up now!

  31. Kathy says:

    Agh, forgot a classic – The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore!

  32. Kathy says:

    Ooh, lots I’ll have to check out! Some have already been mentioned but I’d add:

    Slow Loris by Alexis Deacon
    Eric by Shaun Tan
    Beegu by Alexis Deacon
    I want my hat back by Jon Klassen
    The Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley
    The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
    The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers
    Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
    Dear Greenpeace by Simon James
    Cops and Robbers by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

    • Amy says:

      Please, feel free to re-mention! Those books and authors mentioned by more than one of you will get a bigger shout out in my December 1st post.

  33. Steve says:

    Limelight Larry, The Gruffalo, I want my Hat Back, Mook, Oh no George

  34. Kate Clarke says:

    Oooo, tough to limit it to ten!!!! Here goes though…..
    1} Six dinner Sid by Inga Moore
    2} Elmer by David McKee
    3} Owl babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson
    4} The Winter Bear by Ruth Craft and Erik Blegvad
    5} Goodnight moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
    6} Harry the dirty dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy graham
    7} Little beaver and the echo by Amy MacDonald and Sarah Fox-Davies
    8} Bringing down the moon by Jonathan Emmett and Vanessa Cabban
    9} Hand hand fingers thumb by Al Perkins and Eric Gurney
    10} Eric by Shaun Tan
    Glad Frederick was already on because I love him….but now I’m sad because I haven’t been able to put all my other favouritest favourites on, like Dogger, and all the old bear books, and Hairy McClary from Donaldson’s dairy, and All the other Dr Seuss books ever, and anything illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith, and…..well I just think everyone with children needs extra specially big library cards really, so they can take out about 12 books at a time….that way they might just get through all the wonderful picture books out there by the time their kids are 20! Hee hee. ;o)

    • Amy says:

      It is pretty much impossible to stick to 10. Thanks for sharing your picks! Our current library lets us check out 100 books at a time per library card — which is pretty amazing.

  35. Book SNiffer says:

    AND most importantly a grizzly no holds barred traditional tale of monsters and madness, The Fearsome Beasty by Giles Paley-Philips , It has an axe weilding granny in it AND eyeball stew!

  36. Book SNiffer says:

    So many to choose from!
    my ten would be…
    The Frank Show By David Mackintosh
    Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
    Silly Doggy by Adam Stower
    The Mole Who Knew It Was None Of His Business
    A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton
    I Want My Hat Back – By Jon Klassen
    Sometimes by Emma Dodd
    Alphabet by Paul Thurlby
    Foxly’s Feast by Owen Davey
    Winston Was Worried, By Pamela Duncan-Edwards and Benji Davies

  37. Su says:

    I would definitely add ‘The Library Lion’ by Michelle Knudsen and Kevin Hawkes, ‘Tiddler’ by Julia Donaldson and the Frog Band stories by Jim Smith – ‘The Frog Band and the Onion Seller’, ‘The Frog Band and the Mystery of Lion Castle’ and ‘Alphonse and the Stonehenge Mystery’

  38. Lisa says:

    Great list and your web site is a wonderful resource! Many of your top 60 are my favorites as well. I would definitely add my newest favorite Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin (all three currently released), Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco, We are in a Book! by Mo Willems and The Gruffalo bby Julia Donaldson.

  39. My ten not already on the list would be:

    Big Sister and Little Sister – Charlotte Zolotow & Martha Alexander
    Dogger – Shirley Hughes
    Hop Into Bedtime – Clara Vulliamy
    The Kiss That Missed – David Melling
    Meg and Mog – Helen Nicol & Jan Pienkowski
    Mog the Forgetful Cat – Judith Kerr
    Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
    The Spider and the Fly – Mary Howitt & Tony DiTerlizzi
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
    Winnie the Witch – Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul

    Many of the 50 already on your list I’ve not even heard of, so my list would be so very different. Really enjoyed you sharing all these – where has the year gone?! ;-)

  40. Thanks to your past recommendation we spend a lot of time enjoying Toot & Puddle books. I think my favorite is Toot & Puddle Let it Snow by Holly Hobbie. It’s touching to watch the care they take with each other. It’s also a great read as winter approaches. I notice you don’t have any Dr. Seuss books on your list and that may be by design. But I love to read The Lorax to my children. In ten minutes it taught them more about taking care of the earth than anything I’ve ever told or showed them. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a beautiful love story and always makes me cry. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack, because it’s fun to stand up and have a wild rumpus spontaneous dance party with my kids.

  41. Brooke says:

    Amy, it was so great to meet you at the conference! I love so so many of the titles you have already put up. And I’m coming up with a list to email it to you. Yay for picture books!

  42. Sharon Y says:

    Many of yours are our favorite also. Thank you for your recommendations! We love: freight train ( Donald crews), Jamberry ( Bruce degan) , dinosaurs dinosaurs (Barton). Caps for sale (slodbodkina) ox cart man(Donald hall), stone soup (? Can’t remember)
    The mitten ( jan Brett), pancakes pancakes (Eric carle) the spooky tree ( berenstein) my dog Rosie ( Harper and moser) and so manyore. 10 is NOT enough!!!

    • Amy says:

      Great suggestions, Sharon! I know 10 isn’t truly enough. It took a lot of mulling and fiddling for me to narrow my list of great books down to 60…and still I try to avoid claiming that these are my favorite books.

  43. Liz says:

    This is sort of like trying to choose a favorite children, but–Frog and Toad! Frog and Toad! Or Mouse Tales! (But I have a sneaky feeling that one of those is behind the curtain.) And probably something by Jon Agee and something by Steve Jenkins. I have plenty of off-the-wall favorites too, but it’s harder to find consensus about that sort of thing.

  44. Mister Dog, Eloise, Rain Makes Applesauce, When the Sky is Like Lace, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing, Bread and Jam for Frances, Frog and Toad are Friends, Miss Nelson is Missing. (and I can think of a jillion newer books, but these are old favorites I couldn’t live without)

  45. readitdaddy says:

    Harold and the Purple Crayon, Harry by the Sea (in fact any of the Harry books), Mog the Forgetful Cat, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Black Dog. Ack, too many to think of but a great looking list so far.

  46. Great list! Two of my all-time favorite picture books are Miss Rumphius (Barbara Cooney) and the Ox Cart Man (Donald Hall.) We also love the Gruffalo (Donaldson), Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (Henkes) and I Took the Moon for a Walk (Carolyn Curtis.) Good luck choosing the next 10!

    ~ Lauren
    365 Great Children’s Books

  47. Liz says:

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Dr Seuss’s ABC, The Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Numbers book, How to Catch a Falling Star, Goodnight Moon, The Gruffalo, In the Attic, A Bit Lost, The Train Ride I suppose a lot of those are obvious classics? Excellent and much loved by my two anyway! Fantastic resource by the way, I always check your site when book buying, can’t think how you find the time, well done!

  48. Leanne says:

    Wonderful list! My daughter and I like to read George and Martha – they are hilarious!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Great idea!! But surely you must include at least one Babette Cole book?!! Dr.Dog, Princess Smartypants, The Smelly Book etc…
    http://www.babette-cole.com/shop

  50. Kimberly says:

    I just found your website. What fun! I, too, am an avid seeker of great picture books for my three kids. I have compiled a spreadsheet of about 100 of our favorite picture books. With the formatting, I don’t think I could cut and paste it here, but I could send it to you via email, if you’d like.

  51. mindbde2soul says:

    I had a book that almost no one has ever heard of, but my dad located a old library copy for me– A Ghost in a Four Room Apartment by Ellen Raskin. I just adored it, but since it’s not in print anymore I might not put it on the list. Of course, as an elementary school teacher I focused a lot on certain authors. We would do an author of the month. Some of these were- Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Tomi Depaola, Kevin Henkes…and more. If I had to add any book- only one I’d have to add Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman, but it’s so hard to just pick 1- I can see why you said 60.

  52. Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, The Incredibly Book Eating Boy, Tyrranosaurus Drip!

  53. Elaine says:

    I love your website. I didn’t see my all-time favorite picture books, so I thought I’d share them: Boxes for Katje, Train to Somewhere, and Leah’s Pony. I have many other favorites, but those are my top three.

    • Amy says:

      Excellent! My son and I are reading lots of books about U.S. history right now, so I will stick these on the to read list.

      What books would others put on their Top 60 booklists? What books do you think are still to come on this one? (I have already chosen the 60 books, so you will not influence my choices.)

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