Classic Children Picture Books (Ages 3-8)
A Kids Reads classic book is one that has been entertaining kids and parents for at least 10 years and is still going strong.
You can find discounted prices of these books by clicking on the respective links or typing the ISBN of the books in the search box at the top of this page.
1. THE SNOWMAN
by Raymond Briggs
Random House, 1978
A boy dreams that the snowman he built comes to life in this tender, wordless picture book. Their magical adventures include flying through the sky.
2. CAPS FOR SALE
by Esphyr Slobodkina
Harper & Row, HarperCollins, 1947, Paperback, 1987
In this well-loved story, mischievous monkeys make off with the cap peddler’s goods while he takes a nap.
3. CURIOUS GEORGE
by H. A. Rey
Houghton Mifflin, 1942, Paperback, 1973
Curiosity seems to get George the monkey into lots of fixes—luckily the man in the yellow hat is always around to help him out.
4. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD
by Watty Piper
illustrated by George and Doris Hauman
Platt & Munk, 1930
I think I can, I think I can…recommend this inspiring classic for all very young readers. The text is slightly challenging, the theme is ideal. Empower your little reader with THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD.
5. MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS
by Robert McCloskey
Viking, 1941, Paperback, 1976
A mother duck and her ducklings cause a traffic jam when they cross the road to the pond in Boston’s Public Gardens. This book won a Caldecott Medal for its illustrations.
6. THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
by Beatrix Potter
Peter the naughty bunny disobeys his mother and sneaks into Mr. McGregor’s for some fresh vegetables. Unfortunately he almost winds up as Mr. McGregor’s dinner. This dapper rabbit with the blue jacket is a family favorite.
7. THE NUTSHELL LIBRARY
by Maurice Sendak
Harper & Row, HarperCollins, 1962
Four tiny books-Alligators All Around: An Alphabet; Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months; One Was Johnny: A Counting Book; and Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue-fit snugly into a small box.
by Ludwig Bemelmans
Viking, 1939, Paperback, 1977
Ooo la la! The plucky French school girl shakes up the world of her fellow classmates and their headmistress Miss Clavel. Bemelman’s old-fashioned drawings of Paris landmarks and street scenes enliven this and subsequent Madeline adventures.
9. HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON
by Crockett Johnson
HarperCollins, 1955, Paperback, 1981
When he can’t sleep, Harold draws himself a series of adventures. His pictures of a rocket ship, a sail boat and stairs come to life and lead him on a fun fantasy ride.
by Don Freeman
Viking, 1968, Paperback, 1976
A lonely stuffed bear named Corduroy waits impatiently to be adopted from the department store shelf. Lucky for him, a little girl named Lisa gives him a warm and loving home.
11. THE SNOWY DAY
by Ezra Jack Keats
Viking, 1962, Paperback, 1976
Peter, a young African American boy, ventures out into the newly fallen snow wearing his spiffy red snowsuit. Peter has a grand time exploring his urban neighborhood, which has been transformed by the weather. Keats won the Caldecott Medal for this title. Other books about Peter include WHISTLE FOR WILLIE.
12. THE STORY OF FERDINAND
by Munro Leaf
illustrated by Robert Lawson
Viking, 1936, Paperback, 1977
Ferdinand the bull would much rather smell the flowers of the countryside than go into the ring for a traditional bull fight. A tender classic.
13. FREIGHT TRAIN
by Donald Crews
William Morrow & Company, 1978, Paperback, 1992
All aboard! Get ready to take your little engineer on an exciting ride down the tracks. A freight train speeds through day and night to its destination. Crews’s paintings here received a Caldecott Honor.
14. A HOLE IS TO DIG: A First Book Of Definitions
by Ruth Krauss
illustrated by Maurice Senda
Harper & Row/HarperCollins, 1962, Paperback, 1989
This classic features such childlike explanations as “a hole is to dig” and “arms are to hug.”
15. THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY
by Janette Sebring Lowrey
The puppy who dilly-dallies on the way home for dinner doesn’t get dessert. That’s a hard lesson for some pups to learn in this old favorite.
16. ONE FISH, TWO FISH, RED FISH, BLUE FISH
by Dr. Seuss
Random House, 1966
Colors, numbers and rhyming fun come together in another bouncy Seuss book.
17. GOOD DOG, CARL
by Alexandra Day
Simon & Schuster, 1991, Paperback, 1998
Lovable Rottweiler tries very hard to be good.
18. THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT
by Edward Lear
illustrated by Jan Brett
Putnam, 1991, Paperback, 1996
Lear’s classic poem about an owl in love with a lovely cat first appeared in print in 1870, but has since evolved into a dozen formats, including a board book.
by Gertrude Crampton
Gertrude Crampton took very young readers inside one of their favorite wonders —a locomotion or train — in this classic choo-choo of a tale.
20. FOX IN SOCKS
by Dr. Seuss
Random House, 1965
When my daughters were small, we played a rhyming game — fox, socks, locks, pocks, clocks — challenging one another to add to the whimsical chain. Judging from books like FOX IN SOCKS Dr. Seuss must have played it too.
21. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR
by Eric Carle
Eric Carle’s brightly colored VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR eats apples and apples and apples and leaves, and learns a lesson or two along the way. No classic list would be complete without it.
22. THE SAGGY BAGGY ELEPHANT
by Kathryn and Byron Jackson
Being different is never easy for young children. But books like Kathryn and Byron Jackson’s SAGGY BAGGY ELEPHANT help them feel a little less alone.
23. ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD VERY BAD DAY
by Judith Viorst
illustrated by Ray Cruz
Atheneum, 1972, Paperback, 1987
Everybody wakes up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes, and this picture book shows how Alexander makes it through a most maddening day.
by Kay Thompson
illustrated by Hilary Knight
Simon & Schuster, 1955
The irrepressible, six-year-old Eloise turns things upside down at New York City’s Plaza Hotel, where she lives.
25. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
by Maurice Sendak
HarperCollins, 1963, Paperback, 1988
Max, who goes to bed with no supper, has a dream filled with scary, boisterous wild things. Luckily, he takes control of the beasts and wakes up safe and sound in his bed.
26. THE STORY OF BABAR
by Jean de Brunhoff
Random House, 1966
Babar, the Elephant King and his friend Madame bring an elegance to children’s literature that is very likely without equal — even if it is hard to find an elephant tailor in real life.
27. IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE
by Laura Numeroff
illustrated by Felicia Bond
“If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk,” begins the sweet and silly story about a child trying to please a greedy little guest. Fans will go back for a second helping in the sequel IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN.
28. THE MISSING PIECE
by Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein proves being lonely may be universal, but being together with the wrong match can prove just as tough. MISSING PIECE is a great slice of hope and quiet acceptance.
29. THE LITTLE MOUSE, THE RED RIPE STRAWBERRY AND THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR
by Don and Audrey Wood
Scholastic, 1984, Paperback, 1990
With only a scattering of words, a little rodent learns not only how to protect the things he treasures, but the joy in sharing the fun.
30. PREHISTORIC PINKERTON
by Steven Kellogg
Dial, 1987, Puffin Paperback, 1993
Teething puppies can be a problem when they are in search of something to chew, you can imagine the fun between these pages as Great Dane Pinkerton seeks out a toy.
31. GEORGE SHRINKS
by William Joyce
HarperCollins, 1985, Paperback, 1987
George wakes up one morning to find that he has shrunk. Making his bed, brushing his teeth and other chores become-literally- monumental tasks. Kids will love this imaginative fantasy.
32. THE NAPPING HOUSE
by Don and Audrey Wood
Harcourt Brace & Company, 1984
A sleeping dog, cat and child wind up in bed with snoring Granny in this well-loved bedtime story.
by Frank Asch
Simon & Schuster, 1986, Paperback, 1991
Bear builds a rocket to try and taste the moon.
34. ARTHUR’S EYES
by Marc Brown
Little, Brown & Co., 1979, Paperback, 1986
Arthur has become a superstar since his PBS series began airing in 1996, but the lovable aardvark has been around in such books as ARTHUR’S EYES and ARTHUR’S HALLOWEEN for years. Kids can relate to the realistic family and school situations.
35. A CHAIR FOR MY MOTHER
by Vera B. Williams
Greenwillow, 1982, Paperback, 1988
Ever since a fire destroyed the contents of her family’s apartment, Rosa wants more than anything to buy a special chair for her hardworking mother. This moving Caldecott Honor story about a family pulling together in difficult times has a happy and uplifting ending.
36. DOCTOR DE SOTO
by William Steig
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1982, Paperback, 1990
Dr. De Soto, a very talented dentist who happens to be a mouse, risks his life to help a fox with a toothache. Steig, also well-known for his New Yorker cartoons, entertains with his masterful, humorous style.
37. THE CARROT SEED
by Ruth Krauss
HarperCollins, 1945, Paperback, 1989
A little boy’s faith brings a carrot seed to life.
38. STREGA NONA: An Old Tale
by Tomie dePaola
Simon & Schuster, 1975, Paperback, 1979
As soon as Strega Nona the witch goes out of town, her assistant Anthony makes magical mischief.
39. ANGELINA BALLERINA
by Katharine Holabird
Crown Books, 1983
A little mouse dreams of dancing her way to fame and ballerina glory.
40. THE POLAR EXPRESS
by Chris Van Allsburg
Houghton Mifflin Co, 1985
Chris Van Allsburg has been honored with awards, literary accolades and praise from his illustrious professional peers — and with good reason. THE POLAR EXPRESS, like his other books, captures a delicate magic in both text and rich illustration. A boy takes a fantastic Christmas Eve train ride and learns what it means to truly believe.
41. THE DAY JIMMY’S BOA ATE THE WASH
by Tinka Hakes Noble
illustrated by Steven Kellogg
Dial, 1980, Puffin Paperback, 1992
When Jimmy’s class visits the farm, he brings his pet boa constrictor along for the ride. After a topsy turvy mix-up, Jimmy comes home with a pig, and the farmer and his wife find a new slithering soulmate.
42. LOVE YOU FOREVER
by Robert Munsch
illustrated by Sheila McGraw
Firefly, 1986, Paperback, 1986
A mother reassures her son that no matter how old he gets or how far he goes, she will love him forever.
43. GOODNIGHT MOON
by Margaret Wise Brown
illustrated by Clement Hurd
Harper & Row/HarperCollins, 1947, Paperback, 1997
The quintessential bedtime book in which a bunny bids goodnight to room and possessions. A sweet family treasure for more than 50 years now.
44. MILLIONS OF CATS
by Wanda Gag
Coward, 1928, Putnam/Paperstar Paperback, 1996
The little old man sets out to find a cat for the little old woman and comes home with more than enough pets. Before long the fur starts flying and one kitten is left to make a home with its new family.
45. THE STORY ABOUT PING
by Marjorie Flack
illustrated by Kurt Wiese
Viking, 1933; Puffin Paperback, 1977
Things are kind of cramped on the boat in the Yangtze River where Ping the duck lives with his parents, siblings and 42 cousins. That makes it all the more exciting when one day Ping wanders off all by himself.
46. THE LITTLE HOUSE
by Viriginia Lee Burton
Houghton Mifflin, 1942
As years pass, a city springs up around the little house built on a hill. Happily, a descendant of the little house’s owner rescues the beloved dwelling and moves it back to the wide open spaces of the country.
47. MIKE MULLIGAN AND HIS STEAM SHOVEL
by Virginia Lee Burton
Houghton Mifflin, 1939
Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Mary Anne are a great team. But modern machines are threatening to put them out of business. In this inspiring story of friendship and loyalty, Mike and Mary Anne prove themselves with one last digging job.
48. BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL
by Robert McCloskey
A girl and a baby bear each go picking blueberries with their respective mothers on a summer morning in Maine. The tasty mix-up which follows makes this a favorite story to share.
49. YOU BE GOOD & I’LL BE NIGHT: Jump-on-the-Bed Poems
by Eve Merriam
illustrated by Karen Lee Schmidt
An irresistibly jaunty first poetry book for children. Wonderful verse, cheery watercolors — a can’t-miss volume.
50. THE MITTEN
by Jan Brett
Richly illustrated forest animals find and make good use of a child’s long lost mitten. A fun new sequel of sorts, THE HAT, finds a hedgehog wearing a woolen stocking as a fancy new hat.
51. CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM
by John Archambault and Bill Martin, Jr.
illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Simon & Schuster, 1989
Bright cut-paper collage illustrates this romp about the letters of the alphabet climbing up a coconut tree.
52. MOUSE PAINT
by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Harcourt Brace & Company, 1989, Paperback, 1995
Three white mice splash into buckets of red, yellow and blue paint, creating new colors-and a messy good time-as they cross paths.
53. DINOSAURS, DINOSAURS
by Byron Barton
HarperCollins, 1989, Paperback, 1993
Young paleontologists can learn the names of their favorite beasts in this beginning book about dinosaurs.
54. LON PO PO: A RED-RIDING HOOD STORY FROM CHINA
by Ed Young
Philomel, 1989, Paperback, 1996
Young’s elegant paintings for this adventure-filled folktale won the Caldecott Medal.
55. THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS INSIDE THE HUMAN BODY
by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
Scholastic, 1989, Paperback, 1990
This picture-book science series that inspired the PBS animated show makes learning fun. Ms. Frizzle’s zany field trips are hard to forget. Other great titles include THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS IN THE TIME OF THE DINOSAURS and THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS INSIDE A HURRICANE.