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Classic Picture Books that Kids Will Love to Read Again and Again

When it comes to classic picture books, everyone has an opinion.

What are classic picture books anyway? Is it a collection of your own childhood favorites that you want to share with your kids? Is it decided by the American Library Association? The Caldecott Medal?

How do you decide what qualifies as a classic? All of the above can factor into it, in my opinion.

Don’t miss the free preschool book report printable below!

I think another good test is what each individual reader likes — whether it’s funny or sad or unique or has a life lesson. All of these things make up classic picture books. All of these things tend to stand the test of time, which can make a book an enduring classic.

{Grab your free printable guide to classic books for all ages right here!}

Even if a book is only a classic in your own family, the important thing is to read together. It’s the quality time you share together over books that really makes them memorable.

Favorite classic picture books that kids will love

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Are you teaching a little one to read? You’ll want to take a look at these sight words for 3 year olds for guidance. I also recommend these FREE READING RESOURCES by Reading Eggs. You can also use these resources for teaching literacy.

Classic Picture Books

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter.  Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one? Robert McCloskey is one of our favorite authors and this has been a sentimental favorite for all of us.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

In this lively alphabet rhyme, the letters of the alphabet race up the cocunut tree. Will there be enough room? Oh, no – Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom!

preschool book report
Download your FREE printable preschool book report by clicking the image!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

If food dropped like rain from the sky, wouldn’t it be marvelous! Or would it? It could, after all, be messy. And you’d have no choice. What if you didn’t like what fell? Or what if too much came? Have you ever thought of what it might be like to be squashed flat by a pancake? This is one that can be compared with the movie adaptation, too.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

With the important pre-reading concepts of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, this picture book has long been used as a beginning reader.

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

This easy-to-read, must-have classic about a baby bird in search of his mother is perfect for every day. One of the first books I read on my own when I was little, it also became the first book my daughters read on their own! Another sentimental favorite.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

In this classic of children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

If a hungry little mouse shows up on your doorstep, you might want to give him a cookie. And if you give him a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk. He’ll want to look in a mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache, and then he’ll ask for a pair of scissors to give himself a trim….

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children’s books of all time. A must for every child’s bookshelf.

Corduroy by Don Freeman

This story of a small teddy bear waiting on a department store shelf for a child’s friendship has appealed to young readers generation after generation.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Since it was first published fifty years ago, Shel Silverstein’s poignant picture book for readers of all ages has offered a touching interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack

We first discovered this one while going through Five in a Row. The tale of a little duck alone on the Yangtze River, The Story About Ping is a sweet and funny book with wonderfully rich and colorful illustrations. On a day like any other, Ping sets off from the boat he calls home with his comically large family in search of “pleasant things to eat.” On this particular day, he is accidentally left behind when the boat leaves. Undaunted, the little duck heads out onto the Yangtze in search of his family, only to find new friends and adventures–and a bit of peril–around every bend.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

All three of my daughters have enjoyed the Madeline books. Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not even mice. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers, even after 75 years!

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works in this classic Caldecott Honor book from Tomie dePaola.

Just Go to Bed (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer

Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter is not looking forward to bedtime in this classic, funny, and heartwarming book. Whether it’s time for him to stop playing and take a bath, or when he puts up a fuss getting into is jammies, both parents and children alike will relate to this beloved story. A great way to introduce children to their very own bedtime routine!

Grab your free printable guide to classic books for all ages right here!

I think your kids will enjoy adding these classic picture books to their reading list. Even if you read them over and over (which we do, right?), I think these are classic picture books you will enjoy, too.

What are your favorite classic picture books?

Grab your free printable guide to classic books for all ages right here!

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