Top 100 Children's Books
The best children's stories have a shelf life of eternity. From 19th-century classics to contemporary sensations, from picture books for wee ones to tomes for teens, here are 100 not-to-be-missed titles for kids
2- to 4- year olds
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle, 1967. A page-turner that ignites in readers the desire to glimpse a blue horse, a purple cat and the next brilliant thing that follows.
Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?
by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Barbara Firth, 1992. Warm watercolours capture Big Bear’s tender attempts to banish all dark from the cave so Little Bear feels safe enough to sleep.
The Carrot Seed
by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Crockett Johnson, 1945. Despite warnings that the seed he planted will not grow, a little boy’s patience and self-confidence are rewarded with a carrot as big as himself.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, 1989. Infectious, playful rhyme sends the alphabet on a romp up a coconut tree.
More Stories from Today's Parent
by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, 1947. Wise Brown’s quiet poetry has lulled generations of children to sleep and enticed millions of families to hunt for the mouse on every page.
by Jeremy Tankard, 2007. When Bird wakes up, he’s too grumpy to eat, play or even fly, and instead starts stomping through the forest on foot. But his oblivious, happy-go-lucky friends stick to him like glue, turning Bird’s walk into an inadvertent game of follow-the-leader that makes Bird even grumpier.
Guess How Much I Love You
by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, 1995. It is impossible not to sigh and aw-w-w over the sweet illustrations of Little Nutbrown Hare in various stages of sleep and play as he and Big Nutbrown Hare describe their love for each other.
Maisy the Mouse series
by Lucy Cousins, 1990. According to Cousins, Maisy “drew herself” one day when Cousins was doodling, and has since become one of the best-loved characters in children’s books.
Max and Ruby series
by Rosemary Wells, 1979. The illustrations of curious three-year-old Max and bossy seven-year-old Ruby incite as much fun as the words.
More More More, Said the Baby
by Vera B. Williams, 1990. Three stories of crazy-for-you affection, starting with Little Guy being chased by his daddy, who catches Little Guy and throws him high, swings him all around and gives him a kiss right in the middle of his belly button. “More,” laughs Little Guy. “More. More. More.” The book explodes with colour, each word an assortment of hues, each baby uniquely adored.
by Teddy Jam (Matt Cohen) and illustrated by Eric Beddows, 1988. Lyrical prose and rich illustrations portray a tired father’s imaginative explanations of the nighttime noises outside the window. Billed as the Canadian Goodnight Moon.
The Real Mother Goose
illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright, 1916. Despite the plentiful variety of nursery rhyme editions that surface regularly, it is this version, with its beloved illustrations, that is still going strong after nearly a century.
Sam Who Never Forgets
by Eve Rice, 1977. While he has lovingly tended to all the other animals, it appears that Sam the zookeeper has forgotten to feed Elephant. Will Elephant have his hay?
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
by Beatrix Potter, 1902. This quintessential cautionary tale, with its intimate, conversational tone, humorously warns young readers about the perils of misbehaving.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle, 1969. Layered under the imaginative die-cut pages are lessons about counting, the days of the week and the magic of metamorphosis.
by Eric Hill, 1980. The first lift-the-flap children’s book has toddlers readily identifying with the rascal puppy Spot, who is hiding from his mother, Sally.
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