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Top 25 Young Children's Books

Creating stories for the youngest booklover is not child's play. The best books have similar traits: Life-affirming messages pitched appropriately for this audience in a way that engages, while bringing out the best in an older reader. When it all comes together the result is a book that transcends age. We feel these are the best of the best. (Many of these are available as "board books.")
1.

Green Eggs and Ham

It won't be a surprise to see Dr. Suess ranked #1, but why this one, when there are so many others? For us, books for pre-readers have to engage an infant, but also the adult reading to them. No book gives adults the chance to be engaged narrators better than Green Eggs and Ham.
Green Eggs and Ham Book Cover
2.

Goodnight Moon

While many may argue over the best board book, fewer will challenge the best bed-time book. This Brown & Hurd milestone book captures the cadence of winding down for sleep like no other.
Goodnight Moon Book Cover
3.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Open and honest, with a beguiling rhythmic meter, this classic takes the concept of change and welcomes it in a way that make children (and adults!) less fearful of what lies ahead.
Oh, the Places You
4.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

An absolute classic that erodes the barriers we impose on our imaginations. A top ten on any list.
Harold and the Purple Crayon Book Cover
5.

Moo, Baa, La La La!

No list would be complete without this Sandra Boynton animal noises board book. No accident that she also has a dominant presence as a cartoonist and songwriter as well.
Moo, Baa, La La La! Book Cover
6.

The Velveteen Rabbit

Arguably the greatest of the "message stories" in children's literature. A tale of love outlasting age, first published more than 90 years ago. We are definitely still in love with this book.
The Velveteen Rabbit Book Cover
7.

Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!

Who else but Dr. Seuss could entertain infants while also giving them their first alphabet lesson?
Dr. Seuss
8.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Carle, like many other authors that made this list, takes a fundamental concept and distills it for our youngest minds. The marriage of images and text is also a winner.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book Cover
9.

The Little Engine That Could

A book (a book for children at that) with a title that has passed into common parlance. This book distills the skill of persistence for children of all ages.
The Little Engine That Could Book Cover
10.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Another classic from Eric Carle This is one of our favorite titles that falls into a call and response cadence.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Book Cover
11.

The Rainbow Fish

With a unique message of generosity and sharing this tale, with one-of-a-kind iridescent images, quickly became an international best seller and one of our favorites.
The Rainbow Fish Book Cover
12.

The Foot Book

The published age range for this book it 0-2 yrs. Make that 0-99 yrs. Any one of the creations of Dr. Seuss that have this instantly recognizable meter are our instant favorites.
The Foot Book: Dr. Seuss
13.

Madeline

Although this book has become a French national treasure, Bemelmans was an Austrian who immigrated to New York City. The concepts in this wonderful series are older, but the equally wonderful illustrations make this accessible to all ages.
Mad About Madeline Book Cover
14.

There's a Wocket in My Pocket

Ridiculous and nonsensical rhymes; yes, but this book scores points for the message of acceptance; a must.
There
15.

On the Night You Were Born

A masterpiece for Nancy Tillman's illustrations alone, this book celebrates the arrival of a new life, providing endless opportunities to celebrate, but also to foreshadow the arrival of others.
On the Night You Were Born Book Cover
16.

Stellaluna

Teamwork and friendships theme this whole series. We're in love with this untraditional character.
Stellaluna Book Cover
17.

The Very Busy Spider

This is Eric Carle again, and a wonderful complement to "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and others.
The Very Busy Spider Book Cover
18.

Big Red Barn

Often the secret of the best board book is matching the content perfectly to the development level of the infant. Few do this more successfully than Margaret Wise Brown, this time with illustrator Felicia Bond.
Big Red Barn Book Cover
19.

Harry the Dirty Dog

Our "hero" rebels and gets so dirty his owners don't recognize him, but it isn't long before he is recognized and reunited with them. An enchanting tale and dare we say the illustrations are "spot" on?
Harry the Dirty Dog Book Cover
20.

The Hat

This is a wonderful tale about "Hedgie" and his curiosity getting the better of him. It deserves a place on any top list, but our hat is also off to Jan Brett for her stunning illustrations.
The Hat Book Cover
21.

The Carrot Seed

One of the greatest marriages between the narrative and each illustration, this book appeals to infants and older children alike.
The Carrot Seed Book Cover
22.

The Monster at the End of This Book

An all-time great from the Sesame Street team, starring the loveable, furry old Grover. A guaranteed hit with infants of all ages.
The Monster at the End of This Book Book Cover
23.

Little Blue Truck

Schertle's sound effects classic is a perfect length for kids two years and younger. This is one of the most popular board books ever, showing the gifts of friendship and teamwork.
Little Blue Truck Book Cover
24.

Just in Case You Ever Wonder

Any adult familiar with Lucado's books aimed at helping adults reach their potential, will find the same messages about love, comfort and protection here in this absolute classic.
Just in Case You Ever Wonder Book Cover
25.

Opposites

A seriously hilarious book of illustrations and messages that tell reader and listener alike that there is beauty in us all being different. A must.
Opposites Book Cover
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