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100 Picture Books Every Child Should Know

We highly recommend this list of books, and hope you will encourage your children to read them. We also suggest that you take time to read some of them with your children. The library also has many other good books for children. Ask your librarian for suggestions!

What did you think of these recommendations? Tell us all about it on the Staff Suggests Blog! Please review the Library's Social Network Guidelines before posting.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears book cover

West African tale which explains why mosquito, who is responsible for baby owl's death, buzzes in people's ears for forgiveness.

Bub, or the Very Best Thing book cover

Barnes & Noble: "A very silly, very beautiful picture book, written and illustrated by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Tuck Everlasting. The King and Queen don't know what's best for the Prince. Nobody else knows either, except the Prince himself, and the Court Jester, too--even though they're the only ones who aren't asked about it."

The Three Bears book cover

While three bears are away from home, Goldilocks ventures inside their house, tastes their porridge, tries their chairs, and finally falls asleep in Baby Bear's bed.


Madeline, smallest and naughtiest of the twelve little charges of Miss Clavel, wakes up one night with an attack of appendicitis.

The Mitten book cover

Several animals sleep snugly in Nicki's lost mitten until the bear sneezes.

Goodnight Moon book cover

As a little bunny says goodnight to each of the objects in the great green room, the illustrations grow progressively darker.

Stone Soup book cover

When three hungry soldiers come to a town where all the food has been hidden, they set out to make soup of water and stones, and all the town enjoys a feast.

Piggybook book cover

When Mrs. Piggott unexpectedly leaves one day, her demanding family begins to realize just how much she did for them.

The Story of Babar book cover

An orphaned baby elephant goes to live in the city with an old lady who gives him everything he wants, but he eventually returns to the forest where he is crowned king of the elephants.

Fanny’s Dream book cover

Fanny Agnes is a sturdy farm girl who dreams of marrying a prince, but when her fairy godmother doesn't show up, she decides on a local farmer instead.

Mr. Gumpy's Outing book cover

Mr. Gumpy accepts more and more riders on his boat until the inevitable occurs.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel book cover

When Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, Mary Ann, lose their jobs to the gasoline, electric, and diesel motor shovels, they go to a little country town where they find that one new job leads to another.

Stellaluna book cover

After she falls headfirst into a bird's nest, a baby bat is raised like a bird until she is reunited with her mother.

Biscuit book cover

A little yellow dog wants ever one more thing before he'll go to sleep.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar book cover

Follows the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats his way through a varied and very large quantity of food until, full at last, he forms a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep.

Jabberwocky book cover

An illustrated version of the classic nonsense poem from "Through the Looking Glass."

Maisy's Bedtime book cover

Maisy the mouse and her toy panda get ready for bed.

Freight Train book cover

Brief text and illustrations trace the journey of a colorful train as it goes through tunnels, by cities, and over trestles.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type book cover

When Farmer Brown’s cows find a typewriter in the barn they begin making demands, and go on strike when the farmer refuses to give them what they want.

Strega Nona book cover

When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works.

May I Bring a Friend? book cover

Winner of the Caldecott Medal. One day, a small boy receives a very special invitation -- the King and the Queen have invited him to the castle for tea. He accepts, with one question: "May I bring a friend?" "Any friend of our friend is welcome here," says the King. But their guest's friend turns out to be someone they never expected! Beatrice Schenk de Regniers's rhythmic text and the fantastical, jewellike artwork of Beni Montresor have made this book a favorite for more than twenty-five years.

Are You My Mother? book cover

A little bird asks animals, planes, and boats, "Are you my mother?" until he finds his own mother.

The Gingerbread Boy book cover

A freshly baked gingerbread boy escapes when he is taken out of the oven and eludes his pursuers until he meets a clever fox.

Olivia book cover

Whether at home getting ready for the day, enjoying the beach, or at bedtime, Olivia is a feisty pig who has too much energy for her own good.

The Story About Ping book cover

Ping, the spirited little duck who lives on a boat on the Yangtze River, has a misadventure one night while exploring the world around his home. But before he gets into too much trouble he is reunited with his family.

Wynken, Blyken and Nod book cover

A classic lullaby poem about three fishermen who try to catch the stars in nets of silver and gold.

Corduroy book cover

Corduroy is a bear in the toy department of a store. He does not look new because one of the buttons on his overalls is missing, but he wants a home of his own.


How can an old man and his wife select one cat from a choice of millions and trillions?

Henny Penny book cover

Henny Penny and her friends are on the way to tell the king the sky is falling when they are outwitted by the fox.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff book cover

Three clever billy goats outwit a big ugly troll that lives under the bridge they must cross on their way up the mountain.

Little Toot book cover

Little Toot the tugboat conquers his fear of rough seas when he single-handedly rescues an ocean liner during a storm.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse book cover

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher, but when he asks her to wait a while before showing her new purse, she does something for which she is very sorry later.

A Baby Sister for Frances book cover

When things change around the house after her baby sister is born, Frances decides to run away--but not too far.

Angelina Ballerina book cover

A pretty little mouse wants to become a ballerina more than anything else in the world.

Goodnight Owl book cover

Because all the other animals' noises keep him from sleeping, Owl watches for a chance to take his revenge.

Little Red Riding Hood book cover

On her way to deliver a basket of food to her sick grandmother, Elisabeth encounters a sly wolf.

Harold and the Purple Crayon book cover

Harold goes for an adventurous walk in the moonlight with his purple crayon.

The Snowy Day book cover

The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

Pinkerton, Behave! book cover

His behavior may be rather unconventional, but Pinkerton the dog proves it doesn't really matter.


A lonely little mouse has to be resourceful in order to bring his family back together.

The Carrot Seed book cover

Despite everyone's dire predictions, a little boy has faith in the carrot seed he plants.

Oh, A-Hunting We Will Go book cover

Old and new verses for a popular folk song about hunting and capturing an animal--and then letting him go.

The Story of Ferdinand book cover

A humorous account of a young Spanish bull's astonishing behavior.

The Owl and the Pussycat book cover

After a courtship voyage of a year and a day, Owl and Pussy finally buy a ring from Piggy and are blissfully married.

Sam and the Tigers book cover

Follows the adventures of a little boy named Sam when he matches wits with several tigers that want to eat him.

Swimmy book cover

Swimmy, a small black fish, finds a way to protect a school of small red fish from their natural enemies.

Frog and Toad Are Friends book cover

Five tales recounting the adventures of two best friends - Frog and Toad.

Froggy Gets Dressed book cover

Rambunctious Froggy hops out into the snow for a winter frolic but is called back by his mother to put on some necessary articles of clothing.

George and Martha book cover

Relates several episodes in the friendship of two hippopotamuses.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? book cover

Children see a variety of animals, each one a different color, and a teacher looking at them.

There's a Nightmare in My Closet book cover

At bedtime a boy confronts the nightmare in his closet and finds him not so terrifying after all.

Guess How Much I Love You book cover

During a bedtime game, every time Little Nutbrown Hare demonstrates how much he loves his father, Big Nutbrown Hare gently shows him that the love is returned even more.

Make Way for Ducklings book cover

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard proudly return to their home in the Boston Public Garden with their eight offspring.

Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti book cover

In trying to determine which of his six sons to reward for saving his life, Anansi the Spider is responsible for placing the moon in the sky.

Flossie and the Fox book cover

A wily fox notorious for stealing eggs meets his match when he encounters a bold little girl in the woods who insists upon proof that he is a fox before she will be frightened.

Pig Pig Grows Up book cover

Only when faced with a dire emergency does Pig Pig finally react like a grown up and admit he is not a baby any more.

Little Bear book cover

Little Bear's four adventures include taking a trip to the moon and having a birthday party.

The Night Before Christmas book cover

A well-known poem about an important Christmas visitor.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book cover

Relating the cycle of requests a mouse is likely to make after you give him a cookie takes the reader through a young child's day.

My Very First Mother Goose book cover
edited by Iona Opie

A collection of more than sixty nursery rhymes including "Hey Diddle, Diddle," "Pat-a-Cake," "Little Jack Horner," and "Pussycat, Pussycat."

Piggie Pie book cover

A hungry witch wants to make piggie pie, but the piggies foil her plans.

The Lion and the Mouse book cover

In this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when he rescues the King of the Jungle.

The Little Engine that Could book cover

When the other engines refuse, the Little Blue Engine tries to pull a stranded train full of toys and good food over the mountain.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit book cover

Naughty Peter Rabbit disobeys his mother by going into Mr. McGregor's garden and almost gets caught.

Peter and the Wolf book cover

Retells the orchestral fairy tale of the boy who, ignoring his grandfather's warnings, proceeds to capture a wolf.

Officer Buckle and Gloria book cover

The children at Napville Elementary School always ignore Officer Buckle's safety tips, until a police dog named Gloria accompanies him when he gives his safety speeches.

Curious George book cover

The curiosity of a newly-captured monkey gets him into continuous trouble, but he is saved by his friend, the man in the yellow hat.

Tar Beach book cover

A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author's quilt painting of the same name.

The Old Woman and Her Pig and 10 Other Stories book cover

This delightful collection of traditional tales and fables includes "The Three Sillies," "The Bremen Town Musicians," "The Fox and the Crow," "The Tortoise and the Hare," as well as "The Old Woman and Her Pig."

The Old Woman Who Named Things book cover

An old woman who has outlived all her friends is reluctant to become too attached to the stray dog that visits her each day.

Tea with Milk book cover

After growing up near San Francisco, a young Japanese woman returns with her parents to their native Japan, but she feels foreign and out of place.

All the World book cover

Follow a circle of family and friends through the course of a day from morning till night as they discover the importance of all things great and small in our world, from the tiniest shell on the beach, to warm family connections, to the widest sunset sky.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs book cover

Story of the three little pigs from the wolf's point of view.

Where the Wild Things Are book cover

A naughty little boy, sent to bed without his supper, sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes their king.


Retells the Scottish tale of how a little man deals with his big, contrary cow.

No, David book cover

A young boy is depicted doing a variety of naughty things for which he is repeatedly admonished, but finally he gets a hug.

Lizard's Song book cover

Bear tries repeatedly to learn Lizard's song.

The Cat in the Hat book cover

Two children sitting at home on a rainy day are visited by the cat who shows them some tricks and games.

The Giving Tree book cover

A tree gives its all to a growing boy.

Come Along Daisy book cover

Daisy the duckling becomes so engrossed in playing with dragonflies and lily pads that she temporarily loses her mother.

Caps for Sale book cover

A band of mischievous monkeys steals every one of a peddler's caps while he takes a nap under a tree.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble book cover

In a moment of fright, Sylvester the donkey asks his magic pebble to turn him into a rock but then can not hold the pebble to wish himself back to normal again.

A Child's Garden of Verses book cover

A collection of poems evoking the world and feelings of childhood.

The Gardener book cover

A series of letters relating what happens when, after her father loses his job, Lydia Grace goes to live with her Uncle Jim in the city but takes her love for gardening with her.

Minerva Louise book cover

A hen has fun exploring the house with the red curtains.

This is the House that Jack Built book cover

Caldecott Award winner Taback infuses this favorite children's rhyme with his distinctive creative flair and humor.

Have You Seen My Duckling? book cover

A mother duck leads her brood around the pond as she searches for one missing duckling.


The mouse added just the necessary weight to the line formed by all those trying to pull up the giant turnip.

Crictor book cover

Madame Louise Bodot receives a special present from her son in Africa--a pet boa constrictor she names Crictor.

The Polar Express book cover

A magical train ride on Christmas Eve takes a boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book cover

On a day when everything goes wrong for him, Alexander is consoled by the thought that other people have bad days too.

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile book cover

Lyle is perfectly happy living with the Primms on East 88th St. until irritable Mr. Grumps next door changes all that.

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus book cover

When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum.

Morris's Disappearing Bag book cover

Everyone in Morris's family is pleased with his Christmas present but Morris.

Flotsam book cover

The story of what happens when a camera becomes a piece of flotsam.

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub book cover

Despite pleas from his court, a fun-loving king refuses to get out of his bathtub to rule his kingdom.

Seven Blind Mice book cover

Retells in verse the Indian fable of the blind men discovering different parts of an elephant and arguing about its appearance. The illustrations depict the blind arguers as mice.

Rumpelstiltskin book cover

A strange little man helps the miller's daughter spin straw into gold for the king on the condition that she will give him her first-born child.

Harry the Dirty Dog book cover

When a white dog with black spots runs away from home, he gets so dirty his family doesn't recognize him as a black dog with white spots. Harry is a white dog with black spots who loves everything...except baths. So one day before bath time, Harry runs away. He plays outside all day long, digging and sliding in everything from garden soil to pavement tar. By the time he returns home, Harry is so dirty he looks like a black dog with white spots. His family doesn't even recognize him!

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present book cover

A little girl's search for a present for her mother and the wise rabbit who comes to her rescue.

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