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10 Great Books for Little Kids

CS Lewis once said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally worth reading at the age of fifty.” Basically—if a grown adult can’t stomach a children’s book, why should a child be expected to?

Charlotte Mason was a pioneer in children’s education during the 19th century, and she coined the term “twaddle.” Its definition is simple: Dumbed-down literature; absence of meaning.

I think both kids and adults should invest their precious reading time in quality books—books with a fantastic story, that you want to read again and again, that stay with you after you’ve finished them.  And frankly, there’s a lot of twaddle out there in the world of children’s literature.

My children are very young, so I’m up to my elbows in early childhood literature.  These are my top 10 favorite books for the preschool age, and all twaddle-free. (Edited to add: A decade later, I read this list and still agree. I’ve made a few changes, but not many.)

Madeline (and the other original Madeline books)

by Ludwig Bemelmans

The Madeline books have a great cadence of words—a great introduction to poetry, and the illustrations are delightful.  What kid doesn’t want to live in an old house in Paris that is covered in vines?


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Bread & Jam for Frances (and all the Frances books)

by Russell Hoban

Frances is a lovable badger with a wild imagination, excellent song-writing skills, and a bag full of tricks.  These books subtly teach skills like being a good friend, eating what’s in front of you, and knowing when you’re being scammed.

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by Munro Leaf

I loved this story as a kid, and my kids love it now.  Ferdinand is a laid-back, gentle bull who’s been recruited for a Spanish bullfight.

ferdinand the bull

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Frog and Toad are Friends (and all the Frog and Toad books)

by Arnold Lobel

I adore this pair of amphibians.  You’ll laugh along with your children at Frog and Toad’s sense of logic, and you’ll love their close-knit friendship. Edit: I’d argue these short stories continue on well into the older elementary age, too. Its self-deprecating humor is better understood.

Frog and Toad

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George and Martha (all the stories)

by James Marshall

A hilarious duo of hippos who have more personality than common sense.  Adults get a kick out of them, too. Totally endearing.

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Make Way For Ducklings

by Robert McCloskey

A classic tale of a pair of ducks living in Boston.  This story has enthralled generations of children.

Make Way for Ducklings

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Blueberries for Sal

by Robert McCloskey

Yep, by the same author—this book is one of MY personal favorites (not just out of the children’s literature category). I could stare at these illustrations all day.

Blueberries for Sal

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If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (and all the If You Give… books)

by Laura Numeroff

My mother-in-law gave us this treasury for Christmas, and we’ve read it almost daily since. (Edit: Six years later, and we still read it about weekly. Our favorite is the Moose one.) The stories are well-told, the illustrations are hilarious, and I can honestly say I don’t tire from reading these stories.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

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Harold and the Purple Crayon

by Crockett Johnson

We’ve officially worn the cover off this bite-sized book. One of the most ingenious ways to tell a story—everyone could relate to this tale of imagination.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

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Harry the Dirty Dog

by Gene Zion

A sweet dog gets dirty and the kids no longer recognize him. What preschooler can’t relate to getting filthy?

Harry the Dirty Dog

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Katy and the Big Snow

by Virginia Lee Burton

Katy is a snowplow who must rescue her small town from impending doom. Drama, a superhero to the rescue, brilliant illustrations—we like this one even more than Mike Mulligan by the same author.

Katy and the Big Snow

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This list originally included the original Winnie the Pooh (B&N, Indie) by A.A. Milne, but as my kids have aged, I’d now include this classic with a list of books for older kids. We read this as a read-aloud when my older ones were 9 and 6, and the humor was much better appreciated (especially by the older one). I think this book is mislabeled as one for littles. Read it when they’re older—you’ll love it, too.

I also recommend the resource Honey For a Child’s Heart (B&N, Indie) by Gladys Hunt.  Now in its fourth edition, this book is a must-have for parents who want a trusted guide for quality literature.  It’s chock-full of annotated lists of books for ages 0 to 14.

This post contains affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you, we’ll get a small percentage of the sale when you use our links. Thanks for supporting this site.

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Dave Fowler

    I completely agree with ‘Twaddle Free’. There are some terrible books out there. Our favourite books get read time and time again. I don’t know why we read them though – the children know them by heart, they could just recite them!

    Dave Fowler’s last blog post…Women’s Work: The Hardest Work I’ve Ever Done

  2. Meegan

    Our three year old has a love for reading which his Dad and I both have and encourage in him. No time is ever a bad time for a story in our house!
    Here’s just a few of our favourites:

    – “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
    – “Amazing Machines” Truckload of Fun (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker. Yep all ten books in this series. We have been known to have all ten in one sitting requested, one after another!

  3. Liz@VioletPosy

    My daughter is 5 and really into factual books. I’ve discovered that the Usbourne range are great. They are informative, aren’t too PC and explain the facts of something like the reign of Elizabeth I or The Aztec’s without being patronising to little ones.

    Liz@VioletPosy’s last blog post…Monday Link Love

  4. Tami

    Love love love Jim Trelease’s “The Read-Aloud Handbook –6th ed.” It is perfect for lists of books to read aloud, how to get the reluctant child to listen to reading and it explains the “why” we read aloud to our children.

    Tami’s last blog post…Colourmusic

    • Carrie

      I couldn’t agree more. Jim Trelease’s book is an incredibly thorough book in convincing adults of the importance of reading aloud to their children.

      Carrie’s last blog post…Julius musical

  5. simplemom

    I knew I’d learn about some new books when I posted this article. Thanks so much for sharing your favorites! Keep ’em coming.

  6. Amy

    My 5 and 3 year old both love ‘The Tomten”

    Amy’s last blog post…Happy kids

  7. Edi

    I totally agree with the statement of C.S. Lewis…there are thousands of books for kids at the library – but I’m convinced that to write a book for kids – one does not necessarily need to have skill or talent. Many authors do – but the lame books I come across – make me wonder. Anyway – if I’m going to spend hours a day sometimes reading to my children (ages 6 & 9) – they need to be books that are relatively interesting to me as well. I pretty much don’t do Dr. Seuss. A few books have been worthy – but not all!

    Here is my list of favorite books for children:
    An Edward Lear Alphabet
    Bill Peet books
    Bread and Jam for Frances
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
    Frog & Toad
    Island Boy
    Linnea in Monet’s Garden
    Locust Pocust
    Mud Pies and Other Recipes
    More Spaghetti, I Say!
    One Thumb, One Thumb, Drumming on a Drum
    Owl at Home
    One Morning in Maine
    Snowflake Bentley
    The Ox-Cart Man
    A Child’s Garden of Verse
    Blueberries for Sal
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    Love You Forever
    The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
    Winnie the Pooh

    Edi’s last blog post…Katy Trail – Part 4

  8. Krista

    What a great post about good children’s books! I’m a lover of older-children’s books (what librarians call Young Adult Literature), and I haven’t spent much time thinking about literature for kids of this age. What do you think about the illustrations in kiddie lit? Does it have any influence on the overall quality of the book, or is it just icing on an already high-quality book?

    (Also, sorry to be a wet blanket, but my mother-in-law has a daycare, and one of the daycare moms started reading the Chronicles of Narnia to her daughter when the daughter was about 4. Mother-in-law reports that the daughter had nightmares during her naps…about lions and witches and scary forests…and closets with false backs. You might want to wait till after the 5-7 Shift to read fantasy books, even such delightful fantasy books as the Chronicles of Narnia to your girl.

  9. Jessica

    My three year old loves the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor. The family in the stories is delightful and the pictures are choke full of interesting details. It is the ultimate ‘girly’ book.

  10. Nikki

    Perfect timing! Great list.

    I have realized how much more aware I’ve become of books we read at together now that my kindergartner turns in a monthly reading log. Awful, I know. Peter Rabbit, Madeline, and The Little House have made big comebacks in this house. Although the original motive was lame, I’m thankful to actually be reading “the good stuff” again.

    My 100% favorite is The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. But with 3 kids under 6 we read and/or enjoy good basic picture books as well. Freight Train by Donald Crews is a constant. Other current favorites are Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies , Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis, One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies, and The Bad Mood by Moritz Petz.

    Nikki’s last blog post…Fridge Magnets

    • Alison

      I completely agree with all of the choices on your list, but Nikki has is spot-0n with The Little House and all the Virginia Lee Burton books.

  11. Virginia

    Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems is a favorite around here, along with the “How Does a Dinosaur…” series.

    Virginia’s last blog post…6 Quirky Things

  12. Virginia

    Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems is a favorite around here, along with the “How Does a Dinosaur…” series.

    We’re also big fan of the Charlie & Lola books- the illustrations are fabulous, and they truly capture the perspective of a young child. Plus, they are so much fun to read.

    Virginia’s last blog post…6 Quirky Things

  13. Kelly

    This house would not run without the books of Mo Willems and Bob Graham. I can read Knuffle Bunny over and over again and not tire of it. I love that Bob Graham’s parent characters are androgynous and subtly non-traditional, not to mention urban and imperfect.

  14. Tammy

    Thank you for this great list of books. I wrote them all down for future reference! I am currently expecting our first child, and I have been anticipating all the time we will spend together over books! I love reading, and hope to instill this love for reading in my child(ren).

  15. Peggy

    I love the Francis books, Bread and Jam for Francis. I also love Give a Mouse a Cookie, but I think I love If you Give a Moose a Muffin more. I also love Corduroy.

    My daughter is older and loves Junie B. Jones, when we read these together it makes me laugh outloud.

  16. Lucie

    I love to read. As a new parent I am already thinking about what books to read Sirius as he grows. When he was a newborn I would read him all my favorite poetry, and I swear he seemed to like it.

    As for books when the kids get a bit older:
    The Secret Garden (still one of my all time faves)
    Little Women

    Thanks for the helpful suggestions for little kids books!

    Lucie’s last blog post…Update: Adventures in Sleeping

  17. Sara

    Great post! We are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, and I am thoroughly enjoying all the books I am reading to my 1st and 2nd graders! One of my very favorite are titles from Snip, Snapp, Snurr and Flicka, Ricka, Dicka. They are both about triplets, a boy set, and a girl set, and are filled with great character building lessons, and a delight to read! Our favorite that will bring tears to your eyes is:
    Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Yellow Sled

    It should be in everyone’s library!

    Sara’s last blog post…On a Lighter Note…

  18. anja

    Where to begin? I’m now parenting teens and pre-teens, but I still delight in children’s literature, and I think they secretly do, too, since they suddenly find things to do around me when I’m reading to the five year old in the house. Wolf Story by William McCleery is a great first chapter book, and one that was well loved in our house, especially by the boys. All the EB White books have been read and re-read here. And we still quote from Swallows and Amazons–a great adventure series for the little biggers in the house.

  19. CC

    Thanks for that recommendation “Honey for a …” I’ll check it out!

    I write about quality children’s books almost every Monday (from a mom and Speech Therapy perspective). We’ve moved up to chapter books here and some great ones we read this summer are: The Tale of Despereaux, The Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There are a lot of great books out there, but even then I am VERY picky about language, grammar, and illustrations.

    CC’s last blog post…Yet another attempt to save the world!

  20. simplemom

    I could talk about books all day.

    @Krista – Thanks for your insight. I’ve heard similar stories to yours, along with stories of little kids who completely ate up Narnia, and it completely excited them to learn to read on their own. We’ll just start out with a smidge, and see how it goes. Also, I think illustrations are more than just icing – a book can’t have good pictures with mediocre words, but a well-written book with sub-par illustrations just kinda makes us less enthusiastic about the book. Ya know?

    @Peggy – If You Give a Moose a Muffin is my favorite, too! If You Give a Pig a Pancake is a close second, but the Moose illustrations are so funny, it wins me over.

    I completely forgot about Peter Rabbit and Corduroy – also excellent choices. And as far as chapter books go, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie are great.

  21. Emily

    We too love Make Way For Ducklings. Other favorites are The Velveteen Rabbit, Stranger in the Woods, and Pelican Pete (a cute story about St. Augustine where we live and taking care of your environment).

  22. Prairie Chick

    Other wonderful chapter books for pre-schoolers are the Gramma’s Attic books by Arleta Richardson. Great read alouds for the whole family from 3-93… we adore them.

    Prairie Chick’s last blog post…Blessed Wanderers

  23. Prairie Chick

    Other wonderful chapter books for pre-schoolers are the Gramma’s Attic books by Arleta Richardson. Great read alouds for the whole family from 3-93… we adore them.

    Prairie Chick’s last blog post…Blessed Wanderers

  24. Angie

    I adore The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau. The illustrations are these vivid, incredible pieces of art, and the story is a sweet reminder of the power of generosity.

    Also really fun is A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. Again, the illustrations are amazing and the story is about being yourself, no matter what.

    Angie’s last blog post…How to Make: A tiny rolled hem without a serger!

  25. Alana @ Gray Matters

    I love children’s books. I don’t no who gets more excited when my kids get them as gifts – them or me. My kids are still pretty young and I love any of the books by Karma Wilson, my favorite is The Bear Snores On. I love that you included Mike Mulligan – it’s one of my all time favorites!

    Alana @ Gray Matters’s last blog post…A Greener Lunch Box

  26. Suzanne

    Some of my family’s all-time favorite books for young children are the Sandra Boynton board books. They short, but have a great sense of humor and rhythm. My faves include “Barnyard Dance,” “The Going to Bed Book,” “Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs,” and “Moo, Baa, La La La!” 🙂

    Suzanne’s last blog post…New dog brings on familiar feeling

  27. Julie has wonderful books chocked full of vivid imagery and delightful characters. Their books would make Charlotte Mason smile.

    I like all of your suggested list except the Mercer Mayer books. We have several (my son loves them) but my husband and I don’t like how the parents are portrayed (stodgy and mean). There’s lots of sarcasm in the book that I don’t think my 4 y.o son understands – it is funny to adults, though. We have talked about throwing them away *gasp* but just haven’t done it yet.

    Julie’s last blog post…It Is Finished

  28. robyn

    mrs. piggle wiggle books!
    amelia bedelia books!
    anything by shel silverstein
    olivia the pig books (just bought a few of these for my four-year-old neice)
    the very hungry caterpillar!!! (this was my FAVORITE as a child)

  29. robyn

    i totally forgot …

    the babar books and the bearenstein bear books … both great series’ for 3 and 4-year-olds!

    robyn’s last blog post…Quick Links: Fiber-Related

  30. Joanna

    Some fabulous books, both in the original post and in the comments. Talking of non-Disney versions, Dodie Smith’s 101 Dalmatians is a wonderful book to read aloud, terrific prose, great story. Also The Wind in the Willows – every other chapter is the story, interspersed with whimsy which you can either paraphrase or skip altogether according to the child’s temperament. I’m sad my children are really too old to be read to these days (the youngest is 16), but it’s time to reinstate the habit we had in the early days of our marriage of reading aloud to each other … it works well for “difficult” books you might be tempted not to finish (Victorian novels, that sort of thing)


    Joanna’s last blog post…Tasty tomatoes to grow next year

  31. Heidi @ Mt Hope

    I could talk children’s books all day, as well. 🙂 Honey For a Child’s Heart is an excellent resource! Many on your list are favorites. Frog and Toad (or anything by Arnold Lobel) is at the top of my list. I tend to go by authors.

    ~William Steig: Amos and Boris (or The Real Theif and Dominic for chapter book read-alouds)
    ~Barbara Cooney (literally anything with this author/illustrators name on it!!): Roxaboxen, Miss Rumphius
    ~Sarah Stewart/David Small: The Gardener, The Library
    ~James Harriot’s Treasure for Children (Don’t miss!!)
    ~Cynthia Rylant: The Relatives Came
    ~Holly Hobbie: Toot and Puddle
    ~Virginia Lee Burton: Mike Mulligan, Katy and the Big Snow, The Little House
    ~Tasha Tudor: Corgiville Fair
    ~Robert McCloskey: Lentil, Make Way for Ducklings

    For mostly wordless book that children can spend hours, days, months gazing at, I highly recommend Anno’s Journey by Mitsumasa Anno (and his others if you can find them) or any of Peter Spiers’ books (The Circus, Rain, People).

    I wish I could spend all day reading books to the boys. 🙂

    Heidi @ Mt Hope’s last blog post…Ivy and Daisies

  32. Heidi @ Mt Hope

    Argh! That would be James Harriot’s *Treasury* for Children

    Heidi @ Mt Hope’s last blog post…Ivy and Daisies

  33. Rebecca

    One you should check out from the library is Amelia Bedelia. You might have to buy it. I have loved this books since I was a kid. I also was a huge fan of Louis Sachar (he wrote Sideways stories from Wayside School, Holes, and some other fun books) and Shel Silverstein (Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends). And I have to say I found some new ones based on your list, and some oldies but goodies.

    Rebecca’s last blog post…Teething and cooler weather part 2

  34. CiderSapling

    We love books! My 5 yr old will now disappear into the rocking chair for an hour at a time to read Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte’s Web, or any other book that strikes her fancy. We have too much twaddle on the shelf – gifts from well meaning relatives who know we love books. But we’ve got some great stuff, too. My official rule has always been this: I will read the same book countless times during the day – but never the same book twice in a row!
    When my daughter was little, we loved Sandra Boyton – and my 1 yr old son is in that phase now, too. For “older” picture books, my faves are:
    For story content, rich vocabulary, or ‘moral’
    A Chair for My Mother
    Zara’s Hats
    The Big Box
    Horton Hears a Who!
    Oh, the Places You’ll Go
    Orso, The Troll Who Couldn’t Scare
    For wonderful stories with gorgeous illustrations:
    The Tin Forest and The Dragon’s Eye by Helen Ward
    Creation by McDermott
    The Fairy Tales, a collection by Jan Pienkowski
    And for humorous books:
    Math Verse and Science Verse by Jon Scieszka
    The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln
    Stinky Cheese Man

    And then there’s our “school” book shelf, with many of the other books already mentioned – Blueberries for Sal, Caps for Sale, Millions of Cats, and many, many more. We love to read. While I love to own books, I’m incredibly grateful that we have a library a few miles from home. We’ve discovered some awesome books that way.

    Thanks for all the recommendations!

  35. Roberta

    What about Kevin Henkes? I LOVE his books. If you haven’t read on you should make it a point. They are great. My all time fav is Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. You can check out his other books here…

  36. Roberta

    What about Kevin Henkes? I LOVE his books. If you haven’t read one you should make it a point. They are great. My all time fav is Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. You can check out his other books here…

  37. Jessica

    I picked up a copy of Honey for a Child’s Heart…it’s really good! Another good book is Harold and the Purple Crayon and I love Eric Carle’s books with the wonderful illustrations!

    Jessica’s last blog post…Works-for-Me Wednesday

  38. Jennifer

    I’m a former art teacher turned stay at home mama. I had to take a whole class on children’s literature when I was in college, but all I REALLY learned was that the books my sister and I loved as a child were truly good ones. 😉 Like I needed proof!

    We loved The Trumpet and the Swan, Alice and Wonderland, Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm. As an adult I also enjoyed Hatchet.

    And I can’t wait to share Narnia with my boys!

    Jennifer’s last blog post…What can brown do for you?

  39. Jennifer

    Oh! And there’s always Mo Williams. They weren’t around when I was little, but Knuffle Bunny will always have a special place in my heart! And I always used Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus with my second graders, but I bet my two year old son would love it too!

    Jennifer’s last blog post…What can brown do for you?

  40. simplemom

    Yes, there really are so many good books you all have listed – isn’t it hard to just mention a few without feeling like you have to mention so many more?

    With this list, I ended up narrowing it down to our personal favorites at the moment. My preschooler is a bit past board books, hence the reason Sandra Boynton books aren’t mentioned – but we definitely love those. Same with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but I think my youngest will be into that very soon.

    And for some reason, she’s actually scared of Amelia Bedelia! Can’t figure that one out – but we have the whole collection. I’ll try them on her again down the road. Who knows – she isn’t scared of books with all kinds of animals in them, but Amelia – watch out. 😉

    @Julie – That’s interesting you see the Mercer Mayer books that way. The four we have seem to portray the parents wonderfully. Perhaps there’s some we don’t have.

    @Robyn – Yes, the Berenstain bears! We have about 10 of those, all originally mine as a child. I love them.

    @Joanna, and others – Yes, I plan to pick up Wind in the Willows when we’re stateside this winter. I think my daughter would love it!

    @Heidi – Anything you love, I’m sure I would love. We have Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier (it was my husband’s childhood book), and we could look at that thing forever. Such amazing illustrations.

    @Rebecca – I adored Sideways Stories from Wayside School in late elementary school!

    @CiderSapling – Yes, Alice in Wonderland and Charlotte’s Web! I also plan to pick up these soon.

  41. Julie

    Oh, I’m going to be making a huge list of books! My 2 1/2 yr olds favorite books at the moment (at least the ones I enjoy reading as much as he enjoys hearing) are:
    Kitten’s First Full Moon
    Too Many Frogs!
    Zen Shorts
    Zen Ties
    Trout, Trout, Trout: A Fish Chant
    And of course the Sandra Boyton books (What’s Wrong Little Pookie is a favorite, since we’ve been calling him Pookie since he was a baby.)

  42. Stephanie

    Our kids love the following:

    Farmer Dillo Paints His Barn by Jesse Adams
    The Cranky Blue Crab by Dawn L. Watkins
    Once in Blueberr Dell by Dawn L. Watkins

    These are all from and they have a lot more that are really good and for all ages. We got Farmer Dillo for my son when he was 2 and he loves it still today (he’s almost 4). It may be worth your while to take a peek.

    Chapter books…. my girls 7 and 5 like The Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace and my 8 year old boy love the Sugar Creek Gang books. They have been revised or “twaddled” but we have my husbands from 20 years ago and they are excellent.

    Also, the Christian Heroes: Then and Now are biographies written for kids and they are really good. We read Hudson Taylor over the summer and the kids loved it but then when they watched some of the Olympic coverage they talked a lot about it since he was a missionary to China. Great post!!!

    Stephanie’s last blog post…Starting the day

  43. Keilah

    I just started to read to my three and a half year old “Little House in the Big Woods”, “Stuart Little” and “Charlotte’s Web” one chapter at a time, usually about five to ten pages max and she loves them. They all have color pictures now in the paperback editions. I will read a chapter before nap time of one and bedtime of another. She has really good comprehension of the stories. She loves Little House the most, so I am so excited to read the whole series to her. I like the idea of twaddle-free books too, I am definitely enjoying reading these books too.

    Keilah’s last blog post…M-I-C-K-E-Y

  44. Jenn

    This is fantastic! Your recommendations and those of the other commenters are great! I will be getting many of these books on our next few library runs. 🙂

    Jenn’s last blog post…Wednesday Internet Wanderings 9-3-08

  45. Lisa

    This is hard! Like trying to choose one favorite dessert 😉 Here are a few of our favorites…

    Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child
    Room on a Broom, The Gruffalo, Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book – anything by Julia Donaldson
    The Olivia books by Ian Falconer
    Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie
    Curious George
    We also love the Mouse Cookie Treasury
    Anything Dr. Seuss

  46. Tracy

    A few series I don’t see mentioned but that my kids love:
    Oliver & Amanda Pig
    Anything by Robert Muensch (author of Love You Forever)
    But my absolute favorite preschool book is “Five Minutes Peace.” Sorry, I don’t know the author. But it’s about a Mama Elephant trying to get five minutes to herself. I laughed so hard I could hardly read it.

    • Jackie

      Robert Munsch? You have to think twice — all the books have a kind of nastiness to them. They certainly don’t qualify for being “twaddle free”. We keep getting given them as gifts, and now we’ve decided to completely eschew them. It says something about the quality of reviewing that they are so popular. A deep analysis reveals they don’t deserve to be in any thinking parents’ library for children. A good review on this site would be a start. Given that he is Canadian, of course all middle-class parents are uncritically ga-ga over his books.

      • Paige

        One of my daughters favorite books was The Paper Bag Princess. I guess I am not a “thinking parent”, since I let her have it in her library. ..

        You are entitled to your own opinion, but I don’t think it’s ok to criticize other parents.

  47. Mary

    I have grandsons – no girls yet – but The Icky Sticky Frog by John Lescroart and Salina Yoon and The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A POP-UP BOOK by Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert were big hits. Though these books are intended for very young children, they both have a plot twist and are a delight to read. The kids still ask for them even though they are a few years older.

    Good Night Moon was another great one. The words flow in such a slow, melodic way that I could never think of it as “twaddle.” I also love to read scripture to them at bedtime after story time is over. It bridges the gap between story time and lights out – it’s amazing to me how they listen quietly as they drift off to sleep. My favorite scriptures are from the “overcoming idolatry” section of “Praying God’s Word” by Beth Moore. She has chosen awesome scriptures that tell of the wonder and majesty of God often using pictures of nature.

  48. Emily

    As a teacher and parent, I love books! I can’t name all our faves, but my 4yo son’s new fave is The Magic Tree House series. He heard one on cd from a kid’s meal and was hooked! Thanks for this post, I love to see all our faves named one by one!

  49. Gidget

    Thanks for your great list! A lot of yours are favorites of ours too! Our daughter is still pretty young but we love the Berenstein Bears & Dr. Seuss books… one of my favorites is called “Summer” (I’d tell you the author but it’s the same room as a sleeping baby) -it’s a Suess early reader type book too. I stumbled this!

    Gidget’s last blog post…Weekly Surf Spots

  50. Gidget

    P.S. I like your blog’s facelift!

    Gidget’s last blog post…Weekly Surf Spots

  51. Grafted Branch

    Great list. Most of these are titles we’ve enjoyed too.

    A book that I happened on quite by accident but love to tears at almost every reading is Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors.” There’s a book out there called “Yussel Caught the Gefilte Fish” that’s adorable. Also “I Love Saturdays y Domingos” by Alma Flor Ada. A great, poignant read about city life during the Depression is David Adler’s “The Babe and I.”

    Elise at “A Path Made Straight” does book reviews on Mondays–she finds the cutest books! And I’ve started my own book review blog to Stop the Twaddle! for the middle years. I hope you’ll come over and have a look.

    Grafted Branch’s last blog post…Brighty of the Grand Canyon

  52. Sara at On Simplicity

    I can only second what’s already been mentioned: Olivia, any Mo Willems (Elephant and Piggie are wonderfully adept at conveying emotions), The Wide Mouth Frog, Fancy Nancy, any Jon Muth titles (someone mentioned Zen Ties and Zen Shorts, both good), Jan Brett titles…

    My favorite children’s author of all is Peter H. Reynolds. The Dot, So Few of Me, and Ish are all completely amazing. Because of their short, simple nature, they work well with young ones, but they are are wonderful for kids who are getting discouraged with school and growing up. Can’t say enough about this author!

    Sara at On Simplicity’s last blog post…Keep the Clutter from Returning: Five (Mostly) Easy Ways

  53. Anna

    Wow, I think you hit my top 10 list too! Harry the dirty dog was my daughter’s favorite for a long time.

    My older brother always gets great books for my kids. One of my favorite’s was a collection of children’s classics. It includes most of the ones you mentioned, both in the top 10 list and the other list you wrote.

    There were a couple I haven’t heard of that I’ll have to look into for my youngest daughter.

    Great post, thanks!

    Anna’s last blog post…IKEA~Seize the Days

  54. Aimee

    Thanks for reminding me about ‘BF for Francis’. My boys and I enjoy a lot of the books on your list esp “Ducklings” , “Madeline” and “Frog & Toad”. I can’t believe where Children’s Lit is heading these days and i will be sure to check out the rest of your top ten. Thanks for the list!
    We also love:
    ‘The Story of Ping’
    ‘The Giving Tree’
    Several Beatrix Potter stories
    and tons more!
    I am really looking forward to getting into some Roald Dhal soon, and of course timeless series like Narnia and Little House books.
    Yay for reading!

    Aimee’s last blog post…SHF: Baby Girl Cupcakes and the Giveaway Winner!

    • Aimee

      The Story of Ping is one of the only books my mom kept from my childhood. It has been such a blessing to read it to our daughter. I’ve always adored that book!

  55. Rocks In My Dryer

    We are huge Madeline fans…in fact, my daughter has a Madeline costume for Halloween!

    My favorite non-twaddle preschool book is Jamberry. Love the sound of the language in that one. Have read it aloud 40,000 times and have never gotten tired of it.

    Rocks In My Dryer’s last blog post…Over at Parenting…

  56. Amy Andrews

    I know I’m a bit late to the game here, but what a great post! So many of the ones already mentioned are our favorites too. I’d have to ditto The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau for sure. We love Virginia Lee Burton too (The Little House, Katy and the Big Snow, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, etc.), most of Mem Fox’s books, the Little House series. James Mayhew’s books (Katie and the Mona Lisa, Katie and the Sunflowers, etc.) are great for art! The Empty Pot by Demi is also an excellent book about honesty (I love that book). Oh my, so many, many more…

    Amy Andrews’s last blog post…150+ books we’ve read & how we like them

  57. Kelly

    Here are a few of our favorite picture books:
    The Old Woman Who Named Things
    Mrs. Biddlebox
    Big Momma Makes the World
    Click, Clack, Moo
    Duck for President
    The Gift of Nothing
    Blueberries for Sal
    George and Martha series
    Monster Hug!
    Mouse Paint
    Ducks Don’t Wear Socks
    I’m The Biggest Thing in the Ocean
    The Backward Day
    The Giving Tree
    Bear Snores On

    Kelly’s last blog post…Review: Sign With Your Baby

  58. Emerald

    We love anything Harry Maclary or Slinky Malinky by Lynley Dodd.

    They have got great cadence and rhythm for reading out load and my son’s eyes get real big when ‘scarface claw’ shows up. We read ‘Scattercat’ at least once or twice before bed every night.

  59. simplemom

    I just have to thank you all for listing so many new books for me to check out! I’m so psyched to get back to the States and the land of plentiful libraries soon, so I now have an ongoing list of books to check out. Much appreciated!

    @Sara – You’re in the children’s lit industry, right? I’ll definitely have to check your recommendations.

  60. Holly

    Shirley Hughes is great for toddlers and up (my son is 9 and still likes for her longer ones to be read to him even though he is a confident reader), the Boxcar books (emphasizes hard work, politeness and working together. started reading them to my son at 5 but he still enjoys them now), the Berenstain Bears (have valuable life lessons and lovely stories). For older readers; Madeliene L’Engle (start with Meet the Austins or A Wrinle in Time ), ‘Ten Kids, No Pets’ by Ann M. Martin and Phyllis Naylor Renolds Boys Against the Girls series (mischieveous fun for the girls and boys- for 5 yrs plus).

  61. Jessica Sheets

    I have a BS in Elementary Education. When I was in college, my professor called them Twinkie Books and Broccoli Books. It’s neat to see others recognizing that fluffy books are just that….fluff. For little ones, it can be a bit harder finding a book short enough for their attention spans, but with developmentally appropriate information. Look for simple rhymes, color words, numbers and letters. Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear is great due to the repetition and the introduction to many animals. My daughter loved this by the time she was six months old. Though, after reading it 28 times in one day, you can pretty much quote it. My two-year old can make it through a longer book if their are voices that go along with each character, so keep that in mind as well. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but thought I’d throw in my two cents!

    Some of my favorites to read aloud to my classroom or that I loved as a kid are: Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola (with an attempt on an Italian accent
    You Are Special by Max Lucado
    If I Only Had a Green Nose by Max Lucado
    The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by John Scieska (sp?)
    Picture books by Jim Arnosky
    Chronicles of Narnia
    Mary Poppins
    Cricket In Times Square
    Ella Enchanted
    Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery
    Laura Ingall’s Wilder books

    and so many more

  62. Mom on the RIse

    I love your site. It is a recent find for me, but I am addicted.

    Madeline and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day are two of my favorites. My daughter loves Madeline and likes Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day too, but won’t sit through the whole thing. I am not a fan of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”- am I the only one?

    She also likes:
    “Jazz Cats” by David Davis
    “Lady in the Water: a bedtime story” by M. Night Shyamalan
    “Good Night Moon” by Margret Wise Brown

    Mom on the RIse’s last blog post…She Gets Stickies

  63. Vanessa

    Have you read
    Hey Al
    A Chair For My Mother

    Lots of people have not suprisingly!

    You know the Frog and Toad series creeped me out as a kid bc I would have nightmares including the characters. How weird huh?

    Vanessa’s last blog post…Help Pass Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act

  64. Mary

    Harry books – Kim Lewis
    Lemons are not Red – Laura Vaccaro Seeger
    Dear Zoo – Rod Campbell
    Chicks & Salsa and Buffalo Wings – Aaron Reynolds
    Bear series – Karma Wilson
    Pinkalicious – Elizabeth Kann & Victoria Kann (we don’t care for Purplicious)
    Fancy Nancy books – Jane O’Connor
    Hedgie Blasts Off – Jan Brett
    Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me – Eric Carle
    Not a Box – Antoinette Portis
    Harold & The Purple Crayon – Crockett Johnson

  65. Steph

    I’m loving your list and all the suggestions from the comments, what a great topic!! Our daughter’s collection includes a lot of books from my childhood, isnt’ it wonderful to be able to hand them down? We’ve also picked up several “classics” at garage sales this summer and will definitely be hitting the library with this list.

    For my daughter (18 months) I love several of the little golden books, especially those illustrated by Eloise Wilkins. We also have a collection of the (non-Disney) Pooh books. Chapter books that I’m keeping in mind for a few years down the road include the Little House books and Nancy Drew as well as Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume.

    Steph’s last blog post…Wordless Wednesday – Mud Bowl

  66. Josh

    Great list! I’ve just got to put in a good word for the children’s poet, Jack Prelutsky. His books “Scranimals” and “The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders” are big hits at my house– and the vocabulary he commands is guaranteed twaddle-free.

    Josh’s last blog post…Original Casement Hardware Cover-up

  67. Lori Bailey

    Love, love, love posts like these – makes my heart smile 🙂 The Anatole books by Eve Titus/Paul Galdone are great for the Madeline lovers – a similar French flair. Keep up the great work!

    Lori Bailey’s last blog post…Not a Stick

  68. Creative Triplet Mom

    Oh, you did it again! I started to read your blog and then here I go sitting here for a long time jotting down children’s books. I now have a long list of books I want to check out at the library. Oh, I started to use google calendar and so far it is working out great for the meal planning. Of course, I’m only in week 1.

    Okay, back to the subject. Our favorite books this week were:
    It’s all about me! by Nancy Cote
    It’s hard to be five by Jamie lee curtis and Laura Cornell

    Will be reading all about friends and manners next week.

  69. jill

    My just four year old is a voracious reader, and my almost 2 yr old is following in his footsteps. We also try to be really twaddle free around here. Two authours that I haven’t seen mentioned that we love are:

    Ezra Jack Keats — he writes this whole series of stories about Peter, a little inner city boy, and illustrates them with these amazing collages. They are fantastic and the two we have at home are rarely out of circulation
    Hans de Beer’s Little Polar Bear books — about Lars the little polar bear who either gets lost or helps other lost little animals find their way home. He is really courageous and meets tons of helpful adult animals. really lovely books. If I homeschooled, I would imagine you could teach some geography by trying to chart his travels.

    Am I the only one who likes Richard Scarry? I haven’t seen his name mentioned either. He’s silly, but a lot of his Busytown books are really good, especially the Best Ever ones.

    jill’s last blog post…quilt progress sept 15

  70. Christina Boyd

    When your kids get a little bit older (probably around 7 would be the start) I highly recommend Arthur Ransome’s Swallow’s and Amazon’s series. They were a highlight of my childhood and I still read several of them each year….

    Christina Boyd’s last blog post…We have TOOTH!

  71. Laura

    I couldn’t agree more with ideas listed above. I have four boys and I am constantly previewing books for them- looking for quality books. (They don’t like to read- so if I hand them a book- it better be worth their time. )

    I grew up reading classics- Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, etc.. now that I have children/boys I am trying to find great classics for them. Shiloh, Hatchet, etc.

    Laura’s last blog post…Rally the Troops

  72. Carrie

    Click Clack Moo… Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin has been one of my 5 year old’s favorites for a long time now. She has a whole series of books that follow Click Clack Moo that are also well loved.

    Carrie’s last blog post…Julius musical

  73. Shirley

    I totally agree with the quote from C.S. Lewis….there is a lot of twaddle out there….here is my list of fave children’s book…my kids are young yet, only 2yr and 3mth respectively so i may have to wait on reading some of them….:)

    1. The Chronicles Of Narnia
    2. Charlotte’s Web
    3. The Secret Garden
    4. Little Women
    5. Little House on the Praire Series
    6. Anne of Green Gables Series
    7. If you Give A Mouse….(all the Laura Numeroff books) my 2 year old loves these
    8. Children’s Bible Stories
    9. Velveteen Rabbit
    10. Winnie the Pooh stories
    11.The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats
    12. Alice in Wonderland
    13. A Wrinkle in Time
    14. Stuart Little
    15. Island of the Blue Dolphins
    16. The Hobbit
    17. Pride and Prejudice
    18. Lord of the Rings Triology
    19. The Hiding Place; This is my Fathers House
    20. Max Lucado’s childrens books

    Shirley’s last blog post…Toddler Tuesday

  74. Shirley

    I am adding some more that i read now with my girls…

    1. Goodnight moon
    2. The Very Hungry Catepillar
    3. Where the Wild Things are
    4. The Big Red Barn
    5. Blueberries for Sal

    Shirley’s last blog post…Toddler Tuesday

  75. Shirley

    As an early childhood educator in Canada I am always on the lookout for good educational books…I will read the fun, twaddle books too but would rather read something with a lesson…there is always a place for good old Robert Munsch (love you forever is a fave) and Dr. Suess, but you have to admit they get a bit annoying sometimes:)

    Shirley’s last blog post…Toddler Tuesday

  76. Emily Barth Webber

    Thanks so much for all the suggestions! I’m going to use your site as a resource when requesting books from the library. So many children’s books are, how can I say this tactfully….., well, just not good. My son is 20 months old. He still likes a few board books here and there, but much prefers picture books. His absolute favorites are Zen Shorts and Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth. I cannot say enough good things about these books. We have read them both about a million times. They are definately twaddle-free. Beautiful illustrations and lovely stories. We also love my childhood favorite, The Winter Bear by Ruth Craft, illustrated by Erik Blegvad and The Three Pigs by David Weisner (quite different and much happier than the original – also with beautiful illustrations). When he was around 12 months old, he could not get enough of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. He is quite choosy. I’ll get a stack of books from the library and he says, “no”, pushes away most of the books, chooses only a few of his favorites and just a few of the new books. No is his favorite word at the moment. He loves, loves, loves to read! I’m trying to find more books that will interest him. Thanks again for the list!

  77. kiran singh

    how come no one has mentioned books by P.D. Eastman….”Are you my mother”. Sam and the Firefly…They are absolutely fablous and are favourites of my 4-year olds nursery class. Also love The Musicians of Bremen, Francis the Firefly, Silly Dilly Duck…

  78. Tara @

    I found this awesome author, Lisa Wheeler, who writes the most amazing children’s books. They are so fun to read…just like Dr. Seuss. The vocabulary is a little advanced, but even my 2-year old likes the stories. A few titles are Castaway Cats, Sailor Moo and Sixteen Cows. Hilarious.

    Tara @´s last blog post…Crazy Cute Organic Stuff – $20 off $40!!!!!

  79. Tabitha (From Single to Married)

    oh – fantastic post! I love children’s books, they bring back such memories. Goodnight Moon is at the top of the list as is Where The Wild Things Are. I also love all of the Bernstein Bears books and the books by Richard Scarry.

    Tabitha (From Single to Married)´s last blog post…Monday Musings – Could You Spare Some Change?

  80. Denise

    These are some of my favorites:
    #1 – Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace
    #2 – Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
    #3 – The Dot (Irma S and James H Black Honor for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Awards)) by Peter H. Reynolds
    #4 – Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss
    #5 – Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss
    #6 – Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss
    # 7 – A is for Art Museum by Katy Friedland and Marla K. Shoemaker
    #8 – Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars (Smart About Art) by Joan Holub
    #9 – Me and My Place in Space (Dragonfly Books) by Joan Sweeney
    #10 – White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker


  81. sara

    Here are a few of my favorites that I don’t think were mentioned yet…
    Sorry, I don’t know who most of the Authors are…
    One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish-Dr. Suess
    Green Eggs and Ham-Dr. Suess
    The Snowy Day
    How Many Bugs in a Box?
    Little Critter -Series
    Berstein Bears-Series

  82. Charity

    My son (now 9) loved I Promise I’ll Find You to the point where we couldn’t leave the house without it. It’s tucked safely away (albeit very tattered) in my photo drawer as a keepsake now. 🙂 Some other favorites were Oh the Places You’ll Go!, I Love You the Purplest, Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Giving Tree – all of which are stories with good underlying messages.

    Unfortunately, our daughter (2 1/2) rarely sits still long enough for us to read anything to her, but we keep trying!

  83. Stacie

    Thank you for this post. I’m new to homeschooling and using FIAR. Some of these books are familiar and I’m ready to check out the others you suggested.

  84. rachel

    We love Beatrix Potter at our house. Who knew? Also, Sing a Song of Popcorn is a wonderful book of rhymes and poetry, and The Big Book of Little has lots of excerpts from classics and fabulous illustrations.

    Cleaning out the twaddle and finding GOOD books was my first step toward homeschooling. It makes a huge difference.

    rachel´s last blog post…We are Interesting!

    • Lisa N

      So many wonderful selections!! A few Canadian suggestions:
      Most of the “Franklin the Turtle” books by Paulette Bourgois and Brenda Clarke, for 3-5 years. Many situations my little ones identify with.
      “From Anna”, and anything else by Jean Little. She has a good grasp of children’s emotional lives , and frequently has characters with disabilities. She is blind herself. 6+
      “Rude Ramsey and the Roaring Radishes” by Margaret Atwood. 4-8 years. It’s pretty long, no dumbed-down vocab! and most words begin with R, so it’s challenging to read out loud.
      “Two by Two” by Barbara Reid. Her illustrations are done in clay, with amazing texture.

  85. Jennifer B.

    I really love this topic! Children’s literature has got to be one of my favorite kinds of books to read! I ABSOLUTELY enjoy it (maybe more than reading adult books)!
    I love your list, too. I have to agree with one of the commenters who mentioned a few negatives about the Mercer Mayer books–I have noticed a few myself, although I still enjoy them.
    As a teacher I enjoyed reading anything by Kevin Henkes. He has serious talent. Check them out. I guarentee that you will love them!
    Also, does anyone out there remember reading “Serendipity” books? I grew up reading them and they have a great storyline and work in a moral for each story. My mom has a whole collection of them still and whenever we go up for a visit I love to curl up with my son (3 1/2) and read one after another. He can’t get enough! These books are not just for 3 year olds. I remember enjoying them for many years!

    • Tsh

      Kevin Henkes is great – we’ve got three of his books. I think I might write another post like this for 10 more twaddle-free books. There’s just so much good stuff.

  86. Barbara Tademy

    I have yet to read any of your books. first time.

  87. andrea

    What a wonderful thread. Im the mother of a four and a half month old son. I was/am a voracious reader, so obviously I’d like to share this love with my baby. I was overwhelmed with gifts of many books when he was born, most of which could not be returned….I know what Twaddle isn’t…that’s pretty clear. I’m just curious if you could give some good examples of what twaddle IS? We don’t do any books with commercial characters — Disneyfied Pooh, Elmo, Mickey etc. etc. And Im pretty particular about the type of illustrations I like. I’d like to make sure that I’m reading him things that are stimulating and high quality. Perhaps someone could post a top 10 twaddle list….to help me get a more clear picture. Thanks!

  88. Alison Moore Smith

    I had to come read this, just because I love the word “twaddle” so much!

    This is a great post and a really nice layout. My youngest (of six!) is now six, but I love books of any kind. And being a homeschooler, I think it’s required. 🙂 Kudos to you moms of little ones!
    .-= Alison Moore Smith´s last blog ..Best Toys: 60 Educational Family Games =-.

  89. Jamie

    so many great classics to choose from! as a kinder teacher myself, my shelves are overflowing with books…my sons somehow manage to sort through the piles and come out with the same six or seven over and over. Scattered on our floor right now?
    Pepo and Lolo and the Big Red Apple by Ana Martín Larrañaga (although all her books are delightful!)
    Llama llama red pajama by Ana Dewdney (one of those scholastic $2 finds that we will be sure to use until it falls apart)
    Never Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson
    Eric Carle’s retelling of Aesop’s Fables
    Ming Lo Moves a Mountain (which was one of my favorites as a LO)
    Cows in the Kitchen (from the time they were 10 months old or so, they have loved this book. My oldest is going on 5, and still wants to read it almost daily)
    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (even my 2 year old can recite this now!)
    Mi Primer Libro de las Ciencias by Larousse (do they make these in english? we LOVE learning about the insides of our bodies!)

    Sadly, as I have all boys, we will probably never share my favorites as a child: Little Women, Ramona and Paddington – from first grade on, I read and re-read these books.

  90. Tina @ Ride On Toys

    I love the classic Winnie the Pooh. The characters in this book are so lovable and it’s such an easy to read book. My granddaughter has loved this book since day one. Mix in a little Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and we can read for hours.
    .-= Tina @ Ride On Toys´s last blog ..Princess Power Wheels – More Power To The Girls =-.

  91. Lisa

    We have many favorites listed already, so I won’t go back over those. One of our favorites hasn’t been mentioned so far (I don’t think). It is Please Pick Me Up Mama by Robin Luebs. The repetition and rhyming is great. We borrowed it from the library and ended up ordering it for a birthday it was so well loved.

  92. Jenny

    I am so glad you mentioned George and Martha- I adore these books and so do my kids.

    We love everything written by Kevin Henkes and Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo), too.

    Please keep these posts about books coming!

  93. Stacey

    Great post and comments. I’ve bookmarked it in my delicious account for future reference (and library visits).

    I’ve taught all of my children to read. The first books they read are those in the Little Bear series (Elsa Holmelund Minarik), followed by the Frog and Toad books. And we love, love, love Maurice Sendak. In addition to the ubiquitous Where the Wild Things Are, there are others like Chicken Soup with Rice, Outside Over There, and In the Night Kitchen.

  94. Tara

    I just wanted to say that I love your top ten list! I have (almost) four year old twins and a son who is nearing three and every single one of your choices is on our list of favourites as well!

  95. dempster

    Thanks for this. What a great list and conversation-starter! So many amazing books, so little time…
    these lists are very dangerous 🙂
    my votes for some all-time favourites (range of ages):

    Caps for Sale- Esphyr Slobodkina
    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble – Wm. Steig
    Owl Babies – M. Waddell
    Frederick – Leo Lionni
    The Jolly Postman – Allan Ahlberg
    The Cow Who Fell in the Canal – Phyllis Krasilovsky
    Higgelty Piggelty Pop – M. Sendak
    Richard Scarry books
    Berenstain Bears books
    Anatole books
    Lupinchen – Binette Schröder
    Olaf’s Incredible Machine – Nicholas Brennan
    The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
    The Allana Books – Tamora Pierce
    Some Australian Favourites(picture books):
    Are We There Yet? – Alison Lester
    Australia at the Beach- Max Fatchen
    Diary of a Wombat- Jackie French
    Happy reading! And hats off to all you homeschoolers. Where I live it isn’t allowed!!

    P.S: I loved Amelia Bedelia, but my kids don’t: they hate when she messes up& are worried she’ll get in trouble!?

  96. Joyce

    Soooo many good books here. While I like the Frances books they can give a kid ideas… like making demands at bedtime. I must reccomend the 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury selected by Janet Schulman. This book has so many of the stories I’ve seen listed here, and is perfect for traveling – only one book to bring, plus a bible story book. You’ve also got to read Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. It made me tear up with joy in the middle of the public library.
    Am I the only one who can’t stand berenstain bears? My husband likes them, but they come across as heavily moralizing and poorly written to me.

  97. Bridgit

    Hi…thanks for this terrific list. I am completing an online course, needing to write a unit plan that involves high school kids reading to pre-schoolers and so was looking for a good list of read alouds for my unit plan. My own children in typical boy fashion only ever wanted Thomas the Tank Engine stories so, I was lost as to where to begin.

  98. Julie Holland

    The Fanny books by Holly Hobbie and all Kevin Henkes books (especially Lilly) and Ezra Jack Keats books are my 4-year-old’s and my current favorites.

  99. Sarah

    SO many GREAT books mentioned! One that all of my children have loved is “The Happy Lion” by Roger Duvoisin. The first chapter books we tried for our sensitive little ones were “The Littles” series. The originals are such fun, and my boys still play, a year later, that the Littles are living in our walls. The also loved the Ralph Mouse books by Beverly Cleary. Even though we have forayed into chapter books, picture books are still their favorite part of bedtime! Right now, we are absolutely loving Emily Bearn’s delightful adventures written about TumTum and Nutmeg. They are so rich and so fun all at the same time!

  100. Julie

    Couldn’t resist adding a few more names:

    Frane Lessac: Island Counting 123 is the best! I don’t care for the dragon books but there are lots of great ones!

    Leslie Patricelli: ALL of these books are amazing (we call them the “Dinky” books for some reason–I think my daughter thought the baby’s name was Dinky). The Birthday Box and Yummy Yucky are so easy to read 100 times.

    Beach Babies Wear Shades, Urban Babies Wear Black, etc. These are so much fun! (I think they have various authors.)

  101. Julie

    (Nope, looks like they’re all by Michelle Sinclair Coleman.)

  102. Patricia Brown

    I think what is important is simplicity in word form and ideas, and repetition. Kids love to read the same book. It helps them gain self-confidence when they recognize something, they are more likely to begin to hear rhythm and understand new words by using the same books for a time. My younger kids ( as a teacher of 0-3years and as a mom) like:
    *Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
    *Baby Faces (faces of babies with moods) (*Great for recognizing and teaching emotions)
    *The rainbow fish
    *Katy Kaboose got loose
    *Brown Bear, Brown Bear
    *Magic School Bus series
    *Curious George series
    *The Giving Tree

  103. Caroline Starr Rose

    What a great list of classics! We still quote Frances and Frog and Toad around here, and my boys are now 10 and 12.

    As a children’s author I’ve come to realize a lot of parents aren’t familiar with more recent titles that are just as worthy of reading. It can be hard to know where to look for information, too. One easy place to start is the Bank Street College Best Books of the Year list. I’m attaching 2013’s Under Five list.

    Other places parents might find new titles of note are through School Library Journal and Horn Book, which are print review journals with on-line counterparts. I can also recommend Jen Robinson’s Book Page, a blog with incredible resources.

  104. Southern Gal

    We also love great children’s books. Peter Rabbit, Winnie-the-Pooh and Little House books were favorites around here. We also love Blueberries for Sal which my granddaughter has to have read to her over and over especially since blueberries are ripe! Eve Rice books are favorites, too. At Grammy’s House and Benny Bakes a Cake were memorized long ago when my daughter was little. Thanks for sharing your list. I see a couple I need to purchase for my granddaughters that I had forgotten about.

  105. Larissa Smith

    Some family favorites here:
    – Pam Munoz Ryan wrote “Mud is Cake” which is a beautiful portrayal of imagination, and “Hello, Ocean” which describes in detail experiencing the beach with all five senses.
    – Fancy Nancy books are some of my first grader’s favorites, and incorporate new vocabulary words, as Nancy is very fancy and likes to use them.
    – “Mortimer’s First Garden” about growing a sunflower
    – Sandra Boynton board books capture very well real situations and information with fun rhymes and cute illustrations
    – “Hooway for Wodney Wat” about how everyone has value
    – “Diary of a Worm” about the daily life of a worm and his family/friends. Informative yet hilariously creative.
    – “Snow Happy to be Here” about how snowmen come to life. I get misty every. time.
    – “Wild about Books” about animals in a zoo learning to love reading

    I don’t like the “If you give a…” books because the animal is described as an entitled individual who gets whatever they request even when it inevitably leads to chaos. I know most see them as adorable and creative, but they just bug me.

  106. Amy

    I have convinced my husband that I am Toad (Type A, but well-meaning) and he is Frog (full of energy and loves me anyway).

  107. Sarah

    A subject close to my heart! But I don’t know George and Martha! Thanks for the rec.

  108. Hanna

    Ahhh reading this post brought back so many wonderful childhood memories 🙂 Even now being in my late 20’s I still very much enjoy reading children books, makes me all giddy & happy! My absolute love & favorites are Madeline & Curious George. Cannot wait for the day when I have my own kids to read to them books that I’ve loved as a child~ LOVE this post!

  109. Jan Tessier

    Hi! I am new to the concept of twaddle…but am highly suspicious that I am guilty of such this faux pas. My father was more of a story-teller than a book reader during my formative years, so the “music” and rhythm of language…the pauses and inflections are precious to me. And so, we read a lot of Barbara Boynton. Pretty sure her stuff would be considered twaddle.

    Can someone speak to this? As I mentioned, I’m new to this concept. Thanks!

  110. Zhenya

    My kids have not taken to Alexander and his bad day!

    Favourites in our house…
    Stanley and Rhoda by Rosemary Wells – great brother sister relationship.
    Winnie the Witch stories – I think the illustrations are above and beyond the stories.
    Meg and Mog books – bold, simple, fun.
    Great picture books by Philippe Dupasquier, include Dear Daddy, a great story about children waiting for their father to return from overseas.
    Mr Men books
    Julia Donaldson books, particularly A Squash and a Squeeze and The Gruffalo

    I’ve started reading Charlotte’s web to my 3 and 5 year old, we’ve not quite finished it yet. They both love George’s Marvellous Medicine which I have in the car read by Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley). Also Dick King Smith’s Sophie books.

    • Zhenya

      Oh and anything by Bob Graham! Love his books, particularly Oscar’s Half Birthday.

  111. JenD

    My kids love Knuffle Bunny & Knuffle Bunny Too, by Mo Willems! (And so do we!)

  112. MarySue

    My hands-down favorite read aloud for the younger set is the Milly Molly Mandy books, by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Delightfully captivating stories about a little girl in England in the early 1900’s, and her everyday adventures. Just wonderful!

  113. Tanya

    Loved this list! Good children’s books stand the test of time – even when you’re an adult. Ferdinand was always one of my favorites. I remember Ira’s teddy bear debate in “Ira Sleeps Over,” I recently passed my copy of “Make Way For Ducklings” on to a friend’s children, and I still fondly keep my copy of “Madeline.” And of course, Dr. Seuss has no equal!

  114. Amy

    I work part-time at our county’s small library, which is mostly a hobby, but gives me a chance to see all the wonderful new kids books that being published. One of my boys more recent favorites (they are 3 and almost 2) is the “Pete the Cat” books by Eric Litwin. They short and repetitive, which makes them easy for my boys to learn and “read” themselves. But they also teach really cute little lessons, because no matter what happens to him (in one story he steps in several things and ruins his white shoes, and in another he loses all the buttons on his shirt), Pete keeps on singing!

  115. Jessica

    This is a great list, and important. Another beautiful children’s book that has gotten consistently great reviews from both children and adults is called “Papa’s New Home” by Jessica Lynn Curtis.

  116. Heather

    Thanks for the post on Twaddle-free books.

    I like to tell my friends that ANYTHING by Robert McCloskey is worth owning! I NEVER get tired of reading the books of his that we own.

    “Each Peach Pear Plum” is a really fun board book our children have enjoyed.

    Maurice Sendak’s “Little Bear” books are great.

    “Franklin” books are enjoyed as well.

    I also want to recommend a fantastic anthology of poetry called “Here’s a Little Poem” — the poems are great and are illustrated with colourful collage-work. A former student gave to me as a baby gift when I had my first child and I have treasured it since for all the above reason.

    Also, I really enjoy the “Stella” books we have — the main character has a brilliant imagination and tries to draw her younger brother into the world as she sees it. I don’t think they would qualify as twaddle. They add a bit of Canadian content to our bookshelves (We have some Robert Munsch — “Mud Puddle” is fun, “Love You Forever” is always a tear-jerker for parents, and there are a few others we like, but I agree with a previous poster who questioned the appropriateness of the content of some of his stories. Many of them seem to present either children or parents in a bad light or with really negative attitudes and/or behaviours for the sake of humour.)

    Just wanted to echo “Yes” to:

    William Stieg books, especially “Dr. DeSoto”, “The Amazing Bone”, and “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” (he kind uses a lot of the same devices, which I get a bit tired of, but our children enjoy his books and I do too for the most part)
    Kevin Henkes books — “Jessica” and “Kittens First Full Moon” are favourites around here
    James Herriot’s Treasury is great too.

    We do not own any “Madeline” or “Frances” books yet — I think we’ll change that this year with birthday presents!

  117. Keri

    This was likely already mentioned in the plethora of comments, but I had to give a shout out to Mo Willems on this post. His kids books are very cute and FUNNY! As a parent, I literally enjoy reading the Elephant and Piggie books and often find myself laughing out loud.

  118. Jessica in Canada

    My favourites when I was a kid were “One Morning in Maine” and the “Booky” trilogy (start with “That Scatterbrain Booky”). My sister & I read & re-read those books. They are a true story about a girl growing up during the Depression in Canada.

    It is hard to narrow down, but the current favourites around our house (with the parents too!) are “The Incredible Book-eating Boy”, “Don’t Grown-ups Ever Have Fun?” and “Baby in a Basket”.

  119. Rangi Krishnan

    My girl is now a teenager but her favourite book is The Nickle Nackle Tree. When we gave it away, she insisted we get her another one even though she was 16 at the time. A good story has stickabilty. I have written a couple of android app books I thought you may be interested in. One is titled “Kitty Conundrum” and the other is “Seesaw Kitty”. You can view the youtube videos here:
    You can also find me on Facebook here:

  120. Leigh Anne

    When I was two years old, a family friend sent me a set of record albums of the great British actor Cyril Ritchard reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The set included a facsimile of the original cloth-bound edition of the book, and I learned to read by following along with the records. The characters were so memorable, and while some of Alice’s adventures were strange, none of them were particularly frightening to me, even at that young age. I highly recommend this, and Through the Looking-Glass, as read-together books for families, especially with the original Tenniel illustrations.

  121. Naomi Liz Figueroa

    I love your list! And I’m so glad to see some Robert McCloskey books on there! We were big fans since we grew up in Maine (my mother *may* have called me Sal when we went out to pick blueberries–it might have had something to do with how many blueberries ended up in my mouth 😉 ). Blueberries for Sal would definitely be in my own Top 10!

    Also, I love Frog and Toad as well as the Alexander book (that’s one that I still think of when I’m having a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”!).

  122. ljpark

    I’ve been involved in primary education for almost 20 years, ran a children’s book club and taught preschool. GOOD BOOKS are SO important. I love the list you provided…but, I would add one. “Where’s My Teddy” by Jez Alborough. It is the oldest, most adored book at my house. The front cover is taped and some of the pages have been ripped and patched up more than once, but it has survived for 20 years! My 21 year old daughter still reads it when she comes home. My book club children and preschoolers loved it and asked for it over and over. I have a collection of children’s literature which I will never let go, and I currently do not teach and have no children in my home! Grandkids and more opportunities to read and share…that’s all I’m waiting for! I appreciate your insight and sharing.

  123. Rachel

    Thanks for reposting this, always looking for good books for my three year old! I let him have some twaddle, he’s really into Jake and the Neverland Pirates right now! But, he also has most of the books on this list! He loves nonfiction, too, so the National Geographic Kods books are good friends of his right now…the same books some of my fifth graders read at school!

  124. Debbie

    I loved Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup With Rice . We also had an audio version and my kids (now 25 and 29 ! can still sing the whole thing.

  125. Paul L

    I can’ t tell you how much I enjoy:
    Slow Train to Oxmox by Kurt. Cyrus

    Flotsam by David Wiesner
    (Or any of his other books)

    The Remarkable Farkle McBride by. John Lithgow

    And anything by Rob Gonsalves. He’s magical.

  126. Denise

    Any books on the Five in a Row curriculum list are twaddle free – several are on this list and all are great quality.

  127. Jessica

    Thank you so much for this list! I have been going through reading lists because we are in need of getting more books for my almost 3 year old who is totally bored with his books and was looking for a twaddle-free list without knowing it, lol! I just kept coming across lists that are books I read to him as a baby/toddler and I just wasn’t convinced that was it because I can tell he is ready for more challenging books. I was so excited to find this list…my boy loves Katy and the Big Snow more than Mike Mulligan but he loves them both and so glad to find all of these other books!! Especially now that we have a 5 1/2 month old girl we will be so much better prepared. I wish I had books to add to the list but a lot of folks have mentioned them already so no sense in repeating. 🙂 Thank you again!

  128. Jessica

    Oh wait! These books are very specific but my child likes them and I think they are worth buying. The Goodnight Our World Series and I’m Your Flag So Please Treat Me Right! He likes Winnie the Pooh but will appreciate the humor more as he gets older like you said.

  129. Katie @ Youth Literature Reviews

    What a fantastic selection of books! Many of these are all-time favorites of mine. Thanks for cutting through the twaddle and coming up with such a great list!

  130. JC

    Just discovered this list. I’m going to get some of these for my kids. Looks like it’s some good recommendations in the comments as well. Thanks!

    Also check this out if anyone needs some twaddle-free apps for preschoolers that really gets positive results.

  131. Mirasol Jennings

    my assistant was searching for Rv f1309201 form earlier today and saw a web service that hosts lots of fillable forms . If you need to fill out Rv f1309201 form too , here’s a

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