100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know

View all Best Recommendations for Kids book lists; This list was last updated on 7/30/2013
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Prepared by the Office of Children's Services at the New York Public Library.

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Goodnight Moon

In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. "Goodnight room, goodnight moon." And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room -- to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to themittens and the kittens, toeverything one by one -- the little bunny says goodnight.

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

release date: Feb 21, 1996
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Good Night, Gorilla
A must-have board book for all babies.

Good night, Gorilla.
Good night, Elephant.


It's bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who's that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin?

Good night, Giraffe.
Good night, Hyena.


Sneak along behind the zookeeper's back, and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night romp.
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Goin' Someplace Special
There's a place in this 1950s southern town where all are welcome, no matter what their skin color...and 'Tricia Ann knows exactly how to get there. To her, it's someplace special and she's bursting to go by herself.
When her grandmother sees that she's ready to take such a big step, 'Tricia Ann hurries to catch the bus heading downtown. But unlike the white passengers, she must sit in the back behind the Jim Crow sign and wonder why life's so unfair.
Still, for each hurtful sign seen and painful comment heard, there's a friend around the corner reminding 'Tricia Ann that she's not alone. And even her grandmother's words -- "You are somedbody, a human being -- no better, no worse than anybody else in this world" -- echo in her head, lifting her spirits and pushing her forward.
Patricia C. McKissack's poignant story of growing up in the segregated South and Jerry Pinkney's rich, detailed watercolors lead readers to the doorway of freedom.
release date: Jan 01, 1993
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Go Away, Big Green Monster!
Caldecott Award-winning author-artist Ed Emberley has created an ingenious way for children to chase away their nighttime fears. Kids can turn the pages of this die-cut book and watch the Big Green Monster grow. Then, when they're ready to show him who's in charge, they'll turn the remaining pages and watch him disappear! This lavish reissue features dramatic die-cut eyes and sparkling foil on the cover.
release date: Sep 01, 2008
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George and Martha
Like all best friends, George and Martha do everything together—go to the movies, play at the beach, and just hang around not doing much of anything. George and Martha teach each other (and adoring readers) that even in a close friendship, privacy is important, practical jokes can sometimes backfire, and among other things, pouring split pea soup into your loafers to spare the chef's feelings is not the best-laid plan. A man with a talent for friendship, James Marshall defined its very essence in his stories about the world's two best friends. In this volume, all thirty-five episodes are brought together to celebrate friendship and two of the most lovable characters ever created. Each of these brief tales is filled with humor, and James Marshall's drawings are guaranteed to spark feelings of empathy, delight, and self-recognition.

This collector's edition includes an introduction by MauriceSendak as well as appreciations by some of the top authorsand illustrators working in children's publishing today.It is a true testament to James Marshall as an author, as an artist, and as a person that his work and his life inspired such a diverse and immensely talented group. Noted children's book historian Anita Silvey provides an afterword.
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The Gardener

By the author-and-illustrator team of the bestselling The Library

Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker. There she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers' faces with the flowers she grows. But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece -- an ambitious rooftop garden -- which she hopes will make even Uncle Jim smile. Sarah Stewart introduces readers to an engaging and determined young heroine, whose story is told through letters written home, while David Small's illustrations beautifully evoke the Depression-era setting.

The Gardener is a 1997 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and a 1998 Caldecott Honor Book.

release date: Jan 01, 1995
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Froggy Gets Dressed
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.
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Freight Train

Red caboose at the back, orange tank car, green cattle car, purple box car, black tender and a black steam engine . . . freight train.

The powerful words evoke the essence of inexorably rolling wheels, so that even a child not lucky enough to have counted freight cars will feel he has watched a freight train passing. A book truly for the youngest child—and for every one of us who has been that child.

release date: Sep 17, 1998
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Fire Truck
Matt loves fire trucks, and one morning when he wakes up, he is a fire truck--right down to his hoses, hooks, and ladders! His wheels and sirens couldn't be handier for performing many important duties around the house, especially rescuing teetering teddy bears or precariously placed pets. And a gatefold spread of Matt's fully loaded rig will have happy young viewers counting from one to ten--over and over again--in this fun-filled ode to the classic red fire truck by Caldecott Honor-winning Peter Sis.
release date: Jan 01, 2004
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Duck on a Bike
Caldecott Honor winner David Shannon applies his wonderful off-beat humor to the story of a duck who decides to try riding a bike--and loves it! Another young, funny book perfect for reading aloud.

One day down on the farm, Duck got a wild idea. "I bet I could ride a bike," he thought. He waddled over to where the boy parked his bike, climbed on and began to ride. At first he rode slowly and he wobbled a lot, but it was fun! Duck rode past Cow and waved to her. "Hello, Cow!" said Duck. "Moo," said Cow. But what she thought was, "A duck on a bike? That's the silliest thing I've ever seen!"
And so Duck rides past sheep, horse, and all the other barnyard animals. Suddenly, a group of kids ride by on their bikes and run into the farmhouse, leaving the bikes outside. Now ALL the animals can ride bikes, just like Duck!
release date: Jan 01, 2000
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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
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.
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Dinosaur Roar!
Dinosaurs of every shape and size race, roar, and stomp through this colorful book of opposites. And where are all these silly-looking creatures off to? A dinosaur picnic, of course! These prehistoric pranksters and the simple, playful rhymes that accompany them will delight children everywhere. Dinosaur Roar! is an entertaining way to introduce preschoolers to the concept of opposites.
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The Complete Adventures of Curious George
"This is George. He lived in Africa. he was a good little monkey, and always very curious."
 
With these words, H.A. and Margret Rey introduced the world to Curious George, and the world has loved him ever since. The tales of this cheerful and resilent little heror have kept generations of readers enthralled and entertained. This lavish edition includes an introduction by Leonard S. Marcus, Publisher's Perspective by Anita Silvey, retrospective essay by Dee Jones with photographic album of Margaret and H. A. Rey, and the seven original tales of Curious George: Curious George, Curious George Gets a Medal, Curious George Flies a Kite, Curious George Rides a Bike, Curious George Goes to the Hospital, Curious George Takes a Job, and Curious George Learns the Alphabet.   This volume also includes two audio CDs with recordings of the seven stories--more than one hour of storytelling!
 
The Complete Adventures of Curious George will be treasured by George's many fans, young and old.
by:
release date: Sep 09, 2008
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Corduroy
Now children can cuddle up with an adorable Corduroy plush bear as they listen to his story. A small edition of the classic Corduroy book is included in this handsome package?just the right size to carry along in the car or in a stroller. Right in time for holiday gift-giving, theCorduroy Book and Bear boxed set is a must-have for this popular character?s legions of fans.
release date: Jan 01, 2003
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Come Along, Daisy!
A Babybug Editors' Choice
- A Booklist Youth Editors' Choice-Top of the List
- A Parenting Best Book
- An SL/Best Book
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Click, Clack, Moo
Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type. All day long he hears:

Click, clack, moo.
Click, clack, moo.
Click, clack, moo.

But Farmer Brown's problems REALLY begin when his cows start leaving him notes...Come join the fun as a bunch of literate cows turn Farmer Brown's farm upside-down! This package includes a paperback book along with a CD of country music star Randy Travis reading this New York Times bestseller!
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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault's rhythmic chant and Lois Ehlert's exuberant collage illustrations have made Chicka Chicka Boom Boom a read-aloud favorite for twenty years.

To celebrate, here is a special anniversary edition of this quintessential picture book with these exciting new features including completely restored artwork, twenty years of Chicka historical note and a Happy Birthday, Chicka! poster on the inside jacket that will surely delight old and new generations of Chicka Chicka fans alike!
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A Chair for My Mother 25th Anniversary Edition

This classic and award-winning picture book was written and illustrated by the celebrated Vera B. Williams and was named a Caldecott Honor Book by the American Library Association. "A tender knockout . . . it's rare to find much vitality, spontaneity, and depth of feeling in such a simple, young book."—Kirkus Reviews

After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy. A Chair for My Mother has sold more than a million copies and is an ideal choice for reading and sharing at home and in the classroom. "A superbly conceived picture book expressing the joyful spirit of a loving family."—The Horn Book

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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The Carrot Seed 60th Anniversary Edition

This book teaches the patience and technique of planting a seed and helping it grow. First published in 1945 and never out of print, this timeless combination of Ruth Krauss's simple text and Crockett Johnson's eloquent illustrations creates a triumphant and deeply satisfying story for readers of all ages.

When a little boy plants a carrot seed, everyone tells him it won't grow. But when you are very young, there are some things that you just know, and the little boy knows that one day a carrot will come up. So he waters his seed, and pulls the weeds, and he waits...

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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Caps for Sale

Caps for Sale is a timeless classic beloved by generations of readers—now celebrating its 75th anniversary!

This story about a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys is filled with warmth, humor, and simplicity and teaches children about problem and resolution. Children will delight in following the peddler's efforts to outwit the monkeys and will ask to read it again and again. Caps for Sale is an excellent easy-to-read book that includes repetition, patterns, and colors, perfect for early readers.

Supports the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts

release date: Feb 03, 1999
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Buz
When a young boy accidentally swallows poor Buz , a bug, along with his morning cereal, he's prescribed two pills to remedy the situation. Little does he know what is going on inside! In his award-winning signature style, Richard Egielski invents an ingenious behind-the-scenes adventure of two keystone cop-like pills in pursuit of a bug inside a human body. Buz eventually makes his escape, only to discover he has caught a bug of his own. On with the chase!

New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 1995
1998 Young Reader's Choice Award, Pennsylvania
An ABA Pick of the Lists

100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 1995 (NY Public Library)
1995 "Pick of the Lists" (ABA)
Children's Choices for 1996 (IRA/CBC)
Best Illustrated Children's Books of 1995 (NYT)
1995 Parent's Choice Silver Award for Picture Books
1998 PA Young Reader's Choice Award

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Bruno Munari's ABC
In this imaginative ABC, acclaimed artist, designer and children's author, Bruno Munari shows how fun letters can be. From an Ant on an Apple to a Blue Butterfly to a Cat in a Cage, Munari pairs words in whimsical ways until Fly frees itself from its page, lands on the Hat, buzzes near the Ice Cream and provides the final sound for Zzzzz.
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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? My First Reader

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? beginning readers:

These beloved children's stories are now available in beginning reader format.
With the important pre-reading concepts of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, these picture books have long been used as beginning readers. Now, with a 6" x 9" trim and a classic beginning reader layout, children will have a more "grown up" version to read by themselves.
Complete with an introduction by master educator Laura Robb, and with fun reading activities added, these new versions of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? are certain to appeal to a new age group and find an even wider audience.

release date: Jan 01, 1998
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Bread and Jam for Frances

Frances is a fussy eater. In fact, the only thing she likes is bread and jam. She won't touch her squishy soft-boiled egg. She trades away her chicken-salad sandwich at lunch. She turns up her nose at boring veal cutlets. Unless Mother can come up with a plan, Frances just might go on eating bread and jam forever!

release date: Jun 01, 1999
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The Bossy Gallito/El Gallo de Bodas: A Traditional Cuban Folktale (Dual Language Edition)
Érase una vez un gallito mandón que iba muy limpiecito a la boda de su tío Perico... Hasta que se ensució y quiso que todos lo ayudarán a volver a estar limpiecito. Un libro muy divertido en inglés y español que deleitará tanto a grandes como a chicos.
release date: Jan 01, 2000
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Bark George

"Bark, George," says George's mother, and George goes: "Meow," which definitely isn't right, because George is a dog.

And so is his mother, who repeats, "Bark, George." And George goes, "Quack, quack."

What's going on with George? Find out in this hilarious new picture book from Jules Feiffer.

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Andy and the Lion
In this retelling of Androcles and the Lion, Andy meets a lion on the way to school and wins his friendship for life by removing a thorn from his paw.
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Anansi and the Moss-covered Rock
Anansi the Spider uses a strange moss-covered rock in the forest to trick all the other animals, until Little Bush Deer decides he needs to learn a lesson.
release date: Jan 01, 1989
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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. When he got out of bed, he tripped over his skateboard and by mistake dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running. He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Nothing at all was right. Everything went wrong, right down to lima beans for supper and kissing on TV.
What do you do on a day like that? Well, you may think about going to Australia. You may also be glad to find that some days are like that for other people too.
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Abuela
While riding on a bus with her grandmother, a little girl imagines that they are carried up into the sky and fly over the sights of New York City.
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