ABC’s Complete List of The Best Picture Books

All of us (I hope)  have memories of reading a favorite book on a warm lap or at bedtime. Mine is of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book with yummy things to eat, and a comforting sense of order, and, quite amazingly in the 1970’s, holes! In the book! Such anarchy!

I’ve been the buyer for the picture books at ABC Amsterdam for ten years –  almost as long as I’ve worked here. I’ve read hundred of them as a parent, student teacher and as a child myself and I’ve learned what works for both audiences: the very best picture books are the ones that neither grown-up or child ever gets tired reading, even after a hundred renditions. Some of my favorites, like Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny and Ian Falconer’s Olivia have plenty to make parents chuckle but still satisfy 5 year olds, every time. Great picture books have humor, or rhythm, or eye-catching pictures or a great story, and sometimes, like Joseph Had A Little Overcoat, or Bark, George, they have all of these and that’s why they win awards and stay at the top of bestseller lists.

This list covers old and new classics from both the UK and USA. It’s a list of my own personal favorites, ABC bestsellers and the most-agreed upon classics that will appeal to children up to about five years old. Most of these titles have the added advantage of being great for use in the (ESL) classroom: they have lots of repetition, annd present key concepts and vocabulary in fun ways. I’ve used quite a few of these books in math, science and art lessons too!

Of course it’s hard to be objective when it comes to picture books. If your favorite picture book isn’t on this list, it probably didn’t mean my abitrary and biased criteria, but feel free to champion it in the comments list. I might even add it. :-)

Books Every Child Should Be Given Upon Birth

Absolutely Essential Books to Grow On

Books with a Dutch Theme

Books Every Child Should Be Given Upon Birth

Absolutely Essential Books to Grow On

Books with a Dutch Theme

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