Our Family’s Favorite Picture Books

My oldest son, Matthew, is three, and he absolutely loves books. Proud mama, right here! He’s always been pretty into books. In fact, I have a great picture of him looking at the pictures in a book as young as three months old. Usually this book love takes the form of picking ONE book that he is obsessed with and reading it over and over and over again. (Sound like anyone we know?)

Over the last three years that book has changed many times. But I thought it might be fun to share some of those favorites with you all. I’m adding Amazon links in case you see one you like. I’m not an affiliate or anything, just want to spread the love!

So here they are, in more-or-less the order he enjoyed them in.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

51vTMFD5q9L._SX359_BO1,204,203,200_What a classic! When my son was about six months old this was the only long book he would sit still for. The rhyming patterns and frequent repetition make this a great book for small children. As a bonus, I also really enjoyed reading him this book every day. Unlike some kids books, it never got old.

Gossie & Gertie by Oliver Dunrea

51b-XVYG6kLThis is a short, simple, and sweet little book about two goslings (baby geese) who wear bright red boots and bright blue boots. Gossie and Gertie are best friends and do everything together. My son loved how nicely the pictures lined up with the story, and enjoyed pointing to whatever I was reading about. I love the bright watercolor-inspired illustrations. This is a great book for even the smallest children!

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

51Zu5zbzWDL._SX360_BO1,204,203,200_Another classic! This was the first book I ever read, though I strongly suspect I had it memorized. Again, the repetition makes this book great for babies. To this day we still call tractors, bulldozers, and basically all construction equipment a “snort”.

No, No, Charlie Rascal! by Lorena Kent

41e6uhLJN-L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_This book appears to be long out of print. But who doesn’t love a silly book about a cat getting into trouble? This book was great for when my son was first learning to talk because of the refrain, “No, no, Charlie Rascal!” which he got to say while I read the rest of the book.

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

513BPIebEKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_My son started by loving the nursery rhyme. He would chant it, jump, and fall over and over and over again. We introduced the book, which we happened to have, in an attempt to get him to calm down and sit still. It worked! Christelow added a little bit at the beginning and a silly little conclusion. Her colored pencil illustrations are definitely different from any of the other books we own! It is also great for giving young kids a chance to “read” to you as they will quickly memorize it. They love being the reader and turning the pages for mommy and daddy.

Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! by Sandra Boynton

81RgtDig4DLWe must have a million and a half Sandra Boynton books. This was the first one (other than The Going to Bed Book, which we read to him every night as part of his bedtime routine) that my son was so interested in. I love Boynton’s books because they have simple rhyme schemes that kids can catch on to, they’re repetitive, there are never many words on a page (turning the page often is GREAT for short attention spans!), and her drawings are adorable. This would also be a great book for teaching about rhyming words for older children.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle

81EVdWdmOKLThey must have read this one to my son at daycare, because one day he came home, saw it on the shelf, and then demanded I read it to him five times in a row. It was the first book he memorized, and he enjoyed it so much that he would sometimes recite it to me even when the book wasn’t there. The simple repetitions in this book make it ideal for the youngest readers, and its great for any kid learning their colors. And, of course, Carle’s illustrations are one of a kind.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

61ulN35aErL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I introduced this book to my son one night when he was suddenly afraid of monsters. I don’t know how he learned what monsters are or that they’re scary, but he was screaming in fear. So asked him, “Do you want to read a book about monsters?” It worked like a charm. In addition to reading it to him I kept saying, “See, those wild things aren’t scary” or “That wild thing is so funny!”. Now he loves that book and keeps coming back to it every few months.

As a parent my favorite thing about Where the Wild Things Are are the beautiful illustrations. I don’t even know how to describe them, so I’m going to leave the highest quality sample I can find below for you to look. However, this book is definitely for older kids. Mine loves it, but he’s really too small to understand the underlying message of the book (Mommy loves you even when you’re in trouble), and several of the pages have no text on them at all. There is no rhyming and no rhythm. The punctuation is weird too. Sentences go across multiple pages. But it would be a great book for learning to read. The vocabulary is simple, there aren’t too many words on the page, and it’s a lot of fun. This is one of my personal all-time favorite picture books, I highly recommend it for any family’s collection.

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Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth

51DHSw1I59L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? along with Let’s Go Home Little Bear come out of my son’s continued brown bear obsession. They’re sweet little books about a father and son bear going through typical little kid problems. In this one little bear is afraid of the dark. I would recommend them more for older kids, because they’re a little on the long side, and while they’re repetitive, they aren’t rhyming books. But again, I love the beautiful illustrations.

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

824204Another classic. In addition to bears, my son is obsessed with trains. So it’s no surprise that he wants to read this book every night. Despite it being VERY long he’s got it close to memorized. This is an older book, so it has some antiquated vocabulary, and I don’t like that the pictures and story are often mis-aligned. But we enjoy doing the voices for the different trains, and reading faster and faster and faster as the little blue engine makes it up the mountain.


What are some of your favorite picture books? What do you like about them?

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18 thoughts on “Our Family’s Favorite Picture Books

  1. I absolutely love picture books so I love this post because I think picture books can be looked down on but there are actually some really powerful messages in there! I really like Where the Wild Things Are too and it was actually on the syllabus for a children’s lit module I did at uni which was really interesting, plus the film is absolutely heartbreaking. My favourite picture book at the moment is called The Bear and the Piano and it’s one of those that really struck a chord with me personally because I found it after I moved to uni and was really struggling with being in a new big city and the picture book is about a Bear who becomes famous for playing piano and moves away from the forest where he lives with his family to the city and enjoys it at the beginning but then really starts to struggle with being so far away and no spoilers but the end is really sweet and literally makes me cry! Amazing post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • He, he, struck a CHORD, hehe. I see what you did there! 😉

      I agree, picture books can be SOOO powerful! A teacher I work with is reading picture books to her middle schoolers this year, and they love it and are learning so much. Plus, I feel like as a person who likes art but never gets to really see any, the actual pictures in picture books are really important to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Are You My Mother! It’s such a simple yet touching read. My personal favorite picture book though is “The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore”; I’d highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t read it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a child I was obsessed with The Lonely Doll books by Dare Wright. I was thrilled when I found antique copies at the library to read them to my children. They were a lot darker than I remembered–which made them an even bigger hit with my kids. My kids fell in love with Richard Scarry books. My daughter had a Barney (the dinosaur) book that I hated but she adored. I hate to admit that I actually saw the Barney movie in the theater. It was cuter than I thought it would be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful post! My favorite book was Goodnight Moon. My parents said that I went through a phase where I didn’t want to read it so much as find the mouse on every page, but I came around again to reading it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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