There are some picture books that have just proven themselves over and over again.
Of course, everyone has a slightly different opinion on which books are actually good classic picture books.
Truthfully, my kids even have different opinions than me (if they had made this list Curious George would have been included).
When trying to decide the criteria for what made a picture book a classic I decided to go will anything published in 1986 (the year of my birth) or before that.
I think that makes me a classic in this definition. That’s one way to feel old.
Next week I plan on coming back with a list of what I would consider modern day classic picture books!
Are there classic picture books that you think should have made this list?
14 Classic Picture Books That Have Stood The Test of Time
This iconic story has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations. When Max dresses in his wolf suit and causes havoc in the house, his mother sends him to bed. From there, Max sets sail to an island inhabited by the Wild Things, who name him king and share a wild rumpus with him. But then from far away across the world, Max smells good things to eat…
Thus begins a lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and the changing seasons in the life of one New Englander and his family. The oxcart man packs his goods – the wool from his sheep, the shawl his wife made, the mittens his daughter knitted, and the linen they wove. He packs the birch brooms his son carved, and even a bag of goose feathers from the barnyard geese.
He travels over hills, through valleys, by streams, past farms and villages. At Portsmouth Market he sells his goods, one by one – even his beloved ox. Then, with his pockets full of coins, he wanders through the market, buying provisions for his family, and returns to his home. And the cycle begins again.
I love the rhythm and rhyme in this book!
Katy caboose doesn’t like her life at the back of the train. Stuck with clouds of billowing smoke from the engine and a bumpy, jolting ride, she longs for some peace and quiet. When her rusty bolts bust loose, Katy finally gets the life she wants in a way she never expected!
This one was published in the year of my birth and never fails to make me choke up when I’m reading it.
A young woman holds her newborn son
And looks at him lovingly.
Softly she sings to him:
“I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”
Obviously this book had to be on the list, this is a true classic!
“Do you like green eggs and ham?” asks Sam-I-am in this Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree? Sam keeps asking persistently. With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, Dr. Seuss’s beloved favorite has cemented its place as a children’s classic. In this most famous of cumulative tales, the list of places to enjoy green eggs and ham, and friends to enjoy them with, gets longer and longer. Follow Sam-I-am as he insists that this unusual treat is indeed a delectable snack to be savored everywhere and in every way.
The poems and pictures in this book are stunning.
Enjoy the classic, complete collection of Cicely Mary Barker’s original Flower Fairies books in this brand-new edition. This collector’s favorite has been redesigned and now features a lavish, eye-catching jacket with silver foil. The interior still includes all of the well-loved illustrations and poems from Barker’s eight original books, as well as a selection of fairy rhymes.
In this original edition, Peter and his sisters are told to go gather blackberries and not to go into MacGregor’s garden because Peter’s father was made into a pie by MacGregor after being found in the garden. Peter, who is wearing a new coat, promptly disobeys his mother, stuffs himself with vegetables, gets spotted by MacGregor, loses his coat and barely makes it out of the garden alive. When Peter gets home, he is given chamomile tea for dinner. Peter’s sisters, who listened to their mother and stayed out of the forbidden garden have a regular dinner.
A true classic with a timeless message, The Story of Ferdinand has enchanted readers since it was first published in 1936. All the other bulls would run and jump and butt their heads together. But Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers. And he does just that, until the day a bumblebee and some men from the Madrid bullfights give gentle Ferdinand a chance to be the most ferocious star of the corrida—and the most unexpected comic hero. This cherished hardcover is perfect for those who love Ferdinand, and those who have yet to meet him.
THE all-time classic story, from generation to generation, sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds! Have you shared it with a child or grandchild in your life?
One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry. On Monday, he ate through one apple; on Tuesday, he ate through three plums–and still he was hungry. When full at last, he made a cocoon around himself and went to sleep, to wake up a few weeks later wonderfully transformed into a butterfly!
The house has an expressive face of windows and doors, and even the feelings of a person, so she’s sad when she’s surrounded by the dirty, noisy city’s hustle and bustle: “She missed the field of daisies / and the apple trees dancing in the moonlight.” Fortunately, there’s a happy ending, as the house is taken back to the country where she belongs.
A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck–all parade across the pages of this delightful book.
“UNLESS someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.” Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth’s natural beauty. His classic cautionary tale is now available in an irresistible mini-edition, perfect for backpack or briefcase, for Arbor Day, Earth Day, and every day.
The story of a train filled with toys and gifts for little boys and girls that breaks down before reaching the children. After asking several passing trains for help over the hill, a little blue train agrees to help the stranded toys. Even though she is small, the blue train tries her best to bring the toys to the children on the other side of the hill.
Meet Little Bear, a friend to millions of children. And meet Mother Bear, who is there whenever Little Bear needs her. When it is cold and snowy outside, she finds just the right outfit for Little Bear to play in. When he goes to the moon, she has a hot lunch waiting for him on his return. And, of course, she never forgets his birthday.