13 Best Picture Books for Kids and Toddlers

Picture books always have a special place in every children’s heart. Parents also really prefer giving picture books to their children due to its various advantages. Picture books have so many visuals that enhance the learning skills of the children. We know that visual knowledge stays longer in the minds of children than any other form of knowledge being taught to them.

The concept of picture books is for children only. Picture books are such books where the book contains more pictures and fewer written words. The written portion is less.

The picture books are for below the children of a certain age because they cannot read and understand alphabets. They may develop a voluntary interest in the style of picture books.

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Categories of Books

Several Categories of Books. They are as follows:-

  • Board Books
  • Concept Books
  • Soft Books
  • Pop-up books
  • Touch and Feel Books and
  • Alphabet Books

All of these books have different functions. Pop-up picture books are famous among them all. These books have three-dimensional pages which are a lot of fun to read for children. Board books, made of boards rather than paper pages. These kinds of books are ideal for toddlers.

Concept books incorporate those books that are for children to teach them alphabets, numbers, etc. Soft books are made of clothes or plastics for babies. Touch and feel books pages come in different textures, colours, and shapes which are fun for toddlers.

Alphabet books are primarily for young children to teach them alphabets and their sounds using rhymes and pictures. The purpose of picture books is that the young readers build vocabulary skills, sentence structure, story analysis, and change their thought processes.

Most Iconic Picture Books for Children

There are thousands of picture books available for children in different genres. But, we have chosen some of the best iconic pictures books perfectly suitable for children from 3-5-year-old. The list of above said picture books is as follows :

  1. Blueberries for Sal
  2. Don’t let the pigeons drive
  3. Goodnight Moon
  4. The giving tree
  5. No David
  6. Make way for ducklings
  7. Corduroy
  8. The snowy day
  9. The very hungry caterpillar
  10. Harold and the purple crayon
  11. The cat in the hat
  12. Brown bear, brown bear what do you see ?
  13. The tiger who came to Tea

Let us now begin reading about the popular picture books one by one.

Blueberries for Sal

“Blueberries for Sal” is a great children’s picture book by Robert McCloskey. As per Goodreads, the story score 4.2/5. Powell’s Book, the rate of the story – 5/5. “Blueberries for Sal” was also awarded the Caldecott Honor way back in 1949.

Robert McCloskey, Blueberries for Sal. | Favorite childrens book, Picture  books illustration, Blueberries for sal
Blueberries for Sal

This picture book opens and closes with a picture of little Sal and her mother in the kitchen. The mother is canning blueberries. Sal and her mother are picking blueberries on the blueberry hill.

The book features the human relation and the bear’s relation with her mother on the other side. The human mother and mama bear stock up berries for winter. But, Sal and the baby bear take rest to eat some berries.

After some time, the child and the baby bear find out that they lost their mothers. Fortunately, at the end of the story, we see each child was reunited with their respective mothers and walked down Blueberry Hill to go home.

Don’t let the pigeons drive the bus

Don’t let the pigeons drive the bus ‘ is the first book of Mo Williams and is a remarkable book. It is published in 2003 by Disney Hyperion. This book is rated 4.3 out of 5 by Goodreads and more than 94% people all over the world liked this book.
The story of this picture book revolves around a bus driver who has to leave his bus hence he asks the readers of the book to take care of his bus and not permit the pigeon to drive the bus.

This picture book received the Caldecott honor as well as was selected as the ‘top 100 picture books’ of all time in the 2012 poll by the school library journal.


There is also an animated modification of the same book which even won the Carnegie medal for Excellence in children’s video in 2010.

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

Penned by Margaret Wise Brown and its pictures were illustrated by Clement Hurd. This picture book is a perfect bedtime book for children.It scored 4.3 out of 5 as per Goodreads and more than 84% of readers liked it.


The book is about the bedtime routine of a bunny who says goodnight to every single thing in his bedroom. From the paintings of a cow and three bears to socks, he says goodnight to everything before sleeping.


National Education Association ranked Goodnight Moon as one of the ‘Teacher’s top 100 books for children’ in 2007. It also ranked four among the ‘top 100 picture books’ by School Library Journal.

The giving tree

‘The giving tree’ picture book is penned and illustrated by Shell Silverstein. This book was published in 1964 and is one of the best-known titles of Shell Silverstein.
It has given ratings of 4.4 out of 5 by Goodreads and more than 91% of readers liked the book.

This American book is worldwide famous and has been translated into numerous languages.
The giving tree received the title of ‘One of the most divisive books of children’s literature’.


The book revolves around a boy and a tree their relationship, the ‘always taking boy’ and ‘always giving tree’. The boy frequently takes things from the tree without giving anything all his life. And the tree without any hesitation gives the young boy everything she has with her.


People believe this story illustrates the relationship between a mother and a son. A mother never hesitates to give everything she has to his children. It also symbolizes the pure love and the affection of a mother towards her child.

No David

‘No, David!’ is a beautiful book written and illustrated by David Shannon. Surprisingly this book was half-written by 5-year old David Shannon. When the author was 5 years old, he wrote a story about a boy named David who does all sorts of things he was not permitted to do.


The book is completed by only two words on all the pages ‘ No, David!’. As he only knows how to spell those words.
When later on in 1997, he came across his childhood book, which he rewrote and published as a picture book. The book scored 4.1 out of 5 from Goodreads and 4.7 out of 5 from Barnes and Noble. More than 89% of the readers liked the book.

So give your child this book if you want to teach him the things he/she should not do.

Make Way for Ducklings

The story ‘Make Way for Ducklings” is a picture book that was written by the famous Robert McCloskey. This amazing story was first published way back in 1941. Currently, the picture book received 4.2 out of 5 from Goodreads and 4.4 out of 5 from Barnes & Noble.

The story revolves around Mr. And Mrs. Mallard and they are portrayed as ducks. In the beginning we see, Mr. And Mrs. Mallard fly over to different locations to start their family. But, each time the male finds a location the female mallard finds something wrong in them.

Make Way For Celebration: These Ducklings Are Turning 75 : NPR

At last, tired from the search both Mr. and Mrs. Mallard land at the Public Garden Lagoon so that they could spend the night. Just the next morning, a swan boat passes by where the mallards mistake the boat by real bird. But, the mallards continue their search for new locations to start a new family.

Then they make a final decision on an unknown island in the Charles River. They find a police officer who feeds them peanuts almost every day. At the end of the story, we see that the police officer and other officers help block traffic so that the mallards can make a safe journey towards their new home.

Corduroy

‘Corduroy’ is written and illuminated by Don freeman and broadcasted by the Viking press in 1968. Corduroy is a children’s book which is about a teddy bear named ‘Corduroy’ . 95% of the readers of this book liked it and it ranked 4.3 out of 5 by Goodreads.


The story symbolizes the importance of friendship. When Corduroy is sitting alone in the department store, one small girl comes with her mother. She demanded her mother to buy the teddy but she refused by saying that it is dirty and lacks a button on its shoulder.

Later in the night, the teddy explored the whole department store. The next day the girl came again and buys the teddy from her savings. The story ended by showing both hugging each other. They both were good friends and needed each other.

The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day is a famous children’s picture book that has been written and illustrated by an American author Ezra Jack Keats. The picture book has received 4.2 out of 5 from Goodreads and 3.7 out of 5 from Barnes & Noble.

In the beginning, we that one fine morning it is snowing and Peter the main character is seen in his bedroom. Peter. the protagonist discovers that snow has fallen during the night while he was asleep. He celebrates the snowy day by putting on his red snowsuit and becomes irresistible to play out.

Peter makes a snowman, snow angels, and many more snow figurines when he gets outside. He finds out that some of the older naughty boys are playing snowball fights. Four-year-old Peter realizes that he should not try to join this activity.

The same night Peter has a dream that the bright sun has melted all the snow, but the next morning he again discovers that it has snowed heavily again.  Again Peter becomes irresistible and just waits for another great adventure outside in the snow with his friend.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a famous picture book written and illustrated by Eric Carle. The story was first published by the World Publishing Company way back in 1969. This picture book has received 4.3 out of 5 from Goodreads and more than 85% of people liked reading this book worldwide.

In this story, we see a very hungry caterpillar is born and it eats everything that comes under its sight. Unfortunately, the caterpillar finds out that he is suffering from a severe stomach ache because of eating unsuitable stuff. So, the caterpillar eats a leaf and that helps it feel slightly better.

Eric Carle, Author of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' Dies at 91 - The New  York Times
Hungry Caterpillar

The very next day the caterpillar finds out that he is no longer hungry and has grown large and fat. On the same day, the caterpillar is seen spinning a chrysalis around himself. He then plans to stay inside for at least two weeks.

Soon after two weeks the caterpillar nibbles a hole in the chrysalis and comes out of it. He then develops into a large-winged beautiful butterfly. After turning into a beautiful butterfly, the butterfly cycle starts again. You can also listen to an audio-video retelling of the book on YouTube. Here is the link.

Harold and the purple Crayon

‘Harold and the purple crayon’ is a book written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson in 1955. This book is one of the most famous children’s books by Crockett Johnson. Goodreads rated this book 4.3 out of 5 while Barnes and Noble rated it 4.4 out of 5.


The main character of the book is Harold, who is a four-year-old boy. He has a blue crayon with which he can create anything. When he wants to walk in the moonlight he draws a moon. When he wants to sleep he can draw his own house and bed and can sleep on it. This book led to a series of many other books and adaptations like Harold’s fairy tail, Harold’s circus, Harold’s trip to the sky, A picture for Harold’s room and Harold’s ABC. More than 93% of the readers liked this book. The book is based on Harold’s Imagination and is a perfect and fun book for children to read.

The cat in the hat

‘The cat in the hat’ is published in 1957 and contains 61 pages. The author of the book is Theodore Geisel. The pen name of Theodore Geisel is Dr. Seuss.


Goodreads rated this book 4.2 out of 5. More than 89% of the readers of this book liked it. The story of this book evolves around about a tall cat in a red white striped hat and red bow tie. The cat entertains children by showing different magic tricks while the mother of the children was not at home .


The cat leaves the house after cleaning everything. When mother came home she asked everyone what they did but nobody told her about the cat. The story with a question for the readers ‘what would you do if your mother asked you’.

Brown bear, brown bear what do you see ?

Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle are the author of the Children’s book ‘Brown bear, brown bear, What do you see?’. This book is published in 1967 and is primarily made for toddlers to make them understand patterns, colors and animals name.

Brown Bear

This book ranked 21st on a Goodreads list of ‘Best Children’s book’ and also translated in numerous languages.
More than 83% of the readers liked this book. Goodreads also rated this book 4.2 out of 5 while Common sense media rated 5 out of 5.


The publisher of the book is Doubleday and company which published it in 1967. There are more interesting books by the author like ‘Polar bear, Polar bear, What do you hear?’, ‘Chicka Chicka boom boom’ etc.

The tiger who came to Tea

Judith Kerr is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book ‘The Tiger who came to Tea’. Harper Collins published this book in 1968.’ The book “The Tiger who came to tea” is undoubtedly one of the best classic picture books of all time.

A picture with tiger


The characters of this book are a small girl Sophie, Sophie’s mother, Sophie’s daddy, A mog, and a tiger. 84% of the readers of this book appreciated this book. The story revolves around Sophie and her mother who was drinking tea in the kitchen. Suddenly the tiger came to their doorstep for the tea.


The tiger soon joins Sophie and her mom and eats all the food after consuming all the tea. The tiger even drank all the water from the taps. Then the tiger left the house and never came back. Goodreads rated this book 4.2 out of 5 while Booktopia rated it 4.5 out of 5.

Picture Book

Conclusion

Picture Books have always been fun to read for everyone. Children of different different age groups enjoy reading picture books altogether. Ever since their establishment way back in 1658 by John Amos Comenius. Such delightfully illustrated books come as a package deal for young children. Hence, picture books are highly beneficial for their thought process, communication skills, story analysis skills, and other related skills.

The delivery process of such picture books makes it easier for young children to understand quickly and better. The unique design of it also attracts the attention of small kids and helps them acquire skills in language, numericals, colors, and animals. For more such attractive recommendations, we would really love you to look up our blog update on the five Best blogs What is a Bibliophile? The Wonderful Dilemmas of a Bibliophile.

We always strive to deliver you the best we can. Stay tuned for such recommendations and informative listicles on children’s books and movies, right here on the Podium Blog!

Frequently asked questions.

1- What is the most appropriate age group for reading picture books ?

Most of the picture books are designed in such a way that all the children that are aged from three to nine years can easily access them. Rest, the parents have the authority to decide the fact that what type of book suits their child’s demand the most.

2- How are picture books good for my child ?

The picture books help your child get a basic idea and develop understanding of things. It helps the child link the picture in the book with its meaning which you convey to him.

3- Are picture books only for younger children?

No, picture books are not only for younger readers but many authors even publish their picture books keeping in mind the older children as well.

The Bad Seed

4- How to pick up the best picture book ?

Undoubtedly, there are plenty of picture books in the market. It becomes very tough to come to the decision that which one is the best. However, there are few characteristics that a good picture book must posses such as, engaging illustrations, emotion evoking content, a story that taughts some moral or lesson etc.

5- What are some good websites to read picture books online for free?

Given below are few examples of websites where you can read picture books for free.

  • Libby/Overdrive.
  • Cloud Library.
  • Hoopla.
  • Tumble Book Library.
  • Amazon Free Kids eBooks.
  • Barnes & Noble Free Kids eBooks.
  • International Children’s Digital Library.
  • Oxford Owl.

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