I absolutely love to read aloud and always have. It’s so much fun to share a favorite picture book with a child. If there’s a little kid around and we have time, I’m likely to grab a book and say, “Wanna hear a story?”
I’m always a little hesitant to choose favorites–of anything–because I’m afraid once I’ve declared my favorite I’ll think of something else I like better. However, I was recently asked for some book recommendations for children, which reminded me that I have been meaning to compile some lists of my all-time favorites. My plan is for this to be an ongoing series, so if I remember others I can always add them later, right?
For this list, I’m going to define picture books as books that are meant to be read aloud to pre-readers. I also love reading “early reader” books to young children, but I’ll make a separate list of those.
Many of the books on this list are ones I remember reading when I was growing up–often aloud to my younger siblings. A few are more recent than that. All of them are books I read to my own children. As far as I know, they are all still in print and readily available. Your library probably has most of them.
10 Favorite Picture Book Series
Listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name, because goodness knows I can’t rank them in order of favorites! Can you?
Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links to Amazon where I might earn a small commission should you choose to purchase.
By Ludwig Bemelmans. Rhyming stories about a little girl who lives in a French boarding school with 11 other little girls.
- Madeline’s Rescue
- Madeline and the Bad Hat
- Madeline in London
- Madeline and the Gypsies
- Madeline’s Christmas
- A Madeline Treasury (including all 6 of the original titles)
By Virginia Lee Burton. Classic vintage stories about big machines with lovely illustrations.
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
- The Little House
- Katy and the Big Snow
- Maybelle the Cable Car
- Mike Mulligan and More: A Virginia Lee Burton Treasury (including the 4 titles listed above)
By Jean De Brunhoff. Fantastic stories about an elephant king and his family.
- The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant
- The Travels of Babar
- Babar the King
- Babar and His Children
- Babar and Father Christmas
- The Babar Collection: Five Classic Stories
By Russell Hoban. Frances is a decidedly opinionated little “girl” with typical little girl problems in a traditional family. I love the little songs she makes up.
- Bedtime for Frances
- A Birthday for Frances
- Bread and Jam for Frances
- A Bargain for Frances
- Best Friends for Frances
- A Baby Sister for Frances
By Robert McCloskey. The illustrations are wonderful!
- Make Way for Ducklings
- Blueberries for Sal
- One Morning in Maine
- Time of Wonder
- Make Way for McCloskey: A Robert McCloskey Treasury (includes the 4 picture books listed above, plus excerpts from his longer books, which are also great!)
By Laura Joffee Numeroff. Fun “circular” stories. They weren’t around when I was growing up, but my children enjoyed them.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
- If You Give a Moose a Muffin
- If You Give a Pig a Pancake
- If You Take a Mouse to School
By H.A. and Margret Ray. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve read the Curious George books over the years. The original classics listed below are the best! More have been written but somehow they don’t have the charm of these original stories.
- Curious George
- Curious George Takes a Job
- Curious George Rides a Bike
- Curious George Gets a Medal
- Curious George Flies a Kit
- Curious George Learns the Alphabet
- Curious George Goes to the Hospital
- Curious George Classic Collection (box set of the 7 titles listed above)
By Richard Scarry. More than storybooks, the detailed illustrations in Richard Scarry’s books are great for little kids to pore over by the hour. Little boys especially enjoy them.
- Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
- What Do People Do All Day?
- Busy, Busy World
- Busy, Busy Town
- Best Storybook Ever
- …and dozens more
By Janet Morgan Stoeke. This is a series I discovered when I was hosting our public library story time when my girls were preschoolers. Minerva Louise is a hen who comes to some very silly conclusions. The stories are great for lots of giggles.
- Minerva Louise: The Mixed-up Hen
- Minerva Louise at School
- A Friend for Minerva Louise
- A Hat for Minerva Louise
- Minerva Louise and the Red Truck
- …and more
By Gene Zion. For dog lovers, about a cute family dog who hates baths.
Which picture books do you remember from your childhood? What are your favorites from this list?