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10 Best Classic Children's Books

Updated on September 17, 2014

10 Best Classic Children’s Books

Children’s books inspire the imagination; some are imprinted in our minds since childhood. Thinking about Children books can jog memories and remind us of our childhood. This is a list of the best classic books out there. This is my personal opinion, it does not contain the highest purchased rates or the most critically acclaimed, although they are quite popular and highly noted children’s books. They are in no particular order.

Silly Sally by Audrey Wood

Silly Sally is exactly how it sounds; it’s about how silly Sally is. She meets friends along the way who in turn become Silly with her. Encouraging kids to be silly is something I find not only fun but an important part of the child’s development. This book is fun, high spirited, and most importantly it is silly.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess

This will not be the only Dr. Suess book that appears here. His books are classics and I don’t think I have seen one kids or schools collection of books without at least a few Dr. Suess books. His simple rhymes and silly made up words are something that stays with a kid. All of his books have silliness to them. There are different kinds of Dr. Suess books: ones with a life lesson in them, ones that are there to help children learn to read, and others just to entertain. A lot of them contain two or all of these elements in them.

Green Eggs and Ham falls under the category of life lessons. It is a story about trying new things and how you will never know you like something until you give it a chance. It also is a lesson about giving people a chance as well, which are very important lessons for kids to learn. Its simple rhyming and formula of repeating all of the places where Sam eats his Green Eggs and ham help children learn how to read in a fun way.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg

This masterpiece takes a child into the wonderful world of waking up with the possibility of going on a train to the North Pole. The beautiful illustrations bring the child into this world in a magical way. This inspired book is a must have for a child’s Christmas book collection. Whenever I see a Christmas bell I cannot help but think of the Polar Express and brings a smile to my face.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carl

“Brown Bear’s” eye popping illustrations keep the children’s attention and make them excited to see the next drawing. The simple questioning of what each creature sees invokes a sense of inquisitiveness, wonderment, and joy. It brings a sense of community that a child should feel. The wording has a bit of a rhythm to it, which makes it easy for the child to follow along, memorize and even sing along to. There is a companion CD that comes with the book that has not only narration but versions put in song form. Kids will love to listen to this over and over again.

Goodnight Moon by Margret Wise Brown Illustrated by Clemont Hurd

Now this is a must read for bedtime. This sweet melancholy book has a nice flow to it that is a great way to help kids unwind. Kids will also love to point all of the different objects the book shows. The rhyming scheme helps with the nice sleepy of flow of the book.

Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess

“Oh the places you’ll go”, falls under the inspirational and meaningful categories of Dr. Suess books. This uplifting book will pick you up off of your feet and motivate you to really live. It will always be ingrained in my mind as a positive boast to my self-esteem. Sometimes even now that I am all grown up I think about some of its quotes and feel hopeful and ready for my day.

Cloudy With the Chance of Meatballs by Judy Barrett and Ronald Barrett

A book about food! What’s not to like? The town of Chewsandswallow is a nice simple town that rains food. They don’t have stores because the weather either rains, snows, or blows at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Until of course it gets a little out of hand. The story of the town of Chewsandswallow was told by a grandpa. The illustration has a classic feel to it. The black and white coloring when the kids’ grandpa tells them the fantastic story gives the book dimension. It also brings a nice transition when the story about the town with food as weather is told. It gives the book a nice contrast.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess

This fun rhyming book is great for beginner readers to help them learn to read. The nonsensical vibe brings this book to life and enacts a child’s imagination. Its silliness and rhyming does not tell a complete story. There is no greater theme or life lesson to be learned here. It is simply nonsense for the sake of nonsense. Sometimes that is exactly what a kid needs.

Great Day for Up by Dr. Suess

This Dr. Suess book has that fun whimsical vibe but it also has an overarching theme. It’s theme of positivity of it being a great day to get up is prevalent throughout the whole book. The theme of getting up though does not take itself too seriously since it all seems to be leading up to a kid who doesn't want to get out of bed at all. It still has the fun lighthearted quality to it that Dr. Suess excels at.

Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl

This fun book about a caterpillar eating a bunch of food is a must have for kids. The pictures of all the various kinds of foods sink into the child’s mind. Children will enjoy flipping through the pages and discover all of the different kinds of foods the caterpillar eats. Some of the food is outlandish but that is part of the fun.

So there is my list of top ten classic children’s books. Did it make you think of your childhood? What your favorite book as a child? Do you still think of those books even today?

Who is your favorite children's book author?

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    • Marie Gail profile image

      Marie Gail Stratford 

      4 years ago from Kansas City, MO

      Interesting list. I noticed that most of your choices are picture books or at least short stories with lots of illustrations. I, personally, think E.B. White deserves a place in the "top 10," with Trumpet of the Swan being my favorite of his children's books. Polar Express and a few Seuss stories are high on my list as well.

    • sallyrose333 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Oh yes Eric Carl is one of my favorites as well. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • PhillipJ profile image

      Jeff Durst 

      4 years ago

      Glad to see Eric Carl on your list; he's always been my favorite. A New House for Hermit Crab is another great one.

    • sallyrose333 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Thanks littlebookworm. I'm glad you liked it. And I hope your little brother likes them.

    • LittleBookWorm profile image


      4 years ago

      This is a really good list! A lot of these passed under my radar when I was a child, but since I read to my little brother a lot these days maybe I'll pick a few up and try them with him!

    • Anate profile image

      Joseph Ray 

      4 years ago

      I agree, but at the moment, I have quite a few books on my reading list.

    • sallyrose333 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Thanks. Oh maybe you should check them out you're never too old to read children's books in my opinion.

    • Anate profile image

      Joseph Ray 

      4 years ago

      This is a good list though I haven't read all of them.

    • sallyrose333 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you liked the list. It was a fun list to come up with.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's hard to argue with this list. I do believe I've read them all. :)


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