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100+ Essential Picture Books for Children-Part 1

Not all picture books are created equal, and not all of them are essential to a child’s literary heritage. Here are our top picks for the most essential picture books for the young. It is just a start and the best part is you can check out 60 books with your Richland Library card, and when you've finished this list, just call your closest Richland Library location, and the staff will recommend more titles for your child.


Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry G. Allard Jr.
Amazon Says: The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzing through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school. more...
Amazon Says: The kids in Room 207 were misbehaving again. Spitballs stuck to the ceiling. Paper planes whizzing through the air. They were the worst-behaved class in the whole school. So begins this quirky classic, first published in 1977 and still relevant today as a lighthearted reminder to show our appreciation to those we value. The students don’t proffer a shred of respect for their good-natured teacher Miss Nelson, but when the witchy substitute Miss Viola Swamp appears on the scene, they start to regret their own wicked ways. James Marshall’s scritchy, cartoonish full-color ink and wash illustrations are hilarious. A back-to-school perennial! less...
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Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Amazon Says: "Bemelmans' drawings have put an authentic Paris within the covers of this book. The rhymes in which the tale is told make it one that children will enjoy repeating." The New more...
Amazon Says: "Bemelmans' drawings have put an authentic Paris within the covers of this book. The rhymes in which the tale is told make it one that children will enjoy repeating." The New York Times" less...
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The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
Amazon Says: Raymond Briggs was born in London in 1934.  At the age of 15, he  went to Wimbeldon Art School to learn how to draw, as he wanted to become a cartoonist.  But there he w more...
Amazon Says: Raymond Briggs was born in London in 1934.  At the age of 15, he  went to Wimbeldon Art School to learn how to draw, as he wanted to become a cartoonist.  But there he was told that cartooning was not a profession for gentlemen and that he ought to be a painter.  Raymond then went on to the Slade School in London to study painting as a full-time student.  During his spare time, he began work on a portfolio of illustrations of all kinds, including jackets and a wide selection of drawings to take to publishers.  After illustrating for advertising, newspapers and books, Raymond discovered that book illustration inspired him the most, since it offered far greater variety and freedom than anything else.  Raymond has always found it unfavorable to sustain a consistent illustration style for a long period of time.  He is always seeking to try something else new and different with his work.  Some of Raymond's best known works are The Snowman , The Man , and The Bear .  The setting for The Snowman is based on Raymond's own house and garden, which is in Sussex, England at the foot of South Downs, a few miles from Brighton.   less...
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Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Amazon Says: A modern classic that no child should miss. Since it was first published in 1939, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has delighted generations of children. Mike and his trusty more...
Amazon Says: A modern classic that no child should miss. Since it was first published in 1939, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has delighted generations of children. Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, dig deep canals for boats to travel through, cut mountain passes for trains, and hollow out cellars for city skyscrapers -- the very symbol of industrial America. But with progress come new machines, and soon the inseparable duo are out of work. Mike believes that Mary Anne can dig as much in a day as one hundred men can dig in a week, and the two have one last chance to prove it and save Mary Anne from the scrap heap. What happens next in the small town of Popperville is a testament to their friendship, and to old-fashioned hard work and ingenuity. less...
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Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
Amazon Says: Wanda G?g's enchanting tale of the very old man who went off in search of the prettiest cat in the world for his wife and returned instead with millions to choose from has bec more...
Amazon Says: Wanda G?g's enchanting tale of the very old man who went off in search of the prettiest cat in the world for his wife and returned instead with millions to choose from has become an American classic, widely recognized as the first modern picture book. First published in 1928, it was a recipient of the 1929 Newbery Honor Book Award and has gone on to sell over a million copies. With its charming illustrations and rhythmic, singsong refrain, Millions of Cats remains as beloved today as it was when it first appeared three-quarters of a century ago. less...
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Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Amazon Says: The nationally bestselling picture book about a kitten, the moon, and a bowl of milk, written by the celebrated author and illustrator Kevin Henkes, was awarded a Caldecott Me more...
Amazon Says: The nationally bestselling picture book about a kitten, the moon, and a bowl of milk, written by the celebrated author and illustrator Kevin Henkes, was awarded a Caldecott Medal.From one of the most celebrated and beloved picture book creators working in the field today comes a memorable new character and a suspenseful adventure just right for reading and sharing at home and in the classroom. It is Kitten's first full moon, and when she sees it she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. And she wants it. Does she get it? Well, no . . . and yes. What a night!A brief text, large type, and luminescent pictures play second fiddle to the star of this classic picture book—brave, sweet and lucky Kitten! "Henkes's text, reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's work in the elemental words, rhythms, and appealing sounds, tells a warm, humorous story that's beautifully extended in his shimmering, gray-toned artwork."—ALA Booklist Winner of the Caldecott Medal, an ALA Notable Book, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, and winner of the Charlotte Zolotow AwardSupports the Common Core State Standards less...
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Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
Amazon Says: In the third easy-to-read book about Penny the mouse, written by Caldecott Medalist and bestselling author Kevin Henkes, Penny finds a beautiful marble on her neighbor's lawn more...
Amazon Says: In the third easy-to-read book about Penny the mouse, written by Caldecott Medalist and bestselling author Kevin Henkes, Penny finds a beautiful marble on her neighbor's lawn and must decide whether or not to keep it. With age-appropriate vocabulary, compelling characters, and a memorable storyline, Penny and her Marble is just right for beginning readers and was named a 2014 Geisel Honor book by the American Library Association. This annual award, given to the most distinguished books for beginning readers, is named for the world-renowned children's author Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss. Kevin Henkes is known for his mouse characters, including Lilly, Owen, Chrysanthemum, Wemberly, and now Penny! In Penny and her Marble, the third book in the Penny series, Penny finds a marble on Mrs. Goodwin's yard and takes it home. But does the marble really belong to Penny? Kevin Henkes is a master at creating beautifully illustrated books that resonate with young children. The Penny books are new classics for beginning readers and will appeal to fans of Frog and Toad, Little Bear, and Henry and Mudge. less...
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Amazon Says: Celebrate a major anniversary of a true classic! In 1962, a little boy named Peter put on his snowsuit and stepped out of his house and into the hearts of millions of reade more...
Amazon Says: Celebrate a major anniversary of a true classic! In 1962, a little boy named Peter put on his snowsuit and stepped out of his house and into the hearts of millions of readers. The Snowy Day transformed children's literature with its pioneering portrayal of an African-American child and the charming story and artwork that won it the Caldecott Medal. Fifty years later, Viking proudly celebrates Peter's adventure in this very special edition. Featuring eight pages of bonus material and a festive cover, this oversized edition of Keats's beloved book is a must-have. less...
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Amazon Says: 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 more...
Amazon Says: 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. So what will happen when our pacifist hero is picked for the bullfights in Madrid? This new edition contains the complete original text of the story and the original illustrations. less...
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John Henry by Julius Lester
Amazon Says: Nothing can stop John Henry-no boulder, no mountain, and definitely no steam drill.  Newbery Honor winner Julius Lester writes with such power that this African-American folk more...
Amazon Says: Nothing can stop John Henry-no boulder, no mountain, and definitely no steam drill.  Newbery Honor winner Julius Lester writes with such power that this African-American folk hero becomes as awesome as a natural phenomenon.  Jerry Pinkney received a Caldecott Honor for his exuberant, glowing watercolor paintings of the hero.  The book, celebrating its tenth year in print, was also a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, a Parents magazine Best Book, and an ALA Notable Book, among other honors. less...
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Amazon Says: Deep in the sea lives a happy school of fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until more...
Amazon Says: Deep in the sea lives a happy school of fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger. Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Honor, this beloved tale of a brave little fish has been a favorite to generations of readers. To celebrate Swimmy's fiftieth anniversary, we are issuing a handsome special edition hardcover that includes a bonus poster. less...
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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
Amazon Says: Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault's rhythmic chant and Lois Ehlert's exuberant collage illustrations have made Chicka Chicka Boom Boom a read-aloud favorite for twenty years more...
Amazon Says: Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault's rhythmic chant and Lois Ehlert's exuberant collage illustrations have made Chicka Chicka Boom Boom a read-aloud favorite for twenty years. To celebrate, here is a special anniversary edition of this quintessential picture book with these exciting new features including completely restored artwork, twenty years of Chicka historical note and a Happy Birthday, Chicka! poster on the inside jacket that will surely delight old and new generations of Chicka Chicka fans alike! less...
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Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Amazon Says: "Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied." -- Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) From the time he was more...
Amazon Says: "Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied." -- Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal. less...
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Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Amazon Says: Mrs. Mallard was sure that the pond in the Boston Public Gardens would be a perfect place for her and her eight ducklings to live.  The problem was how to get them there thro more...
Amazon Says: Mrs. Mallard was sure that the pond in the Boston Public Gardens would be a perfect place for her and her eight ducklings to live.  The problem was how to get them there through the busy streets of Boston.  But with a little help from the Boston police, Mrs. Mallard and Jack, Kack, Lack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack arive safely at their new home.    This brilliantly illustrated, amusingly observed tale of Mallards on the move has won the hearts of generations of readers.  Awarded the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children in 1941, it has since become a favorite of millions. less...
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The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Amazon Says: 2002 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the best-loved children's books of all time. Since 1902, over 40 million copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit have been sold worldwide more...
Amazon Says: 2002 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the best-loved children's books of all time. Since 1902, over 40 million copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit have been sold worldwide, in more than 35 languages. Recently, it was named the second best-selling children's book of all time by Publishers Weekly. less...
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Officer Buckle & Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Amazon Says: "Besides the beguiling story, the affable illustrations of the smiling Gloria, the accidental mayhem in the background, and the myriad safety tips -- such as 'always p more...
Amazon Says: "Besides the beguiling story, the affable illustrations of the smiling Gloria, the accidental mayhem in the background, and the myriad safety tips -- such as 'always pull the toothpick out of your sandwhich' and 'never lick a stop sign in the winter' -- add to the enjoyment. A glorious picture book." -- The Horn Book "Rathmann is a quick rising star in the world of chidren's books. In this book, she again shows her flair for creating real characters, dramatic situations and for knowing what will make young audiences giggle and think." -- Children's Book Review Magazine "Rathman brings a lighter-than-air comic touch to this outstanding, solid-as-a-brick picture book." -- Publisher's Weekly "A five-star performance." -- School Library Journal less...
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Curious George by H. A. Rey
Amazon Says: In this, the original book about the curious monkey, George is taken from the jungle by the man in the yellow hat to live in a new home, but--oh, what happened! Though trying more...
Amazon Says: In this, the original book about the curious monkey, George is taken from the jungle by the man in the yellow hat to live in a new home, but--oh, what happened! Though trying to be good, George is still very curious and takes a swim in the ocean, escapes from jail, and goes for a flying ride on a bunch of balloons. This treasured classic is where it all began for the curious, loveable monkey and is a must have for any children's book collection. less...
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Amazon Says: This is a story of the 3 litte pigs. A childrens story. more...
Amazon Says: This is a story of the 3 litte pigs. A childrens story. less...
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Amazon Says: Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Let the wild rumpus with Max and all the wild things continue as this classic comes to life as never before with new reproduction more...
Amazon Says: Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Let the wild rumpus with Max and all the wild things continue as this classic comes to life as never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak's artwork. Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art before his death in May 2012. Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year, Where the Wild Things Are became an iconic book that has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations. It continues to be one of the best loved books of all time the world over, by the one and only Maurice Sendak.Supports the Common Core State Standards less...
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In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Amazon Says: 1971 Caldecott Honor BookNotable Children's Books of 1940--1970 (ALA)Best Books of 1970 (SLJ)Outstanding Children's Books of 1970 (NYT)Best Illustrat more...
Amazon Says: 1971 Caldecott Honor BookNotable Children's Books of 1940--1970 (ALA)Best Books of 1970 (SLJ)Outstanding Children's Books of 1970 (NYT)Best Illustrated Children's Books of 1970 (NYT)Children's Books of 1970 (Library of Congress)Carey-Thomas Award 1971--Honor CitationBrooklyn Art Books for Children 1973, 1975 less...
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Amazon Says: Caps for Sale is a timeless classic, in print for over fifty years, and beloved by generations of readers. This easy-to-read story about a peddler and a band of mischievous mo more...
Amazon Says: Caps for Sale is a timeless classic, in print for over fifty years, and beloved by generations of readers. This easy-to-read story about a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys is filled with warmth, humor, and simplicity and teaches children about problem and resolution. Children will delight in following the peddler's efforts to outwit the monkeys and will ask to read it again and again. This is an excellent easy-to-read book that includes repetition, patterns, and colors, perfect for early readers.Supports the Common Core State Standards. less...
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Doctor De Soto by William Steig
Amazon Says: "Doctor De Soto, the dentist, did very good work." With the aid of his able assistant, Mrs. De Soto, he copes with the toothaches of animals large and small. His expertise is more...
Amazon Says: "Doctor De Soto, the dentist, did very good work." With the aid of his able assistant, Mrs. De Soto, he copes with the toothaches of animals large and small. His expertise is so great that his fortunate patients never feel any pain. Since he's a mouse, Doctor De Soto refuses to treat "dangerous" animals--that is, animals who have a taste for mice. But one day a fox shows up and begs for relief from the tooth that's killing him. How can the kindhearted De Sotos turn him away? But how can they make sure that the fox doesn't give in to his baser instincts once his tooth is fixed? Those clever De Sotos will find a way. Doctor De Soto is a 1982 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and Outstanding Book of the Year, a 1983 Boston Globe - Horn Book Awards Honor Book for Picture Books, and a 1983 Newbery Honor Book. less...
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Amazon Says: One rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected resu more...
Amazon Says: One rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected results. How Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family and restored to his own donkey self makes a story that is beautifully tender and perfectly joyful. Illustrated with William Steig's glowing pictures, this winner of the 1970 Caldecott Medal is a modern classic beloved by children everywhere. Now reissued to celebrate the discovery of the original artwork, this deluxe edition contains painstakingly careful color corrections made from those watercolor originals -- the color you'll see within this book is as Mr. Steig had originally intended it to be. It also features his moving Caldecott Medal acceptance speech. The New York Times Book Review wrote of Mr. Steig that "everything he does is magic." This deluxe edition of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble truly recaptures that magic for a whole new generation of readers. less...
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The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Amazon Says: For twenty years, The Polar Express has been a worldwide bestseller and Christmas classic. A perfect keepsake for any family, this beautiful edition can be handed down to each more...
Amazon Says: For twenty years, The Polar Express has been a worldwide bestseller and Christmas classic. A perfect keepsake for any family, this beautiful edition can be handed down to each new generation of readers. In 1986 The Polar Express was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal and hit the New York Times bestseller list. Since that time, more than six and a half million copies have been sold, and every December it faithfully reappears on national bestseller lists. In 2004, The Polar Express became a blockbuster holiday movie. The DVD release in 2005 assures, that like the book, the movie will become a holiday classic. less...
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Amazon Says: He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. When he got out of bed, more...
Amazon Says: He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. When he got out of bed, he tripped over his skateboard and by mistake dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running. He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Nothing at all was right. Everything went wrong, right down to lima beans for supper and kissing on TV. What do you do on a day like that? Well, you may think about going to Australia. You may also be glad to find that some days are like that for other people too. less...
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