We recently asked, “what are your favorite kid’s books?” and based on your answers, we compiled a nifty article to summarize your recommendations.

The Other Baby Book
Top Ten Books for Preschoolers
Lesson for Kids and Moms

Now, I’m a bit older than most of our mamas, so it may not come as a surprise that I had, um, some consternation about some old-school classics that didn’t appear on that list.  

Then it occurred to me that with soooo many choices in children’s books today, it could be that children’s book classics are just not getting the same publicity and love as newer books…

So, I’ve taken it upon myself to create a 2-part list of classics that might have escaped your attention. You can read on for the first ten recommendations!

1) Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book) (Dorothy Kunhardt, 1940)

The original touch-and-feel book will have our mamas smirking at the archaic storyline. But this kids’ classic will have you AND your toddler saying, “How big is my baby? Sooooo big!”

2) The Story of Ferdinand (Munro Leaf, 1939)

This is the story of a lovable bull who just wanted to sit around and smell flowers all day but unexpectedly finds himself in the midst of a bullfight. Our mamas will love his mama too: she is, as the author writes, very understanding, even though she is a cow.

3) Freight Train (Donald Crews, 1978)

This book is cool. It feels like there should be a jazz or blues band playing in the background as you read it. Make sure you start of slow, then read faster and faster as the story goes. Your child will love to “read” the last page — “going, going, GONE.”

4) The Runaway Bunny (Margaret Wise Brown, 1942)

The author of Goodnight Moon is simply unbeatable. In case you missed this one, get it. Now. It is my personal favorite. It appeals to kids’ sense of adventure and escapism, and a mother’s sense of I-will-go-to-the-end-of-the-earth-for-my-child.

5) Caps for Sale (Esphyr Slobodkina, 1940)

This was one of my personal favorites as a child. The tale of a cap peddler and some mischievous monkeys will have your kids repeating the text (an early step towards reading), stamping their feet, wagging their fingers, and shaking their fists. Fun!

6) Corduroy (Don Freeman, 1968)

This classic tale of the lovable teddy bear who has lost a button and longs for a home will delight your child with its simplicity. Modern mamas will appreciate the history of the story, which was one of the first mainstream successes in this children’s books genre to feature an African American child and family.

7) The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit (Beatric Potter, 1901)

We’re going way back in time with this one. If you want a classic, this is it! The cautionary tales of the naughty Peter Rabbit and friends still delight after more than 100 years.

8) Stone Soup (Marcia Brown, 1947)

Ok, so this is really for older kids, but even preschoolers will love that story, even if they don’t fully appreciate the lessons in the book. Three tricky soldiers teach some villagers that when we all share and work together, wonderful things happen. This is a smart tale that parents will love, too.

9) Tikki Tikki Tembo (Arlene Mosel, 1968)

Honestly, I’ve often had second thoughts about this story of a first-born favorite son and his little brother Chang, “which means little, or nothing.” But ultimately, it is a story about equality and how we all matter equally. And, my kids love love love it, as have millions of kids before them.

10) HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics: A Child’s First Collection

Ok, this isn’t really a single book, and many of the books below are mentioned here, but it is worthy of an exception. From early, beloved classics such as Goodnight Moon and Harold and the Purple Crayon to such recent treasures as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Pete’s a Pizza, this collection assembles twelve of the greatest picture books ever published.

Ok, that’s a start! More later in Part 2 of this series, which will include such classics as Make Way for Ducklings (Viking Kestrel picture books) and Harry the Dirty Dog.