This particular list has given me fits. Fits, I tell you. I could not narrow down the books properly, so the compromise is this: a post now for picture books, and a post later today of the chapter books for the 4-7 year old kids, and no baby board books at all. Oh, the stress! The consternation! The discussions! It’s been nothing but drama for this one.

I no sooner uploaded the picture below, satisfied I had at last chosen well, when I realised I had left Miss Rumphius out of the pile. How is any list complete without Miss Rumphius? I ask you.

Oh, Lord, I just realised there aren’t any nursery rhymes in that stack.

What kind of a list is this anyway?


Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry. We are huge fans of Richard Scarry books here. But this one is Joe’s favourite, hand’s down. He has literally spent hours and hours with this book, looking at every detail of the huge pages. We have no end of fun finding Goldbug on each page (surprisingly, he’s in the same spot every time we read the book…) and choosing which car we would want to drive. I’m rather partial to the pencil car.

Stellaluna by Jannell Cannon. This winsome little tale about a fruit bat that lives with birds is not only educational but it’s sweet and fun.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. This book is probably Brian’s favourite for the tinies. The illustrations are beautiful and detailed, but the story will leave you wanting to vacate the city and run for the country. The seasons, the days, all the simple pleasures of life through the “eyes” of a little pink house.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. Joe and Anne both still love this one, we often “walk like ducklings” when we’re out and about. Did you catch Sarah Park’s lovely poem about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard for Simple Mom the other day?

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Poor Ferdinand doesn’t want to butt heads and fight like the  other bulls. A fun, gentle, and delightful book about embracing your own self. And sitting under the cork tree.

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss. I don’t want to brag or anything (okay, I do) but I rock at reading this book out loud. This is the true test of your tongue’s mettle. The nonsense, the rhymes, the simple words, the ridiculous pictures and scenarios are an absolute delight. The tinies roar with laughter by the time I hit the tweedle beetle battles. And look who is following in the footsteps!

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. A classic, we still read this one to wind down for the night. We also love (and frequently read) her Two Little Gardeners (Little Golden Book) book. When Anne was about 2, she wanted to hear that book every single night. It’s repetitive, gentle, and interesting.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. Another McCloskey book, the tinies love the story of little Sal getting mixed up with the little bear while out picking blueberries. We play this as a game when we pick berries.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. This was the first book that Anne memorized from cover to cover. She was about three at the time. We still love the rhythms and fun of this story.

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. I have hidden this book. Seriously. I have grown so tired of reading it, night after night after night, with all of the tinies. They take turns getting obsessed with it. We have the updated version with pictures by Loren Long, and it is simply a worn-out favourite here.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. if you don’t love this book, we can’t be friends. I’m sorry but it’s true. Sad, lonely, beautiful, it says so much and tinies get it. They really do.

Honourable Mentions: The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, Sleepy Bears by Mem Fox, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and of course, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.

And as a note, regarding Bible stories: My First Message but lately, we’ve been utterly captivated by the The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. Either way, the tinies love them.

Your turn: what are your favourite picture books for tinies?

We’re talking about 10 Books a Day for a Week. Share your own favourites on your blog, and post your link in the comments, or just let me know what you think or recommend. I love to snoop bookshelves, and this is my excuse – and yours – to talk books.

Sunday: 10 books that changed my faith

Monday: 10 books that influence my parenting

Tuesday: 10 books by Canadians I wish the world would read

Wednesday: 10 books for tinies and 10 books for older tinies

Thursday: 10 books I read over and over (and over)

Friday: 10 spiritual memoirs

Saturday: My daily books + 10 books of poetry


Disclosure: Affiliate links used. 

In which I share 10 books for older tinies
In which I share 10 books I read over and over (and over)
thank you for sharing...
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  • Maybe I could deal with The Little Engine That Could if there were Loren Long pictures … but I still don’t know. It’s in my giveaway pile for our upcoming move.

  • Oh, I will second every. one. of. these. 


  • Kelley Johnson

    My little brown tinies have their favorites (me, too) and they include:  God’s Dream by Desmond Tutu, lovely children’s version of God Has A Dream with great pictures.  It has given us great language for understanding God’s Dream for the world and how we are a part of that each day.  Planting The Trees of Kenya:  The Story of Wangari Maathai – now my kids care about planting trees!  He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands (forgot the author) is a lovely picture book employing the words of the song… most nights we sang our way through this and created our own hand motions, too!  Please, Baby Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee was also a favorite. Oh, and Queen of the Scene by Queen Latifah for my sporty girl!  I loved that each of these featured African stories or brown-skinned characters so that from the first, the kids saw kids that looked as dark and lovely as them!

    • I will find every one of these books, Kelley. Always trust your judgement. I want to read these, too!

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  • Brenda

    Oh no, I left Miss Rumphius off my list too, but it totally should have been there. And yes, The Jesus Storybook Bible is a must. Not having it on your shelf is like a pantry without sugar. Here is my list for tinies…

  • Joy Bailey

    McCloskey is a big favorite in this house too, as well as most of your list (and I will be checking out the ones I don’t know).
    Eric Carle’s Brown Bear/Brown Bear is another fave here.

  • Rose

    Love this list but seeing The Hockey Sweater in your honourable mentions made my universe! What an awesome piece of Canadiana!! That book was read nightly when we were little. My mom can still rattle off the first line from memory, “the winters of my childhood were long, long seasons…” We recently bought a copy for my little nephew so the tradition continues!

  • Amylepinepeterson

    Great ones! My 3yo and I love Fancy Nancy, too.

    Today I did memoirs on my blog –

  • Kathleen Quiring

    Ooh, thanks so much for this! I’m still in the baby board book phase, but I’m trying to slowly build up a decent kids’ library for when my daughter gets big enough to not chew up the corners of the covers. I must confess I’m not familiar with any of these. (Wow, I feel ashamed admitting that. What was I reading as a kid?!). I will be printing out this list and taking it with me to the bookstore!

  • Bree

    I so agree with your list! We have long been Beatrix Potter fans. I love when my kids walk around “imploring” one another to”exert” themselves. 🙂

  • I think you just made a literary stack of my childhood. The only books missing are A New Coat for Anna, A Pair of Red Clogs, James Herriot’s Treasury for Children, and anything by Patricia Polacco. I grew up on this booklist- and I promise you there isn’t a book in the mix my family hasn’t fallen in love with at one time or another. 

    • Bree

      Patricia Polacco’s books inevitably make me cry. I love them, too.

    •  oh yay.  FIAR is the curriculum I’m using next year.  I can’t wait to have my kids have their own favorites.

    • Tiffany Norris

      Oh, I forgot Patricia Polacco! Yes, she is wonderful!

  • I know it’s so hard to choose! I should have split my lists. 🙂 In all honesty my list is probably more my favourite top ten books that my kids enjoy too. 🙂

    We just discoved The Little Engine that Could and Madeline. They are staples around here these days. I’ve never heard of Miss Rumphius! I will definitely have to check it out….

  • Mindy W Kessler

    We love all of these! Thanks for sharing. The Story of Ferdinand and Good Night Moon are read quite frequently in our house. 🙂 Also, Jesus Storybook Bible has become our favorite book to read at the dinner table. It is easy for them to understand and we all really enjoy the illustrations. Our kids also enjoy A.A. Milne and Eric Carl books, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy and so many more. It seems like we read all day long! These posts have been so fun!

  • Great list!
    Do you know Julia Donaldson in Canada/the US? She is amazing! Gruffalo is her classic, but I also love Tiddler, Tabby McTat, Monkey Puzzle. Strong, imaginative rhymes, charming illustrations – anything she writes is just brilliant.

    We also like ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea.’ It’s very British – about a tiger who turns up out of the blue and eats everything in a most impolite way. We sometimes refer to my husband as ‘The Vicar Who Came To Tea’ for that reason…

    • Michelle Freeman Owens

      And don’t forget Jule Donaldson’s “Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book.” We love that one around here!

  • 2 I’d add: Grandfather Twilight (which I learned of via Madeleine L’Engle.) A lovely, peaceful, simply, and soul-quieting book. Also No, David! by David Shannon (and the other David books). Super funny, delightful illustrations, great laughter-bonding for parent and child, plus some inherent lessons!

  • The Little House made my list as well. There are just so many good ones to choose from. What a hard category!

  • Rain Whittaker

    So many good picture books. I love your lists. A couple that I would add and will keep in a special box when the last of my 6 is too old for them anymore would be-
    The Seven Silly Eaters (i never tire of this one)
    Bunny Bungalow
    The best of Eloise Wilkin
    All the Mr. Putter books (although I guess these are easy readers. technically)
    The Ox Cart Man (love, love, love)
    Yes to Mrs. Rumphius also love Roxaboxen

    I’m looking forward to your upcoming lists too.


    •  Yes to The Ox-Cart Man!   That was the one book my dad read to us over and over again as kids.  That book is so gorgeous.

    • Stephanie

      “The Seven Silly Eaters” is SO-MUCH-FUN. Marla Frazee’s illustrations are among my very favorite. Have you also read “All the World”? Love that one.

  • Thank you for these great suggestions! My 5 year old loves the Eric Carle books and my toddler loves Your Personal Penguin. The 9 year old is all about the Harry Potter and, if all else fails, the Magic Tree House Series. So happy to have little readers in our house! 🙂 

  • You know what’s awful?  I started reading when I was 3, and quickly moved into chapter books by the time I was 5 or 6, so I don’t even remember being read to, or reading ‘kids books’….so I don’t even know most of these on the list, besides what I’ve happened to hear about and try to get for my own kids….and I do a pretty crappy job of reading to my own kids.  I did get an awesome book curriculum for preschool/kdg next year so I’m excited to have something to make me read to them more often.  This list makes me want to go to the library. Oh, and here’s my list of favorite books – most of which I discovered as an adult.

  • Lietofine

    We’ve read quite a few on this list.  I think the top picks in my house for picture books would be If Mom Had Three Arms and My Truck Is Stuck.  With two boys, they tend to pick only boy books.  They quote a lot from the Skippy Jon Jones books, even though it’s not one of their first picks to read lately.

  • Nurse Bee

    Love it!  We don’t have every single one of those books, but I do think we have books by all of those authors.  My 18 month old’s favorite book right now is “Go Dog! Go” and my 3 year old’s favorites are Beatrix Potter or her book of fairytales (at least for the moment).  And I look forward to reading The Anne of Green Gables books, The Narnia Books, Little House on the Praire….I just love books and am so excited to share them with my children!

  • Amylee

    oohh another one to add to your list is “THE THREE TREES” by Angela Hunt – happy reading!

  • Heather

    thanks for sharing, sarah! this has been a fun week so far! thought i’d share this list my husband found yesterday. 75 books starring mighty girls.

  • Tiffany Norris

    Oh, this was so much fun! I kept saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” (for the older recommendations as well). Junie B. Jones is also a hoot for the older set. Here is my list for my (very) young one:

  • Oooh, someone mentioned Roxaboxen! I think that one’s great.
    I don’t know if it’s a “tiny” book or a “kid” book, but I love Psalms for Young Children.

    And YAY YAY YAY for The Hockey Sweater. So good. I’m going to have to remember that one for future children born in the States but needing a good dose of their mother’s heritage.

    Today I wrote about 10 books that I own but am embarrassed I haven’t read. I want to say confession is good for the soul, but the whole list was hard to write:

  • We really love An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton. You can read the whole book online at, but we have bought (and recommended it to folks) a hard copy. It’s way more available now than it was a couple years ago, I think.

    Anyway, it’s just a fantastic thing. My wife and I bought it before we even started having the kid conversation, and now our daughter is 1, so she hasn’t gotten into it yet, but we look forward to sharing it with her.

  • I see so many of my favorites here and as a Mainer I have to give a special shout out to Bluberries for Sal. I feel compelled to add Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and Tho Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and then I’d have to stop because I could go on and on. But I will say – PHOTO ALBUMS. My boys loved to sit on my lap and just look at how cute they were. Those are some precious memories.

  • This is a great selection, although Miss Rumphius really ought to be there… 😉

    We’ve also recently discovered the Little Blue Truck books and she loves them. They have nice friendly messages, and really beautiful illustrations.

  • Lindsay

    A day late, but here’s my list: I absolutely can’t wait to dig into some of those “older” books with my kids. I was just thinking about The Hockey Sweater the other day, too, and The Giving Tree. My library queue is running out of control. 🙂 

  • I love The Giving Tree, but my (now not so tiny) tenderhearted son won’t let me read it because he says it’s too sad.  I still love it.  Great list! 

  • I adored most of these when I myself was a wee one, and now to read them to my own babe… priceless.

    And the Jesus Storybook Bible… it’s my very favorite. I used it for kids, youth and grownups when I was in youth and camping ministry, and now it’s the one we read with our tiny boy. And I still use it for devotions at work with my team =)

  • Handsfull

    Lots of our favourites here, as well as many I’ve never heard of before!  I’m going through all these lists with pen in hand, making my own lists! 
    I want to add anything by Debi Gliori.  Picture books with gorgeous illustrations and loving, funny stories about family interactions.

  • Stephanie

    I don’t know how you narrowed it down. I understand the “fits” completely on this one.

    You have some truly outstanding picks. We’ve read them all. 

    Isn’t “Strega Nona” fantastic? We’ve been really enjoying Tomie dePaola lately. 

  • Colleen

    I think I read Sammy and the Dinosaurs (by Ian Whybrow) about a zillion times to my oldest, and Cynthia Rylant’s Henry and Mudge books are my all-time favorites (a boy and a big dog!  What’s not to love??!!).  Both my guys are older now and rarely want me to read to them–I miss books for tinies!!

  • truly–love little people books.  In fact, I’m realizing more as I grow that I prefer children’s lit over many other types.  Probably my favorites would be:

    1. Goodnight Moon for sure–I add in my own little effects at just the right moment.
    2. The Story of Ferdinand, because it reminds me so much of Veronica.
    3. Julius the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes (this could be more for older end)
    4. Bread & Jam for Francis Lillian & Russell Hoban
    5. Stone Soup–great folktale
    6. The Three Trees is another great folktale (retold both #5&6 at storytelling night)
    7. The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a fav amongst my girls.
    8. We love most Max & Ruby and Spot books.
    9. Jamberry by Bruce Degen
    10. I am a Bunny by Richard Scarry

    After reading this booklist–yes I love books about food and have already indoctrinated my children at a young age.  I’m a sucker for them.  We too love the Jesus Storybook Bible.  We have another simple bible story book, but what is there not to love about the bigger picture of God’s great rescue plan woven throughout all of Scripture in child form.

  • Alexandra Boston

    Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is so wonderful! I love to ask my daughter “What will you do to make the world more beautiful?” and hear her responses! 🙂

  • Michelle Freeman Owens

    Love this list! I would gently offer “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister as another great book about giving. What I like about it that makes it different than The Giving Tree is that the rainbow fish ultimately keeps something for himself – instead of giving away all that he is and has, like the tree in The Giving Tree. It takes away some of the sadness and also promotes a healthy view of self and our relationships with others!

    Thanks so much for this list! I am grateful to have found your blog through Pinterest!

  • Leanne B

    Great list!  We’re loving The Jesus Storybook Bible too!  Check out some of our favourite kids’ books at  

  • Hah….by 10 Book Week, you meant “Month” right? Anyway, I finally shared our current favorites here: Thanks for this wonderful week of lists. 🙂

  • Lisa

    I recently did a post on this very topic as well as the books I most love to read my children. The Wrong Book by Nick Bland is an absolute favourite in our house. I adore “Oh the places you’ll go!” by Dr Seuss.

  • Helen

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you gave Miss Rumphius a mention! Barbara Cooney had magic in her fingers, oh how I love her illustrations, Have you read her other stories? i never knew there were more till I was a grown up! Hattie and the Wild Waves is great.

  • The Giving Tree ~ oh I can’t even look at that book without wanting to cry – wait, sob might be a better word. My kids grab it every now and then because they love to see my cry happy and think that’s what this does to me. Oh if they only knew. I just try to smile and of course, hold them extra tight as the tears pour down my face. I’m not easily moved in that way, so this is a very rare book to move me to a sob.