Best Children's Books
Robert McCloskey (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books
"Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey is a charming classic children's book and one of the best picture books ever written. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard look for a place to hatch their ducklings. Later, Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings walk across town to Boston Public Garden with the help of a local policeman. Robert McCloskey's illustrations are detailed, realistic and expressive. This Caldecott Medal winner is a great book for preschoolers, kindergarteners and beginning readers.
Gene Zion, Margaret Bloy Graham (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Theme: Animals
With a charming tale and wonderful illustrations, Harry the Dirty Dog, written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, is one of the best classic picture books that have delighted children for decades. Harry is a white dog with black spots who doesn't like to take bath at all. One day, he runs away just before bath time and gets himself very dirty. When Harry returns home, his family doesn't recognize this black dog with white spots. Harry tries every trick he can do to show them he is Harry, to no avail. Finally, the dirty dog jumps into the bathtub and begs for a bath. Harry is recognized after he becomes a white dog with black spots again. Margaret Bloy Graham's expressive illustrations depict a lovable character that children can identify with. Harry the Dirty Dog is a great book for toddlers and preschoolers.
Arnold Lobel (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Picture Story Books; Book Themes: Animals, Friendship
"Frog and Toad Are Friends" by Arnold Lobel is a great book for beginning readers. The friendship between Frog and Toad is depicted vividly in five short chapter stories that are funny, engaging and easy to read. "Frog and Toad Are Friends", a Caldecott Award winner, is one of the best classic picture story books.
C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Fantasy Books
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, the first book published in the Chronicles of Narnia series (although number two of the series in chronological order), is one of the best children's books of the 20th century. This classic fantasy book tells a captivating story of four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who enter the magic land of Narnia through a wardrobe in an old English house. It is Lucy who first looks inside a wardrobe and discovers the magical world of Narnia. She befriends a faun named Mr Tumnus who tells her that the land of Narnia is being ruled by the evil White Witch Jadis. The witch has cursed Narnia so it is always winter but never Christmas. Then Lucy's siblings also venture into the land of Narnia. They meet talking animals like Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and help the Great Lion Aslan free Narnia from the witch's reign. Unfortunately, Edmund is seduced by the White Witch's false promises and betrays his siblings. The Great Lion sacrifices himself in order to save Edmund. The wicked witch is ultimately defeated and the four children become kings and queens of Narnia. This classic tale is filled with fantastic characters, exciting adventures and battles between good and evil. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a great chapter book for children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
Eleanor Estes, Louis Slobodkin (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Friendship, School life
"The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes and Louis Slobodkin is a Newbery Honor award winner and a classic children's book in the genre of realistic fiction. The story's main character Wanda Petronski, a Polish-American girl from a poor family, is teased by classmates at school for being different and for saying she has one hundred dresses at home while she is wearing the same faded dress to school every day. Only after Wanda's absence from school do Maddie and Peggy find out the true story about the one hundred dresses and try to make amends. "The Hundred Dresses", one of the best chapter books of the 20th century, appeals to kids in second grade through sixth grade.
Madeleine L'Engle (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Fantasy Books, Science Fiction
"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle is a truly great classic children's book and one of the best chapter books of the 20th century. Its literature awards include Newbery medal. The main characters of the story are three children: Meg Murray, her brilliant younger brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin. They travel through time and space to rescue Meg's father, who is held prisoner by dark forces on the planet of Camazotz. "A Wrinkle in Time" is a good read aloud book. Children in 4th grade through 7th grade can learn about the battle between good and evil and the power of love from this science fiction and fantasy book.
Kevin Henkes (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Picture Story Books; Book Theme: School life
"Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" by Kevin Henkes is one of the best children's books of the 20th century. Lilly the mouse loves school and her teacher Mr. Slinger. But one day Lilly brings a brand new purple plastic purse to school and shows off the purse at an inappropriate time. When her teacher has to take the plastic purse away, Lilly becomes angry. At the end of the school day, Lilly gets her purse back along with a thoughtful note from her teacher. In the end, Lilly retains her good feelings for school life and her teacher. This picture book appeals to kindergartners and first graders. "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" is a good real-aloud book for both home and classroom. Apart from fun reading, the book can also be used to teach appropriate classroom behavior.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, Tasha Tudor (Paperback)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a great classic book, and can be considered among the best in children's literature. Mary Lennox, an unattractive orphan girl, is sent to live at her uncle's manor on the Yorkshire moors of England. There, she discovers a secret garden that has been locked up for years. Along with Colin, her spoiled and sickly cousin, and Dickon, a country boy who loves nature and can talk to animals, Mary is drawn to the wonderful world of the secret garden. They work to rejuvenate the secret garden and, along the way, Mary and Colin find their lives are transformed for the better. With strong and memorable characters and a heartwarming story, The Secret Garden is a good book for children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
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