Picture books ignite a child’s interest in reading books. The stories and illustrations must draw children into the story, sparking their imagination. A good picture book causes kids to recreate the story in their everyday life, and parents typically must read the story a thousand times (or so it feels).
Stores and libraries are full of choices for picture books. It might feel overwhelming when you are trying to select picture books for preschoolers. You might pick randomly off the shelf, which is fine, but you also want to pick some of the best picture books intentionally. Check out our recommendations.
10 Top Picture Books for Preschoolers
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Meant for grades preK-3, the story follows a young boy, named Max, who is sent to bed without his dinner. While in his bed, Max imagines a fascinating adventure into the land of the Wild Things, where he meets a crowd of beasts. Soon, Max realizes he is homesick, and he wakes up to find his dinner waiting for him.
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
The Polar Express is a classic Christmas tale for grades K to 5, but people of all ages love this story. The story follows a young boy who is taken to the North Pole on the Polar Express. It is a Caldecott winner, encouraging the Christmas spirit with an imaginative tale and vivid illustrations.
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Goodnight Moon is a classic story read to millions of children over the years. Meant for grades preK-2, the story follows a young bunny who wants to delay going to sleep by saying goodnight to every item he can find. The story lulls kids to sleep, and the illustrations range from black and white to full color. This picture book belongs on all bookshelves.
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
No list of picture books is complete without one selection by Dr. Seuss. Most of his books could be o the list of the best picture book, but Green Eggs and Ham is the hands-down best. The story is perfect for children who are learning to read because of the repetitive phrases. The simple, yet silly, drawings make this book a must-have on every bookshelf.
- Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
There isn’t a parent around that hasn’t cried while reading Love You Forever. The book is about a boy and his mother. The story starts as the mother rocks her new baby to sleep, and she continues to rock her son to sleep. Some nights, she must sneak into his room to do so. At the end of the story, the boy, who is now a man with a child, does the same for his mother.
- The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
The Little House is a unique story that follows the growth of a city. It starts with a little house that is set far out into the countryside. Over the years, the city grows closer until the little house is crowded. The story is a great book to start conversations about cities and where people used to live years ago.
- The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
“ I think I can, I think I can.” The Little Engine that Could is a story of encouragement and offers a positive message for children. The story teaches children to believe in their abilities to complete anything set in their path. This story is a childhood classic that everyone must read.
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Everyone loves a snow day! Keats wrote this simple books about the activities of a young boy during a snow day. Peter wakes up to discover the first real snowfall of the year, and he is excited. The book follows all of the details throughout his day, from dragging a stick through the snow to trying to bring a snowball inside. The story is exciting, yet simple enough for even the littlest of kids.
- Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline is a sweet picture book about Madeline and her adventures in Paris. She lives with nuns and other girls. Madeline must go to the hospital, and the story follows the events. Children love the story, especially the adorable illustrations that depict the events in great detail.
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Children love Blueberries for Sal! The story starts as Sal, and her mother set out to pick blueberries to can for the winter. At the same time, a mother bear and her cub are eating blueberries to store up for the winter. Then, the youngsters swap moms, surprising everyone. The discovery is sure to make kids laugh, and everyone goes home happy that night.