Picture Storybooks Worth Re-Reading

Looking for children's stories that are worth reading over and over. Here's a growing list of favorites.

There is one point that parents, researchers, and teachers universally agree on: reading to your children is incredibly important.

Reading enhances your child’s imagination, increases his vocabulary, introduces him to unknown lands, and provides a wonderful excuse to cuddle on the couch together.

I shared a few of our favorite picture storybooks here and here but thought it would be fun to compile a growing list of picture books we’ve read again and again… and will read countless more times.

My criteria are simple: the books must be consistent with a Christian world-view (though not necessarily written by Christian authors) and be well-written and illustrated.

Books that explore our rich heritage or introduce other cultures are extra-beneficial. Occasionally there is a line or two that I disagree with, but that opens up the door for great discussions, right?

Children’s Stories Worth Reading Over and Over

  • 15 Animals: I never thought such a short story could produce so many giggles!
  • Aesop’s Fables: the timeless tales masterfully retold and beautifully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
  • All Because a Little Bug Went Kachoo: a silly Suess story about unintended consequences.
  • All the Ways I Love You: a short but darling expression of love.
  • Are You My Mother? my all-time favorite Suess story about a baby bird looking for his mother.
  • Baby Dear: such a sweet story of a little girl caring for her doll, just like Mommy!
  • The Apple and the Arrow: although it’s a longer picture book, the story of William Tell captivated my children’s attention. (Thanks, Aneysa!)
  • The Bear that Heard Crying: an amazing true story set in the wild frontier about a bear who protects a lost 3-year-old.   
  • Can Brown Eyes be Made Blue? from a series on Christian heroes [Though not as well-written as I’d like.]
  • Chanticleer and the Fox: this classic story from the Canterbury Tales comes to life with simple medieval-esque drawings.
  • Cookies: Bite-Sized Life Lessons: the meaning of words life pessimistic and courageous are cleverly explained using cookies. (Great to read before a tea party!)
  • A Child’s Garden of Verses: Robert Louis Stevenson’s delightful poems for children whimsically illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa.
  • Fancy Nancy: I totally empathize with the plain mother in this story, but in the midst of the glamor and sparkles this story emphasizes the importance of love.
  • The Greatest Treasure: sprinkled with Chinese proverbs, this fun story highlights the beauty of contentment.
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie… oh the giggles you’ll garner.
  • It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny: the grass may look greener on the other side, but as P.J. Funnybunny learns, all animals have problems to face.
  • The Kitchen Knight: this Arthurian tale highlights the need for kindness, not just bravery.
  • Little Bear tales: Simple, humorous stories about a little bear.
  • The Little House: a city grows up around this little country house.
  • Little Lips Shall Praise Thee: sweet simple stories and poems celebrating life in God’s world.
  • Make Way for Ducklings: for some reason, the thought of traffic in Boston being brought to a standstill for a family of ducks makes me smile.
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel: Mike was pretty sure that he and his steam shovel could dig more than 100 men could in a week…but would he ever have a chance to prove it?
  • Mr. Bell’s Fix-it Shop: a favorite from my childhood about a fix-it man who can fix everything except broken hearts. [Though the out-of-print prices are outrageous!]
  • One Grain of Rice: set in India, this incredible mathematical tales shows the power of doubling.
  • Otis: a charming tale of a tractor and his friend calf.
  • St. George and the Dragon: the thrilling legend of fierce dragons and brave knights comes alive in this beautiful retelling.
  • The Seven Silly Eaters: This has got to be the most-read story in our house. Hilarious rhymes tell the story of a large family of picky eaters. (Thanks, Pritchetts!)
  • Snowflake Bentley: a true story about the man who “discovered” the beauty of snowflakes and spent his life sharing that discovery with the world.
  • The Ugly Duckling: another classic tale told and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
  • What Can You Do With a Tail Like This? close-ups of animals tails, noses or ears get children guessing what animal they belong to and the following page gives fascinating ways different animals use them.
  • When Jessie Came Across the Sea: a touching story of a poor immigrant girl’s coming to America and her enduring love for her Grandma.
You may notice that I don’t have any Bible story books. The Bible is the most important book to read aloud with our children, but after flipping through multiple children’s Bible storybooks, we came to the simple conclusion that reading the Bible, just the Bible, is enough for our family. (I’ve been pleasantly shocked at just how much little children can understand! The greatest theologians will never fully plunge the wealth of mystery and paradox in the grand story, but even a child can worship its Hero.)
There is no frigate like a book, wrote Emily Dickinson. Whisk your child away to foreign lands with these picture storybooks that are worth reading over and over!

Grab a book and read together

Reading aloud to your children is important and it’s fun. So pull out your favorite books and cuddle up for an adventure to faraway lands!

What picture books get worn out through countless re-readings at your home?

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

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  1. says

    You want a few more? Okay . . . These are ones I read over and over and over to the kiddos.

    The Three Bears (This one is a Golden Book story)
    Jim Forrest and Ranger Don (And absolute favorite of 3-year-old Drew!!!!)
    Why I Built the Boogle House
    I Was Kissed by a Seal At the Zoo
    The Big Ball of String
    Boxes for Katia (A true story of Holland after WWII. Very sweet!)
    Train Coming (“This is the train whose name is Joe. Listen hear the whistle blow? . . .)
    the “Flicka, Ricka and Dicka” books as well as the “Snip, Snap & Snur” books.
    Nancy Plays Nurse

    I could probably go on and on and on, but I won’t. 🙂 I wish we lived closer so I could come over with a bag of books and read. 🙂

    • anna says

      I wish you lived closer too! I haven’t even heard of most of these. I’m adding them to my PBS list. Thanks! <3

  2. Zedd says

    My 2 year old also love The Biggest Bear. It’s an old classic, illustrated in woodcut and lead drawings. Not real colorful, but certainly entertaining. 🙂 Also Charlottes Web, The Velveteen Rabbit, and anything of Beatrix Potters’.

    • anna says

      I just looked up “The Biggest Bear”–it looks adorable. Thanks for the idea. Will’s birthday is just around the corner. 🙂

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