My friend Ben has asked for my list of favorite children's books. Keep in mind that my oldest is 3, so these are mostly appropriate for young children. Luckily for you I have good taste, so all of the books on this list are worth picking up.
In no particular order, but progressing generally from younger to older children:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
- Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Colorful and fanciful, with a fun rhyme
- Carl's Afternoon in the Park (and the other books in the Carl series), Alexander Day
Excellent illustrations, which tell the story well. No words.
- God Bless Me and Thank You, Dear God!, Helen Haidle
- But Not the Hippopotamus, Sandra Boynton
I generally recommend everything by Sandra Boynton. Cute, simple words, clever and funny.
- Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Mo Willems
Funny and very interactive.
- Llama llama Red Pajama, Anna Dewdney
- Frog and Toad are Friends, Arnold Lobel
This is an early-reader book, with simple words and sentences. Unlike most books of this kind, however, the stories are actually good: funny, clever, endearing, and with likeable characters. Definitely worth reading to your toddler.
- Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
I think I like this one more than my kids do. They might need to be older to appreciate how clever it is.
- Rain, Peter Spier
Emily and I have a lot of children's books, but the ones by Peter Spier have far and away the best illustrations. Rain is absolutely beautiful, and is told (like most of his books) entirely through pictures.
- Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo, Mercer Mayer
Fun story with illustrations so packed that you notice something new every time you read it.
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Virginia Lee Burton
Who doesn't love this book?
- Curious George, Margaret and H.A. Rey
The Curious George stories are fun and meandering. Definitely a favorite of Jonathan's.
- The Apostle's Creed, Illustrated by Vicki Pastore
A great way to teach your children the foundations of the faith in an engaging way. Worked well for us as part of the bedtime routine.
- Thomas the Tank Engine, Rev. W. Awdry
The Thomas stories are entertaining and teach good Christian virtues better than almost anything else on this list. Highly recommended. The original videos, narrated by none other than Ringo Starr and very close to the books, are also great.
- The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones
I simply cannot praise this one highly enough. The tone reminds me a little of C.S. Lewis' in the Chronicles of Narnia. And, (also like the Chronicles of Narnia), some of the insights are so deep that I find myself learning new things and thinking about God's plan of salvation in new ways.