Every bookworm worth their salt recognizes the opening lines of this franchise: “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines/Lived 12 little girls in two straight lines…” Of course the smallest one was Madeline. First appearing in 1939, the little Parisian girl has charmed audiences the world over, with her adventures across the globe.
Get the book here: Madeline
It doesn’t have to be a mouse and a cookie — you can go with a moose and a muffin, a pig and a pancake, a dog and a donut — but this adorable series will captivate your kids in minutes. They’ll learn the formulaic storyline and before you can say “milk mustache” they’ll be finishing the sentences as you read.
Get the book here: If You Give a Mouse A Cookie
If "The Giving Tree" gives you the weepies, try Silverstein’s poetry as an alternative. His silly poems and drawings will make you and your kiddos laugh — just try to keep a straight face when reading things like, “Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too.”
Get the book here: Where the Sidewalk Ends
Harold is a little boy with a big imagination, and all he needs is his trusty purple crayon to make his dreams come to life. It starts out with a simple walk in the moonlight (Harold draws the moon, of course) and ends after an encounter with a dragon, a sail on a boat, a picnic with nine kinds of pie, a hot air balloon ride and a chat with a police officer — with Harold warm and cozy in his very own bed.
Get the book here: Harold and the Purple Crayon
Max — a boy who always gets into “mischief of one kind or another” — is sent to bed without supper. While he’s in his room, it turns into a jungle and he sails away to the land of the Wild Things.
The Wild Things crown Max king (obviously), and he stays for a while. But eventually home beckons and Max returns, where his dinner is waiting and the best line of the book reads, “And it was still hot.”
Get the book here: Where the Wild Things Are
There is no children’s author more renowned than Dr. Seuss, who penned this book — the silly tale of Sam I Am who does not like green eggs and ham — and 44 other titles for kids, including "The Cat in the Hat," "Horton Hears a Who" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
Get the book here: Green Eggs and Ham
Never mind the caterpillar’s enchanting journey to becoming a butterfly, after eating through everything from a piece of salami to a slice of chocolate cake — the gorgeous, vibrant pictures in this book will keep your kids mesmerized through to the final page.
Get the book here: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
For every kid who thinks their grandmother is magical comes the tale of Strega Nona and her enchanted pasta pot. Kids will learn the value of listening to their parents or paying the unfortunate consequences (in this case, a town buried under piles of spaghetti!).
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From the moment Alexander rolls out of bed, he knows it’s going to be the worst day. His cereal is the only one without a toy, his mom buys him shoes he doesn’t like and he’s forced to eat lima beans for supper. (Alexander hates lima beans.)
This book is perfect for anyone (not just kids!) who has ever thought about taking off and starting over, just as Alexander dreams about running away to Australia.
Get the book here: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
This book (published in 1947, so it has serious staying power) follows a sweet little bunny as he says goodnight (in rhyme!) to all the objects around him. This story likely gives toddlers too many ideas for drawing out bedtime, but it’s still a pretty cute little tale.
Get the book here: Goodnight Moon
You’ll only have to convince your brood to read this book once and they’ll ask for it over and over again. There may not be any pictures, but the words (if you can call them that — half of them are onomatopoeias) are funny enough to give your kids the giggles sans illustrations.
Whoever is reading the book must say everything the book says, including things like, “I am a robot monkey” and “My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named Boo Boo Butt.”
Get the book here: The Book with No Pictures
Every kid loves this book, because what preschooler doesn’t like to talk about pee?!
Parents will relate to page after page of pee-mergencies presented by main character Andrew (who is actually based on Munsch’s real son). If this book isn’t your little one’s thing, try any one of Munsch’s 89 titles instead.
Get the book here: I Have To Go!
This quintessentially Canadian author gave us so many wonderful tales, including the antics of Jillian Jiggs, "The Balloon Tree" and "Once Upon a Golden Apple." But "Something from Nothing," an adaptation of an old Yiddish tale where even a young boy’s beloved grandpa can’t make his special blanket last forever, has been critically acclaimed for more than 20 years.
Get the book here: Something from Nothing