Best Picture Book Reviews

by tandemonimom

Are you looking for a great picture book? These are my personal favorites, complete with book reviews. I hope you love these books as much as my children and I do!

What Makes a Picture Book Great?

The best picture books are as much fun for an adult to read as for a child.

What makes a great picture book? Well, if you enjoy reading at all (and we assume, since you're looking for picture books to read to your child, that you do enjoy reading) then the measure is pretty easy: if it is a book you enjoy reading aloud, even multiple times, without wanting to dig the author up from the grave and beat him over the head with his own shinbone (with grateful thanks to Mark Twain for that imagery), then it's a good picture book.

In other words, the things that make a book good for children to read and enjoy are pretty much the same things that make a book good for more mature readers to read and enjoy. Now, we're not suggesting that if your kids are out, you'll want to curl up with a big pile of great picture books and a mug of hot cocoa on a rainy day and read them by yourself; but still, the principle holds. Good books can be enjoyed across a wide age range. If it is not a book you enjoy reading out loud, then it is probably not a good book ... and why would you want to be reading substandard literature to your child anyway? Remember, you are shaping their taste in books as you read to them! So choose wisely.

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children
is not a good children's story in the slightest."

~ C.S. Lewis

This Page's Organization

Where possible I'll sort the books into narrower categories (counting books, alphabet books, etc) but sometimes, to paraphrase Freud, a book is just a book. Great picture books that can't be otherwise sorted into a category will be under the category "Best Picture Books" but that should never be construed to mean the books in the narrower categories are not just as good!

ALL the books on this page are personal favorites of mine! It's a small list to start with but I hope to add a couple of favorites each week, so check back! Click on each link below to take you to the full review for that book. Happy reading!

Keep this reminder where you'll see it!

ALL the books on this page are personal favorites of mine!

Click on any title to read my review!

Best Picture Books

Christina Katerina may be the most inventive child ever!
To Market, To Market takes an old Mother Goose nursery rhyme and turns it into a delightfully absurd story.

Best Toddler Books

Many ages will enjoy these, because they are great books, but they are especially appropriate for the very young.
I have a lot of favorite picture books, but the sweet, bouncy Shoes is absolutely at the top of my list!
Jamberry is a riotous, jubilant celebration of berries! A boy and a bear and a whole lotta berries!

Best Alphabet Books

Applebet is that rarest of books: a great alphabet book that also has a brilliant storyline as well!

Best Bedtime Storybooks

This is probably my family's absolute favorite bedtime book: a lyrical cumulative story with absolutely stunning pictures!

Best Counting Books

All of these counting books are ALSO great picture books, or they would not be on this list!
Ten Cats Have Hats is a simple counting book, and simply wonderful.
What happens when one duck gets stuck in the muck? Everyone rallies to help!

Best Trickster Tales

Tops and Bottoms is a hilarious trickster tale adapted from slave stories from the American south.

Best Books Addressing Specific Issues

Messy Molly doesn't fit in with her too-tidy family ... until her messiness saves the day!
Do you have a young child who lets perfectionism stifle her efforts? You need to get this book!

About Your Reviewer

Who am I, and how do I choose good books?

I am the mother of four children myself, and we homeschool, so my family has gone through more than its share of picture books. Here I am sharing some of my personal favorites with you, in hopes that you and your children will enjoy them as much as I did with my children.

Something you ought to know about me: I am a true bibliophile so I will recommend my favorites regardless of whether they are currently available new or not. In some cases, you might have to look for a used copy, but I promise you: they are all so very worth it!

iRead t-shirt for bookworms!

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Updated: 04/10/2012, tandemonimom
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Do You Love Picture Books as Much as I Do?

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cmoneyspinner on 11/06/2013

November is Picture Book Month.

cmoneyspinner on 09/27/2013

Yes I do love picture books. Profound truths condensed into less than about 50 pages with gorgeous illustrations. Who wouldn't like picture books?

Dianne on 07/25/2011

I love picture books and we also read our share when we were homeschooling. If I read a book to the kids that I did not enjoy, I would tell them they could read it themselves but I wasn't going to read it to them any more. They might read it but not for very long. Too many good books to waste time on bad ones!

PeggyHazelwood on 06/30/2011

Picture books are so much fun for little ones who can't sit still long enough to listen to too many words. Great recommendations!

kajohu on 06/29/2011

I like good books, picture books included. I haven't heard of the books you've listed here, but I will check them out for future reading consideration. My two sons are adults now, but....I'm going to be a grandmother in a few months, and these books may end up in my reading repertoire to my grandson-to-be :-)

tandemonimom on 06/29/2011

Jimmie, no competition - there is room for ALL book lovers up here!

Jimmie on 06/29/2011

Another book lover here. I don't know if I love them as much as you, but I'd be willing to try to compete. ;-)

petunia on 06/29/2011

I love children's books! In fact, I have been know to give a children's picture book to an adult - especially one who is facing a difficult time.
Your choices all look great. Regina is at the top of my list, but they all sound super.

Book Treasures By Brenda on 06/29/2011

We definitely do love picture books, Carma.

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