Classic picture books have brought up generations of children with fun stories of mischief, whimsy, friendship, and family. These books transcend time through their relatable tales and charming illustrations. Here is a look at 30 classic picture books for preschool that will be loved by kids for many years to come.
1. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
The sky is the limit for Harold and his purple crayon. Whatever he imagines comes alive with the help of his trusty crayon. A charming book that will have kids unlocking their imagination.
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
A classic and heartwarming story about a hungry caterpillar, chomping its way through an assortment of foods. This is one of the best-selling preschool books of all time, entertaining generations of children.
3. The Berenstain Bears: The Big Honey Hunt by Stan & Jan Berenstain
This is the first adventure of the beloved Berenstain Bears. Join Father Bear and Small Bear in a hunt for honey, straight from the source. A bee leads then on all sorts of misadventures before heading to a liquid pot of gold. The Berenstain Bears are a quintessential part of any young reader's bookcase.
4. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Goodnight Moon is a charming bedtime story fit for preschoolers. The book's whimsical rhymes and reference to all sorts of childrens' tails make it one of the best classic books on the shelf.
5. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline is an anytime story with the most lovable hero of all. A brave little girl who lives in an orphanage gets up to all sorts of mischief, much to the horror of Miss Clavel.
6. The Little Red Hen by J.P. Miller
The Little Red Hen is another beloved children's book with a touching moral. The Hen needs help from her animal friends, but no one is jumping in to help her. The tale about teamwork teaches kids from a young age how to help each other.
7. The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
How do you entertain an unexpected houseguest? Even worse, what if it is a tiger! This fun story tells of Sophie and her hungry tiger guest who enjoy a yummy afternoon tea. This thought-provoking book is one of the all-time best picture books for preschoolers.
8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Giving Tree is a touching allegory, depicting a boy and a tree, in an unbalanced give-and-take relationship throughout their lives. With simple images and a powerful message, this is a beloved family book loved by all.
9. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Undoubtedly one of the most popular children's books of all time is filled with quirky rhymes and fun pictures in Dr. Seuss's classic style of illustration. Teach kids a thing or two about trying something new while enjoying these fun tongue twisters.
10. Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll
It is Halloween and all the witches are getting together for a wickedly wild party. Meg and her trusty cat Mog are on their way to join the frivolities. This is a staple amongst picture books with easy-to-understand text and charming illustrations.
11. Curious George by H. A. Rey
George, everyone's favorite illustrated monkey, gets into all sorts of trouble when he is taken from the jungle to live in a new home in this fun story. His curiosity is inextinguishable and makes for a hilarious story.
12. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
The creator of "The Giving Tree" brings you a collection of magical poems and begs the question, what happens where the sidewalk ends? Children will be limited by only their own imaginations with these marvelous poems and illustrations, all the best elements of the best classic picture books.
13. A Fish out of Water by Helen Palmer
A boy and his pet goldfish go on an unbelievable journey when the fish gets a little too much food. Even the fire brigade gets involved in this fun book that goes far beyond the rim of the fishbowl. A funny story with quirky comical illustrations.
14. The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
A little puppy makes a big escape when he digs a hole under the fence. The wide world is full of adventures, especially for a young pup. This simple story is one of the most iconic picture books that has become a favorite for many generations.
15. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Ferdinand is the charming story of the most peaceful bull in the world. Instead of jumping and butting heads, Ferdinand wants to smell the flowers and rest under his favorite tree. A firm favorite amongst classic books.
16. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
A troop of mischievous monkeys steals the hats from a cap salesman. How ever will he get them back? Kids will love the repetitive and memorable chants along with the comical illustrations. All the things that make for a classic read.
17. Grug by Ted Prior
Grug is a lovable book about a curious character. Grug wants to learn all about the world around him but some things are a little difficult to understand. So Grug is on a mission to teach himself as much as he can.
18. Anatole by Eve Titus
Anatole, the friendly French Mouse, is shocked to hear people aren't very fond of his kind. He is on a mission to repay the people he has stolen from and is determined to change people's minds about mice. The vibrant illustrations in this book make it a keeper.
19. Corduroy by Don Freeman
A little girl falls in love with a cute teddy bear and counts all the money in her piggy bank to buy her new friend. The heartwarming story of the friendship between a girl and a bear became an instant classic more than 50 years ago.
20. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
A little bird hatches but his mother is nowhere in sight. He sets off on a journey to find his mother but meets all sorts of animal friends along the way. A family favorite if there has ever been one!
21. Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer
A father and child duo enjoys a host of outdoor activities in this beloved family classic. Making a campfire, fishing, and pitching a tent are all activities to be enjoyed by the pair. A stunning read-aloud book for parents and pre-schoolers.
22. Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry
Preschoolers love a tour through Busytown, getting a peek into the lives of all the colorful characters. Visit the fire station, the bakery, the school, and the police office in this whirlwind adventure for the entire family.
23. Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton
Scuffy is an adventurous little tugboat who sets off to see the world. He soon realizes all he wants to do is go back home.
24. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
A boy's toy rabbit comes to life but is cast aside by both the toys and the rabbits. A fairy transforms him into a real rabbit thanks to the unconditional love of the little boy in this lovable book. This book will be loved by the entire family.
25. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
This is another family favorite bedtime story that needs no introduction. Peter Rabbit is a classic story by Beatrix Potter following the misadventures of a jacket-wearing rabbit and his friends.
26. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
This enchanting book retells a classic Chinese folktale of the boy with the absurdly long name who fell down the well. It is a classic children's bedtime story with magical jewel-toned drawings bringing the tale to life.
27. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
This beloved children's anytime story is known for its stunning collage images of animals parading across the pages. Along with the memorable singsong story, children will be rereading for many years to come.
28. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
This family favorite has inspired two films and continues to be one of the most loved classic children's books. The fun story of a town where food rains down three times a day is enough to awaken the senses and liven up young imaginations.
29. Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni
The stunning images of animals in Leo Lionni's books have been a family favorite for many years. This classic book about friendship is no different, showing the unlikely friendship of a fish and a frog exploring life underwater and on land.
30. No, David! by David Shannon
This hilarious book was created by David Shannon when he was just 5 years old. Now children all over can laugh at the funny story of David getting up to all sorts of trouble. An instant classic!