Forty Favourite Picture Books for Young Children

Selecting age-appropriate, engaging books for children can be a mind-boggling process – even for a children’s book editor like me. It’s often a task that is done on a tight time frame (read: with a cranky baby or antsy toddler in tow) and on an even tighter budget.
With a little help from my 14,762 Inner West Mum friends, I’ve put together a list of 40 favourite early childhood picture books – books that are funny or gentle, with great rhythmic text; to put it quite simply, books that you and your little ones will love. The list may just come in handy next time you’re wishing to add to your children’s collection, browsing the shelves at your local library or choosing a gift.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add your own favourites in the comments section. And of course, happy reading!

    1. Annie’s Chair (Deborah Niland)
    2. The Bear series (Favourites from this series by Nick Bland are The Very Cranky Bear and The Very Itchy Bear.)
    3. Can I Cuddle the Moon? (Kerry Brown and Lisa Stewart)
    4. The Day the Crayons Quit (Other favourites by Oliver Jeffers include How to Catch a Star and Lost and Found.)
    5. Dear Zoo (Rod Campbell)
    6. Diary of a Wombat (Jackie French and Bruce Whatley)
    7. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld)
    8. Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd)
    9. Go to Sleep, Jessie! (Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood. Another classic by this duo is Amy and Louis.)
    10. Green Eggs and Ham (Other much-loved books by Dr Seuss include The Cat in the Hat and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.)
    11. The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Other favourites from this popular children’s author include The Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom and The Stick Man, all with Axel Scheffler, and What the Ladybird Heard, with Lydia Monks.)
    12. Guess How Much I Love You (Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram)
    13. The Hairy Maclary books (Lynley Dodd. The original, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack, and Slinky Malinki are firm favourites.)
    14. Harry the Dirty Dog (Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham)
    15. Hooray for Fish (Lucy Cousins. Cousins is also the creator of the much-loved Maisy books.)
    16. How to Heal a Broken Wing (Bob Graham. Other favourite titles from this author are Let’s Get a Pup! and The Trouble with Dogs!)
    17. I’m a Dirty Dinosaur (Janeen Brian and Ann James)
    18. I Went Walking (Sue Machin and Julie Vivas)
    19. Kissed by the Moon (by Alison Lester. Other favourite titles by Alison Lester are Imagine and Noni the Pony.)
    20. Kisses for Daddy (Frances Watts and David Legge. Other favourite titles by Frances Watts include Goodnight, Mice!, with Judy Watson, and A Rat in a Stripy Sock, with David Francis.)
    21. The Meg and Mog books (Helen Nicoll and Jan Pieńkowski)
    22. The Miffy series (Dick Bruna)
    23. Little Humpty (Margaret Wild and Ann James. Other favourite books by Margaret Wild include Chatterbox, with Deborah Niland, Lucy Goosey, with Ann James, Kiss, Kiss!, with Bridget Strevens-Marzo, and Piglet and Mama and Piglet and Papa, with Stephen Michael King.)
    24. Love You Forever (Robert Munsch)
    25. Moo, Baa, La La La (Sandra Boynton. Other fabulous books by Sandra Boynton include Blue Hat, Green Hat and Hippos Go Berserk!)
    26. Monkey and Me (Emily Gravett. Other favourites from this author include Dogs and Orange Pear Apple Bear.)
    27. Peepo! (Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Other classic titles by this duo are The Baby’s Catalogue and Each Peach Pear Plum.)
    28. Pig the Pug (Aaron Blabey)
    29. Possum Magic (Mem Fox and Julie Vivas. Other Mem Fox favourites include Hattie and the Fox, with Patricia Mullins, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, with Helen Oxenbury, Time for Bed, with Jane Dyer, and Where is the Green Sheep?, with Judy Horacek)
    30. The Rainbow Fish (Marcus Pfister)
    31. There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake (Hazel Edwards and Deborah Niland)
    32. Roadworks (Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock. Other well-loved books from this duo include Construction and Demolition.)
    33. Rudie Nudie (Emma Quay)
    34. The Spot Books (Eric Hill)
    35. The That’s Not My … books (Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells)
    36. The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Judith Kerr)
    37. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle. Other classic Eric Carle titles are Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, written by Bill Martin Jr, and The Very Busy Spider.)
    38. Too Many Elephants in This House (Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner)
    39. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury)
    40. Who Sank the Boat? (Pamela Allen. Shhh! Little Mouse is another classic by this author.)

More from Ginny:
You Know You Have an Inner West Child When …
The Game-Changer
Cookie Cutter Kids: How can we teach our children to celebrate diversity?
Running in Circles
Allergies: What’s all the fuss about?
The Early Days
Not water – Tears
No Judgements, please
Triumph or Trauma
Riding the Merry go Round
Friends, Near or Far
When is Enough, Enough?
My ( Child’s) Kitchen Rules

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