Famous Children's Books

Children's books change as times change, bringing new heroes. However, there are books that entertain generation after generation, remain in the hearts of people even after they grow up and then share them with their children. There are numerous famous children's books and it is not possible to list them all. Children's books can be separated in a number of categories, including imaginative stories, animal stories and sentimental books for children.

One famous title from the category of imaginative stories is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and illustrations by Ron Barrett. What makes the book memorable is its inventive premise, a town where food falls from the sky instead of rain and snow. Another example of an imaginative story for children is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, which tells the story of a young boy named Max who is sent to his room without any dinner because of being naughty. In his room, Max goes on an adventure as the forest grows and creatures appear wild and free. The book was the winner of the Caldecott Medal in 1964 and has remained popular over the years.

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is about a little boy who uses his purple crayon to get himself out of many jams. For example, Harold's crayon helps him by drawing a boat to get him out of water or by creating landmarks to help him find his way home. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg tells the story of a young boy who does not believe in Santa Claus. He goes to bed on Christmas Eve and a train takes him to the North Pole where along with other children he experiences the reality of Christmas and Santa. The book was the 1986 Caldecott Medal winner.

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka is a collection of tales that mock the traditional fairy tales. The book includes the story of the Ugly Ducking which becomes the Ugly Duckling instead of a beautiful swan and "The Princess and the Pea" where the prince finds a way to get past the pea under the mattress, while characters belonging in other fairy tales are interjected in some of the stories. In The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle describes the life of a caterpillar from the moment it is an egg until it transforms into beautiful butterfly. The book also teaches the days of the week and counting, weaving a tale with a lesson.

Famous animal stories for children include Corduroy by Don Freeman, which is about a teddy bear, named Corduroy, and a little girl searching not only for an ordinary toy but a special toy to be her friend. Curious George by H.A. Rey tells the story of the trouble-making monkey George and his human companion, the Man with the Yellow Hat. The book and its sequels have entertained young children for decades, making George one of the most beloved of all pets.

Another famous animal story is The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. It is about the mischievous bunny Peter Rabbit, his family and the trouble he gets into in Mr McGregor's garden. Other famous animal stories include Olivia by Ian Falconer, The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren, If You Give A Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond, as well as The Story of Babar by Jean De Brunhoff.

Among the famous sentimental books for children are Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw, which is a story about a mother who shows her affection for her son even after he is an adult and how he in turn declares his love to her and his own baby girl. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans is a Caldecott Medal winner, telling the story of a little girl who goes to school in Paris. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd, is considered one of the most beloved bedtime stories of all time.

Dr. Seuss is the author of numerous picture books for children and some of his most famous titles include Green Eggs and Ham, which is a story for young children because it contains only fifty words, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, about Grinch who discovers the true meaning of Christmas after trying to take it from the Whos of Whoville and The Cat in the Hat, which is about a cat and two children.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Dictionary of American Children's Fiction, 1990-1994: Books of Recognized Merit
Alethea K. Helbig; Agnes Regan Perkins.
Greenwood Press, 1996
Constructing the Canon of Children's Literature: Beyond Library Walls and Ivory Towers
Anne Lundin.
Routledge, 2004
Introducing Children's Literature: From Romanticism to Postmodernism
Deborah Cogan Thacker; Jean Webb.
Routledge, 2002
Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination
Vigen Guroian.
Oxford University Press, 1998
Science Books & Films' Best Books for Children, 1988-91
Maria Sosa; Shirley M. Malcolm.
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1992
Brown Gold: Milestones of African American Children's Picture Books, 1845-2002
Michelle H. Martin.
Routledge, 2004
Empire's Children: Empire and Imperialism in Classic British Children's Books
M. Daphne Kutzer.
Garland, 2000
FREE! Good Stories for Great Holidays: Arranged for Story-Telling and Reading Aloud and for the Children's Own Reading
Frances Jenkins Olcott.
Houghton Mifflin, 1914
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
L. Frank Baum; John R. Neill.
Books of Wonder; William Morrow, 1990
FREE! Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll; John Tenniel.
MacMillan, 1898
Treasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson; Emma Letley.
Oxford University Press, 1985
FREE! Pinocchio: The Adventures of a Marionette
C. Collodi; Walter S. Cramp; Sara E. H. Lockwood.
Ginn, 1904
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