The Definitive List: 12 Classic Children’s Books

The Definitive List: 12 Classic Children’s Books

I announced a while back that Erik and I are expecting a baby boy due February of 2018! We’ve been really busy preparing his nursery and getting our home ready. We have a lot ready so far but we still have a waaaays to go before we are all set.One thing that is an absolute must though is preparing a little library for the nursery. It’s easy to pick up cute little books from here and there. Books with cute little animals and titles like “I Love My Mommy”. But I also wanted to make sure that all the greatest classic children’s books were on his bookcase.

It took me a little while to recall all of my own childhood favorites as well as Erik’s and to compile them together. But I made this list of the top 12 classic children’s books that should be part of any little one’s nursery!


And on the top of our list…


12. Make Way for Duckling

Make way for ducklings is definitely not one to overlook. Set in the city of Boston, mother and father ducks search for the perfect location to have their ducklings. They make their way through iconic Boston locations illustrated in beautiful sepia colored illustrations.

The fun thing about this book is that you can take a stroll through the real public garden in Boston where there is a statue of the mother duck with her eight ducklings. It’s like being a part of the story!


11. Corduroy

Corduroy has been listed as one of the top 100 picture books for children. This is a wonderful book about love and belonging. The tale involves a young girl who wants a toy bear from the store…but it is missing a button! So her mom promptly dismisses the toy as shoddy and cheap. (Not very nice!) The story continues as Corduroy goes on a quest for his button and to gain acceptance. Get this book to instill the values of tenacity, individualism, and a sense of adventure in your child!

10. Goodnight Moon


What Nursery would really be complete without Goodnight Moon? It’s such a relaxing and calm way to wind down for bedtime. The story revolves around the narrator wishing good night to all of the furniture in the child’s nursery. The calm narration is what I really like about it…and I bet you will too!



9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

This book is just a lot of fun. And the rhythmic rhyming patterns make it even better! Another thing that drew me to this book were the unique illustrations. Your child will love gazing at it’s first impression of abstract art. Rhyming, funky art, and a simple message. What’s not to love? This may be my personal favorite on the long list of classic children’s books!





#8 The Very Hungry Caterpillar


Something about The Very Hungry Caterpillar has alway been timeless to me. I always loved this book the I was little. It was so much fun to follow along with the caterpillar as he eats through all the food. (And eats through all the pages!) Your child will love Eric Carle’s unique story-telling and illustrations.



#7 The Wind in the Willows

The illustrations alone make The Wind in the Willows one of the top classic children’s books. The story is great too! I always loved to follow along on the adventures of Mole, Mr. Toad and Badger. I can’t wait to introduce this story to my own baby.

#6 The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish really is a wonderful book. If someone asked me for a book that teaches sharing, this is the first one that come to mind. The eponymously named Rainbow Fish possessed beautiful scales, but refused to share them with anyone! Eventually, he gives his glittery scales away to his fellow fishes and realizes that happiness is derived from the love of friendship.  The stories proves that by learning to share with others is the best way to be happy. In short: Sharing is caring!


#5 The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Who doesn’t love animals acting like people? The brilliant illustrations of anthropomorphism will truly capture your imagination, while the timeless lessons taught in the book will be with your child forever. Peter Rabbit is a capricious boy bunny who disobeys his mother. He sneaks into a vegetable patch and proceeds to munch up everything in sight! After being caught he is reprimanded by his mother, and he learns a valuable lesson in property rights.



#4 Paddington

Please Look After This Bear.

That was the message that was found on the little bear that started this timeless adventure! They have made many, many Paddington books and even a movie!

Based in London, little Paddington is found alone on a train station. Paddington is an eccentric but lovable bear from Peru. His funny witticism and delightful mishaps will entertain both you and your child. One of the things I always like about Paddington was the old timey feel of it. Whenever I read this book, I feel like I am being transported back to the good ol’ days! I hope you feel that way too after reading this book to your loved one.


#3 Frog and Toad

Classic Children's Books

This one was actually my husbands idea. I was trying to think of a good classic children’s book so I asked him. Immediately he said, “Frog and Toad”. Frog and toad is a wonderful book about the bonds of friendship. These stories are very simple to read, and often center around simple concepts such as flying a kite. An absolutely must have book for teaching your child how to read.


#2 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Every writer knows that you need an attention grabbing title…and boy does this do the trick! I remember seeing this title when I was a kid and I simply must know what it was about. And what a fun story this one turned out to be! I mean, meatballs raining from the sky?? This story opens up a world of imagination as juice rains from the sky and hamburgers are blown in during a wind storm! Both you and your child will LOVE the silliness of it all!


And Last, the #1 in our list of classic children’s books…


#1 Winnie the Pooh!

Our list simply would not be complete with the adventure of Christopher Robin in the hundred acre woods. Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and his diverse companions are some of the most memorable characters from our childhoods. These sweet and innocent stories will end of being a hallmark of your child’s memories. Something you and them can share together forever.


And there you have it! All of these books are near and dear to my heart. If you have read any of these, or recommend any classic children’s books yourself, please comment below!