5 classic children’s picture books (that also make great gifts!)

It will come as no surprise to you to hear that I think giving books as a present for a baby, toddler or child is an excellent idea. Helping to build a library of classics for a child is, surely, a most wonderful (Christmas or birthday) gift?

Over the years I’ve honed down a selection of books that my boys have loved and always go down well when gifted to friends and family. They are the classic picture books for children that will be treasured for years to come.

This list could have been 30 long but here are five that have a 10/10 rating for story, entertainment and beautiful illustrations. They are iconic must-haves.

/ Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

It’s all about… letting your imagination run riot! Published in 1963, this really is a story beloved by multiple generations. Max takes a trip, meets the wild things and has a wild rumpus. With instantly recognisable illustrations, also by Maurice Sendak, this is so much fun to read for everyone involved.

/ The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

It’s all about… merging activity, colour, education and joy for an interactive tale that, in my experience, children want to read over and over again. It’s got counting, the life cycle of a caterpillar and an indulgence in delicious foods. What more could you ask for?

/ We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

It’s all about… the merging of story and song. A family go on a bear hunt and through lyrical repetition (We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ll have to go through it…) and actions (shown here by the author Michael Rosen) they go on their journey.

My youngest son LOVED this from when he was a tiny baby and still does now, with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury, it truly transcends the ages from baby to young child and everyone can join in.

/ The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

It’s all about… well, a tiger who pops round for tea. Also published in the 1960s (1968), the story is a suspension of disbelief and absolutely captures the attention of all children. I think they just love the idea of a tiger coming round to their house. Beautifully illustrated by Judith Kerr, it’s another cross-generational classic.

/ The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

It’s all about… I couldn’t write a classic picture books for children list and not include The Gruffalo. I firmly believe it is a staple in all children’s libraries. Amazingly illustrated by Axel Scheffler, it has one of the best twists around in the children’s book world. Read and enjoy!

So if you’re looking to buy a book as a gift this Christmas, I highly recommend these. What do you think, what would you add to the list?

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