Building Your Baby's Library

By Mary Michell

There are many books for babies out there, so how do you know which ones are worth checking out? Here's a list of time-tested, baby-approved picture books that you and your little one will read over and over again. You also get my librarian's guarantee: these books will wear out before you get tired of them!

  • Goodnight Moon

    1947 by Brown, Margaret Wise

    A perfect book for a bedtime snuggle. Its colorful illustrations feature lots of images to find and discuss, and the rhythmic text is so much fun to read. The story of a room slowly darkening as bedtime approaches will gently lull your little one to sleep. Caution: it may have the same effect on you!

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  • The Runaway Bunny

    2005 by Brown, Margaret Wise

    As kids start to assert their independence, things shift a bit in the family. Margaret Wise Brown understood this perfectly and wrote a book about a bunny who is not at all pleased with his mother. Clement Hurd's beautiful drawings illustrate their conversation—an interaction that will be very familiar to both young children and their parents.

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  • Corduroy

    2008 by Freeman, Don

    This beloved story was first published in 1968, and since then generations of kids and parents have fallen in love with the little stuffed bear who is just looking for a home—and a missing button. You will too!

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  • Curious George

    1941 by Rey, H. A.

    Every well-read toddler needs a copy of Curious George, the monkey who embodies all the energy and curiosity of your average three-year-old. H.A. Rey was an author who perfectly understood what captures a young child's imagination. Don't be surprised if your child memorizes this story by heart and corrects you if you make a mistake while reading.

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  • Make Way for Ducklings

    1969 by McCloskey, Robert

    Each one of the beautiful sepia drawings in this book is a work of art, and the story couldn't be more engaging for young children. And it's a true story! You and your child will love this tale of humans helping a duckling mom and her new babies cross a busy Boston street. My favorite illustrations are the ones showing a flying duck's view of the streets and gardens of Boston.

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  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

    1992 by Martin, Bill

    Another must-have. Bill Martin has given his young readers three gifts in one book: vibrant colors, beautiful animals, and a story that creates a lot of anticipation about what's on the next page. Just try stopping this book half-way through. Can't be done.

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  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    1987 by Carle, Eric

    One of the all-time classics. Eric Carle has combined a great story, a science lesson, beautiful art, humor, and a book design that allows readers to follow along as a ravenous new caterpillar eats everything in sight. You'll both giggle as the caterpillar's culinary choices get sillier and sillier.

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  • The Snowy Day

    2011 by Keats, Ezra Jack

    What is more magical to a young child than waking up to freshly fallen snow? What might you do on such a day? Bright colors set against stark white snow show young Peter exploring this new world, and making a surprising discovery when he comes back inside.

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  • Caps for Sale

    2002 by Slobodkina, Esphyr

    This is a classic tale that will never go out of style, and it is as much fun to read as a barrel of monkeys! You and your little one will love imitating the naughty monkeys who refuse to return a pile of stolen caps.

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  • Horton Hears A Who!

    1982 by Seuss

    The kind-hearted elephant who can't ignore a cry for help "no matter how small" has been winning our hearts since 1954. I love Dr Seuss books because the stories are loaded with kid-appeal, and they are told in wonderful, memorable rhymes that you and your child will both love repeating. This is one of his best.

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  • Millions of Cats

    1928 by Gag, Wanda

    The oldest American picture book still in print—and for good reason. Gorgeous illustrations and rhythmic text combine in this classic tale of a lonely old man and woman who go looking for a cat to keep them company and instead find more than they bargained for.

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  • The Story of Ferdinand

    1977 by Leaf, Munro

    This tale of a gentle giant has been warming hearts since its first publication in 1936. Beautiful pen and ink art on every page tell the story of a great big bull who just doesn't want to fight. A great message for children and a reminder for all of us about celebrating our differences.

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  • Where the Wild Things Are

    1991 by Sendak, Maurice

    Does your little darling ever engage in a wild rumpus? Then you'll both love Max, the less-than-angelic protagonist of this timeless story of a tantrum gone wild!

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  • Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

    1965 by Waber, Bernard

    Whimsical drawings of a sweet, eager-to-please crocodile and his human family make this a family favorite. You will love Lyle, because everyone loves Lyle—except Loretta, the neighbor's cat. Can Lyle win her over?

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  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit

    2011 by Potter, Beatrix

    Since 1902, Peter Rabbit has been refusing to stay out of Mr. McGregor's garden, and all children everywhere are the better for it. The delicate water-color paintings perfectly depict the story of an unstoppable little bunny and his world.

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