Classic children’s books

Classic children’s books. While cleaning out accumulated clutter, we came across our collection of best-loved classic children’s books.

It sparked a lot of fond memories of reading to the kids, and then listening as they read. We do love reading books alongside our older teens. But we can still remember with great joy when we read books with the kids in our laps.

So, a trip down memory lane.  Here are six books we treasure and love and read over and over again. Perhaps you’ll find a classic children’s book that speaks to your family, too.


Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastmanclassic children's books

Do you like my hat?

This simple question is repeated throughout Eastman’s hilarious tale of a dogs heading to a party. The early response?

I do not.

As the story progresses, dogs continue to make their way to the dog party, and the hats get larger and more outlandish.

At the end, we see a fabulous tree-top party and a final, crazy, extravagant hat. And this time, success!

Hello again. And now do you like my hat?

I do. What a hat! I like it! I like that party hat!

This book is a masterpiece on many levels, from the interwoven story line to the way it helps children develop vocabulary. But in the end, it’s just plain fun, and that kept our children coming back to it. To this day, as they walk out we can hear them say

Do you like my hat?

classic children's booksPaddle to the Sea by and Seabird by Holling Clancy Holling

These masterful stories teach history in a compelling way. In the first, a handmade canoe is released on a snowbank in the Canadian wilderness and finds its way, through the Great Lakes, to the mighty St. Lawrence River and eventually to the cold Atlantic Ocean and the warm Gulf Stream current.

In the canoe, the Indian smiled. Once he paused in a stroke, and rested his blade. For that instant he looked like his own Paddle. There was a song in his heart. It crept to his lips, but only the water and the wind could hear.


In Seabird, a carved ivory gull accompanies a boy on maritime journeys throughout his long life, watching the evolution from sail to steam to air travel. Seabird is reborn in the eyes and hearts of the boy’s son and grandson, beginning a new life with each generation.classic children's books

The books are divided into one-page stories, each a snapshot of the larger journey. The author pairs each story with an intricate drawing, bringing the journey to life.

Our boys were drawn to the stories again and again, particularly when we would travel to upstate New York to visit family or travel on water.

We think we’ll read them again, just because.



classic children's booksMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

We were reminded of this classic children’s book during Cynthia’s recent visit to Boston with our older son.

When the kids were younger, we visited the Boston Public Garden to see the famous statues of Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings, and to watch the swan boats and gaze at the ducklings’ island home.

So, of course, that’s just what Cynthia did, again.




classic children's booksHarry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything, except…getting a bath.

This book caused the highest ratio of giggles to words from this list of classic children’s books. Harry’s adventures are perfectly timed to have just enough suspense to capture young imaginations, and just enough realism to provide that connection to the story’s central character.

After all, how many young boys really want to take a bath?

The Nutcracker (as retold by Anne McKie)

We were incredibly lucky to receive a copy of this classic version of the classic children’s holiday tale. classic children's books

With its rich illustrations, the story came alive in a new way for our children in their younger years.

The fallen Nutcracker, the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, all had new meaning with this lovely book.



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