It is said to never judge a book by it’s cover.

But with picture books, we can’t sometimes resist judging and picking up one with a promising cover, hoping for some really great illustrations.

It’s not that illustrations are all that a picture book is (well, it could be in the case of wordless picture books). But it’s called a picture book for a reason. And illustrations could really make it or break it.

I have never encountered a picture book that I didn’t like, though. But there are a lot of picture books out there and I guess a lot more to be published( I, for one, has this dream of writing and publishing one, but I think I’m too scared to do it. Well, more on that next time). So I compiled here the list of the best-illustrated picture books, that you could grab for your little ones, or in the case of kid-at-heart adults, your own consumption.

Now, I could tell you all the picture books with illustrations that I really love. But I believe it is best that the books in this list include those that are reviewed and voted upon by a committee who carefully reviews the books for excellent illustrations and visual experience. These books are the Caldecott Medal Winners by the Association for Library Service to Children.

What is the Caldecott Medal?

The Caldecott Medal is an award given annually to the preceding year’s ” most distinguished American picture books for children”. The award is given to the illustrator of the book by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). It is one of the most prestigious American children’s book awards, along with the Newberry Medal.

It came about when many thought that the artists creating the illustrations in the picture books for children were also deserving to be honored and recognized as the authors of children’s books.

So in 1937, Frederic G. Melcher suggested the establishment of the medal, named in honor of the nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott. This medal is to be given to the artist who had created the most distinguished picture book of the year.


The Caldecott Medal Winners

Here are the awardees of the Caldecott Medal from the most current year to the very first.



Hello Lighthouse

 illustrated and written by Sophie Blackall

Hello Lighthouse tells the story of a lighthouse and it’s last keeper. It shows the daily life of the keeper in the lighthouse and his routines like maintaining his daily logs in the logbook, polishing the lens  and refilling oil as he tends the light. It also shows the events of the keeper’s life as he gets married and then had a child , and eventually had to bade goodbye to the lighthouse.



Wolf in the Snow 

by Matthew Cordell

A  girl and a wolf got lost in a snowstorm. And then they meet. The girl helped the little wolf to get to his mother. And the wolves howl together to help her family find her. A story of kindness and reciprocity wrapped in one nearly wordless picture book.


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat 

by Javaka Steptoe

This is a story of a boy who wants to be a famous artist.  Jean-Michel Basquiat was just a little boy who loved art and saw it everywhere he goes. He dreamed big and show the world that art is beautiful even when it is not inside the lines with his unique, collage-style paintings.



Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear 2016Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

illustrated by Sophie Blackall, written by Lindsay Mattick

There was a real Winnie-the-Pooh. And it was Winnie, the baby bear Harry Colebourn rescued on his way to World War I, in 1914. Named after his hometown, Winnipeg, he took the bear to war. This is the story of a friendship between a bear and his rescuer, across fields and oceans told by the real-life great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourn.


The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat 2015

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

by Dan Santat

In a magical island far away, one imaginary friend patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, only to be overlooked time and again.  He finally sets off on a journey to a busy city to find his perfect match and at last be given his own name: Beekle.



Locomotive by Brian Floca2014


written and illustrated by Brian Floca

In the summer of 1869, crews and families are riding the trains on America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. Enjoy the thrill of travel as the pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives.




This Is Not My Hat

by Jon Klassen

A tiny fish got a hat that fits perfectly right for him. But, unfortunately,  it is NOT his hat. Good thing, the big fish is asleep and will not probably wake up for a long time. Or will he really not?


A Ball for Daisy 2012

A Ball for Daisy 

by Chris Raschka

This book relates the story of the joy and sadness that a special toy can bring. Every child can relate to the joy of Daisy as she plays with her favorite toy and with her sadness when it was broken. A wordless narration in swirling and impressionistic illustrations, this book will appeal to dog lovers and children who once loved a special toy and lost it.


A Sick Day for Amos McGee2011

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead

Every day, Amos McGee was always early to go to the zoo. He has a lot of things to do but he made time to be with his friends the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros and the owl. One day, Amos got the sniffles and sneeze and couldn’t make it to the zoo. So his friends went to him instead.


The Lion & the Mouse2010

The Lion & the Mouse

 by Jerry Pinkney

A wordless adaptation of the beloved tale by Aesop, this fable shows that no act of compassion and kindness is ever forgotten.  When a lion spares a mouse that he’d planned to eat, the mouse, later on, rescues him when he was trapped by poachers. With vivid and descriptive illustrations of the African landscape, this re-telling is truly breathtaking.

The House in the Night 2009

The House in the Night

illustrated by Beth Krommes, written by Susan Marie Swanson

This timeless bedtime book with glowing, patterned illustrations and poetic texts, illuminates a reassuring order to the universe. Naming nighttime things, comforts and intrigues to explore the origins of a light that makes a house a home.



The Invention of Hugo Cabret2008

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick

This hefty book of over 500 pages of words and pictures in a harmony that is not exactly like a graphic novel or a picture book but a combination of both and a lot more. This follows the story of an orphan and a clock-keeper, and sometimes a thief, twelve-year-old boy named Hugo. Hugo lives in the walls of a busy train station in Paris and is living an undercover life. But when he meets a toy booth owner and his granddaughter, his precious secret is jeopardized. A mechanical man, cryptic drawing and a hidden message from his dead father form an intricate web of mystery that is about to unfold.





by David Wiesner

Floatsam- anything floating that has been washed ashore. A wordless picture book about a boy who loves to collect and examine flotsam at the beach. Broken or lost toys, small objects, bottle are among his finds. But nothing compares to one discovery that contains a secret of its own meant to be kept and also shared.

The Hello, Goodbye Window2006

The Hello, Goodbye Window

illustrated by Chris Raschka, written by Norton Juster

For a little girl, the kitchen window in Nanna and Poppy’s house is a magic gateway. Everything important happens in there- around it, beyond it and through it. This story is a love song of that special relationship of grandparents and grandchild and the wonders and simple delights of childhood.


Kitten's First Full Moon2005

Kitten’s First Full Moon

by Kevin Henkes

It was Kitten’s first full moon and she thought the moon is a bowl of milk in the sky. And she wanted it. A warm, humorous story of a curious kitten who just wants that bowl of milk. Will she get what she wants?


 Want to Read Rate this book 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars4 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars The Man Who Walked Between the Towers2004

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

by Mordicai Gerstein

A lyrical narration of that daring tightrope-walk between the towers of World Trade Center on August 7, 1974, by the French aerialist Philippe Petit. Feel the goosebumps and be dazzled by the heights as the drama unfolds in words and pictures full of details and colors.



My Friend Rabbit2003

My Friend Rabbit

by Eric Rohmann

“My friend Rabbit means well. But whatever he does, wherever he goes, trouble follows.” Mouse’ airplane is now stuck in a tree. But friend Rabbit is going to save the day. A funny story of two best friends, the trouble they must overcome and their friendship that is sure to last.

The Three Pigs2002

The Three Pigs

by David Wiesner

It’s an old story. And everyone knows what’s supposed to happen. But does it have to be, every time? Does anyone ask the pigs how they would suppose it to be? It’s about time, someone did. And now, here is an adventure to a whole new level. Enjoy an astonishing shift of perspective and sly humor, as the wolf blow the pigs away to a flighty adventure.

So You Want to Be President2001

So You Want to Be President?

illustrated by David Small, written by Judith St. George

Being a president has its advantages and disadvantages. And this book brilliantly and hilariously illustrates and describes the lives of the men who have risen to the most powerful position in the world. Now with an updated version to include George W. Bush, making them forty-two men with all their quirks and humanity in the presidential family tree.



Joseph Had a Little Overcoat2000

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

by Simms Taback

Joseph had a little overcoat. And it was full of holes. But so does this book! When his overcoat got too old and shabby he made it into a jacket. And after that, guess what did he made it into?Make a guessing game of what Joseph will be making next from the little overcoat, as you turn and snoop through the holes on the pages of this very creative book.


Snowflake Bentley1999

Snowflake Bentley

illustrated by Mary Azarian, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

A little boy from Vermont saw snowflakes as a miracle. And he was determined to one day capture the beauty and wonder of this tiny crystal. His enthusiasm in photographing snowflakes has been misunderstood in his time, but his patience revea7led two important truths- one is no two snowflakes are alike and two, each one is startlingly beautiful. Wilson Bentley’s story of perseverance and passion for the wonders of nature is wonderfully told in this beautiful book.

Rapunzel 1998


by Paul O. Zelinsky

This adaptation of a beloved fairy tale by Paul O. Zelinsky is both a work of art and classic narration. Based on the Grimm’s brothers and the earlier French version, this hybrid version illuminates the story’s fundamentals on possessiveness, confinement, and separation. Here, Rapunzel’s tower is a beauty to behold on the outside and luxurious inside meant to protect her from the outside world instead of a desolate tower that aims to punish and imprison her. It shows an overprotective mother rather than a cruel witch who just wants to punish the child. And eventually, it shows the story of a young man and woman who struggle in their journey to adulthood and grow in self-reliance.






by David Wisniewski

A re-telling of the story of Golem, a dramatic tale of invoking a supernatural power to help an oppressed people. When the Jews of Prague were persecuted because of a lie that was being passed around, the town rabbi decides to a being out of mud to protect them. With unique cut-paper illustrations, it sparks thoughts on the consequences of unleashing a power that is beyond the control of man.


Officer Buckle and Gloria1996

Officer Buckle and Gloria

by Peggy Rathmann

Officer Buckle loves to teach about safety in schools. But he gives boring speeches and everyone dozes off during his teaching sessions. One day, he was assigned a police dog named Gloria to come with him during his safety speech.  Unknown to him, during his speech, Gloria does tricks imitating the safety tips and the audience began to enjoy his safety speech. Officer Buckle was surprised and delighted but it wasn’t until much later that he had known about what Gloria did. A comical story with equally comical illustrations of a police officer and his dog buddy.


Smoky Night1995

Smoky Night

illustrated by David Diaz, written by Eve Bunting

A young boy, Daniel and his mother are forced to flee their apartment when a riot broke in Los Angeles. The ongoing fires and looting force neighbors who previously disliked each other to work together to find their pet cats. Written through the eyes of a young boy, it tells the story of a Los Angeles riot and its aftermath.

Grandfather's Journey1994

Grandfather’s Journey

illustrated by Allen Say, edited by Walter Lorraine

A story of a man who has found home in two countries and his constant desire to be in both places that he loved. Deeply personal yet warmly universal in the emotional stirrings of that homesickness for one’s country. With tranquil paintings and well-crafted prose, this book will evoke emotions and deep longings for that land you call home.


Mirette on the High Wire1993

Mirette on the High Wire

by Emily Arnold McCully

A mysterious stranger arrives in the boardinghouse of Mirette’s mother. He has a sad-face and always kept to himself. But one day, Mirette saw him walking the clothesline with ease and grace that she can’t help but admire. When she learns what kept him from performing for years, it’s up to her to teach him how to get over his fear.





by David Wiesner

It’s Tuesday evening, around eight. And magical things happen. Frogs in lily pads levitate through the air and have some great adventures. Would you like to join in their adventures and fun?


Black and White by David Macaulay 1991

Black and White

by David Macaulay

Four stories told simultaneously in a two-page spread. Are they necessarily different stories or are they just one story in four different perspectives? Whatever it may be, it challenges the reader to solve a puzzle in the form of four stories with each own narration and illustrative styles.




Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China1990

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China

by Ed Young

A classic Chinese re-telling of the Little Red Riding Hood as retold by Ed Young. But in contrary to the original fable, there are three girls and the story is written in their point of view.



Song and Dance Man1989

Song and Dance Man

illustrated by Stephen Gammell,  written by Karen Ackerman 

Three children visit their grandfather who pulls out his old bowler hat, gold-tipped cane, and his tap shoes and has a wonderful time as he reminisces about his performances on stage. He tells them stories of when he was a vaudeville song and dance man, at the time when people did not sit in front of the television for hours. He performs, telling jokes, dancing, and singing, and making the children laugh. With full-colored illustrations, this warm, affectionate story creates nostalgia in the reader’s mind.


Owl Moon1988

Owl Moon

illustrated by John Schoenherr, written by Jane Yolen

A little girl and his father go owling, one late winter night. The world is still and silent as they walk along, with his father calling Whoo-whoo-whoo to the nighttime bird. Sometimes there is an owl and sometimes there isn’t. But you just need to hope. With a frosty landscape and lightly brushed illustrations, this beautiful book is at once tender and gentle, poetic and special.


Hey, Al1987

Hey, Al

illustrated by Richard Egielski; text: Arthur Yorinks

Al is a janitor and he lives with his dog Eddie in a cramped room. They lead a life with endless struggle. But one day, a bird mysteriously appeared and offered to carry them to a paradise, a beautiful island in the sky. They soon find themselves living a life of luxury and ease. But trouble started happening and now they wish they were back home.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg 1986

The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg 

A young boy was lying awake one Christmas eve, as he was waiting for Santa Claus to come. But suddenly he heard a rumble of a train and to his astonishment he finds the train waiting for him. He is soon welcome aboard the magical train called The Polar Express and is off in a journey to the North Pole.


Saint George and the Dragon1985

Saint George and the Dragon

illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman,  retold by Margaret Hodges

A knight who has never been to battle was sent by the Queen of Fairies to fight a dragon who has been terrorizing their land. He then meets a hermit who tells him of his heritage and that his name is George. George, despite his lack of experience, went on to defeat the dragon and bring peace to the land terrorized by it for years.


The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot1984

The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot

by Alice & Martin Provensen 

This book recounts the persistence of Louis Bleriot to build a flying machine to fly across the English Channel. With succinct, brief text and vintage illustrations, this book is one glorious narration of a true story.


Shadow by Marcia Brown1983


translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown; original text in French: Blaise Cendrars 

Eerie, shifting, prowling, watching. The Shadow is enchanted and haunted. Translated from French, this African inspired poem is evocative and dramatic coupled with stunning illustrations in collage style by Marcia Brown that is rich in colors and sense of mystery.



Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg1982


by Chris Van Allsburg

Bored and restless and looking for something interesting to do, Peter and Judy give Jumanji a try. When they unfolded it’s ordinary-looking playing board, they were suddenly faced with the most bizarre adventure of their lives.


Fables by Arnold Lobel 1981


by Arnold Lobel 

A collection of short fables each with a moral lesson. But while the moral is genuine, the tone of the fable is cheerful and playful. A wolf who looks suspiciously like an apple tree, a bear in a frying-pan hat and paper-bag boots, this collection is a humorous, delightful mix.




Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall1980

Ox-Cart Man 

illustrated by Barbara Cooney, written by Donald Hall

Describing the day-to-day life of an early nineteenth-century New England family throughout the days, weeks, months and changing seasons, such is the life on a farm, colorful and cyclical.


The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble1979

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses 

by Paul Goble

A young Indian girl has always loved horses. One day, she got lost when their herd of horses went into a stampede. She awoke to find a beautiful spotted stallion who invites her to live with them.



Noah's Ark by Peter Spier1978

Noah’s Ark

by Peter Spier

An imaginative re-telling of the Bible story with a twist of humor and detailed illustrations.


Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions1977

Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions

illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon, written by Margaret Musgrove

 Taking the readers through an alphabet of African traditions in a sort of slideshow, it aims to inform and show the various colorful costumes and fashions, and culture of the native African people.



Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears1976

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon, retold by Verna Aardema
A mosquito tells a lie to a lizard which causes a domino of trouble and ended with an owlet dead. Now, the animals are holding an investigation to find out who causes the trouble.




Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott 1975

Arrow to the Sun

by Gerald McDermott 
A young boy searches for his father. But before he can claim his heritage he must first prove his worthiness. He must pass through the four ceremonial chambers: the kiva of lions, the kiva of snakes, the kiva of bees, and the kiva of lightning. Illustrated in bold colors and geometric patterns, this re-telling of an ancient legend depicts the  Native American reverence for the source of all life–the Sun.

Duffy and the Devil 1974

Duffy and the Devil

illustrated by Margot Zemach, retold by Harve Zemach

A young girl made a deal with the devil to knit for her and in return, she must know his name within three years or he will take her away. Will she be able to guess his name?



The Funny Little Woman1973

The Funny Little Woman

illustrated by Blair Lent, retold by Arlene Mosel
A lively little woman loves to laugh and make rice dumplings. One day, one of his dumplings, roll away and in pursuing it, the wicked oni got hold of her. Will she be able to escape from the three-eyed monster?



One Fine Day by Nonny Hogrogian1972

One Fine Day

retold and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian
One fine day, a fox traveled through the great forest. He was very thirsty. He stole milk from an old farm woman. The annoyed woman cuts his tail with a knife, and the fox spent the day bargaining to get it back.


A Story A Story by Gail E. Haley1971

A Story A Story

retold and illustrated by Gail E. Haley
All the stories in the world once belonged to the Sky God, Nyame. He kept them all in a box beside his throne. But Ananse, the Spider man, wanted them. And he got three sly creatures to get them.



Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig1970

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

by William Steig
Silvester thought himself lucky when he found a magic pebble that makes wishes come true. But a lion suddenly frightens him making him wish out of surprise, bringing with it unexpected results.





The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship by Arthur Ransome1969

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship

illustrated by Uri Shulevitz, retold by Arthur Ransome
A classic Russian folktale about a simple man who sets to bring the Czar what he desires– a flying ship. As he tries his luck to get what the Czar wants, he meets some unusual companions along the way.


Drummer Hoff by Barbara Emberley 1968

Drummer Hoff 

illustrated by Ed Emberley, adapted by Barbara Emberley 
A lively folk verse about the building of a cannon. Brightly dressed in full uniform, each soldier brings a part of the remarkable machine.


Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness 1967

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

by Evaline Ness 
Sam loves to daydream and think that her mother is a mermaid. She tells Thomas, her little neighbor tales which he believes to be true. But one day, her stories put Thomas and her cat Bangs into trouble.





Always Room for One More1966

Always Room for One More

illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian, written by Sorche NicLeodhas, pseud. [Leclair Alger]

Lachie MacLachlan is a  generous fellow. In his “wee house in the heather,” where he lives with his family of twelve, he welcomes to his hearth every weary traveler who passes by on a stormy night, saying “There’s always room for one more.”


May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers1965

May I Bring a Friend?

illustrated by Beni Montresor, written by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

A small boy receives a very special invitation – the King and the Queen have invited him to the castle for tea! He accepts the invitation with one question: “May I bring a friend?”
The King says yes, never expecting a surprise.



Where The Wild Things Are


Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak
Max has been very naughty and was sent to bed without supper. When he was in his room, he imagined himself transported into another world where he meets big monsters with terrible teeth, terrible roars, and terrible eyes. But Max is not one to be intimidated. He soon becomes king of the all the wild things and started the most riotous adventure of all.


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats1963

The Snowy Day 

by Ezra Jack Keats
Little Peter goes on an adventure in the city one snowy day. A lovely story of a child’s wonder of a new world and the hope of keeping it forever.


Once a Mouse retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown 1962

Once a Mouse

retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown 
This magical Indian fable tells the story of a small mouse and a hermit that knows how to change animals into something else. When the hermit saw a helpless mouse, he decided to help it and turn it into a cat, then into a dog and eventually a Tiger.



Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins1961

Baboushka and the Three Kings

illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov, written by Ruth Robbins
A Russian folktale about Baboushka, an old woman in an endless search for the Christ child.



Nine Days to Christmas by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida1960

Nine Days to Christmas

illustrated by Marie Hall Ets, written by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
Ceci anxiously awaits her first posada, the special Mexican Christmas party. This year she’ll lead the candlelight procession that reenacts Mary and Joseph’s trip to Bethlehem. She was then given the opportunity to select her very first piñata just for it.



Chanticleer and the Fox adapted from Canterbury Tales by Barbara Cooney 1959

Chanticleer and the Fox

illustrated by Barbara Cooney adapted from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales by Barbara Cooney 

 Chanticleer, the rooster, is King of the barnyard. He struts about in his barnyard kingdom all day. One day, a fox bursts into his domain. And Chanticleer must do some quick thinking to save himself and his barnyard kingdom.



Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey1958

Time of Wonder

by Robert McCloskey

This is a story of a family’s summer on a Maine island overlooking Penobscot Bay.  Rain, gulls, a foggy morning, the excitement of sailing, the quiet of the night, and the sudden terror of a hurricane describes the experiences of the family on that island. With bright pictures and simple alliteration, this book is a spell-binding read.



A Tree Is Nice by Janice Udry 1957

A Tree Is Nice

illustrated by Marc Simont, written by Janice Udry 

Trees are very nice. Even one tree is nice if it is the only one you happen to have. There are many reasons why trees are so good to have around. Some are funny. Some are indisputable facts. But whether one knows one tree or many, there are so many delights to be had in, with, or under a tree.




Frog Went A-Courtin' by John Langstaff1956

Frog Went A-Courtin’

illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky, retold by John Langstaff

An old folk song turned into a full-colored illustrated book. The frog goes to ask a mouse to marry him. At their wedding, everyone shows up to celebrate with them.




Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper by Marcia Brown1955

Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper

illustrated by Marcia Brown, translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown
This illustrated version of the classic tale that we have grown to love was translated from French. Cinderella, in her haste to flee, loses her glass slippers and the prince picked it and ordered the search for the beautiful owner of the little glass slipper.



Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans1954

Madeline’s Rescue

by Ludwig Bemelmans
A sequel to the original Madeline. Madeline slips and falls right off into The Seine. But a dog came to rescue her and they took the dog home. And named her Genevieve. Bu, Lord Cucuface heard of the new dog. He decrees that no dogs will be allowed in the “old house in Paris that was covered with vines,” and kicks Genevieve out on the street. Madeline and the girls then search everywhere for Genevieve. Will they find Genevieve again?


The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward 1953

The Biggest Bear

by Lynd Ward 
Embarrassed that his family’s farm is the only one in town without a bearskin, Johnny sets out to shoot a bear. But when he came home, he has with him a baby bear. He soon realized that bears don’t make good pets and decided to let it go back in the wild. But the bear just keeps coming back home.



Finders Keepers by William Lipkind1952

Finders Keepers

illustrated by Nicolas, pseud. (Nicholas Mordvinoff), written by Will, pseud. [William Lipkind]
Two dogs found one bone. And they have to decide whom it belongs.

They then decided to ask everyone on the farm. But everyone is just so busy minding their own to care about who owns the bone.


The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous1951

The Egg Tree

by Katherine Milhous
One Easter morning, Katy and Carl went on an Easter egg hunt through their grandmother’s  house. Katy couldn’t find any egg so she went up to the attic. And there she found a very special set of eggs, hung from the branches of a tiny tree -an egg tree!



Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi 1950

Song of the Swallows

by Leo Politi 
Every summer, the swallows leave San Juan Capistrano and fly far away. But they always come back in the spring, on St. Joseph’s Day. Juan a boy who loves the songs of the swallows plants a garden in his own yard for the swallows to nest there. And on St. Joseph’s Day, he was greeted by a  marvelous sight.




The Big Snow by Berta & Elmer Hader 1949

The Big Snow

by Berta & Elmer Hader 
How do the animals live through the winter months? The author and the illustrator just answered that question with this classic book. As the animals prepared for the big snow, an old couple helps them and prepares food for them which proved very helpful.



White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt1948

White Snow, Bright Snow

illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, written by Alvin Tresselt
The postman, the farmer, and the policeman and his wife scurried about doing all the practical things grownups do when a snowstorm comes, as the first flakes fell. But the children laughed and danced, delighted of the coming snowfall.



The Little Island1947

The Little Island

illustrated by Leonard Weisgard, written by Golden MacDonald, pseud. [Margaret Wise Brown]
There is a little island in the ocean and it changes as the seasons come and go. One day a kitten visits the island with a family on a picnic. The kitten told the island that it is small and isolated. However, the island replied that it is, like the kitten, also a part of the world.

The Rooster Crows by Maud & Miska Petersham1946

The Rooster Crows

by Maud & Miska Petersham
A collection of American rhymes and jingles with colored pencil illustrations. Well-known nursery rhymes, counting-out games, skipping-rope songs, finger games, and other jingles beloved by American children for generations, all in one stunning picture book.



Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field 1945

Prayer for a Child

illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones, written by Rachel Field 
This is a child’s bedtime prayer full of the intimate gentleness for familiar things, the love of friends and family, and the kindly protection of God. The prayer is for all boys and girls,  for all ages and races.



Many Moons by James Thurber1944

Many Moons

illustrated by Louis Slobodkin, written by James Thurber
There was once a sick princess who wants the moon. Her father, the King has sent all his men to get the moon for the princess, but they were not able to do so. Finally, the Court Jester was able to get the little princess her moon and she gets well in the end.


The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton 1943

The Little House

by Virginia Lee Burton 
A poignant story of a little country cottage that becomes engulfed by the city that grows up around it. She became sad when she’s surrounded by the dirty, noisy city’s hustle and bustle and she badly missed the country. Happily, in the end, the little house is taken back to the country where she belongs.


Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey1942

Make Way for Ducklings

by Robert McCloskey
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard fly over various potential locations around the city of Boston to start a family. Each time Mr. Mallard selects a location, Mrs. Mallard finds something wrong with it. Tired from their search, the Mallards land at the Public Garden Lagoon to spend the night.



They Were Strong and Good by Robert Lawson 1941

They Were Strong and Good

by Robert Lawson 
A classic book that follows the path of one family’s journey through American history as they brave Caribbean storms, travel to the wharf markets of New York, and fight in the Civil War.



Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire1940

Abraham Lincoln

by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

A story based on the life of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It focused on his early years in life and the road he took to manhood.




Mei Li by Thomas Handforth1939

Mei Li

by Thomas Handforth

Girls are not allowed to go to the New Year Fair in the city. But Mei Li really wants to go.  She bribes her brother into taking her along and ended up spending a day full of adventures.




Animals of the Bible by Dorothy P. Lathrop1938

Animals of the Bible: A Picture Book

illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop, edited by Helen Dean Fish 

The very first to win the Caldecott Medal when it was originally published in 1937, Animals of the Bible: A Picture Book by Dorothy Lathrop is a wonderful collection of some of the Bible’s most extraordinary animals. Detailed black-and-white drawings illustrate the favorite stories of the Creation, Noah’s Ark, the first Christmas, among others.



Have you come across any of these picture books? Or do you have picture books in mind with really great illustrations? Please share with us in the comments.

You may also be interested in some reviews of picture books here.


1. “Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present”, American Library Association, November 30, 1999.
(Accessed November 4, 2017)Document ID: 6f9cc076-04d6-3d54-4da8-8826fca1efa1

2. “Welcome to the Caldecott Medal Home Page!”, American Library Association, November 30, 1999. (Accessed November 4, 2017)Document ID: 350098f6-f11c-5e44-1520-6e7ac9876a5a

3. “The Randolph Caldecott Medal”, American Library Association, November 30, 1999. (Accessed November 4, 2017)Document ID: 1e80deab-77f3-c3b4-dd23-bdcad08542a

The Best Illustrated Picture Books of All Time
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