Baby’s got the finest wall prints and coolest DIY mobiles, but no nursery’s complete without at least a shelf-full of these so-called kiddie books. (If we’re talking frankly here, a few of us might even have a couple of these dear friends on our own bookshelves.) Are you ready for a serious trip down memory lane? With iconic illustrations and timeless tales, these classics have us convinced you’re never too old (or young!) for a good bedtime story.
1. The Story of Ferdinand ($18): Nothing is sweeter than a little bull who — rather than snort and butt heads with the other bulls — prefers to sit under a cork tree and smell the flowers.
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar ($11): “On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake and one watermelon…” Yeah, now we’re hungry too.
3. Corduroy ($20): Corduroy all alone on that big store shelf might be the first bit of heartbreak we ever experienced.
4. Where The Wild Things Are ($19): Let’s be honest: We’ve all dreamed of having a wild rumpus like Max’s (and probs some of us have…).
5. Jumanji ($15): Who needs the movie when Chris van Allsburg’s almost-too-real illustrations pretty much leap off the page?
6. Goodnight Moon ($9): Often parodied, never paralleled, it’s a bedtime story mainstay. And so is the image of the old lady, whispering “hush.”
7. Runaway Bunny ($18): Did you know this book is so classic, it appears in the author’s equally well-loved Goodnight Moon (see above!)?
8. The Little Engine That Could ($18): “I think I can, I think I can.” It’s a mantra for us all and a reminder that sometimes all it takes to get to the other side of the hill is a friend and some determination.
9. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel ($14): Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel is named Mary Anne — proof that heavy equipment and trucks aren’t just for the boys!
10. Madeline ($18): If only we could all live in an old house in Paris, covered in vines (but we could do without the appendicitis, thanks).
11. Make Way for Ducklings ($19): A top five tourist attraction in all of Boston is surely the Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack parade — with Mrs. Mallard leading the charge, of course!
12. Blueberries for Sal ($18): If Robert McCloskey’s illustrations don’t send you running to the nearest blueberry U-pick, then the sound of Sal’s berries going “kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk in her small, tin pail” certainly will.
13. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie ($17): “He’s going to ask for a glass of milk,” and we don’t blame him.
14. Mama, Do You Love Me? ($16): Unconditional love at its sweetest. Bonus: This book will have kiddos running to the dictionary to look up “ermine,” “lemmings” and “mukluks.”
15. The Giving Tree ($17): “Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy.” Everyone has a tree out there, somewhere.
16. The Tale of Peter Rabbit ($4): The story of naughty Peter Rabbit sneaking into Mr. McGregor’s garden was meant to be read with a cup of chamomile tea in hand.
17. The House at Pooh Corner ($20): At last, the gang’s all here! In The House At Pooh Corner, Tigger makes his first appearance. E.H. Shepard’s original illustrations will melt your heart.
18. The Complete Adventures of Curious George ($24): We’re pretty sure no other character in all of children’s literature is more patient and forgiving than the Man in the Yellow Hat.
19. Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day ($8): We’ve all had ’em. Days where there’s gum in our hair, no prizes in our cereal, lima beans for dinner and all we wanna do is move to Australia.
20. The Cat In The Hat ($18): Last, but most certainly not least… leave it to Dr. Seuss to make The Cat’s tornado of chaos positively lovable.
Okay, okay, we know we might have missed a couple favorites. List your ultimate in the comments below!