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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results

And here at last they all are! Pressed and cleaned and ready for your perusal. From one to one hundred and everything in between.  And remember that if you want this list in a fancy handout PDF that looks a lot nicer and can be given to patrons, parents, teachers, etc. just sign up for it here.  Enjoy!

#1 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)
#2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1979)
#3 Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (2003)
#4 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947)
#5 The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (1962)
#6 Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1941)
#7 Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (2004)
#8 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz (1972)
#9 Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (1999)
#10 The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Mike Smollin (1971)
#11 Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (1996)
#12 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (1960)
#13 Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (1982)
#14 Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (1947)
#15 Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel (1970)
#16 Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (1955)
#17 The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson (1936)
#18 A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (2010)
#19 The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1902)
#20 Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean (2010)
#21 Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag (1928)
#22 Corduroy by Donald Freeman (1976)
#23 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert (1989)
#24 Tuesday by David Wiesner (1991)
#25 Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (2004)
#26 We Are in a Book by Mo Willems (2010)
#27 Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (1964)
#28 Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman (1961)
#29 Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard, illustrated by James Marshall (1977)
#30 Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (1987)
#31 Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (1948)
#32 The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton (1942)
#33 The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (1971)
#34 Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola (1975)
#35 The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (1989)
#36 The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (1957)
#37 The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (2009)
#38 Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle (1967)
#39 Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin (2000)
#40 Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (1994)
#41 Curious George by H.A. Rey (1941)
#42 Freight Train by Donald Crews (1978)
#43 Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, ill. by Margaret Bloy Graham (1956)
#44 The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood (1984)
#45 Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (1960)
#46 Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say (1993)
#47 Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (1939)
#48 George and Martha by James Marshall (1972)
#49 Press Here by Herve Tullet (2011)
#50 The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg (1984)
#51 The Library by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small (1995)
#52 Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth (2005)
#53 Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco (1998)
#54 Olivia by Ian Falconer (2000)
#55 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (1969)
#56 The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1985)
#57 Doctor De Soto by William Steig (1982)
#58 Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (2006)
#59 Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (1995)
#60 There Is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems (2007)
#61 How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (1957)
#62 Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley (1992)
#63 The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss (1961)
#64 King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood (1985)
#65 The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2006)
#66 Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (1991)
#67 Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Garth Williams (1960)
#68 The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (2001)
#69 Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton (1995)
#70 Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas (2009)
#71 Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (1993)
#72 But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton (1982)
#73 May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, illustrated by Beni Montresor (1964)
#74 I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (2011)
#75 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett (1978)
#76 Eloise by Kay Thompson (1955)
#77 Flotsam by David Wiesner (2006)
#78 Zoom at Sea by Tim Wynne-Jones, illustrated by Eric Beddows (1993)
#79 Pierre by Maurice Sendak (1962)
#80 Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans (1953)
#81 Fortunately by Remy Charlip (1964)
#82 A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (2008)
#83 Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman (2002)
#84 Not a Box by Antoinette Portis (2006)
#85 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (1964)
#86 The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (1980)
#87 My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza (2005)
#88 No, David! by David Shannon (1998)
#89 Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, ill. by Blair Lent (1968)
#91 The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (1992)
#90 Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller (2003)
#92 The Gardener by Sarah Steward, illustrated by David Small (1997)
#93 Traction Man is Here! by Mini Grey (2005)
#94 The Mitten by Jan Brett (1989)
#95 The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (2007)
#96 Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber (1972)
#97 Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek (2004)
#98 Duck On a Bike by David Shannon (2002)
#99 The Maggie B by Irene Haas (1975)
#100 The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson (1945)

None of this could have been possible without the help of Eric Carpenter.  He single-handedly created the algorithm that allowed us to tally the votes easily.  Then he and Sondra Eklund did double duty to get the final votes tallied and ready in the time to announce.  Thanks too to the survey monkeys Sam Bloom, Katie DeKoster, Joy Wright, Kate Conklin, and Dick Holmes who all did the initial tallying.

Bibliography of Sources Used

Blackbeard, Bill, and Martin Williams. The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. Washington D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977.

Clark, Beverly Lyon Clark. Kiddie Lit: The Cultural Construction of Children’s Literature in America. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Galda, Lee and Bernice E. Cullinan.  Literature and the Child, 5th Edition. Stamford: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2002.

Gauch, Patricia Lee. Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art. New York: Penguin Young Readers Group, 2007.

Marcus, Leonard, ed.  Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. New York: Harper Collins, 1998.

Marcus, Leonard, ed.  Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy. Boston: Candlewick, 2009.

Marcus, Leonard.  Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.

Marcus, Leonard, ed. Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter. Boston: Candlewick, 2011.

Nel, Philip and Julie Mickenberg, ed. Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature. New York: New York University Press, 2008.

Pearl, Nancy. Book Crush: For Kids and Teens Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Interest.  Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2007.

Silvey, Anita. 100 Best Books for Children.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Silvey, Anita. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book.  New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2009.

Sutton, Roger and Martha Parravano, ed. A Family of Readers: The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Boston: Candlewick, 2010.

Zipes, Jack, ed. The Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature: The Traditions in English. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2004.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. THANK YOU Betsy and helpers!

    Time to do a diversity analysis, especially as you specifically asked people to think about and include some POC this time around. Lovely to have The Snowy Day at #5, of course! Still, of the ten books I voted for, eight made the list–and the two that didn’t are the two with main characters of color (Angel Child, Dragon Child and Elizabeti’s Doll). Which is largely because they’re the most obscure, but there may be a correlation between their obscurity and their featuring people of color.

    Anyway, great list of great books!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Once I’ve posted the 100 Novels I’ll definitely do a diversity analysis. I was certainly pleased to see at least a slight increase in author/illustrators of color (Freight Train didn’t make the list last time) but there is huge room for improvement here, particularly when we talk about recent books. The Lion and Mouse is an exception, of course . . . but more in my incipient post.

  2. While I theoretically agree about the POC situation, I think this is a great list and better than last time. I wish more POC were include, but it is so important that the picture books people truly love and children look for with delight , books that they will someday read to their children and at the same time be transported back to their own childhhod, be voted in for their own merit and not who wrote them.

  3. Thank you, Betsy and everyone else who worked on these lists (picture books and novels). Just having the names would have been nice but your detailed posts on each one were amazing. I learned a lot of new facts about various authors, new resources, and new books to read and recommend.

    Awesome job. Thank you very much for all your hard work and effort. This was a labor of love and it showed.

  4. Woot! Woot! Even if I did not see my books.

  5. Why are some in red and some in blue?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I think the blue will be the ones you haven’t read yet. The red are the ones you’ve seen already.

  6. Cathi Franchino says

    Wait, wait . . . Bread and James for Frances? Is this the teen version? 🙂

  7. As Miriam wrote, it’s possible that there is a correlation between books being somewhat obscure and their diversity…’s possible that we’ve all read and loved books that feature non-white characters, but DIFFERENT books, so that they’ll never make it in a list culled from a poll.

    Maybe a list, suggested by readers of your blog, of great books that feature diversity rather than a poll? Could be a combination list of picture and chapter books (or even stretch to include teens)?

    A big task, yes, but perhaps something worth tackling?

  8. David Ziegler says

    Great job on the posts, Betsy! Many thanks to your helpers too!

    I do find as I look at the recent list that I prefer the first poll you did that was ONLY picturebooks. Call me a picky purist, but when you mix in board books and beginning readers, you leave out some great picturebooks. I look forward to seeeing what almost made the list as well as a diversity analysis. Again, great job!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I hear where you’re coming from, David. I’m sure that accounts for some of the almost-made-its. This time around I was looking more at the age of the intended audience than the format. That and the fact that a Top 100 Board Books and Top 100 Easy Reades poll, while interesting, would probably only nab about 50 clear votes before descending into books that got a vote apiece.

  9. No Poky Little Puppy?! That’s sad. A good list, nonetheless. I will be purchasing some of these for my 5 year old.

  10. another list of just old american books…none of the million selling best kids books…no emily gravett…no oliver jeffers

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      That would certainly be true if you considered Beatrix Potter, Herve Tullet, Melanie Watt, Shaun Tan, Tim Wynne-Jones, Robert Munsch, Mini Grey, and Mem Fox American. Which, for the record, they are not. Apart from that, this was a poll conducted in America. I suspect that may have had something to do with the results.

  11. The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman should be on this list.


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