I absolutely love books. Some of my fondest memories as a child were reading with my parents or siblings. Whether it’s a new release novel or a well-worn classic picture book, I love the world you enter when you open the pages of a book.

Sharing my love of reading was one of the things I was most excited about when I had kids. My eldest is 5 so we’re yet to get stuck into The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter or even The Baby Sitters Club. But from when she was a few weeks old, I started reading her my favourite picture books.

It’s the sign of a wonderful story when a book I enjoyed as a kid is just as entertaining to kids these days. Here are some of the best classic picture books that have lasted the test of time.

Goodnight moon

Goodnight moon Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd – 1947

“In the great, green room, there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and…” There’s something so meditative about this gorgeous picture book. It doesn’t matter that the book is only printed in green, red, blue and yellow, that there is a mystery bowl of mush sitting next to the bed and a mouse running rampant across the furniture. The simple rhyme and repetitive nature of the text is so relaxing, you’ll be ready for bed after reading it too. “Goodnight noises everywhere…”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – 1969

Despite being written in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is still incredibly on trend. Not only does it have gorgeous illustrations but it teaches the life cycle of a caterpillar and simple counting to the very young. These days, there are heaps of spin offs like Hungry Caterpillar stage shows, party decorations and lots of first birthday cakes!

Side note – I recently discovered– The Very Hungry Pregnant Lady. It’s about a pregnant woman who wakes hungry in the middle of the night and starts to look for some food. There are lines like: ‘At one am she ate through one scoop of ice cream, but she was still hungry’. It’s a hilarious spoof of the classic and such a perfect gift for any hungry mum-to-be.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss – 1957

All of Dr Seuss’s books are memorable classics but this one is probably the most famous. The Cat, with his tall red and white striped hat, turns up at Sally and her brother’s house one day when they’re home alone.

Interestingly, this book was written as a more entertaining alternative to American learn-to-read books in the fifties. It’s certainly that!

With their tongue twisting rhymes and often made up and ridiculous words, Dr Seuss books are well loved by children young and old.

Snugglepot and cuddlepie audiobook birde seed

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs – 1918

It doesn’t get much more Aussie classic than Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. At 101 years old, our own grandparents probably enjoyed hearing these stories when they were kids! Our children are enjoying the audiobook stories on their Birdes and find these intrepid gumnuts as cute and engaging as ever. They go on adventures with their friends, Little Ragged Blossom and Mr Lizard and encounter the terrifying Bad Banksia Men and wicked Mrs Snake.

Where the wild things are. Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak – 1963

Millions of kids have delighted in the story of Max. After being sent to bed without supper he goes on an adventure to where the wild things are. Apparently, it was originally panned by critics and banned by libraries until adults realised how much children loved the book. It hasn’t faced any popularity issues since then and has even had a 2009 film adaptation made about it.

Madeline. Originally created by Ludwig Bemelmans – 1939

What little girl didn’t have a secret longing to be Madeline at some point in their childhood?! Imagine spending your days with your 11 best friends, going on adventures in Paris. Plucky Madeline was created by Austrian born American Ludwig Bemelmans who wrote the first 6 books. The series continued thanks to his grandson and has been adapted into TV shows and films.

Each book starts in the same way:

“In an old house in Paris

That was covered in vines

Lived twelve little girls

In two straight lines.

The smallest one was Madeline.”

Muddleheaded wombat Birde audiobook seed

The Muddle-Headed Wombat. Written by Ruth Park, Illustrated by Noela Young – 1964

The story of the Muddle-Headed Wombat was actually created for radio in the 1950s and was later turned into an illustrated book. It follows Wombat and his inseparable friends Mouse and Tabby Cat. Our Birde audiobook seed is a perfect way to introduce these gorgeous stories to a new generation.

What do you think? What classic picture books do you love reading to your kids?