New children’s books come out each day, but there’s something about the books passed down over generations that makes them so memorable. Having the ability to share a favorite book with your own child is special, and this list goes back to 1925-1975 to discuss seven well-known children’s books you should add to your list.
By far one of my favorite books and characters of my childhood, Winnie the Pooh is a story about a anthropomorphic teddy bear who loves to eat honey in the fictional world of Hundred Acre Wood. Along with his friends Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and of course Christopher Robin, they explore the world and learn more about each other in the process.
Translated in over fifty languages, made into animated movies, and even a live action titled Christopher Robin in 2018, Winnie the Pooh still is present nearly a hundred years after his creation. There are many individual tales you can read, or just get the whole collection and have weeks of adventures with Pooh.
Caps for Sale (1940)
Caps for Sale has sold more than two million copies, based on a folktale about a cap peddler and some monkeys. Children will enjoy reading this book for the repetitive lines and different colored caps, making a fun experience for both parent and child.
The cap-selling peddler carries all of his wares on his head, and when he goes to sleep a bunch of monkeys steal his tower of caps and put them on. The peddler tries in vain to get the monkeys to give the caps back, but all they do is imitate him. Finally the peddler throws his cap down and walks away, and when the monkeys do the same, he swipes up all the caps. There are sequels to the original such as More Caps for Sale and Circus Caps for Sale, so you can continue the story of the monkeys and the cap-peddler.
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Goodnight Moon (1947)
Though Goodnight Moon had a slow start, during the post-World War II Baby Boom years sales skyrocketed, and this book quickly became a classic in children’s reading. Translated in over ten different languages and selling over 48 million copies cumulatively, this is a book on everyone’s shelves. One of my friends still talks about this book, and has even gotten a tattoo of one of the scenes on her leg.
The book itself is about an anthropomorphic bunny saying goodnight to each of the items in its room during ten-minute increments while rhyming, making this both a soothing book as well as one that tracks time.
Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955)
Following a four-year-old little boy who has the ability to draw whatever he wants or needs with a purple crayon, Harold and the Purple Crayon has led to several sequels and adaptations of the adventures of Harold.
Including ten different books, several animated shorts, and even a broadway musical being announced in 2022, Harold’s purple crayon has taken him far in the world of children’s books, and is still a hit for kids today.
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Stone Soup (1968)
Based on a folk tale that has been rewritten and published several times, Stone Soup is quite a funny story that has a very important moral hidden inside – the ability to share. I especially like Ann McGovern’s addition, as the illustrations are super detailed and remind me of the famous Disney fairytales.
The book follows a young man who has no food, and he persuades a woman that she can make soup with just water and a stone. Then he tells her to continue adding more and more ingredients to make it that much better, until the soup contains nearly a dozen ingredients. They both eat the soup together, and afterwards the man takes his stone back claiming it is still undercooked, and he leaves with a full stomach.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
Similar to Stone Soup, Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar is extremely hungry and eats nearly everything in sight. Unfortunately, the caterpillar gets a terrible tummy ache, and learns that eating lots of junk food is not good for it.
Eric Carle is prolific in the children’s book community, publishing over 80 books in his lifetime about animals, senses, and anything a child could ask their parents about. He has even opened a museum called The Carle that displays children’s book art in a format that elevates what authors are creating in their books. The collage design of his books are unique and makes each story unforgettable, continuing the legacy of Eric Carle.
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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (1972)
One of my mother’s favorite books is about a boy named Alexander, and how everything that happens during his day somehow goes wrong. He cannot seem to do anything right, but as the day goes on Alexander realizes that there are good and bad days, and that you have to be positive on the days that aren’t going your way. It’s a great lesson to learn, and is filled with funny scenes that will entertain any child as you read the book to them.
If you want to read more of Alexander and his daily woes, there are three sequels including Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday or Alexander, Who’s Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever. There has also been a movie created about Alexander and his family in 2014, so if you want to spend some time laughing at the plights of his whole family, make sure to check it out.
These are just a few of the children’s books published during 1925-1975, but all of these have impacted millions of readers in a great way that will continue for years to come. If you’d enjoyed exploring this time period of children’s books, then check back in the future for articles concerning 1976-1999, 2000, and 2001-2010 to get the full range of children’s books.