Age 3-5 yrs Classic children's books. Image - The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Published on January 27th, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books


Classic children’s books for kids aged 3-5

This selection of classic children’s books for kids aged 3-5 is guaranteed to take you back to your own childhood – and in some cases, even to your parents or grandparents childhoods!

Better yet, these classic children’s books are still fantastic reads and your kids will love them – just as much as you do! Put simply, these classic children’s books have truly stood the test of time. Enjoy!

Classic children’s books for kids aged 3-5


The Snowy Day
by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day, a 1963 Caldecott Medal winner, is the simple tale of a boy waking up to discover that snow has fallen during the night. Keats’s illustrations, using cut-outs, watercolors, and collage, are strikingly beautiful in their understated color and composition. Awakening to a winter wonderland is an ageless, ever-magical experience, and one made nearly visceral by Keats’s gentle tribute.

The book is notable not only for its lovely artwork and tone, but also for its importance as a trailblazer. According to Horn Book magazine, The Snowy Day was “the very first full-color picture book to feature a small black hero” – yet another reason to add this classic to your shelves. Today, it’s still as unique and special as a snowflake. One of the truly classic children’s books for kids aged 3-5.


Caps for Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina

Subtitled A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business, this absurd and very simple story has become a classic children’s book, selling hundreds of thousands of copies since its first publication in 1940.

A peddler walks around selling caps from a tall, tottering pile on his head. Unable to sell a single cap one morning, he walks out into the countryside, sits down under a tree, checks that all the caps are in place, and falls asleep. When he wakes up, the caps are gone–and the tree is full of cap-wearing monkeys. His attempts to get the caps back generate the kind of repetitive rhythm that 3- and 4-year-olds will adore and is one of the classic children’s books you’ll enjoy reading again.


Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you disagree, then it’s been too long since you’ve attended a wild rumpus! The wild things – with their mismatched parts and giant eyes – manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they’re downright hilarious. Sendak’s defiantly run-on sentences – one of his trademarks – lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child’s imagination. Truly one of the classic children’s books for kids aged 3-5 – and as relevant today as it was when first published!


by Ludwig Bemelmans

Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not mice, not even getting sick. To Madeline, a trip to the hospital is a grand adventure. Originally published in 1939, Madeline lives on today – along with Caldecott Medal winner Madeline’s Rescue - as a seminal picture book in children’s literature. One of the true classic children’s books from your (and your grandparents) childhood.


Make way for ducklings
by Robert McClasky

Mrs. Mallard was sure that the pond in the Boston Public Gardens would be a perfect place for her and her eight ducklings to live. The problem was how to get them there through the busy streets of Boston. But with a little help from the Boston police, Mrs. Mallard and Jack, Kack, Lack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack arive safely at their new home.

This brilliantly illustrated, amusingly observed tale of Mallards on the move has won the hearts of generations of readers. Awarded the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children in 1941, it has since become a favorite of millions and is one of the genuinely heartwarming classic children’s books for kids aged 3-5.


In a People House
by Dr. Seuss

No list of classic children’s books would be complete without at least one Dr. Seuss offering. First published in 1972, In a People House is a super simple, delightfully silly introduction to objects found around the home.

When a spunky mouse invites a passing bird to see what’s inside a People House, chaos ensues while beginning readers learn the names of 65 common household items – and that people are generally not pleased to find mice and birds in their houses! Though it’s difficult to choose a Dr. Suess that isn’t a classic children’s book – this is definitely up there!


The Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf

Published more than 50 years ago (and one of the bestselling children’s books of all time), this simple story of peace and contentment has withstood the test of many generations. Ferdinand is a little bull who much prefers sitting quietly under a cork tree– just smelling the flowers–to jumping around, snorting, and butting heads with other bulls. This cow is no coward–he simply has his pacifist priorities clear. As Ferdinand grows big and strong, his temperament remains mellow, until the day he meets with the wrong end of a bee. In a show of bovine irony, the one day Ferdinand is most definitely not sitting quietly under the cork tree (due to a frightful sting), is the very same day that five men come to choose the “biggest, fastest, roughest bull” for the bullfights in Madrid. Fortunately, The Story of Ferdinand closes with one of the happiest endings in the history of happy endings, making it one of the classic children’s books for kids aged 3-5.


Go, Dog. Go!
by P.D. Eastman

Using single-syllable words in rhythmic repetition, and introducing colors and prepositions, this Seuss-styled classic has been an early favorite of children since 1961. Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves – with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning. So not only will this book inspire peals of laughter in your kids, it will also help them make the magical connection between those mysterious black squiggles on the page, and the words they hear and speak.


The Tale of Peter Rabbit
by Beatrix Potter

The oldest children’s book on this list, 2012 marked 110 years since The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published. In that time the story of a mischievous rabbit and his nerve-wracking encounter with Mr. McGregor has sold more than 9.3 million copies to become one of the most popular children’s books for kids aged 3-5. A genuine classic and full of delightful new words and turns of phrase for adventurous young readers.


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