Selecting a classic childrens book can be fun, rewarding and a trip down memory lane. There are some unifying things that make childrens books classics.
First of all, childrens books should be bright and colorful, with illustrations that capture a childs attention. Books by Dr. Seuss are prime examples of classic childrens stories which make successful use of vibrant colors. Goodnight, Moon, Goodnight, Gorilla, and anything by Eric Carle are also excellent examples of books with illustrations that suck in the reader.
Secondly, classic childrens books should tell a good story, often with humor. Kids love to laugh, and a well-written childrens book will crack a child up over and over. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf, The Paper Bag Princess, and Click Clack, Moo Cows that Type are fast becoming childrens classics because they crack kids up every time! The Ramona Quimby and Junie B. Jones series also are great examples!
Finally, classic childrens books engage children at their level. For young children, these are books that have a tactile component, something they can touch and manipulate. For example, Pat the Bunny is a book that even the youngest children can engage with because it is soft, and they can explore through touch. When children get a little older, many childrens stories are books with repetition.
Classic stories like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly are stories with repeating lines. As children listen to the book, they can fill in the blanks of the story with these repeating phrases. From there, many childrens books incorporate rhyme. That is why Dr. Seuss is so popular. Finally, as children get older, they appreciate classic childrens stories with great characters, doing great things.
Where the Wild Things Are, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Amelia Bedelia and Ruby in Her Own Time are examples of classic childrens stories with great characters exploring an exciting time for them. These classic stories also have lessons but they do not beat children over the head with them.
Obviously, classic childrens stories mean different things to different people. Reading a plethora of different types of stories to children is vital to them becoming good, mature, accomplished readers. This is also a key to getting children to love to read! Every book that a child connects to is a classic in his or her own mind, and that is a great thing indeed.