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Looking for a good book to share with your little girl or boy? Here’s a list of twelve top children’s stories, recommended by parents and childcare providers. Each book is short enough to read in one sitting. These are kid-tested titles*, sure to make reading at bedtime – or anytime – a treat for you and your child together.

Modern Classics

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. Published by Harpercollins Juvenile Books. As early as age 3. Misbehaving Max, sent to bed without supper, sails away in his imagination to become king of a land where ferocious “wild things” roam.

Clifford the Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell. Published by Scholastic Trade. As early as age 3. Born a runt and adopted by little Emily Elizabeth, Clifford grows to an incredible size but is quite well behaved.

Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss. Published by Random House. As early as age 4. Determined Sam-I-Am teaches a friend to try new things in this book of rhymes and repetition.

Don’t Be Afraid

The Monster at the End of this Book, by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin. Published by CTW Books. As early as age 2. Laugh your way to the end of this Sesame Street classic, where lovable old Grover learns the only thing to fear is fear itself.

There’s a Nightmare in My Closet, by Mercer Mayer. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers. As early as age 4. What if the ghoulie in your worst dream needed comforting, too?

Picture Books: Worth a Thousand Words

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle. Published by Henry Holt and Company. As early as infancy. The title character, with animal pals like Orange Bird, introduces your child to basic colors.

Animalia, by Graeme Base. Published by Harry N. Abrams. As early as age 4. Clever animals teach the alphabet while sharpening your child’s eye.

Affirmation Tales

The Classic Tale of the Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams Bianco. Published by Running Press Book Publishers. As early as age 3. Here’s the timeless tale of a stuffed bunny who wants to become real – and discovers the life-giving power of a child’s affection.

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. Published by Harpercollins Juvenile Books. As early as age 4. This eloquent look at unconditional love suggests we all have more gifts within us than we realize.

Intrigue for the Short Set

Abiyoyo, by Pete Seeger. Published by Simon and Schuster. As early as age 4. Exiled from their village for being pranksters, a magician and his son discover how to get rid of the local fearsome giant, in this retelling of a South African folk tale.

Strega Nona, by Tomie de Paola. Published by Simon and Schuster. As early as age 4. Well-known in her village for spells and potions, Strega Nona leaves bumbling Big Anthony in charge of her magic pasta pot for a day, with disastrous results.

Chester’s Way, by Kevin Henkes. Published by William Morrow and Company. As early as age 5. Best friends Chester and Wilson love their routine, but new neighbor Lilly rocks their world with a generous portion of spontaneity.

*Other editions may be available.