55+ Best Children’s Books From the 80s and 90s

As a long time picture book fan, I must admit that many of my all-time favourites even today were published in the 1980s-1990s! Which inspired me to put together this fabulous list of over fifty of the Best Children’s Books from the 80s and 90s.

Who can even believe that some of these classic picture books are forty years old! The list includes many award winning titles, beloved and respected authors and books that have been read over and over again by subsequent generations of children from the same family – I loved sharing many of these with my own children.

Want to go further back? For books published prior to the 1980s, check out our list of 50 Classic Picture Books and 20 Classic Chapter Books to Read Aloud With 5-8 Year Olds.

Best Childrens Books from the 80s and 90s

55+ Best Children’s Books From the 80s and 90s

As with all of the lists in our Best Books for Kids collection, each title in this list links to an Amazon and/or Book Depository page (these are affiliate links and I may earn a small commission at no cost to you) where you can find more information and reviews for titles you might not be personally familiar with.

Mrs Honey’s Hat by Pam Adams Mrs Honeys Hat
Why is everyone staring at Mrs Honey’s marvellous hat? First published in 1980.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Funnybones by Janet & Allan Ahlberg Funnybones
This frightfully funny Halloween classic tells the story of three skeletons – a big skeleton, a little skeleton and a dog skeleton – who venture out one night to find someone to scare, only to discover that everyone is in bed! Whatever will they do now? First published in 1980.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill Where's Spot
A fabulous lift-the-flap adventure for toddlers, Spot the Dog has long been a much loved classic. First published in 1980.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Peace at Last by Jill Murphy Peace at Last
With a snoring Mrs Bear, an excitable Baby Bear and a house full of tapping and dripping and ticking, peace is hard to come by – will Mr Bear ever get a decent night’s sleep? First published in 1980.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake Mister Magnolia
A witty, rhyming picture book about Mr Magnolia who has a full and happy life except for one serious omission – a boot! How on earth can Mr Magnolia splash in the puddles with everyone else? First published in 1980.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch The Paper Bag Princess
This bestselling classic features a brave princess who rescues a very snooty and rather ungrateful prince! First published in 1981.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell Dear Zoo
Can the zoo help one find the perfect pet? It’s certainly not a monkey, a lion, or even an elephant! A wonderful lift-the-flap book for toddlers and preschoolers. First published in 1982.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton The Going to Bed Book
This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub in the tub, brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep. First published in 1982.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton But Not the Hippopotamus
A sweet, short rhyming tale of a shy hippoptamus who looks on as the animals play and is delighted when they welcome him into their fun. First published in 1982.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons Dairy
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy (in fact, the entire Hairy Maclary series) was loved by both my kids when they were preschool/kindergarten age. The cumulative rhyming prose is perfect for inviting pre-readers to join in and who wouldn’t love such a fabulous bunch of puppies! First published in 1983.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood The Little Mouse
This fun story shares the antics of little mouse who will do anything to save his red, ripe strawberry from the big, hungry bear. It brings a smile to the face of every preschooler I’ve ever read it to. First published in 1984.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle The Very Busy SPider
Early one morning a little spider begins to spin her web on a fence post in this fabulous sensory treat from the beloved Eric Carle. First published in 1984.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Koala Lou by Mem Fox Koala Lou
A young koala competes for her mother’s heart when a new sibling is on the way–only to discover that families come in all shapes and sizes, and that there is no second place when it comes to love.. First published in 1984.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Magic School Bus At the Waterworks by Joanna Cole The Magic School Bus
Ms. Frizzle and her students follow the trail of water, from its sky-high source to the school bathroom sink on a rather wet and wild fieldtrip.The classic title that started the award-winning series! First published in 1985.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If a hungry little mouse shows up on your doorstep, you might want to give him a cookie. And if you give him a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk….but beware as this is not all he may ask for! First published in 1985.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
How Much is a Million? by David M. Schwartz How Much is a Million
Ever wonder just what a million of something means? How about a billion? Or a trillion? A fun and funny way to help children understand complex numbers. First published in 1985.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg The Polar Express
A young boy is welcomed aboard a magical train to the North Pole. The Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. One for all who believe in the spirit of Christmas. First published in 1985.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois Franklin in the Dark
Franklin is afraid of the dark…including that within his own shell!! Bravely he sets out to seek help in this first book of the hugely popular series. First published in 1986.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Jolly Postman by Janet & Allen Ahlberg The Jolly Postman
This fun, interactive story includes letters, notes, comics, puzzles and more as the Jolly Postman delivers mail to a series of familiar fairy tale characters. First published in 1986.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Animalia by Graeme Base Animalia
A wonderfully clever adventure through the alphabet. There is so much to see on each page as you look for all the things starting with that letter. First published in 1986.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox Hattie and the Fox
I can see a nose and two eyes in the bushes! cries Hattie. Hattie tries to warn her friends of impending danger but none of them listen. Until it may be too late! First published in 1986.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins The Wind Blew
The wind blew, and blew, and blew! It blew so hard, it took everything with it – Mr. White’s umbrella, Priscilla’s balloon, the twins’ scarves, even the wig on the judge’s head. But just when the wind was about to carry everything out to sea, it changes its mind. First published in 1986.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Can’t You Sleep Little Bear? by Martin Waddell Cant You Sleep Little Bear
Big Bear sets out with all his patience and understanding to show a scared and sleepless Little Bear that the dark is nothing to be afraid of. First published in 1987.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen owl moon
Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird. But there is no answer. First published in 1987.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert Growing Vegetable Soup
What would you like to grow today? Is it green beans, or peas? Corn or carrots? A wonderful picture book about growing vegetables. First published in 1987.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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I Went Walking by Sue Williams I Went Walking
A young boy strolls through the countryside seeing a black cat, then a brown horse, then a red cow, and so on, in catchy verse. First published in 1989.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh Mouse Paint_ Best Childrens Books from the 80s and 90s
One day three white mice discover three jars of paint – red, blue, and yellow. But what happens when they splash in the colors, mixing the red and blue? Or dance in the blue and yellow? First published in 1989.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
The Big Bad Wolf gives his own version of what really happened when he tangled with the three little pigs…but is it truthful? First published in 1989.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base The Eleventh Hour
As the guests gather for Horace the elephant’s eleventh birthday party, a curious mystery is revealed in the form of a puzzle featuring picture clues and a rhyming text. An awesome picture book for older children. First published in 1989.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jnr Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
This beloved alphabet chant about the letters racing up a coconut tree has been a popular choice for generations of children. First published in 1989.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen Were Going On a Bear Hunt
This classic chant follows a family’s fun romp through long grass, a splishy splashy river and squelchy mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest! First published in 1989.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell Farmer Duck
A hardworking duck lives with a lazy farmer, doing all of the chores while the farmer sleeps. Until the day the other animals of the farm decide to take action with a simple, but heroic, plan. First published in 1991.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman Amazing Grace
When her school decides to perform Peter Pan, Grace is longing to play Peter but her friends say that Peter was a boy, and he wasn’t black. But Grace’s Ma and Nana tell her she can be anything she wants if she puts her mind to it. First published in 1991
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Possum Magic by Mem Fox Possum Magic
Grandma Poss uses her bush magic to make Hush invisible but when Hush wishes to see herself again, the two possums make their way across Australia to find the magic food that will make Hush visible once more.. First published in 1991.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell Owl Babies
Three baby owls wake up one night in their hole in a tree to find that their mother has gone. So they sit on a branch and wait. Will their mother return? First published in 1992.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister The Rainbow Fish
The Rainbow Fish, with his shimmering scales, is the most beautiful fish in the ocean. But he is proud and vain and none of the other fish want to be his friend. How can the Rainbow Fish find a friend? First published in 1992
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash
Jimmy’s pet boa constrictor wreaks havoc on the class trip to a farm! First published 1992
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough Where's My Teddy?
Eddie’s in for the surprise of his life when he discovers that his teddy bear has grown much too big to cuddle… but is this teddy really his???. First published 1992
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley Go Away Big Green Monster
A wonderful, interactive book for helping children face that all too common childhood fear – monsters! First published 1992
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munsch Stephanies Ponytail
A lighthearted tale about being yourself, and the dangers of following others instead of having your own mind. First published 1992.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn The Kissing Hand
Chester Raccoon does not want to start school until his mother introduces him to the Kissing Hand to reassure him of her love. First published 1993.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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Classic-Childrens-Picture-Books-from-the-80s-90s

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon Stellaluna
An adorable baby fruit bat is adopted by the occupants of a birds nest and adapts to their peculiar bird habits. First published in 1993.
Available: Amazon
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney Guess How Much I Love You
A beautiful story of the love between a parent and a child. First published in 1994.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann Good Night Gorilla
A mischievous Gorilla isn’t quite ready to go to sleep so he follows the zookeeper on his rounds, letting all of the other animals out of their cages! First published in 1994.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins The Doorbell Rang
Ma has made delicious cookies and their are plenty to share but then the doorbell rings… and rings … and rings! First published in 1995.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Jamberry by Bruce Degan Jamberry
A small boy and a big friendly bear embark on a berry-picking extravaganza, looking for blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. First published in 1995.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen Who Sank the Boat
The delightful story of five animal friends who decide to go for a row on the bay. Do you know who sank the boat? First published in 1996.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae Rumble in the Jungle
A wonderful rhyming safari through the jungle with poems playing homage to each animal. First published in 1996.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes Lillys Purple Plastic Purse
Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher. But when she fails to follow Mr Slinger’s rules, Lilly learns an important lesson in making amends.. First published in 1996.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt I Love You Stinky Face: Classic Childrens Books from the 80s and 90s
A reassuring tale of the love and affection of a parent for a child whatever the circumstances. First published in 1997.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Edwina The Emu by Sheena Knowles Edwina the Emu
When Edward and Edwina Emu find themselves expecting ten little emus, Edwina tries her feathers at a variety of jobs to support the growing family, from chimney sweep to ballet dancer! First published in 1997.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells Bunny Cakes
It’s Grandma’s birthday and Max wants to make her an icky, worm-infested cake. But Ruby intends to make an angel surprise cake with raspberry-fluff icing. Will they both become bunnies who bake? First published in 1997.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon A Bad Case of Stripes
A wonderful story for older children exploring the theme of worrying less about what others think of you, and staying true to yourself. First published in 1998.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough Duck in the Truck
Duck’s truck is stuck in the muck, but luckily help is at hand in the form of a frog. When Frog and Duck fail to release the truck t sheep comes to help, and then goat. Who will finally sets the truck free?!! First published in 1999.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Maisy’s Bedtime by Lucy Cousins Maisys Bedtime
The simple stories of Maisy are favored classic for toddlers and preschoolers. First published in 1999.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson The Gruffalo
A clever mouse outwit a series of forest animals who rather fancy him for their tea, with the story of a terrible gruffalo! First published in 1999.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae Giraffes Cant Dance
Gerald the giraffe would love to join in the Jungle Dance but everyone knows that giraffes can’t dance…or can they? First published in 1999.
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository

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50 Childhood Classics: Picture Books from the 80s and 90s

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