Popular Picture Books


A cobbled together list of the most popular picture books

(Skip to the list.)

It is harder than you would think to find a list of the most popular picture books for each year!

I've had to settle for approximations. For 2012 forward, I'm citing the New York Times best-sellers that spent the most weeks, that year, on the list.

I've also used the Publishers Weekly site. For each year from 2000 to the 2010, I scanned their picture book bestsellers list for the following January. I noted which books had been on the list the longest.

That's the number you'll see in parentheses. The higher the number, the more weeks that title spent on PW's bestseller list. Sometimes a book is so popular that it will appear on more than one year's list!

These are not perfect methods. If a book became a best-seller early in the year but dropped off before the year was over, it won't show up here.

Sorry.

Also, some books appeared on the list during more than one year. That couldn't be helped either, but it shows persistent popularity.


Those picture book titles that appear as links are reviewed on this site.

I'll try to remember to add the most recent year's most popular picture books picks each year. If I forget, feel free to contact me! And if you find a more accurate yearly list, contact me too!

(By the way, the New York Times best picture book of the year list is terrific, and we track it on this site.)

2015:

  • Press Here, Hervé Tullet (220)
  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld (211)
  • The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (130)
  • Dragons Love Tacos, Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri (96)
  • The Book with No Pictures, B.J. Novak (64)

2014:

  • Press Here, Hervé Tullet (171)
  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld (168)
  • The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (78)
  • Dragons Love Tacos, Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri (48)

2013:

  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld (116)
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, Eric Litwin (85)
  • Steam Train, Dream Train, Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld (34)
  • The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (26)

2012:

  • Press Here, Hervé Tullet (70)
  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld (63)
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, Eric Litwin (42)

2011:

2010:

  • LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, Beecroft, Simon. (14)
  • Fancy Nancy: Heart to Heart, Jane O’Connor, illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. (5)
  • It's a Book, Lane Smith. (5)
  • Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You, Nancy Tillman. (5)
  • Elf on the Shelf, Carol Aebersold. (4)
  • Art and Max, David Wiesner. (4)
  • The Quiet Book, Deborah Underwood, illus. by Renata Liwska. (4)
  • Star Wars: 11 Iconic Scenes from a Galaxy Far, Far Away..., Rufus Butler Seder. (4)

2009 popular picture books:

  • Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book, Rufus Butler Seder. (31)
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, Beecroft, Simon. (14)
  • The Lion & the Mouse, Jerry Pinkney. (9)
  • Waddle!, Rufus Butler Seder. (8)
  • Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice, Judy Schachner. (5)
  • Otis, Loren Long. (4)

2008:

  • Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book, Rufus Butler Seder. (31)
  • Swing!, Rufus Butler Seder. (10)
  • Big Words for Little People, Curtis, Jamie Lee. (8)
  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Mem Fox, illus. by Helen Oxenbury. (6)
  • Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope, Nikki Grimes, illus. by Bryan Collier. (5)
  • Gingerbread Friends, Brett, Jan. (5)

2007 popular picture books:

  • Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book, Rufus Butler Seder. (31)
  • Fancy Nancy, Jane O'Connor, illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. (27)
  • Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy, Jane O'Connor, illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. (11)
  • Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, Mo Willems. (11)
  • Puff the Magic Dragon, Peter Yarrow, Lenny Lipton, illus. by Eric Puybaret. (8)
  • Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy, Matthew Reinhart. (7)
  • Pinkalicious, Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann. (6)

2006:

  • Dr. Ernest Drake's Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, Steer, Dugald. (31)
  • Fancy Nancy, Jane O'Connor, illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. (27)
  • Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs, Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart. (15)
  • Pirateology, Steer, Dugald. (14)
  • Flotsam, David Wiesner. (14)
  • Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship, Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Dr. Paula Kahumbu, photos by Peter Greste. (12)
  • Fairyopolis: A Flower Fairies Journal, Cicely Mary Barker. (12)
  • Zen Shorts, Jon J. Muth. (9)

2005 popular picture books:

  • Dr. Ernest Drake's Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, Steer, Dugald. (31)
  • Fancy Nancy, Jane O'Connor, illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. (27)
  • Walter the Farting Dog, William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, illus. by Audrey Colman. (18)
  • Egyptolology, Emily Sands. (17)
  • Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs, Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart. (15)
  • Fairyopolis: A Flower Fairies Journal, Cicely Mary Barker. (12)
  • A Family of Poems, Kennedy, Caroline. (10)
  • Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook, Shel Silverstein. (9)

2004:

  • Dr. Ernest Drake's Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, Steer, Dugald. (31)
  • Egyptolology, Emily Sands. (17)
  • Stranger in the Woods, Carl Sams. (12)
  • Tails, Matthew Van Fleet. (10)
  • The Polar Express, Van Allsburg, Chris. (5)
  • It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel, Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. by Laura Cornell. (5)

2003 popular picture books:

  • Dr. Ernest Drake's Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, Steer, Dugald. (31)
  • Walter the Farting Dog, William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, illus. by Audrey Colman. (18)
  • Stranger in the Woods, Carl Sams. (12)
  • How I Became a Pirate, Melinda Long, illus. by David Shannon. (12)
  • Tails, Matthew Van Fleet. (10)

2002:

  • Philadelphia Chickens, Boynton, Sandra. (12)
  • Stranger in the Woods, Carl Sams. (12)
  • If You Take a Mouse to School, Laura Numeroff, illus. by Felicia Bond. Our review is of a different book in the series. (8)
  • I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem, Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. by Laura Cornell. (7)
  • Eloise Takes a Bawth, Kay Thompson, with "additional plumbing" by Mart Crowley, illus. by Hilary Knight. (5)

2001 popular picture books:

2000:

Check with Publishers Weekly for the up to the minute list of the most popular picture books.

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