It’s never too early to introduce children to classic books. These stories have stood the test of time for good reason: They are treasure troves filled with wonderful characters, valuable insights and important lessons for growing children. Illustrated editions of classic children’s books are a great way to introduce them to these stories — sometimes in a slightly shorter format than the original. We’ve chosen the following illustrated classics for their beautiful illustrations and age-appropriate storytelling that will capture children’s imaginations.
“The Wind in the Willows” has been a beloved staple of children’s literature for more than a century. Mole is at home doing some spring cleaning he’s rather bored with. He throws away his cleaning supplies and goes frolicking in the fields, where he soon meets up with some new friends. This is a shortened version of the classic with beautifully detailed illustrations that will hold the attention of younger readers. The Sterling Illustrated Classics edition of “The Wind in the Willows” is a great option for readers ages 7 to 14.
Any child who loves adventure, science-fiction and history will love Jules Vernes’ “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” This classic tells the story of a secret expedition that takes place after the discovery of a coded manuscript. On the journey, the adventurers enter a volcano, encounter strange prehistoric creatures and find an underground sea. This edition, with captivating original illustrations, is recommended for readers 9 and older
“Alice in Wonderland” is a true classic of children’s literature, with adaptations across many forms of media. The story is the tale of a young girl who follows a neurotic white rabbit into a magical world. She encounters a mad queen, an eccentric caterpillar and a host of other characters. Those seeking the perfect adaptation for their child’s library will find it with this version. The larger text on the page makes it easier for children to read, and the paper is heavy, making for long-term durability. “Alice in Wonderland” is a great option for readers ages 10 and up.
“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the most iconic fantasy novels ever written. Hobbit Bilbo Baggins lives a comfortable life but is suddenly swept up into an adventure by a wizard, Gandalf, and a company of 13 dwarves that takes him far from his home to strange lands across Middle Earth. The engaging text is accompanied by charming illustrations that breathe life into this classic fantasy tale. This illustrated edition of “The Hobbit” is a great option for kids ages 8 to 10.
Fairy tales are a childhood staple, and this volume contains 10 adaptations of the most popular ones from around the world. Among the fairy tales are favorites such as “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and “Puss in Boots.” Children will delight in reading these stories, which are accompanied by plenty of detailed illustrations. This volume is recommended for children ages 5 years old and up.
“Introducing our children to the classics is a process. The illustrated children’s editions offer age-appropriate opportunities for introducing children to classic tales without some of the more mature themes that accompany some of these great stories. Knowledge of the plots of these stories help children understand references to these great works.”
Our Expert Consultant
Jill Goodwin is an environmental scientist and working mother of one. She and her husband, an archaeologist, reside in Florida and have deep expertise around things outside of the house that you and your child may encounter. From taking their daughter to find reptiles and amphibians in the swamps to testing the chemical impact of the top sunscreens, Jill is here to help you find the best for your child.