In today’s post, I am sharing with you this collection of amazing children’s books from the 70s which have become timeless classics. Your little ones will absolutely be captivated by their imaginative storylines. From Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to Frog and Toad are Friends, these titles are sure to provide hours of entertainment and valuable lessons about life, friendship, and growing up. Read on to discover more about these must children books from the 70s!
[Related: Best Children’s Books from the 60s]
1. Where the Sidewalk Ends ,(1974) by Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends Special Edition with 12 Extra Poems is a collection of hilarious and thought-provoking poems and drawings for readers of all ages. The special edition features 12 additional poems, making it a must-have for any bookshelf.
Shel Silverstein, author of The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, and Every Thing On It, has created a world where shoes can fly, sisters are auctioned off, and a girl eats a whale.
Through his masterful use of language and imagination, Silverstein has produced a timeless collection that stretches the bounds of imagination. It makes a great gift for special occasions like holidays, birthdays, and graduation. With the upcoming release of Runny Babbit Returns in the fall of 2017, fans of Silverstein’s work have even more to look forward to.
2. The Lorax, (1971) by Dr. Seuss
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is a heartwarming and educational story that encourages children to speak up for the environment. The book follows the journey of a young boy as he learns about the Truffula Trees and their importance to the ecosystem.
With a strong message about the dangers of greed and the impact of human actions on nature, The Lorax is a great tool for teaching kids about environmental issues. Its “Go Green” message and use of recycled paper also make it a perfect gift for Earth Day. Ultimately, the book reminds us that even one small voice can make a big difference in protecting our planet.
3. In the Night Kitchen, (1970) by Maurice Sendak
In the Night Kitchen is an acclaimed tale by Maurice Sendak that won the Caldecott Honor award. It chronicles the playful adventures of Mickey, who ends up falling into the bakers’ cake batter while they are preparing their morning cake, and they decide to put him in the oven.
However, he escapes in a plane made of bread dough and helps the bakers find the missing milk. The story is a brilliant example of Maurice Sendak’s imaginative world and playful illustrations, as well as an affirmation of the empowering imaginative potency of childhood. The book is a celebration of the sensory world of childhood and can delight readers of all ages.
4. Fantastic Mr Fox, (1970) by Roald Dahl
Fantastic Mr Fox is a children’s book by Roald Dahl, which tells the story of a clever fox who outwits three cruel farmers. The farmers are Boggis, who fattens up and eats boiled chickens; Bunce, who enjoys eating duck and goose and has a short temper, and Bean, who drinks copious amounts of hard cider and raises turkeys and apples.
Mr Fox, who lives in a hole with his family, has a habit of stealing food from their farms. When the farmers finally decide to kill him, Mr Fox comes up with a daring plan to save himself and his family. The story is filled with action and suspense, as well as Dahl’s signature humor and wordplay. This classic tale teaches children about bravery, ingenuity, and the power of teamwork.
5. Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise, (1968) by Don Freeman
In “Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise” by Don Freeman, the beloved teddy bear is filled with excitement for Christmas and his long list of desired gifts. However, as he learns more about the true meaning of the holiday, he realizes that it’s not just about receiving presents but about cherishing the company of good friends.
The heartwarming storyline is perfect for a holiday read-aloud, as it emphasizes the importance of human connection and holiday traditions. Don Freeman’s charming illustrations bring Corduroy and his animal friends to life, making this a timeless classic for readers of all ages. Overall, “Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise” is a delightful addition to any holiday collection.
6. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, (1969) by William Steig
Sylvester is a young donkey who discovers a magic pebble that can grant any wish he desires. Ecstatic with his newfound luck, Sylvester goes off to share the news with his parents.
However, he gets scared on the way home and makes a hasty wish that changes his life forever. As a result of his wish, he turns into an inanimate object and cannot change back.
The story revolves around Sylvester’s family’s struggle to find him and bring him back to life. Through their perseverance and love, Sylvester is eventually restored, and the family learns the importance of being patient and thoughtful when making wishes. The book is a classic tale of growth and understanding for both children and adults alike.
7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, (1967) by Bill Martin, Jr.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a children’s book authored by Bill Martin, Jr, and illustrated by Eric Carle.
The book features a series of vibrant and engaging illustrations of different animals, including a brown bear, a red bird, a yellow duck, and a blue horse, among others.
The accompanying text is written in a playful, singsong rhythm, making it easy to read and interactive for young readers. The book’s bold, flat collages and simple shapes have made it a classic in children’s literature, appealing to children’s innate love of animals and the excitement of discovery.
8. The Slave Dancer, (1973) by Paula Fox
The Slave Dancer, by Paula Fox, follows thirteen-year-old Jessie Bollier as he is captured and thrown onto a slave ship bound for Africa. Forced to provide music for the slaves to dance to, Jessie witnesses the cruelty and greed of the sailors firsthand.
Throughout the long journey, Jessie becomes sickened by the treatment of the slaves and is forever changed when faced with one final horror.
Set during the height of the illegal slave trade in the mid-19th century, The Slave Dancer is a vivid and shocking depiction of the brutality of slavery. Fox’s unflinching historical accuracy brings to light the horrors of this era, making The Slave Dancer a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of this period in history.
9. The Monster at the End of This Book, (1971) by Jon Stone
The Monster at the End of This Book authored by Jon Stone is a charming and humorous children’s book. The story revolves around Grover, an endearing and hairy character, who becomes anxious upon learning that a monster is present in the book’s conclusion.
Despite his pleading with young readers to avoid turning the pages, the children proceed, excited to see the creature.
Nevertheless, Grover is astonished, and children will be elated to discover the surprising revelation about who the real monster is at the story’s end. The book is entertaining and meant for toddlers, with delightful illustrations and witty dialogue that will engage and captivate them. This book is a must-read for children who appreciate humor and intriguing storytelling.
10. Fungus the Bogeyman: The 35th Anniversary, (1977) by Raymond Briggs
Fungus the Bogeyman: The 35th Anniversary, written by Raymond Briggs, is an engaging and sophisticated cartoon-strip picture book that targets older children.
The book is set in Bogeydom, where life is filled with snot, slime, scum, and other unspeakable things. Bogeymen, who live underground, revel in all the nastiness imaginable.
The 35th-anniversary edition of Fungus the Bogeyman offers readers an opportunity to dive into a whole new world of imaginative writing and fascinating illustrations. The book is perfect for reluctant readers as it entices them to flip through its pages with curiosity and interest.
Raymond Briggs has created a brilliantly detailed world of Bogeydom, where every scene is illustrated with a high level of detail, from the bogeymen’s underground homes to the slimy surroundings that they inhabit. The book was first published over three decades ago, but the colorful illustrations and the imaginative writing are still as vibrant as ever.
Overall, Fungus the Bogeyman: The 35th Anniversary is a must-read book for children who love imaginative storytelling and sophisticated illustration. With its stunning visuals and entertaining storyline, this book is sure to capture the hearts and minds of readers of all ages.
11. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, (1972) by Judy Blume
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” is a highly acclaimed children’s book by Judy Blume that follows the life of Peter Hatcher, a young boy who is constantly forced to deal with the mischievous antics of his younger brother Fudge. Fudge is a source of constant trouble and chaos, leaving Peter to clean up his messes.
When Peter wins a small green turtle, named Dribble, he vows to keep it out of Fudge’s hands. However, Fudge eventually gets his hands on the turtle and creates a disastrous situation.
This classic story explores sibling relationships and the difficulties of growing up with a bothersome sibling. With its relatable characters and entertaining plot, “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” is a must-read for any child or adult looking for a nostalgic and heartwarming read.
12. Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood, (1976) by James Baldwin
Little Man, Little Man is James Baldwin’s only children’s book that explores the unique experiences and challenges of black childhood in 1970s Harlem. The story revolves around four-year-old TJ and his adventures on his block, where he plays with his best friends and runs errands for neighbors.
This new edition of the book, now available after forty years, includes the original illustrations by French artist Yoran Cazac, a foreword by Baldwin’s nephew, and an afterword by his niece. Through TJ’s perspective, readers gain a deeper understanding of the life of a black child in Harlem and appreciate the brilliance of Baldwin’s writing.
13. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, (1972) by Judith Viorst
Alexander and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a children’s book by Judith Viorst. The story follows Alexander’s journey through a day that seems to be going completely wrong. He wakes up with gum in his hair, trips over his skateboard, and accidentally drops his sweater in the sink while the water is running.
Every event that happens throughout the day seems to make it worse, including having lima beans for supper and seeing people kissing on TV. Alexander even contemplates moving to Australia to escape the terrible day.
The book teaches children that everyone has bad days and that they are a part of life. The story is relatable and engaging, and the illustrations perfectly capture the emotions of the characters. It is an excellent book for children who are learning to cope with frustration and disappointment.
14. Frog and Toad are Friends, (1970) by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad Are Friends, a Level Two I Can Read book by Arnold Lobel, tells the story of two best friends who are always there for each other.
The book consists of engaging stories that cover a range of activities, from writing letters to swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons. Although it is geared towards children who are learning to read on their own, the entertaining and heartwarming tales are appropriate for all ages.
So, there you have it—our trip down memory lane, revisiting some of the most iconic children’s books from the 70s. I’ve got to say, these books aren’t just a nostalgia trip; they hold up incredibly well and have a lot to offer to the new generation of readers. It’s not just about the captivating storylines or the timeless illustrations, but the values and life lessons these books convey are what really make them stand out.
I remember using some of these titles in my teaching days to spark rich classroom discussions. And now, as an educational researcher and a blogger, I think it’s crucial for us to pass these stories on, not just as quaint relics from another time, but as vibrant teaching tools that speak to universal experiences of growing up.