I love them so much that picking one is simply impossible. I will try very hard to confine myself to 3. But I could probably choose 100 pretty easily!
Someone already mentioned The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf - the hazard of coming late to the party. That is certainly one of my all time favorites. But since someone else did it, that one doesn't count for me :)
|Bread and Jam for Frances|
I love all the Frances books, but this one is my favorite. Frances is cute and lovable and so delightfully determined to eat nothing but bread and jam. I had a picky eater in my house, so I understand both the child's desire to stay with what's known and loved, and the mom's frustration that she won't try something new. Frances's mom is a wise badger, though, and pretty soon frances comes to realize on her own that food can be delicious even if it isn't at first familiar. The story, like all of Russell Hoban's writing, has a wonderful rhythm for read-aloud, and the art is simple but engaging.
Third, I would choose The Camel Who Took A Walk by Jack Tworkov, a lovely, quiet story that would never have sold today because it's too quiet, but which again has such a wonderful rhythm to the language that it's a joy to read aloud. The pictures are very simple, done is shades of blue for the forest before the sun comes up, and then in pink and gold for the beautiful camel, who "turns her pretty head this way and that." Alas, this one is out of print, but we still love it.
So those are the three I said I would contain myself to, and I'll only quickly mention Make Way for Ducklings, Guess How Much I Love You, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Where The Wild Things Are (which was also previously mentioned by another blogger), The Kissing Hand, To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, Madeline, the original Curious George.... OK, I'll stop :)