All-Time Best Sellers

April 01, 1996 2 min read
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What do The Poky Little Puppy and Charlotte’s Web have in common? In their respective categories, hardcover books and paperback, they are the best-selling children’s books of all time, according to a list of best sellers that appeared in the Feb. 5 issue of Publishers Weekly, the book industry’s bible. Puppy, with 14 million copies sold--nearly twice that of Charlotte--is the grand winner. The figures in the lists, which rank 123 hardback and 252 paperback titles, cover sales from the original publication date through the end of 1995. Authors appearing high and often on the hardcover list include Dr. Seuss (of course), Beatrix Potter, and Shel Silverstein. Those on the paperback list include Judy Blume, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Stan and Jan Berenstain (of Berenstain Bears fame). Following are the top 10 titles on each list.


1. The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey (Golden, 1942) 14,000,000.

2. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (Frederick Warne, 1902) 9,331,266.

3. Tootle by Gertrude Crampton (Golden, 1945) 8,055,500.

4. Saggy Baggy Elephant by Kathryn and Byron Jackson (Golden, 1947) 7,098,000.

5. Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton (Golden, 1955) 7,065,000.

6. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt (Golden, 1940) 6,146,543.

7. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1960) 6,065,197.

8. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1957) 5,643,731.

9. The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell (Children’s Press/Ideals, 1946) 5,424,709.

10. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1960) 4,822,331.


1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illus. by Garth Williams (HarperCollins, 1974) 7,894,103.

2. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (Dell, 1968) 7,798,000.

3. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (Dell, 1976) 6,371,000.

4. Shane by Jack Schaeffer (Bantam, 1983) 6,161,000.

5. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (Dell, 1972) 6,015,000.

6. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (Dell, 1974) 5,625,000.

7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Dell, 1973) 5,617,000.

8. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (Dell, 1971) 5,513,000.

9. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illus. by Garth Williams (HarperCollins, 1971) 5,291,059.

10. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illus. by Garth Williams (HarperCollins, 1971) 5,227,120.

Reprinted from Publishers Weekly, Feb. 5, 1996. Copyright 1996 by Cahners Publishing Co.

A version of this article appeared in the April 01, 1996 edition of Teacher as All-Time Best Sellers


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