5 of the Rarest Children’s Books in the World

photograph of a vintage book

5 of the Rarest Children’s Books in the World

Learning to read is a life skill that every child needs to develop. There are countless children’s books, including classic stories such as Alice in Wonderland. It may surprise some that even children’s first edition books are very valuable, and you can sell these rare books to interested buyers. Continue reading to learn about five of the rarest vintage children’s books worth a lot of money.

The Hobbit (first edition) by JRR Tolkien

Published in the UK in 1937, The Hobbit is a fantasy story about one of Bilbo Baggins’ grand adventures. Bilbo is a hobbit who loves living in The Shire and making good food. One day, a powerful wizard named Gandalf and a group of dwarves stop by Bilbo’s house. Bilbo eventually agrees to join their quest to search for treasure in a dragon’s lair. This book carved out the fantasy genre, and only 1,500 first edition copies were printed. If you have a first edition of The Hobbit, you are indeed among one of the lucky few.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

The Little House was first published in 1942. Virginia Lee Burton depicts a little house in the country, and this little house is the main character in the story. Eventually, the rural countryside transforms into an urban cityscape before the house’s eyes. The author wanted to illustrate the passage of time to young readers, and it is undoubtedly a top-ranking children’s book that has withstood the test of time. The Little House is a beloved children’s book that won a Caldecott Medal, and there are only hundreds of known first edition copies of this rare book still on the market.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s story was initially published in 1865. Readers learn about Alice, a girl who follows a white rabbit down a hole, leading to another realm. This fictional story contains quirky characters like the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat. As the story progresses, Alice discovers her self-worth and bravely stands up for herself when forced to face the wicked Queen of Hearts. A well-preserved copy of this rare children’s book from either 1865 or 1866 is easily worth six or seven figures. Anyone would be extremely fortunate to come across one of these valuable rare books.

Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

Shel Silverstein wrote the book called The Giving Tree, and he also authored Where the Sidewalk Ends, a compilation of over 100 children’s poems. These poems are perfect for young readers to practice reading aloud. Where the Sidewalk Ends covers everything from serious to silly topics, giving readers a spectrum of insightful things to ponder. In essence, this book also acts somewhat as a metaphor because, at the end of the imaginary sidewalk, adults can use their imagination and start tapping into their inner child. A signed copy of this first edition (1974) book is treasured and among the most wanted rare books on the market.

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

The Tiny Seed is a story that beautifully captures the life cycle of a flower. As the seed travels through the wind across different parts of the world, readers can pick up on some insightful life lessons. Each colorful illustration is captivating, just like Carle’s other children’s book about the Very Hungry Caterpillar. First edition copies of The Tiny Seed were published in 1970, and this is yet another valuable rare book to look for in your collection.


As you search through your stash of vintage books, keep your eyes peeled for first editions. Many other vintage books may be worth more than you realize. Cash For Your Books can help you sell any of your rare books to buyers. From valuable first edition books to other classic gems, we would be happy to help you determine the value of your books.