You can’t copyright a title. If you want to call your book “I Spy With My Little Eye” no lawyer will stop you. In fact, plenty of picture books duplicate titles. Some examples:
I don’t recommend using any of the above titles for your book.
I can hear some writer out there now, though:
“But JEN, my story is about a snoring beauty!” or “But JEN, I’m retelling Stone Soup!”
OK, then, you need to have a little brainstorm session. What can you add or change in the title to make yours stand out?
An example of how changing the title worked:
Both Rooster Can’t Cock-a-Doodle-Doo and Cock-a-Doodle-Moo are picture books about a rooster who lost his voice and can’t wake the animals. Both stories have humorous ways to solve this problem and in the end the rooster gets his voice back. If the stories were both labeled with “Rooster Can’t Cock-a-Doodle-Doo” then the books would seem too similar to warrant buying both. But because their titles are unique, a young reader who loves farm stories is likely to check out both!
A Final Thought:
While titles can’t be copyrighted, characters can be trademarked. For example, don’t bother naming the dog in your story “Clifford” or naming any of your boy characters “Harry Potter.” Also, your picture book princesses can’t be named “Elsa,” “Arial” or “Tiana.” So just… don’t.