Can you believe that on July 20, 2019, America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by the Apollo 11 mission? It was an important event in modern United States history, and one that should be part of every child’s “background” knowledge. We have such a valuable opportunity this summer to introduce our children to this monumental event!
I curated this list of books about Apollo 11 and the first moon landing VERY carefully. Many of the children’s books (and adult books too) on this subject seem to have been put together hastily. I read them with the following criteria in mind:
Is this book well written and engaging?
Is it also written in a kid-friendly way?
It takes a talented children’s book author and an equally talented editor to make a heavy science topic and a complex story easy for kids to understand and fun to read. But the books on this list have managed to accomplish this – even the “adult” book I included at the end.
I’m thrilled that there’s a board book available. Although it does contain a lot of text, the illustrations are clear and age-appropriate. It’s a great way to involve even your babies and toddlers in a family commemoration of this historic event.
Enjoy this list of books about the Apollo 11 mission and the first moon landing. You’re sure to find a few that will help your family mark the 50th anniversary of this historic event.
To the Moon and Back by Smithsonian Kids
This little book, Smithsonian Kids: To the Moon and Back is about the Apollo 11 mission and it is designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers! It’s a sturdy board book with sliding tabs, spinning wheels, and flaps to peek under. Photographs are combined with clear illustrations to create a realistic depiction of our historic journey to the moon and back.
If You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNulty
If You Decide To Go To The Moon puts the young reader in the captain’s chair, describing what it would look and feel like to travel to the moon. The final destination is The Sea of Tranquility, right where the Apollo 11 mission landed 50 years ago this summer. Artwork by the acclaimed children’s book illustrator Steven Kellogg adds texture and relatable realism to this gem of a book.
The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
The Moon Book is an updated re-released edition of a classic book by Gail Gibbons, an acclaimed author of science books for kids. It’s a perfect introduction to the moon – its orbit, its effect on tides, and its surface. Meticulously researched and vetted, this book shares the most up-to-date information available about the moon.
Moonwalk: The First Trip to the Moon by Judy Donnelly
I was so glad to find a “First Reader” book about Apollo 11 and the first moon landing. These books are carefully crafted to share non-fiction information in language that is accessible to early readers. Moonwalk: The First Trip to the Moon presents just enough information to tell the whole story accurately, with the support of excellent photos and realistic illustrations. The result is a simple, perfect introduction Apollo 11 and the first moon landing. It’s a great choice for a read aloud or for early readers to tackle on their own.
My Little Golden Book About the First Moon Landing by Chip Lovitt
To the Moon and Back: My Apollo 11 Adventure by Buzz Aldrin
To the Moon and Back: My Apollo 11 Adventure is a GREAT book. It’s told in the first person by Buzz Aldrin, and packed with simple explanations of some complex space travel concepts. It’s also an exciting pop-up book with stunning illustrations, AND it includes a model of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module.
Apollo Expeditions to the Moon: The NASA History 50th Anniversary Edition by Edgar M. Cortright
This newly released, updated edition of Apollo Expeditions to the Moon was issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. At 368 pages, this collector-quality book features 160 stunning color photos (and countless black and white photos) accompanying a collection of gripping essays by astronauts, engineers, and NASA administrators. The result is a compelling narrative of the entire Apollo project, as told by those who created the story. Although this is not meant to be a children’s book, it is written at a level that can be understood by readers (or listeners) of all ages.
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Spring has sprung, and springtime rains and happy sunbeams bring rainbows to bright blue skies. Celebrate spring evenings with bedtime read-alouds from this list of wonderful rainbow books for kids. Or, choose a few to read aloud while your little ones enjoy rainbow arts and crafts.
Books about rainbows are a great way to teach little ones about colors, and older kids are fascinated by the science that creates these wonders of nature. There’s something for kids of all ages on this carefully curated list. Read on to find the perfect rainbow books for your family.
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Light Makes a Rainbow by Sharon Coan
Light Makes a Rainbow is part of an excellent “Science and Literacy” series of books by Teacher Created Materials. It provides a very clear, easy-to-understand explanation of how and why rainbows appear. The explanation is perfect for kids of any age, and the text itself is an “early reader” level.
My Color is Rainbow is a sweet story about a white arch searching for his color and all the other colors he meets on his journey. You may find your family talking about being “green and helpful,” “orange and friendly,” or “blue and peaceful” as you go about your day.
Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed) by Ged Adamson
Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed) is the story of the most beautiful rainbow ever, who came one day after a rainstorm…and stayed. Ava is so happy that her friend stayed, but is staying what rainbows are really meant to do? This is a poignant story about appreciating things that are special.
What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz
In this clever little book, a different colored ribbon loops across the top of each page, which features pictures of familiar items of that same color. After you follow the ribbon through the book, you’ll come upon a special surprise on the last page. What Makes a Rainbow? is a unique and imaginative take on rainbow books for children.
A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
If you know Corduroy, then you’re familiar with the gentle, distinctive artistic style of Don Freeman. In A Rainbow of My Own, a little boy embarks on a search for the end of the rainbow, and imagines what it would be like if he found it.
How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney
In How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow, the sun and clouds have always cooperated to take care of Earth. Their favorite task is to create rainbows, until one day an argument sends both of them off to sulk. With no rainbows, all the colors fade away and world becomes a gloomy, sad place. Fortunately, a single box of crayons still exists, and escapes their classroom to save the day. This cute book teaches children about persistence, teamwork and friendship.
Rainbow by Marion Dane Bauer
Rainbow by Marion Dane Bauer is part of the “Weather Ready-to-Read” series of books for early readers. It shares the “science” of rainbows with a short, easy-to-read narrative story and artistic illustrations.
The Rainbow Goblins by Ul De Rico
This book is similar to an old-style Grimm’s fairy tale, so bear that in mind when considering it for your children. However, the story is utterly captivating in that fascinating way that original fairy tales are, and the illustrations are detailed and sophisticated. The Rainbow Goblins is the tale of seven colorful brothers who prowl the land to feed on rainbows.
Rainbow by Jane Cabrera
Rainbow by Jane Cabrera is the perfect rainbow book for babies and toddlers. It’s a board book with die-cut pages, full of colorful objects and animals to point to and name. Each object is labeled, so this is a good book for early readers, too.
Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall
Penguins Love Colors features adorable wide-eyed baby penguins on a quest to create a special gift for Mommy. It’s a simple, straightforward story that little kids love. The illustrations are bold, bright, and clear.
Add some color to your family library today with a few new rainbow books for kids.
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When my kids were little, we loved to celebrate holidays with themed crafts, themed food, and themed books. As the kids got older, we added themed movies and even T.V. show episodes. “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray, anyone? Now that my kids are young adults, I display children’s picture books as holiday decor and happily use any holiday as an excuse to make a festive snack for my husband and myself.
Enjoy this list of children’s books about Mother’s Day. You’ll love the sweet reminders about how much children care about finding a special way to let Mom know she is loved.
The Berenstain Bears We Love Our Mom by Jan Berenstain. Brother Bear and Sister Bear realize just how much Mama Bear does for them and are off on a quest to find a special way to thank her and show her how much they love her.
Biscuit Loves Mother’s Day
Biscuit Loves Mother’s Day by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Do your little ones love Biscuit? In this simple story, Biscuit follows along as his friend prepares special ways to celebrate Mom.
Fancy Nancy’s Marvelous Mother’s Day Brunch
Fancy Nancy’s Marvelous Mother’s Day Brunch by Jane O’Connor. Most Mother’s Day books are about kids preparing surprises for Mom. And often, things turn out just fine. But what will happen when Fancy Nancy tackles Mother’s Day brunch? This cute book has 13 “lift-the-flaps” for kids to enjoy, and the illustrations are richly detailed.
Pinkalicious: Mother’s Day Surprise
Pinkalicious: Mother’s Day Surprise by Victoria Kann. Pinkalicious manages Mother’s Day breakfast just fine, but is stymied by writer’s block when she wants to write a special poem for Mom.
Mother’s Day by Anne Rockwell. In this book we get to visit Mrs. Madoff’s classroom again and join the kids in creating a Mother’s Day craft as a gift for Mom.
The Mother’s Day Mice
The Mother’s Day Mice by Eve Bunting. Eve Bunting’s lyrical storytelling is perfectly matched to Jan Brett’s richly detailed illustrations in this adventure story. Three brave little mice venture out to find the perfect gifts for Mother only to find themselves thwarted by a predator.
T. Rex and the Mother’s Day Hug
T. Rex and the Mother’s Day Hug by Lois G. Grambling. T. Rex’s friends are all ready with gifts for Mother’s Day, but T. Rex wants to maintain his (ill-fated) tradition of DOING something for Mom.
Mother’s Day Surprise
Mother’s Day Surprise by Stephen Krensky. Violet is a young snake whose friends are busily making gifts for Mother’s Day. Violet wants to do the same, but with no arms, legs or teeth, how can she make a gift?
Which of these cute books will you add to your family’s collection?
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I had a ton of fun curating this epic list of St. Patrick’s Day books for kids for all ages.
It includes non-fiction books that teach about the holiday itself, and fiction books with silly plots featuring characters enjoying St. Patrick’s Day traditions. You’ll find St. Patrick’s day board books for babies, rhyming books for preschoolers and chapter books for older kids.
Choose a few that suit your family, and make a tradition of reading one each day during the week leading up to March 17th. Reading aloud is a great tradition to add to any holiday celebration!
Saint Patrick by Tomie dePaola
Written by the fabulous Tomie dePaola, Saint Patrick is a newly released board book that tells the story of St. Patrick’s life. Aimed at your youngest readers, it explains how he decided to share his love of God with the people of Ireland, and shares some of the legends about him. Before I read this little book, I didn’t know why the shamrock is associated with St. Patrick’s Day!
Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola
Also by Tomie dePaola, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland is a more sophisticated picture book version of Saint Patrick. The religious aspect is highlighted, and the text is more complex. This is a great book to help kids of all ages learn about St. Patrick’s Day.
Ten Lucky Leprechauns by Kathryn Heling
Ten Lucky Leprechauns is a perfect book to read aloud to babies, toddlers and preschoolers. The rhyming is wonderful, and the book develops the concept of counting from one to ten. As you can see from the cover picture below, the illustrations are adorable.
That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting
Anything written by Eve Bunting is going to catch my eye, and That’s What Leprechauns Do is no exception. Three leprechauns set off to leave a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, promising themselves they will not get into mischief. (You can imagine how that turns out!) Gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully manage to convey plenty of detail.
The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever by Teddy Slater
In Jack and the Leprechaun, a little mouse accepts an invitation to attend a family party in Ireland. His cousin Sean tells him that nobody has ever been able to catch Liam the Leprechaun, but Jack Mouse is determined.
St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons is another author whose books will always catch my eye. She doesn’t disappoint with St. Patrick’s Day. It’s simple and informative, like all her awesome nonfiction books. St. Patrick’s Day briefly tells the story of Saint Patrick’s life, and includes the most well-known legends, too.
The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards
The Leprechaun’s Gold is based on an Irish legend I had never heard before, so this book was a great addition to my classroom library. Two villagers compete to see who is the best harp player. When one of the players starts scheming to cheat in order to win, clever leprechaun trickery saves the day.
Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott
To me, the best thing about Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk is uniqueness of the writing style and the sophistication of the vocabulary. This is the type of book that develops our children’s oral language and deepens their vocabulary. It’s a great story, but the quality of the writing is what really makes this book stand out.
St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting
St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning is an early work by Eve Bunting and Jan Brett. What a gem for any fan of either one of these two ladies! In this gentle story, Jamie is too little to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade with his family. You’ll smile at his determination as he comes up with a resourceful way to ease his disappointment.
The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Tegan
The Story of the Leprechaun is a sweet little book about a shoemaker who is also a leprechaun. I love that this book includes a cute map of the setting. Kids can flip back to the map and follow along as the story unfolds.
How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace
How to Catch a Leprechaun is a bestselling book about the mayhem and mild destruction that leprechauns cause in our homes when we are not looking. Here in the United States, this book has helped to create a new tradition along the lines of “Elf on the Shelf.” On March 17th, parents and teachers enjoy creating crazy messes and leprechaun footprints for kids to discover at home and at school. A related fun activity is to have kids plan and build “leprechaun traps” as a STEM project. (Even if the traps never successfully catch a leprechaun.?)
The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing
Leprechaun in Late Winter is a “Magic Tree House Merlin Mission,” one of a new sub-series of Magic Tree House books for slightly more advanced chapter book readers. Young time travelers Jack and Annie journey to Ireland of 150 years ago for an adventure that explores the fun of Irish legends while teaching about the culture, geography and history of Ireland. In my mind the Magic Tree House books are the very best series for launching early readers into chapter books.
Leprechauns and Irish Folklore: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House Merlin Mission #15: Leprechaun in Late Winter
S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet by Eve Bunting
Another wonderful book by Eve Bunting, S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet has the added delight of being an alphabet book! The short rhyming text is great for smaller children, and the information-rich sidebars make this book valuable for kids up to middle elementary school age. With beautiful illustrations, it provides a quick overview of Irish history, culture and legends.
Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day by Joan Holub
Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day is a perfect book for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. It has fun rhyming, clear illustrations and the lift-the-flap element make this book interactive. Searching each page for the elusive leprechaun also makes this book interactive and especially engaging. And for all its simplicity, it shares plenty of St. Patrick’s Day traditions from a child’s perspective.
St. Patrick’s Day by Anne Rockwell
St. Patrick’s Day is sweet, gentle story set in Mrs. Madoff’s classroom. The students have all worn green today and are working on St. Patrick’s Day reports and projects. I love that the children are multi-cultural, and I got a kick out of millennial Mr. Siscoe’s ponytail. This story weaves in St. Patrick’s Day history and traditions through the reports and projects that the students are proudly working on. Like many of the authors on this list Anne Rockwell has written many other wonderful books for children.
Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute
When humans match wits with leprechauns, who inevitably comes out ahead? In this story, Clever Tom catches a leprechaun and believes he is on his way to riches. Of course it doesn’t turn out quite as he had planned. Clever Tom and the Leprechaun is beautifully written, with an “Irish” feel to the language the author uses.
Too Many Leprechauns by Stephen Krensky
In Too Many Leprechauns, Finn O’Finnegan returns home to his village of Dingle, only to discover that the local leprechauns have taken over. This is another book that is beautifully written, making for a lyrical read aloud with lots of opportunities for vocabulary development. Be sure to look closely at the illustrations, which add to the humor and are necessary to understanding details of the plot.
Rosco the Rascal at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade by Shana Gorian
As a teacher and a mom, I love celebrating holidays with special books to read aloud. I hope this list will inspire you and make it easy to add reading aloud to your family’s St. Patrick’s Day traditions!
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Teaching the alphabet to toddlers, preschoolers or kindergartners doesn’t ever have to be tedious or boring, or hard work – for you or your child. It can and should be fun and easy for everyone in your family.
Alphabet books are an important part of your family library.They provide exposure to letters and sounds with all the benefits of reading aloud to your child.
Kids who have seen and heard the alphabet through the happy experience of being read aloud to by a loving adult will absorb so much knowledge about letters and sounds. You’ll be amazed at how easily and naturally it happens.
Try to snuggle up together with at least one alphabet book every day. Keep book baskets in convenient places throughout your home, and make sure each basket contains an inviting alphabet book. Stow a couple in the back seat of the car, and send one along on trips to the grandparents’ house.
The great thing about alphabet books is that as soon as your child can recognize a handful of letters, they can “read” an alphabet book by looking for the letters they know.
This list was so hard to narrow down, but here are ten of my favorite alphabet books, in no particular order.
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A to Z by Sandra Boynton
My husband and I loved reading Sandra Boynton books to our kids. A to Z by Sandra Boynton is filled with her whimsical animal characters, each one representing a letter and performing an activity starting with that same letter.
Most of the activities are likely to be familiar to young children, but some provide more unique opportunities for vocabulary development. My personal favorite is “Aardvark Admiring,” with an illustration of a smiling aardvark adjusting his bowtie.
There’s no particular storyline – just simple, clear illustrations of one animal and one activity representing each letter. It’s a great book for introducing the alphabet to toddlers, and preschoolers can quickly memorize it and “read” it to themselves.
Max’s ABC by Rosemary Wells
Next up is Max’s ABC by Rosemary Wells. The “Max” books by Rosemary Wells are subtly hilarious and the sibling relationship between Max and Ruby is so sweet.
This alphabet book features a silly storyline that gets crazier and crazier as Ruby tries to help Max solve the problems created when his ants escape from their ant farm. I love that each page focuses on just one letter while still maintaining a plot! The rhythm of the story makes it fun for adults to read and easy for kids to chime along with.
(As an aside, a great thing about the 40+ Max books is that there is one for just about every childhood experience imaginable.) I always enjoyed finding books that matched what was going on in my kids’ lives when they were little.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
No list of alphabet books would be complete without the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. I included this book in this post, and everything I said over there applies here, too.
I appreciate that this book features lowercase letters in addition to uppercase letters. (One of my pet peeves is that kids need exposure to both uppercase and lowercase letters, right from the start.) I also love that John Archambault illustrated the letters crisply and clearly so that it’s easy for children to tell them apart and notice the differences in their shapes.
The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra
How cute is the idea of Alphabet Town? In The Sleepy Little Alphabet, parents (the uppercase or capital letters) are trying to put the children (the lowercase letters) to bed. It is not going smoothly. Excuses and stalling abound, and will be familiar to parents and children alike.
To me, half the fun of the naughtiness and silliness is in the expressions on the letters’ faces. The uppercase parents actually look harassed, and the lowercase kids are gleeful.
The illustrations are simple and clear, but there is plenty of detail to notice. Lowercase “f” is holding flowers, lowercase “j” is jumping, and lowercase “s” is swinging. In a nice satisfying ending, lowercase “y” is yawning, and lowercase “z” is snoring cute little “zzzzzzz’s”.
Another classic, Dr. Seuss’s ABC is as zany as any of the Dr. Seuss books, and equally as fun to read aloud. Full of nonsense words, awesome rhythm and ridiculous rhymes, it asks “Big B, little b, what begins with B?” and then answers with a tongue-twisting alliteration of a response.
The illustrations are vintage Seuss, colorful and imaginative.
Two things I really like about this book: it includes both lowercase and uppercase letters, and it matter-of-factly presents the ideas that letters represent sounds and words begin with specific letters.
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert
It’s always nice to find a themed alphabet book that can be used in many ways. Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables weaves in nutrition, culture and geography with pictures of fruits and vegetables from all over the world, illustrated in Lois Ehlert’s unique watercolor collage style.
It’s sort of a picture dictionary of fruits and vegetables, with an encyclopedia included at the back in the form of a detailed, illustrated glossary. I bet you’ll come across a fruit or vegetable that you haven’t heard of before!
This one is great for older children as well; you could find the locations on a map or prepare a newly discovered fruit or vegetable for the family to try.
My First ABC by DK
My First ABC by DK is part of the “My First Books” series and it certainly lives up to that name. This sturdy board book is perfect as a first alphabet book for babies, with just a few clear and colorful photographs for each letter.
This visual style and layout is the easiest for babies to focus on at a very young age. A few months later, it lends itself beautifully to asking a baby or toddler “Can you find the ________?” and watching chubby little fingers proudly point to the item named.
Each photograph is labeled clearly, making it easy for adults to point to the word as we read it. This starts developing print awareness, the understanding that the little black marks on the page have meaning. An early understanding of this concept makes learning to read so much easier later on.
Sesame Street: Elmo’s ABC Lift-the-Flap
Elmo’s ABC Lift the Flap offers a rich experience in so many ways. The pages are busier than some of the other books I’ve mentioned, and a single two-page spread offers plenty to look at, find, discuss, or do.
Each letter is on a large flap that lifts up to reveal a picture and a sentence or two. Many smaller flaps throughout the book lift up to show pictures underneath. Almost everything on each page is clearly labeled.
If you want to keep the flaps intact, you might want to keep this book reserved for reading to and with your child, as opposed to reading by your child.
This is a great choice for toddlers and preschoolers who love Sesame Street and are familiar with the characters.
A Is for Apple (Smart Kids Trace-And-Flip)
A Is For Apple is a simple book that offers so much. It’s an interactive book that offers a kinesthetic aspect, with grooved letter shapes for kids to trace with an index finger or stylus.
Uppercase and lowercase letters are included, with two simple pictures for each letter. One of the pictures is printed on a flap, and the other is revealed when the flap is lifted.
Perfect for children ages one to three, this book makes a great first birthday gift or gift for any one-year-old.
Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
Like Sleepy Little Alphabet and Max’s ABC, Z Is for Moose has a definite plot. It elicits giggles and roars of laughter, as Moose impatiently tries to claim his time on stage during Zebra’s ABC production. Be sure to look carefully at the illustrations to catch all the humor.
When Moose isn’t chosen to represent the letter “M,” his tantrum is epic, and readers will wonder how this situation can possibly be resolved. Because Z is NOT for Moose, right? Turns out that it can be, when friendship saves the day.
I hope you’ll use this list as a starting point for a baby’s or toddler’s alphabet book collection, or as inspiration for expanding the library of a preschooler or kindergartner.
Include alphabet books like these in your read alouds on a regular basis, and I promise you’ll be delighted with your child’s easy, natural progress.
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Remember, when choosing books for preschoolers, look for
Books that highlight basic concepts, such as colors, shapes, letters and numbers.
Rhyme, rhythm and repetition.
Photographs and illustrations that are clear, colorful and engaging.
Simple, fun plots with action that moves quickly.
Stories about everyday life and familiar events in a child’s day-to-day life.
Main characters (human or animal) who are your child’s age or just a little bit older.
Here is a list of my ten favorite classic books for preschoolers. These are books that have been around for a generation or more, and are tried and true. They are books I’ve read over and over again in my classroom over the years, and books I read so often to my own kids that the whole family had them practically memorized. When I need a baby shower gift or a gift for a new baby, I nearly always choose a few of these titles and wrap them in a sturdy, attractive basket.
In almost all cases, the authors of these books have also written other, equally wonderful books. If you find that your child falls in love with a particular book on the list, explore other titles by that author and see what other favorites you discover.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear takes a simple two-sentence rhyme and repeats it throughout the story, creating a lilting rhythm that I love to read out loud. It’s a question and answer format, which is a natural language pattern that preschoolers are drawn to.
Because it’s a short rhyme and the clear, simple pictures support the words so directly, kids memorize this book quickly and are able to join in as you read. It effortlessly provides exposure to the basic preschool concepts of colors and animals.
If I had to pick the single most absolutely perfect book for toddlers and preschoolers, this would be it.This book has something of value to offer every preschooler and their family. In Kindergarten and first grade, it’s a book that early readers love to revisit, delighted that they can truly read it themselves. Include this one in baby shower gifts for sure. Click here to browse other books by Bill Martin, Jr.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is another book that is just about perfect. It’s a simple story plot that manages to incorporate days of the week, colors, and numbers without feeling contrived at all. Carle is describing an event in nature that is simple to understand, yet universal in concept – growth and change over time.
There’s no rhyme, but the repetition is tons of fun, and invites enthusiastic participation – “But he was still hungry!” The die cut holes left in the fruit by the caterpillar are perfectly sized for little fingers to poke through – again, an irresistible invitation to participate. Click here to check out other stories by Eric Carle. He is amazingly prolific.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
Remember in this post, when I suggested reading through a book to find the rhyming parts ahead of time? It’s a good idea to do that with this Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Although I love it dearly and it does have great rhymes, the rhythm and cadence is unusual and it takes a little bit of practice to read this book out loud smoothly. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is an alphabet book with lots of action and a fast, exciting pace.
We all relate to Where the Wild Things Are because Max represents the naughty child in all of us, who sits in time out and thinks resentful thoughts about the parent who busted them, fantasizing about letting loose and creating a wild rumpus with a bunch of wild things. Or am I the only one who thinks that?
Really though, this book takes us on a boundary-stretching imaginary journey with Max. He bosses the wild things around and goes a little crazy before waking up in a more relaxed mood, happy to see that his mother has relented and placed his supper on the table.
Is Your Mama A Llama? manages to be poignant while lighthearted. The theme of being separated from a parent is one that kids relate to, even if it hasn’t happened to them. I’ve seen my students really empathize with Lloyd the baby llama, seeming to really feel his mounting concern as he asks each young animal, “Is your Mama a llama?”
The rhyme is more complex in this book, creating a smooth rhythm that makes it easy to read aloud. Children quickly begin to chime in with the last word of each rhyming interaction between Lloyd and his friends. Although this is a well-written story, I think that the illustrations by the more prolific and better known Steven Kellogg make this book really stand out.
The Mitten by Jan Brett
The illustrations in The Mitten make it age-appropriately suspenseful, much more so than the words on the page. When my daughter was a preschooler, she would become giddy with anticipation as each animal crowded into the mitten, and we got closer and closer to the end of the story. When the satisfying end of the story arrived, she would be so relieved that it was over.
If You Give A Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Felicia Bond. After a young boy gives a mouse a cookie, the mouse places more and more demands on the boy, who complies willingly enough. Each of the requests the mouse makes are activities that are common in a preschooler’s life, such as coloring a picture to tape up on the refrigerator.
Together the mouse and the boy work their way through these demands/activities, working their way back around to giving the mouse a cookie. I especially love the illustrations, which are relatable and subtly humorous in the facial expressions and body language of the boy and the mouse. This book lends itself well to casually talking about sequence. Check out the whole series here.
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
You’ve really got to include Love You Forever in baby shower gifts, too. Years ago whenever I read this book to my first graders, they would say, “Oh no, she’s going to cry!” and I always did.
Throughout their lives, a mother sings to her son, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.” At first she is holding him and rocking him, and eventually she is gray-haired and sneaking into her son’s house to sing to him. Right after this is the part where the story flips and I cry, so I’ll just stop here.
Theodore Geisel is the king of silly rhyme, making Dr. Seuss books must-have classics in a preschooler’s book collection. Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite, because in addition to the rhyme, it has repetition. Some of the Seuss books do not, although they are full of rollicking rhyme and have fantastic rhythm. This repetition makes it easy for children to start to memorize this book and join in with gusto – “I do not like them, Sam I am!” Plus, the story line and concept of refusing to eat something one has not even tried, is so familiar to preschoolers. Explore all the other fabulous Dr. Seuss titles here.
Let me know in the comments which books you would put on your family’s top ten list!
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