Pre-school age children love vivid characters that they can relate to. They enjoy stories with action and repetition. I had a hard time narrowing the list down to my top ten favorite books, but here they are.
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Every child has a stuffed animal and subsequently will enjoy reading about the adventures of Corduroy, a stuffed bear. Young readers will fall in love with the cuddly bear as he comes alive one night and searches the department store for his lost button.
Cows In The Kitchen by June Crebbin
This is a book and a sing-along since the text can be sung to the tune “Skip to My Lou”. Barnyard animals engage in mischievous merriment wreaking havoc in the farmhouse as the farmer sleeps the day away. The pictures are highly colorful and full of action as cows balance bottles on their noses, ducks get comfortable in the cupboard, and sheep bounce on the sofa.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
One night, young Harold armed with his purple crayon draws himself an amazing adventure. His imagination runs free as he sketches mountains and oceans, boats, and of course a purple pie picnic when he gets hungry. So get your crayons out and join Harold and his purple crayon.
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
“If you give a mouse a cookie, he will want some milk to go with it,” and so begins a series of events that ends up right back where it started. Children will enjoy how the story builds upon itself each event leading to something else. The pictures are delightfully detailed and propel the story along.
I Love You Stinky-face by Lisa McCourt
This is one of my favorite books on the topic of parent-child love. A young child asks his/her mother if she would love him even if he were a smelly skunk named Stinky-face. The mother replies of course and so begins a beautiful exchange as the mother assures the child that she will always love him even if he is a swamp monster or an alien. For a more detailed review of this book read by blog, “I Love You Stinky Face – A 5 Star Book.”
I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer
Children will relate to Little Critter as he is told no to everything that he wants to do. No, he can’t keep frogs in the tub. No, he can’t help paint the house. Finally Little Critter decides to run away, that is until his friends ask him to play baseball. His mood quickly changes as he decides he can always run away another day.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Lilly loves her teacher Mr. Slinger until the day after continuous interruptions he takes her musical purple purse. For revenge she slips a mean drawing into his bag. Then feels instant remorse as she finds a kind note from her teacher in her purse when it is returned. Children will sympathize with Lilly as she tries to make amends for her mistake and laugh at the witty drawings that portray the very human little mouse.
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
This story is an incredible tale of motivation and positive thinking. The Big Strong Engine or the Shiny New Engine cannot pull the train loaded with toys over the mountain. So the task is left to the Little Blue Engine as he chants, “I think I can – I think I can,” and manages to pull the heavy train over the tall mountain.
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
This is one of my childhood favorites and it is still a favorite today. Set in Paris young Madeline is the youngest of 12 little girls that live in a school overseen by Miss Clavel. Despite her size Madeline is fearless, until one night she wakes up with pains in her stomach. She is whisked off to the hospital and awakens later with a scar on her tummy. The lilting rhymes and watercolor drawings will make this every little girl’s favorite.
The Napping House by Don & Audrey Wood
One by one a snoring granny, a dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing cat, and a slumbering mouse make their way to the large bed. Everyone in the house is sleeping except for the flea. Children will enjoy what happens as the wakeful flea joins the bed. Children will enjoy the rhythmic, repetitive text accompanied by witty pictures in shades of blue and green.
All of these books can be purchased at Amazon.com and range in price from $3.50 to $10.00, or checked out at your local library.