Favorite Kids’ Books

Lindsey and I believe in spending lots of time reading lots of great stories to our children and making great children’s literature easily accessible around our house.  We love discovering great new kids’ books, so please feel free to share more with us!  We have added amazon links to each book for easy browsing.  These are all for preschool-aged and under since that’s what we’ve got so far.

Here’s a start…

Great Children’s Books (in no particular order):

  • “Bedtime for Mommy” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  A very hilarious role reversal of  a little girl putting her mommy to bed.  Lots of laughing with this one!  Here is what my kids thought of it.
  • “Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop” by Lisa Shulman.  We definitely need a new copy.  We are missing pages.  Old MacDonald is a Sheep and she helps the animals build a toy barn for all the baby animals.  Pretty cute.
  • “Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae.  Gerald, the clumsy giraffe, bursts through his own self-consciousness and the jeering of the other animals and becomes a wild dancer!  The cool part that my oldest noticed about this book is that you can find the cricket hiding on every page!
  • Farmer Joe and the Music Show” by Tony Mitton.  A rhythmic poem of how Farmer Joe lifts the spirits of his tired friends, the other animals by orchestrating a band in the heat of the day.  Colorful and animated pictures keep us reading this one over and over.
  • “You’re All My Favorites” by Sam McBratney.  A good thing to remind our children, as this mommy and daddy bear assure their cubs: You are each remarkably wonderful and special and different, and we love you each the most!  Makes me cry.
  • “Monkey with a Toolbelt” and “Monkey with a Toolbelt and the Noisy Problem”by Chris Monroe.  Gramma got this for us for Christmas after she saw we continually checked this one out of the library.  Monkeys who fix stuff and sleep in their toolbelts are cool.  And even cooler if their name is Chico Bon-Bon!
  • “Scaredy Squirrel” by Melanie Watt.  Scaredy had lived in the same old tree and had the same old view his whole life until one day he falls out of his tree on accident.  Suddenly he realizes he can fly, and his life is changes forever!  Don’t we all wish we could fly like a squirrel?  My kids do.
  • “The Water Hole” by Graeme Base.  Awesome pictures of animals from all over the world.  We’ve had fun finding all the hidden animals in the pictures that are shown along the top and bottom margins of the pages.
  • “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes.  A little mouse is content with her name until she gets made fun of at school.  But it’s a good ending!
  • “What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?” by Steve Jenkins.  Cool facts about animals and how they use their different body parts.  Awesome and detailed illustrations with paper cuttings.
  • “Actual Size” by Steve Jenkins.  More amazing facts about animals and their sizes with great paper-cut illustrations.  Our favorite is the Goliath Frog that weighs 7 pounds and fills us 3 page lengths!
  • “Sing Sophie” by Dayle Ann Dodds.  Sophie’s got a song in her heart and it needs to come out!  I love her self-confidence.  We keep the beat on our knees as we sing her twangy cowgirl songs.
  • “The Mitten” by Jan Brett. Adorable story, intricate illustrations.  We love the mittens on the side that tell what animal is coming next.
  • “On Noah’s Ark” by Jan Brett.  I must say that God and His awesome power is completely left out in the words to this story, but the pictures are amazing.  We tell this story with God’s truth in our own words.  I love asking my kids, “And WHO shut the door to the ark?”
  • “Great Joy” by Kate DiCamillo.  A story of a child’s compassion.  Beautiful.
  • “Nuts to You” by Lois Ehlert. The antics of a little squirrel watched from the window.  We too watch squirrels from our window.  A poem with lovely pictures.
  • “Art and Max” by David Wiesner.  Our sweet Auntie gave this to us for Christmas. It’s very artsy and weird and it’s funny to hear the kids explain what is happening.  There is no wrong answer here!
  • “Leonardo the Terrible Monster” by Mo Willems.  About a monster who learns to be nice and make friends.  Also from sweet Auntie.  She picks out the goodies.
  • “The Boy Who Cried Over Everything” by Betsy Childs.  About a boy named Murray who learns when crying is appropriate.

Great Series:

Classics to Hold On To:

  • “Where The Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.  We have a few wild things around here too.
  • “Harry the Dirty Dog” by Gene Zion.  A dog runs away but realizes there is nothing better than being with his own family.
  • “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” by William Steig.  I take from this the message that even if you are granted every wish you could imagine, your family who loves you is the best gift of all.  (Not sure if the kids catch on to that message, but it’s a great story.)
  • “Blueberries For Sal” by Robert McCloskey.  I would feel really bad if I were Sal’s mother or the baby bear’s mother, but that blueberry jam at the end looks yummy.
  • “Animal Tales” by Thorton Burgess.  Another classic.  The language is more complicated and antiquated so sometimes I substitute words when reading aloud, but sweet lessons with animals.  (I enjoy these more than the Beatrix Potter series).  Burgess also has a whole series of animal chapter books, but we are not quite at that level yet.  It’s tough when you have to sit still and listen and think of your own pictures in your head!
  • “Noah’s Ark” by Peter Spier.  A wordless book with many detailed pictures.  Lots to look at and explain in our own words on each page.
  • “Rain” by Peter Spier.  A wordless book that tells the story of two kids playing all day in a rainstorm.  Great pictures spark great narration from the kids.
  • “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen.  Beautiful language and beautiful pictures about a child and father on a late night search in the snowy woods.  My husband says I read the “Whoohoohoohoo” way too fast, very unrepresentative of an owl call.  So slow down with the “whoohoohoo”.
  • “The Mysterious Tadpole” by Steven Kellogg.  My favorite is the understatement that finally when Alfonse grew as big as a horse and ate cheeseburgers, Lois’ teacher noticed he was not a regular tadpole.  We all wish we had an uncle like Uncle McAllister.  Oh wait, we DO have awesome uncles, and we do NOT need them to send us any mysterious tadpoles!
  • “Curious George”…see Series Books.
  • “Frog and Toad” …see Series Books.

A Few Baby Books:

  • “Snuggle Wuggle” by Jonathan London.  Cute and encourages cuddles.
  • “Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson.  Great rhythm to the lyrics and cute pictures.
  • “Kiss Kiss” by Margaret Wild.  Adorable pictures of lots of kissing animals.  Makes you want to kiss your babies.  The baby hippo is chasing the same thing on every page…what is it??
…and of course any books by Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, and Sandra Boynton!

The Best Bible Story Books Around:

  • “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  We read from this one almost every morning.  The language captivates my children, and chokes up their mommy.  These stories encourage a child-like faith.  Also comes with an amazing audio CD on amazon–great for car rides!
  • “The Big Picture Story Bible” by David Helm.  Also a great Bible story book for kids.
  • “The Read-Aloud Bible Stories” Series (4 Volumes) by Ella Lindvall.  Simple language, simple pictures. Great for toddler-preschool age.
For really thoughtful, great reviews on Christian children’s literature, see Aslan’s Library.  I also enjoy browsing Through The Looking Glass especially for the Award Winning Books and Picture and Graphic Novel Reviews.