Favorite Books for Preschool and Early Elementary

Children at these age levels like short chapters and interesting illustrations. Popular subjects include animals, pets, adventure, and silly situations.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Generations of children have had a snugly adult read Goodnight Moon at bedtime. First published in 1947, it is still on the Children’s Bestseller List because of its lilting text and soothing illustrations. Available in Paperback and Hardback

Books by Eric Carle
Each of Carle’s books tell the adventures of a small animal through bright, colored collages and some sort of touch-and-feel page. For example, the caterpillar book has holes to show where the hungry caterpillar chewed on things and the spider book has raised web lines so children can feel the progress the spider is making as the story unfolds. For ages 3 – 7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Grouchy Ladybug

Eric Carle’s Very Little Library . Children all over the world have grown up with Eric Carle and his “very” books. Now, for the first time, three of these classic board books are together in their own little library! Packaged in a beautiful slipcase, the timeless The Very Hungry CaterpillarThe Very Lonely Firefly, and The Very Busy Spider

Books by Virginia Lee Burton
These books have been popular with little boys for generations. In Katy and the Big Snow, a big snow-plow saves the city from a blizzard. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel race against time to prove that steam shovels can do as much work in a day as a hundred men can do in a week. Maybelle the Cable Car travels the streets of San Francisco.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. A young boy offers his animal guest something to eat, which leads to all kinds of expected events. For example, a cookie leads to a glass of milk, prompting the need for a straw, then a look in a mirror, then a comb, then…. What a mess!
If You Give a Moose a Muffin and If You Give a Pig a Party follow similar themes of one thing leading to another until everything is utter chaos. Children love these books!

Books by Joanne Ryder
These very special books have some of the most beautiful illustrations in children’s literature. Each book asks the child to imagine what it would be like to be the animal in the title: how it would feel, what you would see, etc. The word pictures are so effective, especially paired with the wonderful illustrations, that children almost experience being the animal in the title. The Snail’s Spell and Where Butterflies Grow

The Boy Who Held Back the Sea. With stunning illustrations in the style of the old Dutch masters, Thomas Locker book tells the story of a young person who learns the importance of honesty.

The Story of Ferdinand by Monroe Leaf. The classic story of a peaceful bull who would rather “sit and smell the flowers” than fight in the ring.

Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier. This is our all-time favorite Spier book. Each page is brimming with fascinating, colorful drawings that children can spend many happy minutes pouring over. Noah’s dilemma of having to take care of all these animals is illustrated in comical detail. The book is practically wordless, so you can retell the story in your own words.

Books by Arnold Lobel
There are four wonderful books in the Frog and Toad series: Frog and Toad Are FriendsDays With Frog and ToadFrog and Toad All Year; and Frog and Toad Together. Each is on a beginner reading level. Our boys loved cheerful Frog and gloomy Toad.

Books by the Hobans
Each of these books relates the escapades of a lovable badger named Frances who doesn’t want to eat what she should, who is double-crossed by her best friend, who wants to get out of going to bed, or who has to deal with a new baby sister. Titles are Bread and Jam for FrancesA Bargain for Frances; and Bedtime for Frances.

The Story About Ping by Margorie Flack. Ping is a little duck who lives with all of his relatives on a boat on the Yangtze River in China. One day Ping has a dangerous adventure.

Books by Alice Dalgliesh. All of these books are suitable for ages 4 – 8.
The Courage of Sarah Noble. Award winning story of an eight year old girl in the wilderness in 1707 whose life is changed by a special visitor.
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain. There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain… Or so young Jonathan is led to believe as he sets out alone over Hemlock Mountain.
The Fourth of July Story brings alive the history and spirit of the Fourth of July.

Billy and Blaze Books
Billy wants a horse more than anything in the world. How his wish comes true and the many adventures Billy and Blaze share are the subject of these books by C. W. Anderson. Ages 5-9.
Billy and Blaze
Blaze and the Lost Quarry
Blaze and the Forest Fire 
Blaze Shows the Way
Blaze and Thunderbolt
Blaze and the Mountain Lion
Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony
Blaze Finds the Trail

Books by Robert McCloskey
Blueberries for Sal. A little girl and her mother are happily picking blueberries when they run across a mother bear and her cub. In the resulting mix-up, Sal and the bear cub wind up trading places.
One Morning in Maine. Sal spends a wonderful day at the beach and loses her first tooth.
Make Way for Ducklings. When a mother mallard and her eight little ducklings brave the dangers of the Boston city streets, it takes a policeman to ensure that they safely reach Father Mallard.
A Time of Wonder is the classic story of a family spending the Summer on an island in Maine.

Fritz and the Beautiful Horses by Jan Brett. Only the most beautiful horses were allowed inside the walled city, so this meant Fritz, even though he was gentle and willing to work, must stay outside. The illustrations are absolutely scrumptious and the story reassuring to any child who has ever felt left out.

Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales. Here are all 22 of Potter’s wonderful tales in an oversized hardback book. It includes her charming, original full color illustrations, personal anecdotes, and notes about her inspiration for writing each of her wonderful stories. Every household should have a copy of this book.

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. A peddler trying to sell caps decides to take an afternoon nap and while he sleeps a group of monkeys steals his caps. How the peddler gets his caps back is the heart of the story and lots of fun for children to act out.

Keep the Lights Burning Abbie by Peter and Connie Roop. While her father is away, Abbie keeps her promise to keep the lighthouse lights burning.

Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress is a fabulous hardcover version of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress adapted for children. The illustrations are gorgeous and fascinating (but may frighten very small children).

The Tale of Three Trees is the wonderful folktale of three trees who each wanted to become something special. Their dreams come true quite differently than they had imagined. (Hardcover)

Saint George and the Dragon retold by Margaret Hodges. A beautiful adaptation of the old story of a courageous knight. Absolutely breathtaking illustrations that children pour over. Paper or Hardcover.

The Complete Adventures of Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey. Here, in one oversized hardback volume, are all of the Curious George books. Who can resist a loveable little monkey who tries his best to be good, but whose curiosity always gets the better of him? Boys love this book. Ages 3 – 8.

Wilfred Gordon MacDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. The namesake of this book is a small boy who regularly visits an old folks home. Concerned to hear that an elderly friend has lost her memory, he tries to find it for her.

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. In this old favorite, three hungry soldiers cook up a fine soup by cajoling the necessary ingredients from wary peasants.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski. Through stunning illustrations, this book tells of an embittered woodcarver whose heart is softened as he carves a nativity scene for a widow and her young son. Very special.

Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman. This is another beautifully illustrated hardcover book, this time about a Jewish family. Joseph’s grandfather is a tailor and can fix anything, even Joey’s tattered blanket.

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