Although we all enjoy a good picture book, these titles are most popular with the preschool and early elementary set. These suggestions offer just a sample; there are many more quality titles available. For additional illustrated favorites, try these Caldecott winners.
Farmer Brown's cows are unhappy because their barn is chilly at night. Luckily, they find an old typewriter and write Farmer Brown a note requesting an electric blanket to keep them toasty. Farmer Brown refuses, prompting a chain of hilarious reactions from the cows, hens and ducks. Young and old will love this comical tale about the farm animals that took a stand. A 2001 Caldecott Honor book. (Ages 4–8)
Would you let a pigeon drive? In this simple yet hilarious tale, a pigeon pleads with the reader to let him drive the bus. Your child will love telling the pigeon "No," after each request. A 2003 Caldecott Honor book. (Ages 3–5)
George's mother tells him, "Bark, George!" and he responds "Meow!" Something is not right with his voice. Children will enjoy hearing all the animal sounds George makes as he tries to find his bark. (Ages 3–6)
Pete has nothing to do on a dreary, rainy day until his father turns him into a pizza. In this hilarious story, Pete's father kneads and stretches him, covers him with toppings and tosses him into the oven. (Ages 3–6)
Your child will enjoy this unique concept book of numbers, money and alphabet letters. Bright photographs of numbers paired with coins will help your young one learn that there is more than one way to make 99 cents. Flip the book over and check out colorful alphabet pages. It's two books in one! (Ages 4–8)
Watch the freight train zoom over the countryside, across a high bridge and through a dark tunnel. Bold colors and simple text make this the perfect book to share with your child. If he enjoys Freight Train, some other transportation books by Donald Crews include Truck, Airplane and Machines at Work. A 1979 Caldecott Honor book. (Ages 0–5)
Mr. Gilly, the trash man, cleans up the town with his trash truck. With the chorus, "Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the trashy town!" and lively illustrations, this book will have the whole family looking forward to trash day. (Ages 0–5)
Learning the alphabet gets a power boost with help from an alphabet's worth of superheroes, from Astro-Man to Zinger. Watch reading skills take off with comic book-style illustrations that dazzle even reluctant readers. (Ages 3–7)
This stunning alphabet book by award-winning author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg is a must-have for every library. Striking black-and-white illustrations present the letters of the alphabet in a series of 26 acts. Children will enjoy the clever spin on each letter: for example, A gets buried in an avalanche and V vanishes off the page. (Ages 4–7)
With engaging rhyme and vibrant art, Swish! takes readers into the final minute of a hotly contested game between two basketball teams, the Cardinals and the Blue Jays. (Ages 4–8)
Granny Whiteoak, who was a star quarterback in her youth, hears on TV that her team is in trouble. She leaps from her bed and into the television, coming out at the stadium, where she defeats the opposition with a startling touchdown. The supreme silliness is elevated by the rhyming verse and hilarious illustrations. (Ages 4–8)
This bright and captivating rhyming book will inspire your child to hunt for bugs in the backyard and beyond. An enclosed bug fact chart may also interest a budding entomologist. (Ages 4–8)
Despite everyone's predictions that his carrot will not grow, a little boy tends to his seed with great care and attention. In the end, he is rewarded with an enormous harvest. Your child will enjoy this classic with simple text and eye-catching black-and-white illustrations. (Ages 0–5)
Martha, a mutt, begins to speak after her young owner slips her a bowl of alphabet soup. She speaks, and speaks, and speaks, until Helen tells her, "Sometimes I wish you had never learned to talk." (Ages 4-8)
On a visit to the zoo, Patrick's big brother, Hank, tells him all about dinosaurs. As Hank describes bigger and more ferocious dinosaurs, Patrick's mind begins to play tricks on him. Is that really a Tyrannosaurus at his window? (Ages 4–7)
This clever and engaging nonfiction book is filled with amazing facts about an assortment of animals. Using beautiful collages, parts of animals' bodies are presented with intriguing questions such as, "What do you do with a nose like this?" and "What do you do with eyes like this?" These are followed by information about how each animal makes use of that particular body part. A 2004 Caldecott Honor book. (Ages 3–7)
Even nonreaders can have the satisfaction of solving mysteries in this inventive series of hidden-object picture books. (Ages 4–8)
This preschool/kindergarten series comes in more shapes, sizes, and formats than you can shake a bumper at! It's a world where all the characters are trucks, all the stories are action driven, and boys can imagine themselves in all their crazy, loud, funny, creative, excited, full-throttle glory! Best of all, no one's afraid to get dirty or be LOUD! (Ages 4–8)
In this quick-moving story, a paperboy flies through the air on his bicycle and swoops down to do good deeds. The award-winning artwork uses comic book techniques to add excitement to the story. (Ages 3-7)
Add this collection of songs and rhymes from Latin America to your library. Each selection is beautifully illustrated with text presented in both English and Spanish.
Añade esta colección de canciones y rimas de Latinoamérica a su biblioteca. Cada selección estábellamente ilustrada con texto presentado en inglés y español. (Ages 3–8)
A young llama wants to know if his friends' mothers are also llamas. In repetitive rhyming text, each animal friend describes his own mama. Using the descriptive clues and beautiful illustrations, children will love trying to guess the animal. Available in both English and Spanish.
Una llama joven quiere saber si las madres de sus amigos son llamas también. '¿Tu mamáes una llama?' pregunta. Usando texto animado y repetitivo cada animal amigo describe su propia mamá. A los niños les encantarátratar de adivinar el animal siguiendo las pistas descriptivas y las bellas ilustraciones. También disponible en inglés. (Ages 0–4)
Young children love this rhythmic book. All the letters climb to the top of the coconut tree; then it bends under its burden and drops its coconuts, leaving the letters in a pile at its base. This classic ABC book introduces both capital and lowercase letters. (Ages 3–6)
A boy and a constantly rhyming bear frolic through a world of berries. Delightful rhymes and rhythms help young listeners learn the sounds of our language, creating the building blocks for future reading. Parents will love this great rhyming book, while young children enjoy spotting the elephant on skates and lambs carrying strawberries. (Ages 3–6)
Pierre says he doesn't care about anyone or anything, but an experience with a hungry lion helps him change his mind. Sendak's humorous, rhyming text and whimsical illustrations capture Pierre's transformation perfectly. (Ages 4–8)
When Daddy returns home from work, everyone is sound asleep except for the baby. He takes the baby in his arms and sings a lullaby until they both fall asleep. Stunning, realistic pictures bring this tender story to life. (Ages 0–4)
Little Nutbrown Hare loves his father as far as he can reach with his arms and as high as he can hop. His father shows him just how much he loves him too, with an even bigger reach and higher hop. This endearing story is perfect for settling in at bedtime. (Ages 2–5)
This book offers advice on how to make friends, with a humorous twist. By describing all the ways children can lose friends, such as whining, not sharing, bullying and frowning, it emphasizes a valuable message about friendship. (Ages 3–7)
Your little one will connect with David as he gets into mischief throughout the house. As he plays with his food, jumps on the bed and tracks mud indoors, he receives the same response from his family—"No, David!" In the end, however, he receives the most important message of all—"Yes, David. I love you!" A 1999 Caldecott Honor book. (Ages 3–6)
A young boy desperately tries to prevent his parents from going out for the evening by creating many elaborate excuses. He simply refuses to be left with the babysitter. This comical tale is one that all children can relate to. (Ages 3–6)
When a little boy's cat dies, he can think of only nine good things to say at the funeral. Through conversations with his dad, he discovers the tenth good thing and begins to heal. (Ages 4–8)
In this app, kids are charge of feeding, washing, and playing with baby animals.
"...when people are curious about something, they learn more, and better."
Don’t let the idea overwhelm you. A few containers and soil in a sunny spot will do.