10(+1) Great Picture Books to Read with Your Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers

10(+1) Great Picture Books to Read with Your Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers

So, we already talked about how important it is to help children enjoy reading. One of the best ways to do this is by allowing children of all ages enjoy picture books. Don’t tell your children that “picture books are for babies” because if those are the books they enjoy, you’ll simply put them off reading.

Picture books are highly visual, but the best ones to read (aloud or not) also feature great language. There may be rhymes, but overall, you want a story that will delight, teach (but not seem like a textbook) and be unforgettable. 

I'll share a great list of ten picture books to start your kids off on. These picture books are short and simple enough that your toddlers (ages 1-3) and preschoolers (ages 3-5) can follow. However, they also have sparse enough text that your beginning reader (ages 5-7) can read and delightful plots that your older kids will at least crack a smile at! 

1. Feast for 10

  • Author: Cathryn Falwell

A sweet picture book about a family shopping for food, preparing dinner and setting the table to eat! I love picture books about mundane activities in life, but this book is extra fabulous because it will teach your preschooler about counting, in the most fun way!

2.  Bedtime For Mommy

  • Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • Illustration: LeUyen Pham

This role-reversal book will make your kids giggle as a little girl tucks her mother into bed in the sweetest way. And then, goes to tuck daddy in too!

3. Whose Knees Are These?

  • Author: Jabari Asim
  • Illustration: LeUyen Pham

A brilliant read aloud pick, this book is full of rhymes and looks at a child’s knees through his mother’s eyes. It comes as a board book too which is excellent for your book gobbling infant!

4. Leo Can Swim

  • Author: Anne McQuinn
  • Illustration: Ruth Hearson

Baby Leo goes to swim class with daddy and makes many new friends! A cute book with a diverse cast of characters. If your kids are starting swimming classes, this book would be a perfect companion!

5.  I Love the Rain

  • Author: Margaret Park Bridges
  • Illustration: Christine Davenier

Molly doesn’t like the rain, but in this poetic picture book, her friend opens her eyes to the beauty of a rainy day. Older kids will appreciate this lyrical book in which a girl comes to see the magic of rain. 

6. Lola Loves Stories

  • Author: Anna McQuinn

  • Illustration: Rosalind Beardshaw

I love this series about a little black girl named Lola. In this picture book, Lola discovers the adventure that reading can be. Perfect for showing your children the power of stories.

7. Llama Llama Nighty Night

  • Author: Anna Dewdney

Another book with great rhyming, this Llama Llama book follows Llama’s bedtime routine. It would make a soothing bedtime story!

8. Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?

  • Author: Dr. Seuss

The first Dr. Seuss book I ever read to kids, this book is absolutely delightful! Mr Brown can not only moo, but make a variety of animal and non-animal sounds. From the drip drop of rain to the boom of thunder, you’ll have your kids pretty excited whenever you read this one!

9.  I Love My Hair

  • Author: Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
  • Illustration: E. B Lewis

Every kid with a ‘fro will love this book about a black girl who develops an appreciation for her curly hair and builds her confidence.

10. How to Be a Big Kid

Author: DK

Another educational (but, fun) book for preschoolers. A bit of longer book that teaches life skills from introductions to tying shoelaces.

+1 The Three Billy Goats Gruff

You didn’t think I’d make this list without mentioning The Three Billy Goats Gruff, did you? My friend’s kids cannot get enough of "who's that trip trapping over my bridge?". They know the story by heart now and my friend and I enjoy their delight every single time we get lost in this story. There are many writers and illustrators who’ve redone this classic tale, but I stand by Ladybird’s version. It’s just completely entertaining and the language is perfect for a read aloud!

As a huge fan of picture books myself, I firmly believe that anyone can enjoy beautiful pictures, lyrical language and books that can be read in ten minutes!

Even if you haven't got kids, these are great books to buy as gifts for all the little kids you know.

I’d love to know if you’ve read any of these picture books or if you’re going to add any to your list.If you do read them with or without (wink) your kids, please let me know what you and your kids thought!

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