Choosing preschool books can be challenging. The number of books published for children this age have surged in the past couple of decades, making it difficult to know which titles are the best. We've compiled a list of some of the best books for preschoolers to help you grow your child's library.
Our top choice for best books for preschoolers is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. The clever book tells the story of Trixie, a little girl who's lost her favorite bunny, but doesn't yet have the words to tell her dad. A comedy of errors ensues. We like this book because it is fun, and it can teach kids important literary concepts.
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- Best Books for Preschoolers
- Best Overall – Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
- Best Book Set – Pete the Cat Set
- Best Classic Option – Where the Wild Things Are
- Best Alphabet Book – AlphaOops!: The Day the Z Went First
- Best Counting Book – Ten Black Dots
- Best for Rhyming – Rhyming Dust Bunnies
- Best for Laughs – Dragons Love Tacos
- Best Informative Book – Everyone Poops
- Best for Teaching Acceptance – It's Okay to Be Different
- Best for STEM – Rosie Revere, Engineer
- Best Interactive Book – Press Here
- Best for Learning Colors – The Day the Crayons Quit
- Best for Bedtime – Llama Llama Red Pajama
- What to Consider When Buying Books for Preschoolers
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Books for Preschoolers
Best Overall – Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
Our best overall book for preschoolers is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. The book tells the story of Trixie, a little girl who leaves her precious bunny at the laundromat. Hijinks ensue when Trixie, who isn't speaking yet, tries to tell her dad what's wrong. The book has fun illustrations with black and white photos for the backgrounds.
We chose this book for several reasons. It's a relatable story. Almost all kids have lost their favorite toy at some point, and preschoolers (even older ones) understand the frustration of trying to communicate with adults. Knuffle Bunny is also an excellent book to help your child understand narrative concepts like plot, character, conflict, and even dramatic irony. Adults will enjoy this book as well since there are quite a few nods to parents.
Best Book Set – Pete the Cat Set
If you'd like to purchase a set of books, we recommend the Pete the Cat Set by Eric Litwin. The set comes with three books, each featuring the beloved character, Pete. It includes I Love My White Shoes, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, and Rocking in My School Shoes. The books show Pete losing his buttons, messing up his new shoes, and discovering his new school, all while keeping a great attitude.
Kids and parents both love Pete and for good reason. The stories are funny, the art is simple and cute, and each book teaches a lesson without ever being heavy-handed. Preschoolers have lots of big emotions and often have trouble expressing how they feel in appropriate ways. Pete is an excellent role model for how to adapt to whatever comes along.
Best Classic Option – Where the Wild Things Are
Our favorite classic book for preschoolers is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Sendak's iconic book tells the story of Max, who misbehaves and gets sent to his room. While there, he goes on an adventure and becomes king of all the wild things, but soon realizes he misses his mother. He returns home and discovers that a mother's love is unconditional.
Where the Wild Things Are is a classic for a reason. Over 50 years after publication, the story and its themes still hold up. Kids and parents alike will delight in the story and will each get something special from its subtle message. We like this book for bedtime or for a time after your child has been misbehaving.
Best Alphabet Book – AlphaOops!: The Day the Z Went First
AlphaOops!: The Day the Z Went First by Alethea Kontis is our pick for the best alphabet book for preschool kids. In this fun spin on the traditional ABC book, this story shows what happens when the mischievous letters get out of order.
We like this pick for older preschoolers as most of them already know their alphabet and may be bored by the standard ABC books. This book has fun illustrations, and kids will enjoy correcting the letters. This book takes the alphabet to the next letter for little learners who are ready to be challenged.
Best Counting Book – Ten Black Dots
Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews is one of the best books to help preschoolers with counting and early math concepts. The book invites children to think of all the things they can do with ten black dots. Each page features the dots used in new ways and prompts the children to practice counting.
We like this book because it's more than just a basic counting book. It encourages kids to work with numbers in a more meaningful way. The book also serves as a springboard for a fun activity – kids can make their own set of black dots, make their own creations, and count.
Best for Rhyming – Rhyming Dust Bunnies
One of our favorite preschool books with rhyming text is Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas. In this story, a group of dust bunnies always rhyme – except for Bob. The other bunnies are aggravated – until they realize that Bob isn't rhyming for a reason.
This rhyming text is hilarious, and it encourages kids to come up with their own rhymes. Rhyming words are more than just fun – they're actually pivotal to learning to read. Preschoolers need to be exposed to rhyming words before they even begin to learn to read.
Best for Laughs – Dragons Love Tacos
If you want a funny book, Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin is one of the best books for preschoolers. In the tale, a human boy prepares to throw a taco party for dragons, who love tacos – as long as there's no spicy salsa. What happens when the boy misreads the salsa label? Fiery chaos ensues. There's also a sequel for even more laughs.
Dragons Love Tacos has become something of a phenomenon. Kids love the silly story and the building tension. This is one of our favorite book suggestions for family read alouds, as even older kids will want to get in on the fun.
Best Informative Book – Everyone Poops
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi is one of our best books for preschoolers for discussing bodily functions. This classic book with simple words and illustrations guides readers through the bodily functions of humans and several other animals. It's both funny and informative.
Whether you have made it through potty training or you're still in the thick of it, your kids probably have many questions about bathroom stuff. If you're one of the many parents who don't enjoy answering these questions, this book can be a big help. If your kids have little interest in reading, this one should at least pique their curiosity.
Best for Teaching Acceptance – It's Okay to Be Different
One of our favorite preschool books for teaching acceptance is It's Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr. This colorful, quick read goes through many sorts of differences, some silly and some more serious, reminding children that it's okay to have differences.
We like this book because it helps kids to understand that its okay to be different from others and teaches them self-confidence. It also reminds kids that we should accept others as they are. It's Okay to Be Different is one of the best preschool books to read with your child as he or she begins to notice that not everyone is the same.
Best for STEM – Rosie Revere, Engineer
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty is our top choice for STEM, and one the best books for preschoolers, hands down. The book tells the story of Rosie, a budding inventor, who is afraid to share her inventions for fear of failure. She eventually learns the importance of trying from her great-great-aunt, Rosie the Riveter. This book is part of a series of books, and there are also chapter books about Rosie and her friends for older readers.
We love Rosie Revere, Engineer, because it shows kids how important it is to keep trying, even through failure. Kids can see the importance of trial and experimentation in the engineering process. As a bonus, Rosie is a strong female scientist and a role model for all readers.
Best Interactive Book – Press Here
One of our favorite interactive best books for preschoolers is Press Here by Herve Tullet. The book starts with a yellow dot and a simple request, inviting the reader to “press here.” Once kids press the button, they are taken on a whimsical ride, with surprises and new instructions on each page.
Interactive books are a great way to get kids who are uninterested in reading captivated by a book. This book is a fun one to read with your child. We like it because it teaches cause and effect in a fun way.
Best for Learning Colors – The Day the Crayons Quit
One of the best books for preschoolers to help with learning colors is The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. In this adorable book, Duncan opens his crayon box to discover that all of his crayons have left. Each crayon has left a letter, listing out their many grievances. Duncan has to meet their demands in order for them to return.
We love this book because it's a fun way to reinforce learning the colors without using flashcards. Kids will be so focused on the story that they won't even realize they're learning their colors. Adults will get a good chuckle out of the many jokes.
Best for Bedtime – Llama Llama Red Pajama
One of the best books for preschoolers at bedtime is Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. It's bedtime for Baby Llama, and everything is going well until Mama Llama leaves the room. Panic ensues as Baby Llama does everything he can to get Mama to return.
If bedtime is a struggle for you and your little one, you'll both appreciate Llama Llama Red Pajama. Dewdney paints a scene that is all-too-familiar for parents of preschoolers. This is one of our favorite preschool books because it helps kids understand that their parents are always near, even when not in the room with them.
What to Consider When Buying Books for Preschoolers
Whether your child is reading or not, you need to consider age level when choosing books. Picture books are geared toward different ages. Make sure to select a book that will be challenging enough to be interesting, but not so complicated that it goes over your child's head.
If your child is starting to read, many great books allow beginning readers to read independently. Some even have a page for the child to read and a page for the parent to read to keep the child engaged. It's important to know that even if your child is reading independently, it's essential to continue reading more advanced books aloud.
It's important to consider your child's interests when choosing books, especially if your child is a reluctant reader. There are picture books about almost any topic under the sun, so you are bound to find something your child will like. Books are also a great way to answer your kid's many questions.
Reading should primarily be for entertainment at this age, but you can also sneak in some educational books. Many children's books have mastered the art of teaching in an appealing way, so you should be able to find plenty of educational books. Ideally, your home library will be full of books on a variety of topics.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a good book for preschoolers?
Several elements come together to make a great picture book. The story or topic must be something that will resonate with kids. Most kids' books feature animals or kids as the main characters, but just about any character can work if done correctly.
The text and story should be easy to understand, but not so simple that kids feel bored. Kids have a surprising capacity for understanding, so you may be surprised at what they can understand. Finally, excellent illustrations are a must. Since most preschoolers aren't reading yet, they can get a lot through the pictures.
How do I get my child interested in reading?
There are several ways to get kids interested in reading. Start by choosing high-interest books. Try to do activities to connect with books. For example, if you read a book about characters in the snow, you could play in the snow as well. Make sure to let your kids see you reading on your own. Finally, make reading a special time that you spend together as a family.
What's the best way to read to a preschooler?
As you read, make sure to use your voice to emphasize important words. You don't have to do special voices if you don't want to, but try to read with feeling. Ask questions before, during, and after reading. Ask your child to make predictions and discuss character motivations. Let your child see the book as you're reading.
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Last update on 2021-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API