8 Great Picture Books for Preschoolers

Let’s talk about book lists.

I plan out monthly themes.

I carefully pick out books ahead of time.

We attempt a beautifully curated basket time.

I intend to share those lists here on the blog.

But one of the most beautiful things to me is how each child has always picked books they personally enjoy and read those books over and over for a season.

It’s really fun to see each child’s interests and personality blossom and evolve.

We see this in many areas of their lives. One of those areas is the books they favor.

My three-year-old has been asking us to read the following list of books on repeat all summer. (Some of them have been her favorites for over a year.)

Have you read these? 

A stack with some of the best picture books we've read in 2019. My 3 year old's favorite books. Great books for preschoolers.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read these books aloud this month!

My 3-Year-Old’s Favorite Books

I Want My Hat Back

by John Klassen

I don’t know exactly why, but we are really amused by this book. It’s also been a great tool for teaching about “tricky people” and truthfulness. The ending definitely doesn’t teach a positive moral, but it makes a great conversation starter.

In this story, a bear searches for his hat and all the animals he asks can’t help him find it. Suddenly he realizes that the rabbit was actually wearing his hat at the time they spoke and had stolen his hat and lied about it. The bear runs back, confronts the rabbit, and takes his hat back. It’s then implied by the bear’s denial that he ate the rabbit. So the bear took justice into his own hands and then proved he is just as unjust as the rabbit. 

It’s a fun, short read with vibrant illustrations and a lighthearted take on untruthfulness that can be used as a springboard for all kinds of great conversations.

Nibbles the Book Monster

by Emma Yarlett

This book is just downright adorable! 

Nibbles, the cute, yellow book monster, escapes from his own story and chews his way into classic fairy tales, rewriting the stories and causing all sorts of problems along the way. You and your child “chase” Nibbles as you read the book so you can catch him. Just don’t look away! Not for one second!

The story is even more fun if your child is familiar with some version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk. 

(Note: Nibbles is available from Usborne books. If you have an Usborne rep, be sure to support him/her!)

Pirates Don’t Change Diapers

by Melissa Long and David Shannon

Grandpa (my dad) builds boats and speaks fluent pirate. He gave our older kids this book and its prequel, How I Became A Pirate. Our 18-year-old son has delighted in reading them to our youngest, and she is equally delighted. I recommend reading both books. Pirates Don’t Change Diapers just happens to be our daughter’s favorite of the two.

In this story, the pirates return to the boy’s home to retrieve their treasure, which he helped them bury in his yard in the previous book. But the boy is supposed to keep an ear out for his baby sister while his dad is napping, so the pirates have to help him so they can have the chance to go outside and dig. You can probably imagine how funny things turn out!

Dragons Love Tacos

by Adam Rubin

Are you getting the feeling our daughter likes comedy? Here is another funny book. 

The narrator guides a little boy through the process of throwing a taco party for dragons, with very specific guidelines. It seems to go off without a hitch until he realizes that he didn’t read the fine print on the “mild” salsa. Oops!

The text is fun to read and the instructional style is a nice change from a typical narrative.

Dogger

by Shirley Hughes

This is one of the many gems from Shirley Hughes. She’s probably most famous for her books about a boy named Alfie

This story follows a beloved stuffed toy dog that is lost, accidentally bought at a rummage sale by another child, and then bought back by a heroic big sister.

Hughes’ writing captivates both me and my daughter. I recommend all of her books. My daughter gets all caught up in the real-life drama. The tension, the emotions, and the resolution. All the conflicts are very relatable for small children, and the resolutions are realistic and non-cutesy.

Kite Day

by Will Hillenbrand

We fell in love with this book’s characters, Mole and Bear, in another book called Spring is Here. When we saw the cover of Kite Day displayed at the library we had to give it a try! With simple language and repetition, both books are very accessible to toddlers and preschoolers (and probably twaddly for older kids).

One warm, breezy day, Bear realizes it is perfect weather for flying a kite. He and Mole plan and construct a kite, then fly it. A storm rolls in and the hard winds break the string. The friends pursue their kite, but when they find it they see it’s now being put to even better use.

Ladybug at Orchard Avenue

by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Full disclosure: I find this book tedious to read. Our daughter loves it, though. She asks me to read it at least once a day, so it had to make this list!

This book follows a ladybug on her pre-winter journey. You learn all sorts of things about ladybugs along the way. 

The illustrations are beautiful. The information is great. The story is…a little hard to get through at times. 

Manners

by Margaret Wise Brown

I didn’t expect this book to become a favorite, but I am so thankful it has! I bought it about three weeks ago, because manners are something we need to address with Miss Three. 

Surprisingly, she fell in love with the book. And, thankfully, it’s working! She is learning from it and putting those lessons into practice.

In this book, different situations are presented with “a way to do xyz” and “a way not to do xyz”. Cute illustrations make the points clear. The text is short and simple. 

Sometimes we discuss the illustrations. Sometimes we just read straight through. 

I appreciate how the text in this book models full sentences that are good to be repeated. I and my daughter find ourselves quoting this book frequently as we apply the principles to life in real time. It’s been a very helpful tool for us!

What are your favorite picture books for preschoolers?

Drop them in the comments below! I’m always looking for new ideas. #bibliophileprobs