Preschool books are my new obsession. When my daughter started school this year, her tiny world — made up mostly of Mummy and toys — expanded dramatically to include teachers, friends, a whole new routine, and a much longer attention span for story time. With all that fresh input, her vocabulary seems to be growing every day, and books that were way too advanced five minutes ago have suddenly become favourites.
As we’ve discovered, the best preschool books are tonnes of fun, with added layers of humour and meaning. Here are 15 stories so engaging, your preschooler will want you to read them again and again.
1. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
A little boy’s box of crayons complain to him in a series of strongly-worded letters, each written by a different colour. Red Crayon, for example, feels overworked (so many fire engines!) while Pink feels neglected. The results are hysterically funny and relatable to preschoolers, who certainly spend a lot of time colouring, plus it shows kids a truly out-of-the-box style of storytelling.
2. Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan and Stephane Jorisch
Betty Bunny is the quintessential preschooler: curious, impatient, and easily frustrated. So when the little rabbit tries chocolate cake for the first time and falls madly in love with it, she spends the rest of the story trying to get more — and boy is she disappointed when dirt mixed with water fails to deliver that chocolate cake flavour! Betty’s mother saves the day with a lesson in patience that her bunny daughter almost learns by story’s end.
3. Press Here by Herve Tullet
Even the most fidgety preschooler will give this interactive book his full attention, since it implores young readers to press colourful dots, clap their hands, and shake the book to “change” the picture. The effect is so magical, kids will insist on reading it again, immediately.
4. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
The cheeky narrator promises that even without pictures, this book is going to be great. Why? Because it’s full of absurd things that the adult reading it aloud will be forced to say, like, “I am a robot monkey and my head is made of blueberry pizza.” It escalates until the reader (YOU) is doing verbal gymnastics and making ridiculous sounds. I have never seen a preschooler get through this book without cracking up.
5. Extra Wool by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Annabelle’s supply of rainbow-coloured wool never runs out, so she knits sweaters for everyone: neighbours, dogs, and even inanimate objects like mailboxes and houses. Soon the whole town is cosy and snug — that is, until a greedy archduke plots to steal the magical wool. This Caldecott Medal Award winner features wonderfully whimsical illustrations and an enjoyably deadpan sense of humour.