Stories to Please Toddlers and Preschoolers

As a children’s librarian, I am constantly on the look-out for books to read at my storytime programs. Over the years I have developed a list of tried and true titles for toddlers and preschoolers. They combine a good story with humor and have outstanding illustrations. I turn to these books over and over when I want a story that will entertain and enlighten. Moreover, these stories have passed the crucial test: they have held the interest of the children in my programs. I hope you will find this list useful.

  1. Alborough, Jez. Where’s My Teddy. 1992
    When a small boy named Eddie goes searching for his lost teddy in the dark woods, he comes across a gigantic bear with a similar problem.Good Night Lulu
  2. Bogan, Paulette. Goodnight Lulu. 2003
    When her mother tucks her in for the night, Lulu the chicken worries what would happen if a bear or a tiger or an alligator should come in during the night.
  3. Brown, Ken. What’s the Time Grandma Wolf? 2001
    A group of brave, or foolhardy, little animals creep closer and closer to Grandma Wolf as she gets down the stewpot, chops wood, lights a fire and prepares to fix dinner, with a surprising outcome.
  4. Buehner, Caralyn. Snowmen at Night. 2002
    Snowmen play games at night when no one is watching.
  5. Burningham, John. Mr. Gumpy’s Outing.1970
    Mr. Gumpy accepts more and more riders on his boat until the inevitable occurs.Big Al
  6. Clements, Andrew. Big Al. 1988
    A big, ugly fish has trouble making the friends he longs for because of his appearance--until the day his scary appearance saves them all from a fisherman's net.
  7. DePaola, Tomie. Strega Nona. 1974
    Strega Nona's meddling assistant Big Anthony is determined to prove to the townspeople his knowledge of the magic secrets contained in the pasta pot of Strega Nona. In so doing, he unleashes a torrent of pasta which threatens to engulf their little Italian town.
  8. Donaldson, Julia. Room on the Broom. 2001
    A witch finds room on her broom for all the animals that ask for a ride, and they repay her kindness by rescuing her from a dragon.
  9. Donaldson, Julia. The Gruffalo. 1999
    A clever mouse uses the threat of a terrifying creature to keep from being eaten by a fox, an owl, and a snake--only to have to outwit that creature as well.
  10. Faulkner, Keith. The Wide-Mouthed Frog. 1996
    A wide-mouthed frog is interested in what other animals eat--until he meets a creature that eats only wide-mouthed frogs!Bark George
  11. Feiffer, Jules. Bark George. 1999
    A mother dog takes her son to the vet so that he can learn to bark.
  12. Gorbachev, Valeri. Chicken Chickens. 2001
    On their first visit to a playground, two little chickens are afraid to play until a beaver helps them go down the slide.
  13. Kasza, Keiko. The Mightiest. 2001
    The Lion, the Bear, and the Elephant compete to see who can do the best job scaring a tiny old woman, but she has a surprise for them.
  14. Kimmel, Eric A. Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. 1988
    Anansi the Spider uses a strange moss-covered rock in the forest to trick all the other animals, until Little Bush Deer decides he needs to learn a lesson.
  15. Munsch, Robert. Stephanie’s Ponytail. 1996
    When Stephanie comes to school with her hair in a ponytail, all the other students copy her, so she decides to change her hairstyle every day, with disastrous results.A Fox Got My Sox
  16. Offen, Hilda. A Fox Got My Socks. 1993
    Rhymed text and illustrations describe what happens on washing day when the wind blows away the clothes. Includes instructions for imitating the actions shown in the illustrations.
  17. Puttock, Simon . Big Bad Wolf is Good. 2001
    "Will Big Bad Wolf make friends and stop feeling lonely if he is not bad anymore? "I try and try to be useful and good, but no one gives me a chance! Why bother changing if everyone still expects to be frightened?" Well, he will show them! But suddenly everything is different when the wolf decides whether or not to become a hero.
  18. Root, Phyllis. Soggy Saturday. 2001
    After a hard rain, the animals on Bonnie Bumble's farm all turn blue.
  19. Root, Phyllis . Rattletrap Car. 2001
    Various disasters threaten to stop Poppa and the children from getting to the lake in their rattletrap car, but they manage to come up with an ingenious solution to each problem.
  20. Simont, Marc. The Stray Dog. 2001
    A family befriends a stray dog, names him Willy, and decides to keep him.
  21. Slobodkina, Esphyr. Caps for Sale. 1940
    A band of mischievous monkeys steals every one of a peddler's caps while he takes a nap under a tree. Grumpy Bird
  22. Tankard, Jeremy. Grumpy Bird. 2007
    Feeling too grumpy to fly, Bird begins to walk and finds that his mood changes as other animals join him.
  23. Waddell, Martin. Owl Babies. 1992
    Three owl babies whose mother has gone out in the night try to stay calm while she is gone.
  24. Weeks, Sarah. Mrs. McNosh Hangs up her Wash. 1998
    Mrs. McNosh hangs up her wash with such gusto that her clothesline ends up holding the dog, a Christmas wreath, a kite, and other odd items.
  25. Willems, Mo. There is a Bird on your Head. 2007
    Gerald the elephant discovers that there is something worse than a bird on your head-- two birds on your head! Piggie will try to help her best friend.
  26. Wood, Don. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. 1984
    Little Mouse worries that the big, hungry bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself. 
-Susan Flacks, Children’s Librarian, West Windsor Branch

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