Welcome back to the weekly 4 Moms post, in which 4 moms with a collective total of 35 children share our knowledge, experience and and helpful tips in maintaining health, order and sanity.
This week we’re going to chat about some of our favorite books for preschoolers. This is a huge topic in which we can only begin to scratch the surface – which is another way of saying there’s no way I can hope to remember all my favorite titles so I’ll just tell you the ones that pop into my head first.
As usual, I suggest you first visit the other 3 moms. This will buy me some time to get my act together, allowing me to pretend that I planned ahead and thought about this post all week, when actually I spent most of the last week…well…doing stuff I don’t actually remember. But I’m sure it was really important stuff, and that’s why I didn’t plan ahead and think about this post all week.
Oh, you’re back already? Time flies when you’re thinking about books – especially when you’re trying to choose favorites. Having a favorite book is like having a favorite child: there’s no such thing. You love some for one reason, and others for another reason, but you love them all differently and each is special.
When we say preschool books, my mind automatically goes to very short, simple books, but I would encourage you to try out longer books on the little ones as well. You might be surprised at the writing level they will enjoy if you offer good ones that catch and keep their attention. I am nearly done reading Bud and Me to 4yo Perry Boy. This is the true story of 5yo and 9yo brothers who made a cross country trip on horseback unattended, along with their subsequent adventures. The subject matter seems perfect for a young boy but when I began, I was afraid the level of detail and the relatively mature writing style would put off my son. As it turns out, the subject matter is so interesting to him that he loves it and really pays attention, asking tons of questions along the way. This slows me down but it also shows me that he is really listening and comprehending.
A little tip to avoid frustration: buy hardbacks if at all possible. Used is better than new, because then you won’t be tempted to lose your cool the first time somebody leaves a marker, a baby and a book all in the same 3 foot radius. We have found that no paperback lasts long enough to be worth the price unless it’s absolutely free. I would much rather have a 10 year old hardback with a few more years of life left in it than a brand new softcover that will fall apart the 3rd time it’s read.
Oh – and one more word of warning: many of the best books for preschoolers are available as board books, but be careful: they are sometimes abridged, and like longer books the process can rob them of much of what makes them special.
Here’s a short list of our longstanding favorites for the very youngest crowd.
Top 10 Books for Preschoolers
- Goodnight Moon – This is an eternal favorite in our house. We could probably dispense with the book itself because I’m sure we all know it by heart, but nonetheless we always have at least one copy in circulation plus one or two backups. This is also a favorite baby shower gift as part of a basket or collection of baby items.
- The Runaway Bunny – The main reason we fell in love with this is because it is featured in Goodnight Moon. We also like to ad-lib the text, making up our own threats that are ever-so-much meaner than what the mother bunny actually says. Try it. It’s fun. Your kids will beg you to stop and read the book properly, but they can’t help but laugh at the same time.
- The Foot Book – I’m not a huge Dr. Seuss fan, but we have loved our way through several copies of this one. A word of warning: don’t buy the board book version. It’s severely shortened.
- The Going-to-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton – This sweet and silly bedtime book charmed me from the start. You just have to see it and feel the gentle lilting rhythm of the text. Is it just me, or is it simply adorable?
- Many titles by Eric Carle – I don’t like all of his books, but his illustrations are fun and unique, and there is a handful that we love: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, The Very Busy Spider come to mind immediately.
- When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth, by Jamie Lee Curtis – Yes, the actress writes children’s books. She has several, but this is the one that captivated this mom of many 4yo’s. Doesn’t the title say it all?
- Miss Spider’s Tea Party – Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the contrast between the idea of a prim and proper tea party, and a spider that should be creepy but isn’t. Just like with movies, I think the sequels lack the charm and originality of the first.
- Guess How Much I Love You – How many books are there about a daddy’s love for his little one? Not enough, but this one covers the topic just perfectly.
- Amelia Bedelia – We love her. She thinks like we do, only without the sarcasm.
- Madeline – Would any house full of girls be complete without this story? I don’t know how many copies of this we’ve run through, but one of my daughters has even written a brief parody of her own.
There you have my Top 10. What’s on your list? Why?
Upcoming topics for 4 Moms 35 Kids:
- January 27: Q & A. Got a question? Leave it in the comments on my last Q&A post. Or you can email me, but I promise you right now I will lose your email and forget to answer your question for 15 months. By then, you probably will have found your own answer.
- February 3 - Teaching reading, because it’s so much easier than teaching them to use the toilet. Do not request a 4 Moms post about potty training, do you hear me?
- February 10 – Cooking with little ones. With, I said. Not Cooking Little Ones.
- February 17 – Spending individual time with your children: isn’t the very topic enough to make you feel guilty?
- February 24 – Q & A