My Favorite Books For Babies – Preschoolers

I started thinking about my favorite books, and I found what some of you probably already know: There are too many! I’ve decided to break the list down into segments. The great thing about kids before they start school is that they love repetition. My mother always said that “repetition breeds contempt”, but I disagree. Repetition creates comfort. You know what to expect with repetition. It’s like eating macaroni and cheese on a cold rainy day.

So, a lot of these books use the power of repetition. That’s good for the child, because he or she will begin to “read” the book. It’s good for parents, because at the end of a long day, the last thing you want is a super-wordy book that you have to think a lot about while reading.

**Here’s a tip: try changing up key words after you’ve read the same book many times. It breaks the monotony for you as the reader, and it keeps your child on her toes as well. Does she know which word it should have been?  Example:  Goodnight moon and the blue balloon. Your child should exclaim, “NO NO! It’s the RED balloon!” This also makes kids think of books and reading as fun!

Also, even if you only have time once every other week or once a month – take your kids to the library!!  They learn to be quiet. They learn to pick out new books. They learn to love the same old books. My mother took me every week and, pretty often, I picked a book about a girl at the ocean. I think it was called “By the Seashore.” Great memories!

And so, on to the list. I didn’t just want to make a 1,2,3 list. I wanted to tell you about every single book that I chose. This is another reason why the list is broken into parts.


1.  Goodnight Moon. As mentioned above, this is a great book for repetition. It only has one line per page, so it’s a quick read if your child wants a second book. Another fun thing about this book is that the mouse is hiding in a different spot on each image. 

2.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Another book with lots of repetition. You get to have fun watching the caterpillar “eat” through the foods on each page.  At the end, you child learns what happens to fat little caterpillars after they zip into their cocoons!  At last, a beautiful butterfly emerges. 

3.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Seuss’s ABC. These two are alphabet books. I adore Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, hands down; but Dr. Seuss’s ABC is also fun. The only drawback with Dr. Seuss’s ABC is that my very imaginative daughter was scared of some of the drawings…especially the Z representative: The ZizzerZazzerZuzz.

4.  Go, Dog, Go! And The Berenstain’s B Book. Ok, very repetitive. But great books that your child will remember. My adult children and I still quote Go, Dog, Go! If one of us says “Do you like my hat?”, it’s all over! One or more of the rest of us will answer, “No, I do not.”  And then we will all say, “Goodbye.” “Goodbye.” – even if no one is going anywhere!

  • Also, funny story about the B Book. That was my very favorite book as a child. My mother donated it to my consolidated school’s library. I worked as a senior in the library and I “stole” the book back. Still have it. Still know if by heart. 

5.  Berenstain’s Old Hat New Hat and Inside Outside Upside Down. These books teach opposites and also help kids who have trouble with conceptual words like over and under.  As adults, we think it’s completely obvious which place is under the table and which place is over the table, but for a two year old, it might just be very confusing.

6.  Big Dog, Little Dog. I’m pretty fond of this one as well. My sister was the “little dog” and I was the “big dog” while we were growing up. She had some pretty unique challenges and this was our theme book. Again, this book looks at opposites.

7.  The Little Engine That Could. This gets away from the silliness and repetition and actually tells a story. Most people will recognize the story of the train that wasn’t really what was needed but she gave it her best try and succeeded. This is such a great story to tell about believing in yourself and always trying your best.

8.  If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, (and all similar books by Laura Joffe Numeroff). These books again tell a story.  They also use a twist on repetition –  sort of a wind up, wind down formula.  It is genius and works for children of all ages.  My daughter did a book report on “If You Give A Moose A Muffin” in third grade – so we were still enjoying the books at that age.

9.  Click Clack Moo. Cows That Type. This is one you may not have heard of. It’s a cute story of cows who write negotiation letters to the farmer.

10. The Princess Who Never Laughed. Good luck finding this one. It is a “Goofy” story with Goofy (Mickey Mouse) as the main character. However, it teaches the very valuable lesson that you can’t use the same solution to every problem.

11. The Day It Rained Hearts. My daughter loved this book; and, truthfully, at 19, it’s probably still on her shelf!

12. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? Another repetitive book; but also a bit of a tongue twister. Fun to read and to recite. Remember, when your child learns to recite these books, she’s also learning to memorize things and that will help with poetry recitation in High School as well as becoming a valuable study skill!

13. Snowmen at Night. This is a great imaginative tale of what the snowmen do after dark.

14. Tacky the Penguin. This is a tale of one penguin who wouldn’t “conform” to what the rest of the penguins thought he should look and act like.

15. The “Froggy” books. These books are simply adorable.  They take the same tact as Berenstains – lots of situational stories – i.e. Froggy’s First Kiss, First Dentist Appointment, etc.

16. Any good compilation of Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales. I once met a young girl whose parents didn’t believe in exposing her to nursery rhymes or fairy tales. Imagine a child growing up having no idea about Goldie Locks. Then, when hearing that Earth has what scientists have dubbed the “Goldilocks Effect” (It’s just right for human habitation), she would have no idea what they were talking about. These old tales permeate everything in our culture.  Don’t rob your kids of this knowledge!

17. The Going to Bed Book It’s about going to bed. You’ll want this one. Because sometimes, a quick, easy, “just-go-to-sleep” book is the order of the day.

18. Beatrix Potter Books of Peter Rabbit

19. Winnie the Pooh Stories

20. Curious George