High quality children's books for preschoolers will have engaging graphics, lush artwork and simple but compelling content. Classics such as Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and The Cat In the Hat by Dr. Seuss have become iconic for their inimitable artwork and classic storylines.
Preschoolers are fascinated by stories they can relate to,as well as by concept books or pattern books that repeat language in interesting variations. Knuffle Bunny, a Cautionary Tale, by Mo Willems is a contemporary winner that captivates preschoolers with its high drama tale of a preschooler's adventure with an adored stuffed animal. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown soothes with its predictable night-time lullaby. Hearing this beloved tale read becomes for many children a nightly routine of its own.
Children love the memorable story and they also love the colorful artwork with details they can relate to.
Young children's brains are primed for language, so look for children's books that have alliterative phrasing, simple poetic prose or otherwise memorable word choice. Ezra Jack Keats' books are known for rich artwork that sets a mood, and simple themes that young children love. Over in the Meadow showcases Ezra Jack Keats' luminous artwork paired with an Appalachian counting rhyme. The rhythmic predictable language will be requested over and over by children who love the interplay of the fascinating illustrations and the catchy, musical story of life in a forest meadow.
Another repetitive concept book classic is Brown Bear Brown Bear by Eric Carle. Once again, the genius is in the bright original art, and a repetitive storyline that is both simple and engaging for young children.
When considering children's books for preschoolers, look for themes of interest to the young child: family, friends, imaginative play, outdoors, pets, seasons, routines, learning, and the world around them. Crockett Johnson's work explores simple themes that young children love. Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon explores the world of imagination conjured up by a young child with a single crayon. The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss depicts in elegant steps the simple miracle of a plant life cycle, and a child's joy in watching a seed sprout and grow.
A recent gem is Deborah Underwood's The Quiet Book, which explores all of the ways quiet is experienced by a young child, exploring as well the textured emotions behind each situation. First one up quiet, trying to color inside the lines quiet, and waiting to say "Surprise!" quiet. Between the enduring classics from generations past, and the contemporary jewels still making their way to print, there is a picture book for every mood, every situation, and every child's fancy.
Books enrich a child's learning, provide a nurturing connection between child and adult, prime the brain for learning to read, and help foster curiosity about the world around them. Browse bookstores, or online galleries to find books that fit your child's library needs. Most important of all, take the time to read and re-read such books with your preschooler. Children's books are magical!