1. Elephant and Piggie series (Mo Willems)
How we looooooove Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie (the Pig)! Their friendship and funny conversations are entertaining to the parent and child alike. The books are written in a comic-like form and are fantastic for learning about how to read conversation. Willems uses different font sizes and bold and italic in order to emphasize different words.
2. We Both Read
This series of books are great for beginning readers. The books come in both fiction and non-fiction, and range from a reading level of K through 2. When reading, the left page is one that the parent can read and the right is one that the child can read. This format allows for the parent and child to read together. I really love these books because the story is interesting and allows the plot to be more complex because the parent is able to read more. Some of those beginning books are so boring because they have to be simple enough for the child to read. The authors of these books vary, but a couple of them are written by the person who wrote the Land Before Time and another one wrote Muppets and a lot of PBS programming. Our favorites have been LuLu's Wild Party (K-1), The Frog Prince (1-2) and The Well-Mannered Monster (1).
3. Skippyjon Jones (Judy Schachner)
Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese cat who "looks like a chihuahua", and he is always going on exciting adventures. These books are so entertaining for both parent and child, and it also throws in a little Spanish here and there. There are six regular books (that come with a CD for an audio reading), four board books, and a handful of other sticker books that feature Mr. Jones.
Here's a little snippet of the first book.
4. Monsters of the World (Cari Meister)
Snorp, Moopy, Ora, and Three Claws makes up the team of monsters that live in a world where monsters roam free. Snorp lives in the city and has a really long tongue that is both a blessing and a curse. Moopy is an introverted monster that lives underground and who loves to dance. Ora lives in the sea and LOVES gold. Three Claws is a one-eyed monster that lives on a mountain. The only thing I don't like about this series is that there are only eight books. We read all of them within a couple weeks and were so sad there weren't more!
5. Duck and Goose (Tad Hills)
This sweet set of picture books is about two best friends- Duck and Goose. Titles of the full picture books are Duck and Goose and Duck, Duck, Goose. Tad Hills has also written several board books that feature Duck and Goose, several of them seasonal (Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin, Duck and Goose Time for Christmas, Duck and Goose Here Comes the Easter Bunny). Tad Hills also writes a book that we love as much as Duck and Goose called Rocket Learns to Read.
6. Knuffle bunny (Mo Willems)
Is it okay that we have two series by Willems on this list? Seriously, we are huge fans. We've read almost every single book by him and just are so excited when we see a new one coming out. Anyway, this three part series is about a girl named Trixie, and her beloved Knufflebunny (stuffed bunny). The series follows Trixie and her family from her first words to early elementary. I don't want to ruin the endings for anyone, so that's all I can really say, but PLEASE do yourself a favor and check out these books!
7. Charlie and Lola (Lauren Child)
Charlie and Lola remind me of Asante and Aly, and perhaps why they loved this series. This book series is based on a British cartoon about Charlie (a very responsible boy) and his little sister Lola, who "is small and very funny"(and loves pink milk). This brother and sister love each other very much and are a good example of a brother and sister taking care of each other. They are written in a way that preschoolers and early elementary kids talk and they sometimes just crack me up. After reading all the books, we found the cartoons on DVD at our local library and the kids loved them as well. A few of our favorite books are I am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed, I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, and Snow is My Favorite and My Best. She also has written a few board books that we haven't read yet.
8. My First Graphic Novel
This set is a great way to introduce young readers to the genre of graphic novel. There are graphic novels for the interest areas of sports, transportation, and mysteries. At the beginning of each book, there's instructions about how to read a graphic novel appropriately. For beginning readers, these are easy reading and they love to read the words in the word bubbles. Here's a sample of what an inside page looks like:
9. MathStart (Stuart J. Murphey)
This collection of books focuses on math skills, ranging from Level 1 (ages 3+) to Level 2 (ages 6+) to Level 3 (ages 7+). Especially in the earlier books, the kids don't even know that they are learning mathematical skills. The topics of the book vary and each book is an actual story. On MathStart's website, they also have a bunch of activities that you can do with your child after reading the book. There have a been a few of them that weren't that interesting, but the kids have liked most of them a lot.
10. Grumpy Bird (Jeremy Tankard)
Sometimes we wake up on the wrong side of the bed. When that happens, we like to dust off Grumpy Bird and read it together as a family. Grumpy Bird finds out that friendships and a walk help to cheer him up. Jeremy Tankard also wrote Boo-Hoo Bird and Me Hungry! I'd recommend each of these as well!
Most of these books you can easily find at your local library, so be sure to take advantage of trying these books out for free before you decide to purchase them!
What will you and your preschoolers be reading this summer? What are some books that I didn't list here that you think every preschooler should read?