I have been working in the Early Childhood field for almost 17 years. I have educated children as young as 6 weeks on up to 12 years of age. I have read many, many books to these children over the years. Books as old as my mom and as new as getting them on release day.
You have to know your audience when it comes to reading a book. Some will insist on seeing the pictures, or will want to read along with you, or want to do something else while you read or just close their eyes and listen. You also have to gauge their attention span. I usually do one minute for how old they are (age is 4= 4 minutes of story time). Creating different voices and tones help with the story, as well as making yourself animated while reading the story.
I helps to pick a book with vibrant pictures, but not necessarily. Hard back books are easier to hold up while reading. It also helps to make sure you are very familiar with the book so you are not looking at the pages the whole time.
So here they are: My Top Five Young Children’s Books (and one honorable mention)
The Day The Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathmann (10/13/2003)
This book is a fun story about a picnic where the babies crawled away and one little boy took it upon himself to rescue the babies. Those silly babies get into a lot of trouble, but the little boy is there right in the nick of time using his imagination to think of creative ways to get those babies back to their families. The illustrations are gorgeous with black silhouettes on colorful watercolor skies. It’s a great story to share with older children.
Snip Snap!: What’s That? by Mara Bergman (4/12/2005)
This book begins with an alligator coming into a house where three siblings are. They are scared of the alligator and are trying to get away from it. The alligator finally gets within snapping distance, the children stand up to the alligator and he runs away. I love reading this book to all ages. The younger ones love to help the children say “Alligator, you get out!” and the older children love to recite the book with me while I read it. It has wonderful alliteration and onomatopoeia that makes it fun to read.
Moo! by David LaRochelle (11/4/2014)
A wonderful story told from the cow’s point of view of him borrowing the farmers car and going for a joy ride. This book contains one word, but the reader can use their own tones to portray their message of what they think is going on. Toddlers really love this book! But watch out for the twist ending!
White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker (1997)
This book is a wonderful way to help reinforce lessons on primary and secondary colors. Follow rabbit as he finds three tubs of paint, one red, one yellow and one blue. Find out what happens when she sits in each tub of paint. This book is fun for all ages as a fun story to an early reader.
My Friend Rabbit By Eric Rohmann (5/1/002)
One of my favorite things about this book is that it doesn’t end. With older children, you can continue the story to see what kind of mischief Rabbit and Mouse can get into. With younger children you can use it to help identify animals and to talk about cooperation. For some reason, I always read this book in a British accent.
The Monster At the End of This Book Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover by Jon Stone (1971)
I remember my fourth oldest brother reading this book to me, and then he read it to his daughter, I then read it to my daughter and then to my children I take care of. It is a fun book to read and to over-exaggerate. Grover (from Sesame Street) is an interesting character to over thinks things. Little does he know that the monster at the end of the book is someone he knows well.