Story time between a preschooler and an adult can be a magical time for developing closeness and a love of reading, and for teaching new words and concepts. The seemingly simple act of reading together can have a lasting impact. These books for preschoolers promote singing, counting, rhyming, and repeating and remind us big things can come in small packages.

“We Love to Sing Along!” by Caroline Jayne Church, 2016, Cartwheel Books, ages birth to 5.

Singing and language development go hand-in-hand. This collection of the words to simple tunes, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, will encourage children to sing along. An older child or adult can point out the words on the page while singing, so the child can begin to connect the spoken and written word. Darling illustrations of young children at play will entice even the youngest of readers.

“Ten Little Bluebirds” by Emily Ford, Illustrations by Russell Julian, 2015, Cartwheel Books, ages birth to 5.

The day begins with ten little bluebirds singing in a tree. As the day goes on, each bird sets off on its own adventure, meeting up with cows, pigs, frogs, and other farm friends. In the evening the little bluebirds return to Mommy bird and their tree to snuggle and rest until the next day. This board book has raised insets for each of the birds, giving young children the opportunity to develop counting skills by touching each bird as each number is said aloud. One-to-one correspondence, or touching one object and saying one number can be a tricky skill for some young children to develop. “Ten Little Birds”, and other counting books, can make this important practice fun because it’s embedded within a story.

“The Wheels on the Bus” Adapted and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, 1990/2015, Dutton Children’s Books, ages 3-6.

The childhood favorite song “The Wheels on the Bus” serves as the story for this engaging interactive book for young children. Flaps, tabs, and rotating pieces invite children to match the actions on the page to the words in the song. When the wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish, a pull-tab lets the reader move little wipers across the bus window. Singing along and interacting with the book through play lets children explore the ways song, printed words, and movable parts work together to tell a story.

“Touch and Feel Baby Animals” by Scholastic, 2015, ages birth-3.

Toddlers do much of their learning through their senses, and this touch and feel book lets them explore textures while learning about baby animals and their sounds. Children can touch a small piece of velvet on the stomach of a chimpanzee, soft fur on a puppy, and straw weaving on a basket of kittens. Bright illustrations, simple text, and thick board pages make this book a great choice for the youngest of book lovers.

“Busy Builders” by Sam Hearn, Scholastic, 2016, ages 3-6.

The busy builders are hard at work in their hard hats, checking their plans, and building a new school. The animal characters and detailed illustrations will attract young readers. Children at the preschool and Kindergarten age are ready to learn more challenging vocabulary and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. “Busy Builders” invites a more experienced reader and a child to learn about objects and discuss their uses by exploring words such as tall crane, dump truck, safety vest, and rubble or exploring construction careers, including engineer, crane operator, and painter.

Review and image by Elizabeth Dobler