Introducing your child to the beautiful habit of reading is the most meaningful gift you can give your preschooler. What’s more, reading a good book aloud to a preschool-age child can be one of the parents’ greatest joys – but if the story is fun and highlighted by some colorful illustrations.
Pre-K is a primarily transitional period in your kiddo’s life. They are probably learning to read independently, making new friends at school, and perhaps dealing with a bit of separation anxiety.
The best preschool books should pique your kid’s interest. Any book that your child likes to read often is likely going to make them lifelong readers. They should tackle themes and issues related to preschoolers, including friendship, diversity, separation anxiety, self-esteem, perseverance, and so on.
Furthermore, each kid is different in their reading interests, tastes, and abilities. Some are able to zoom through longer chapter books with meaningful characters, complex storylines, and harder words. On the other hand, some children still enjoy reading simpler picture books with shorter words.
Below, you’ll find 51 of the best preschool books approved by educators, and loved by actual preschoolers. They include a nice blend of classic picture books, board books, chapter books, and early learning materials.
1- Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London
Froggy Goes to School
62 used from $1.16
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What could go wrong on your child’s first day of school? For Froggy, he seems to have started his school journey on the wrong foot. Not only is he wearing only underwear on the school bus and the teacher also happens to be his father. Luck for Froggy, it was just a bad dream.
When Froggy does start preschool for real, he finds it to be much better and a lot less scary. However, the surprise ending of his day will definitely leave a smile on your face.
Jonathan London’s Froggy Goes to School is an upbeat and gleeful look at a typical first day of preschool. It’s quite relatable and Froggy’s worries and separation anxiety make this one of the best preschool books this year.
2- Mrs. Peanuckle’s Alphabet series by Mrs. Peanuckle
Mrs. Peanuckle's Alphabet
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Mrs. Peanuckle’s Alphabet series boasts some of the best preschool books, all of which come highly recommended by parents and approved by educators. Each book in the series uses bold, cheery multimedia artworks, including stunning illustrations by Jessie Ford.
The series has six books in total, with each offering a nature-themed version of the alphabet. Your little one will enjoy learning the ABC’s as well as interesting facts about flowers, trees, fruits, birds, vegetables, and bugs.
3- First Animal Encyclopedia: A First Reference Guide to the Animals of the World by DK
First Animal Encyclopedia: A First Reference Guide to the Animals of the World (DK First Reference)
55 used from $2.36
|Number Of Pages||168|
It’s no secret that most preschoolers do love animals. That’s why educators recommend that preschool-age children read picture books full of animals. They are an excellent way to maintain their attention and encourage their love of reading.
And what could be better than an animal encyclopedia? DK’s First Animal Encyclopedia lets your young reader leap into the fascinating world of animals. It’s well-illustrated and packed with pictures that will enable them to learn about various animal groups, from fish and amphibians to reptiles and mammals.
4- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist, Scientist
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Ada Twist should be every preschooler’s hero. She is an intelligent and super-curious preschooler who experiments constantly and questions almost everything. She’s a budding scientist and a good one at that. We cannot emphasize enough that Ada Twist, Scientist isn’t only for girls; it’s a deeply inspiring book for every child.
Once your kiddo has gotten hooked to the book, you introduce them to other books in Andrea Beaty’s The Questioneers series — Iggy Peck, Architect, Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, and Rosie Revere, Engineer. They are all rated among the best preschool books that foster the idea that women can be frontrunners in STEM.
5- Preschool Day Hooray! By Linda Leopold Strauss
Preschool Day Hooray!
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|Number Of Pages||24|
The first day of preschool is no easy walk for any child, and some reassurance from adults can go a long way. If you’re enthusiastic and excited about your kid starting school, your kiddo is likely to follow in your footsteps.
Strauss’ Preschool Day Hooray! is a cherry preschool book that paints it as a fun place where there are many friends to be made and a lot of exciting things to be enjoyed. The pictures in this book are especially joyful, colorful, and bright. And when combined with the simple, rhyming text, the message really shines through.
6- LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
LMNO Pea-quel (The Peas Series)
$15.59 in stock
26 used from $3.89
|Number Of Pages||40|
LMNO Peas is the first title in Keith Baker’s classic The Peas series. It’s a longtime favorite and one of the best preschool books, and with good reason. This fun-filled book brings together two things that preschoolers love: learning about different occupations and the alphabet in a sweet and exciting way.
Pre-K children will fall in love with the Pea-Quel as the book highlights lowercase letters. Peas have a lot more to offer in other titles in the series — 1-2-3 Peas, Little green Peas: A Book of Colors, Hap-Pea All Year, and of course, the LMNO Pea-Quel. Best of all, they come with a free CD audiobook read by award-winning actor Stanley Tucci!
7- Kindness Makes Us Strong by Sophie Beer
Kindness Makes Us Strong
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72 used from $1.30
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Kindness is the universal language of love, affection, togetherness, and every else that’s good. It’s also one of the most fostered themes in preschools. Sophie Beer’s masterpiece Kindness Makes Us Strong is brimming with examples of kindness and love for one another.
This book is a winner both inside and outside of a preschool. You can read it aloud to your little one to celebrate the beauty of kindness. Let them also share their own ideas and actions that promote kindness.
8- What Sound is Morning? by Grant Snider
What Sound Is Morning?
$10.99 in stock
21 used from $2.46
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|Number Of Pages||48|
Pre-K children are typically early risers, and this melodic book will help celebrate all the wonderful sounds that color the very start of the day. As far as early learning goes, What Sound is Morning? is a nice starter book that teaches active listening, appreciating nature, and describing sounds in our surroundings.
It’s an impressive follow-up to Grant Snider’s What Color is Night? Both of them are some of the best preschool books that shouldn’t miss on your kid’s bookshelf.
9- Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julián Is a Mermaid
$9.89 in stock
46 used from $1.73
|Number Of Pages||40|
Richly illustrated, Jessica Love’s Julián is a Mermaid is a charming celebration of love, individuality, and letting one’s true colors shine. When Julián catches a glimpse of a trio of glamorously-costumed “mermaids” while coming from the pool with her Abuela, he vows to dress as fabulously as the ladies on the subway.
Julián Is a Mermaid is an award-winning picture book that has touched the hearts of millions of readers. It’s a big-hearted story and celebration of self-acceptance.
10- Woodward and McTwee by Jonathan Fenske
Woodward and McTwee (Penguin Young Readers, Level 2)
8 used from $3.30
|Part Number||Illustrations, color|
|Number Of Pages||32|
If your preschooler is a fan of Kate DiCamillo’s Bink and Gollie, then they will drool over the silly pair of Woodward and McTwee, a hippo and a bird. They are the funniest of friends.
Although the hippo and bird couldn’t be more different, they enjoy playing the game of hide-and-seek together. Woodward and McTwee has only a pair of chapters, both of which are plenty hilarious and simple enough for any preschooler to read independently.
11- What’s the Weather? by Shelley Rotner
Shelley Rotner has blessed us with some of the best preschool books around, so it’s often hard to choose your favorite. Every one of her weather-related titles, from Hello Weather! to Hello Spring!, is so darn good.
Parents, teachers, and preschoolers love What’s the Weather? because it’s highly interactive, making it perfect for bedtime and classroom reading.
12- We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates
Another classic that helps youngsters learn about acceptance and celebration of our differences and tolerance, We’re Different, We’re the Same is Bobbi Kates’ best preschool book we have reviewed so far.
It features kids’ favorite character Elmo and his Sesame Street friends. They all have one profound lesson for the small ones: that even though we may seem different on the outside (i.e. from our skin and how we look), this difference only runs skin-deep.
13- Bea Garcia Series by Deborah Zemke
Bea Garcia is a budding artist with big ambitions and an even bigger heart. The 4-book series – which includes The Curse of Einstein’s Pencil, My Life in Pictures, Tale of a Scaredy-Dog, and The tree and Me – details Garcia’s myriad experiences, from looking for her lost pet to contesting in a school competition and striking new friendships.
Preschoolers will love Bea Garcia’s beautiful drawings and doodles sprinkled all over this classic.
14- Those Pesky Rabbits by Ciara Flood
This one is going to rile a few dads and moms who love to get some work done at home. All that Mr. Bear wants is to be left in peace. However, he can’t seem to catch a break from his “pesky rabbit” neighborhoods. Friendship is on their minds, and they would stop at nothing to cheer up grumpy Mr. Bear.
Educators rate Those Pesky Rabbits among the best preschool books for its 360-degree ability to engage kids, especially when read out loud. It’s also brimming with themes of friendship, empathy, and kindness.
15- Toys Go Out Series by Emily Jenkins
Illustrated by one and only animator Paul O. Zelinsky, Emily Jenkins’s Toys Go Out series is a diamond in the rough. Preschool teachers say that it’s often one of the first early chapter books they introduce to their learners.
Much akin to Toy Story, the series chronicles the adventures of toys when the owner leaves their home. This one is sure to spark some curiosity and excite imaginations.
16- What to Expect at Preschool by Heidi Murkoff
Wouldn’t be nice if there were a manual for kids to breeze through preschool? Well, What to Expect at Preschool is the closest you can get to the best preschool book on the subject.
Factual and reassuring, Heidi Murkoff’s book is delivered in FAQ format and sports Angus the Answer Dog, a pivotal character that answers all basic questions about getting started with preschool. It’s an excellent primer for the little ones who call for more than a happy-go-lucky, fictional fairytale.
17- Baby Bear Series by Ashley Wolff
As you may already be aware, there are a ton of cute bear stories out there, and some of them surely cut the mustard. However, it’s the cute linocut art and charming baby bear that make Ashley Wolff’s Where, Oh Where is Baby Bear?, Baby Bear Sees Blue, and Baby Bear Counts One some of the best preschool books.
These concept books not only teach kids about bears and their natural habitats but are also excellent for building their vocabulary.
18- I Am Enough by Grace Byers
Grace Byers’ I Am Enough is just what it sounds like – a poetic ode that helps kids learn about the importance of treating other people with kindness, self-love, and respecting others.
More than that, it clearly conveys the notion that we exist for a purpose. That’s virtually everything you’d want in the best preschool books.
19- Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
In publication for over half a decade, this highly-regarded classic story of a fearless young girl named Madeline and her beautiful city of Paris is going to wow your little one. It has been a children’s favorite and will continue to be one of the best preschool books for many years to come.
20- I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas
What worries Owen on his first day of school is being away from his mom. But the little piglet has no reason to worry because his mommy reassures him that a school is a happy place full of opportunities to meet other loving people.
I Love You All Day Long is a handy book for parents who want to comfort first-day school goers and for kids who are coping with separation anxiety.
21- Bear is Awake!: An Alphabet Story by Hannah E. Harrison
A is for awake
B is for big bear
C is for a cozy cabin …
The littlest learners will love learning their ABC’s with this story-alphabet book combo. Bear is Awake! An Alphabet Story is a highly interactive and delightfully unique ABC book from the author of New York Times bestseller Extraordinary Jane, Hannah E. Harrison. Both of these titles pop up on many lists of the best preschool books, and you’ll discover why when you read them.
22- Peter Rabbit Series by Beatrix Potter
You’ve probably watched the movie version of Peter Rabbit with your little one, but we promise the books are much more fun and satisfying. These are the kid’s favorite early chapter books.
You’ll likely find scores of Peter Rabbit books in the preschool’s library, but most kids love to read all about the adventures of the raucous rabbits before bedtime, as well.
23- Tangled: A Story About Shapes by Anne Miranda
A fun, clever, and delightful tale of geometric shapes, Anne Miranda’s Tangled: A Story About Shapes is said to be one of the best preschool books by both educators and teachers.
The fun & catchy rhyming text helps bring to life the story of how 16 various geometric shapes go stuck in a jungle gym. The book’s lesson goes beyond the shapes, teaching young kids about the power of teamwork and celebrating our differences.
24- Hungry Bunny by Claudia Rueda
A simple storyline, a shorter format, and interactive elements make Claudia Rueda’s Hungry Bunny one of the most loved preschool books. It’s a lovely bridge between board books and early chapter books.
All preschoolers will love pulling the red ribbon, simulating apple picking. Some of the themes and rhyming styles from the author’s bestseller Here Comes the Easter Cat are spread throughout this wonderful book.
25- Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
For fans of Sophie Beer’s Kindness Makes Us Strong, this book about close family ties will hit their sweet spot. Most kindergarten and preschool classes are set up in family-like group settings, and this title is a great read to instill a sense of community and belonging.
Sophie Beer’s illustrations in Love Makes a Family are engaging, stunning, and colorful, offering a sweet depiction of several different variations on family hierarchies. It celebrates love and family in a delightfully different way.
26- Fox at School by Edward Marshall
We all loved Edward Marshall’s Fox series as children, and so do our little ones. What could be more downright hilarious than seeing a Fox who thinks high of himself fail terribly when asked to be in charge of the school play? The beautiful illustrations by James Marshall make Fox at School easily one of the best preschool books around.
27- Warren & Dragon 100 Friends by Ariel Bernstein
This witty chapter book in Ariel Bernstein’s best-selling Warren & Dragon series is hilariously delightful, moving, and downright realistic. With the characteristic appeal of Calvin and Hobbes, Warren and Dragon are just moved to a new school and are trying to make 100 friends. Will the dynamic duo stand up to the challenge?
The boy & his pet story and Mike Malbrough’s riveting illustration are the reasons why Warren & Dragon 100 Friends landed on our list of the best preschool books.
28- Going to School by Anne Civardi
Going to School by beloved children’s literature writer Anne Civardi and is part of the Usborne First Experiences series. It features a pair of twins as they navigate their way through the first day of preschool. It offers a basic yet lovely take on what children should expect on the first day at school.
29- Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
The tag team of illustrator Rosalind Beardshaw and author Anna McQuinn is responsible for some of the best preschool books, and the Lola series is nothing short of impressive. It’s a stunning rhyme book that details young Lola’s pleasures of life, including her time at the library.
30- Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
Preschoolers are supposed to learn life’s tough lessons right from a tender age. Oliver Jeffers’ Stuck has plenty of lessons in excesses, persistence, and irony.
31- House: First Words Board Books by Michael Slack
This book by Michael Slack will get preschoolers talking about what is in their bedrooms and homes. The little label book is also compact, so it can be used for independent reading by your kiddo.
32- My Teacher’s My Friend by P.K. Hallinan
Amidst tantrums and separation anxiety, it’s the teacher that helps children settle at a preschool. P.K. Hallinan’s My Teacher’s My Friend celebrates and acknowledges the crucial role preschool teachers play. We love the colorful illustrations too; they contribute towards making this title among the best preschool books for appreciating teachers.
33- Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
The Elephant and his animal friends have been feeling down and grumpy lately. When they start a chain of giving hats, every animal suddenly becomes more jovial and generous. The highly detailed illustrations, sweet message of friendship, and the interactive nature of the story make this one of educators’ best preschool books.
34- Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman
Rhyme Crime is a thriller about a unique thief that replaces everything he steals with something that rhymes. The colorful and suitably-witty illustrations from the artist and author John Burgerman are great for younger Pre-K readers. This is the type of word of play that makes preschoolers giggle from page to page.
35- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
A Caldecott Medal Winner, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is a story of sheer adventure, and one of the best books for preschoolers. It highlights both the mischievous aspect of the curious mind and the magical pleasures of childhood.
36- Cannonball by Sacha Cotter
The Kiwi author of YA’s favorite Nga Ki, Sacha Cotter, is back with a heartwarming title for younger readers. The Cannonball is a warm celebration of individuality, self-acceptance, and of course, making the perfect splash.
37- Abracadabra, It’s Spring! by Anne Sibley O’Brien
The transition from one season to the next can really feel dreamlike, and O’Brien’s Abracadabra, It’s Spring! perfectly captures the magic of winter changing into spring. Each fold-out page of the book gives kiddos a chance to what unique facts about the season will appear under the flap. It’s no wonder educators deem it one of the best preschool books at the moment.
38- The Little Boy Who Lost His Name
Hands down one of the best preschool books to give as a gift this year, The Little Boy Who Lost His Name is a customizable picture book. The story can be personalized based on the letters in your kid’s name.
39- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
From the children’s beloved author of the New York Times bestseller The Giant and the Joneses Julia Donaldson, The Gruffalo is a gentle monster that’s sure to delight your little one. The tale uses brilliantly-illustrated characters and rhyming text, which is why it’s the best preschool book to read aloud.
40- Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party by Kimberly & James Dean
Part of the Pete the Cat series, Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party has become a huge hit with preschoolers. It offers up everything you loved about the previous titles in the series and then some. Besides, which kid doesn’t love learning about letter P using all things pizza?
41- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Often cited as one of the best preschool books, Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit is simply a delightful read that will crack up the entire classroom. Also, parents will love this hilarious story and wonderfully-done illustrations.
42- Triangle by Mac Barnett
A hilarious addition to Mac Barnett’s Shape Trilogy, this is a suitably charming story of a rascal antihero called Triangle. Although he loves playing tricks on his close friend Square, he’s not laughing when it’s his turn to be pranked. The illustrations are witty yet simple.
43- The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey
With an amiable old pick-up truck and joyful illustrations, The Old Truck is a tale of a little girl’s grit, tenacity, and determination in the face of adversity and change. It’s also one of the best preschool books that teach us about the power of love and family.
44- Preschool, Here I Come! by David J Steinberg
Parents looking for the best preschool books to ease their kids to school life should seriously consider titles in the Here I Come! series. But this latest book in the series dwells on all of the things that a preschooler might face on their first day of school, from kissing their parents goodbye to mixing colors.
45- The Twelve Days of Preschool by Jenna Lettice
You’ve heard of the 12 Days of Christmas, but how about The Twelve Days of Preschool? With this fun picture book, kiddos can take great comfort knowing what’s in store for them at preschool.
46- All About Families by Felicity Brooks
Lauded as one of the best preschool books by early childhood educators, All About Families is a heartwarming read about family structures. The 32-page vividly-illustrated title takes a dive into the various different family types, from traditional and adoption families to single-parent and same-sex parent families.
47- Mail Duck by Erica Sirotich
Mail Duck works for preschoolers on two levels. On the one hand, it’s a cute tale of a duck delivering packages that [he doesn’t know] are for his upcoming birthday bash. On another level, it’s a clever take on preschool geometry. Do you need any more convincing why it’s the best preschool book for your kiddo?
48- If I Had a Dinosaur by Gabby Dawnay
Pre-K kids usually find rhyming text to be quite helpful when learning and improving their vocabulary. Gabby Dawnay’s If I had a Dinosaur is rhyming prose about a young girl who dreams of having a pet dinosaur. You and your little one will enjoy the cute, charming story and witty illustrations.
49- The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes
This sweet and enjoyable book highlights the story of a young boy who is very excited to start going to school because his mom told him he will be the “king of kindergarten.” The boy’s pompous and refreshing attitude toward his first school day makes this one of the best preschool books for hesitant first-day preschoolers.
50- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
For Unhei, today isn’t just her first day at school; she has just recently moved from Korea to the United States. Worried that her classmates wouldn’t pronounce her moniker. But does she really need a new name?
51- Every Color Soup by Jorey Hurley
Elegance at its best is one thing that comes to mind when I think about Jorey Hurley’s Every Color Soup. It’s a simple yet powerful book that has plenty of lessons for young readers. On each page, it features one color word paired with a soup veggie.
With a splash of color, lovely storyline, and vibrant pictures … it’s easy to see why Every Color Soup is considered one of the best preschool books.