1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Judith Viorst. (ages 5-8)
“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”
My first response to this book and its “terrible” title was wonderment. Why would anyone read such a negative book to their child? Upon further review, I realized that everyone has horrible days and children would be comforted by the fact that other children have bad days too.
As Alexander’s day progresses, he gets smushed in the middle seat of the car, gets no dessert in his lunch sack, has a cavity at the dentist’s office, wears stripeless sneakers, witnesses kissing on television, and is being forced to sleep in railroad-train pajamas. He resolves several times to move to Australia.
2. Green Eggs and Ham. By Dr. Seuss. (ages 3-7)
Would you? Could you? In a car?
Eat them! Eat them! Here they are.
You may like them. You will see.
You may like them in a tree!
To which the exasperated doubter replies:
I would not,
could not, in a tree.
Not in a car!
You let me be.
The book is probably one of my top 5 children’s stories. I read it countless times when I was little, and I always loved the perfect flowing rhymes, and the mischievous, Sam-I-Am. There is a great message of not being afraid to try new things, a good lesson that I think any child can benefit from.
3. If You Give a Pig a Party. By Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. (ages 4-8)
I began reading these sensational Laura Numeroff books to my daughters when they were each in kindergarten. The reading is easy, fun, expressive and it keeps children interested in what is to come.
“If you give a pig a party,she’s going to ask for some balloons. When you give her the balloons, she’ll want to decorate the house. When she’s finished, she’ll put on her favorite dress. Then she’ll call all her friends — Mouse, Moose, and more.”
The little pig from If You Give a Pig a Pancake is back, and this time she wants to throw a great big party! Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond have created another winning story for this beloved character in the tradition of the best-selling If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
4. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. By Eileen Cristelow. (ages 2-5)
I first read this book to my oldest daughter when she was two year olds. She had a wonderful time echoing the reading. She was learning and did not even know it. I think books that have expressive, repetitive lines are sensational and help children to exercise remembering. The song is very contagious as well. I recommend this book for any parent or teacher.
5. Fancy Nancy at the Museum (I Can Read Book 1 Series). By Jane O’Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser and Ted Enik (Illustrators). (ages 6-8)
One of the first Fancy Nancy books I read to my 5 year-old. Fancy Nancy is expressive and dramatic and makes reading aloud fun for listeners. Also, included in the back of the book is an easy to read index of “big” words she uses in the story and their meaning. It’s fun going over these with my kids. Fancy Nancy is a cute and zany character who faces everyday problems that young readers can identify with: anticipating a fun field trip, overeating and stomachaches, and finding their own identity through new experiences.
6. A Day at the Beach (Dora Series). By Lauryn Silverhardt, Jason Fruchter (Illustrator). (ages 0-preschool)
This is one of those great little board books every little tot needs in their learning library. My eldest daughter learned her colors from this book. She loved it so much (and Dora, too) that it made learning so easy! The repetition of colors every time we looked at it easily helped her along.
7. I Spy A School Bus (Scholastic Readers). Jean Marzollo(Author), Walter Wick (Illustrator). (ages 4-8)
My kids love all of the “I Spy” books because it’s something we can do together, almost like a game. The interaction is great. Especially with little ones that need help “finding” hidden pictures. The photography in the book is amazing. Every picture is eye-catching and fun to search through because of all of the interesting little objects.
8. Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures #1: The Mount Rushmore Calamity. By Jeff Brown. (ages 4-8 but geared towards more developed readers)
The book is written as an early reader chapter book. My seven year old and I love these books!!!! Usually we take turns reading every other page or every other chapter and follow along together. The adventures are exaggerated for children their age, but what is fiction for if not for big adventures. I enjoyed the story and the illustrations.
9. Disney Storybook Collection (Disney Storybook Collections) by Disney Storybook Artists. (ages 4-8)
Sometimes we forget to teach our children the classics and this book is a wonderful compilation of stories. From Bambi to Aladdin, this 320-page hard cover book includes the best-loved stories of all time. There are great illustrations on every page (a requirement for a three year old!), the text is large and fairly simplistic, just right for beginning reading.
10. Splat the Cat. By Rob Scotton. (ages 4-8)
I read this book to my daughter’s first-grade class and the kids just loved, loved, loved it!!! I never thought I could adore a literary animal as much as I liked Russel in Scotton’s Russel the Sheep, but then I met Splat the Cat! Splat is heading off to his first day of cat school while his tail “wiggled wildly with worry.” The words are funny and quirky — the kids love the zany expressions throughout and they just love Splat the fat and frizzy cat.