We are sharing our favourite children’s books as reading to your child is one of the most valuable things you can do, outside of keeping them healthy and safe. Starting from day one when they are newborns and not even able to talk, the benefits are very valuable. Continuing well into their early years and even when they are able to read by themselves, multiple studies confirm the advantages of reading with children from an early age. The benefits include: interaction with others, development of speech & language skills, bonding with caregivers and getting a head-start on reading. Furthermore, studies have shown that continuing reading to children who have already learned how to read can help them feel close to caregivers, understand the world around them and become more empathetic towards others.
Top Ten Favourite Children’s Books
Here are ten of our favourite children’s books that we would recommend for children under five. These preschool books feature an array of genres, from multicultural children’s books, moral stories for kids, award-winning children’s books and funny children’s books that are sure to become family favourites.
1. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo is an award-winning children’s book written by Julia Donaldson. Featuring rhyming couplets with beautiful illustrations, The Gruffalo tells the story of a clever mouse who is making his way through a forest. In order to remain safe, the mouse fools several dangerous animals into believing that he is about to meet his friend, the Gruffalo, a monster who is really nothing but a figment of his imagination! After making it safely through the forest, the mouse is shocked to encounter a real Gruffalo – with all the fearsome features the mouse seemingly created. The Gruffalo threatens to eat the mouse, but again the mouse is cunning and comes up with a witty plan to outsmart the Gruffalo.
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This modern classic by Eric Carle has become one of the favourite children’s books in many households, selling over 12 million copies across the world. This butterfly metamorphosis story teaches children the days of the week and counting, all in a bright colourful format. The story takes you through what the caterpillar eats through different days of the week (and pages of the book) until he is so full that he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he has transformed into a beautiful butterfly!
3. Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois
This book, written by Canadian author Paulette Bourgeois addresses the problem that a large number of children face – being afraid of the dark! This delightful story helps young children learn that it is okay to be scared and that there are things you can do about it. Franklin provides the life lesson that everyone has different fears that others might find strange.
4. A Fish out of Water by Helen Palmer
Helen Palmer’s A Fish out of Water is based on a short story by her husband Dr. Seuss. This beautifully written poetic story is about a boy’s journey when he buys a pet fish named Otto. The store owner, Mr. Carp, gives the boy strict feeding instructions: “Never feed him a lot. Never more than a spot! Or something may happen. You never know what.” When the boy decides to disobey these instructions, Otto begins to grow nonstop, quickly outgrowing his fishbowl.
5. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
The Rainbow Fish is a children’s book drawn and written by Marcus Pfister. The book is best known for its moral and for the characteristic shiny foil scales of Rainbow Fish. The story is about Rainbow Fish who has beautiful, shiny, multi-coloured scales. One day, a small fish asks him if he could have one but Rainbow Fish refuses. The other fish are very upset and don’t want to play with him anymore. The wise octopus tells him to share his scales with each of the other fish and that even though he may no longer be the most beautiful fish in the ocean, he will discover how to be happy. When he encounters the small fish a second time, the Rainbow Fish gives her one of his scales and, seeing her happiness, immediately feels much better.
6. Cars and trucks and things that go by Richard Scarry
This Richard Scarry book still remains one of the favourite children’s books even though it may have been around when many of today’s parents were children. Each page is packed with detail-rich scenes that children will pore over. Even older children will love trying to find the hidden “Goldbug” in each page. Furthermore, the book provides a great vocabulary guide that names the many transport vehicles!
7. Superworm by Julia Donaldson
One of our favourite children’s books for kindergarten, this wacky tale by Julia Donaldson features a rather unlikely superhero, Superworm! With his googly eyes and terrific smile, this story will surely be a hit with children 4 years and above. The writing style with its rhythmic rhyme will have the children chanting along as you read this book time and time again. Superworm comes to the rescue to fish a spider out of a well and even rescue a toad from the road. Yet, when he’s captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard, it’s his friends that have to come up with a cunning plan to rescue him.
8. The Family Book by Todd Parr
Todd Parr’s books focus on embracing our differences but is written in a child-friendly manner with bold, bright colours and silly scenes along the way. The Family Book assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own exceptional way. The Family Book encourages early literacy, advances emotional development, celebrates multiculturalism, and strengthens family relationships
9. Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell – Sue Hendra
If you are a fan of funny children’s books, this silly story by Sue Hendra will have young readers laughing from cover to cover. Norman is a slug who dreams of being a snail – if only he could find himself a shell! This story takes you through the crazy antics of Norman’s adventure to find himself a shell. However, with each new shell his dreams keep getting bigger each time.
10. Waves in the Bathtub – Eugenie Fernandes
This book is perfect for getting children excited about bath time and a wonderful way to spark their imagination. Featuring Eugenie Fernandes’ own illustrations which give the reader so many things to look for and pay attention to. The story featured Kady’s adventures when she gets into the bathtub from riding dolphins to snuggling with a polar bear. The story even features a simple song which is included at the end of the story.
At Childventures, we feature the literary arts including reading and writing as well as book awareness as a core element of our curriculum. Our curriculum is based on the most relevant scientific research on best learning methods for the early years, as well as research into the best preschool practices used around the world. It is specifically designed to provide children with a solid foundation of the knowledge and skills they will need for later learning.
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