Preschool Summer Reading List

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based on 19 ratings
May 16, 2011
Updated on Apr 4, 2014

The summer before preschool is all about discovering a love for books—books that tell silly stories, teach kids how to express themselves in constructive ways, and inspire conversation.

Our team searched the shelves high and low for brand new titles that do just that. Here are our picks for a solid gold summer of reading with your preschooler. We have a hunch that they'll become cherished additions to your bookshelf the whole year round.

Our 2012 Preschool Summer Reading Picks

Mooksha, A Quilt Story by Julie Paschkis. Karla loves her quilt Mooshka, sewn together with dozens of scraps of fabric, each tied to a family memory. And the best part is that when all is quiet, Karla can hear the quilt whispering each story. This book, full of vibrant illustrations with a folkish feel and simple, but evocative text, strikes the perfect balance of non-saccharine sweetness. A wonderful present for a child with a new sibling, but a memorable read for any preschooler on your list. (Peachtree Publishers, $13.03)

More by I.C. Springman, Illustrated by Brian Lies. Expressive illustrations and masterfully sparse text tell the story of one magpie with way too much stuff. Luckily, the magpie’s mice friends help him find out what it means to have “just enough”. This is at once a lighthearted book about a silly bird, and an important lesson about wants and needs. (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $11.55)

Scary Mary by Paula Bowles. Scary Mary rules the roost! She squawks and hoards, declaring herself boss of the barnyard, but Mary soon realizes that it's lonely at the top. It's only when the kindhearted animals give her a second chance that Mary begins to see and appreciate the importance of friendship. With playful text and action-packed illustrations, this book is perfect for reading aloud to young children, who will delight in Mary's antics and identify with the book's message. (Tiger Tales, $11.01)

Mole's Babies by David Bedford. This gentle story finds expectant father Morris the mole searching high and low for the secret to keeping babies happy. He watches the farm animals and tries to do what they do, all to no avail. Morris is defeated, but vows to carry on until he finds the answer. The text has a sing-songy cadence that will appeal to young listeners and encourage them to pantomime along with the main character. Fun for all readers, but particularly good for the soon-to-be big brother or sister.(Tiger Tales, $11.01)


Our 2011 Preschool Summer Reading Picks

Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Bob Shea. Even though he’s got a swanky fish bowl and magic food flakes that fall from the sky, Gilbert Goldfish dreams of what he can not have. He dreams of a pet. Kids will giggle as a dog, a mouse, and a fly all team up for a temporary pet rotation... and bring trouble. This book has just the right mix of winks for the picture book crowd, and enough humor to keep parents engaged, too. And when the perfect pal arrives with a fish-tastic ending, preschoolers sitting at the edge of their seats can breathe a sigh of delighted relief. (Dial, $11.55)

 I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay. This perfect blend of evocative poetry and dreamy art strikes just the right notes for a bedtime wind-down. But don't be surprised if your preschooler pulls it out all day long. Fantastical images like a moon hooked on a church spire, or a crew of dogs assembled for “a train-whistle choir” balance whimsy with beauty. A welcome change to the saccharine chords of many preschool rhyming books. (Barefoot Books, $11.55)

 Bear with Me by Max Kornell. Owen is the king of his parents’ world... until they unexpectedly bring home a surprise addition, without even asking. There’s a new cub in town, and life at Owen's house is never going to be the same. Suddenly he has to share. Gary the bear makes it hard to sleep and forgets to cap the magic markers. But soon he starts to grow on Owen and both get a few lessons in sharing. A wonderful way to broach the topic of a new baby or younger sibling, without getting grumbles. A fun read for anyone - brotherless or not. (Putnam, $10.66)

 I’m a Shark by Bob Shea. Fans of Kate and Jim McMullan’s sassy “I Stink” will gravitate towards the brass and bluster of this new offering from Bob Shea, with a title character who declares, “Aren’t I awesome?” But even a shark who can watch scary movies without closing his eyes is secretly scared of something... A fun way to tackle a fear of the dark, or anything else that's keeping kids up at night. (Baltzer + Bray/Harper Collins, $11.55)

 My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone and Christopher Corr. From the moment Granny first goes to market to the final roundup of all her international purchases, you'll get swept away in this colorful counting jaunt around the world. A bit reminiscent of the holiday favorite “On the First Day of Christmas”, this book follows Granny as she plucks up a sea of gifts -- from one flying carpet (in Istanbul) to ten black llamas (in Peru). The vibrant illustrations of fluttering kites, buzzing boomerangs, and Russian nesting dolls precariously balanced on her beautiful Turkish carpet, bring foreign cultures front and center, and may bite kids with the travel bug, even before they learn to read solo. (Barefoot Books, $6.99)

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