Bright Beginnings Booklist: Preschoolers (4-5 years)

Recommended reading for preschoolers (4-5 years)

Compiled by:
Ginny H.
Alan’s Big Scary Teeth

(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Jarvis)

Alan the alligator pretends to be very scary. But all is not as it seems. Alan, you see, has a very BIG (not-so-scary) secret.


Alma and How She Got Her Name

Juana Martinez-Neal
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Martinez-Neal)

When Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela asks herfather why she has so many names, she hears the story of her name and learns about her grandparents.

B Is for Baby

(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Ati)

B is for Baby. B is for Brother. B is for going to see Baba! One morning after breakfast, Baby's big brother is getting ready to take the basket of bananas all the way to Baba's bungalow in the next village. He'll have to go along the bumpy road, past the baobab trees, birds, and butterflies, and all the way over the bridge. But what he doesn't realize is that his very cute, very curious baby sibling has stowed away on his bicycle.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

Grace Lin
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Lin)

Reimagines the cycles of the moon as a mother bakes aBig Moon Cake and, despite Mama's request to wait, LittleStar begins nibbling at it every night.

The Big Umbrella

Amy June Bates
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Bates)

By the door there is an umbrella so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath – regardless of who they are.

The Book with No Pictures

B.J. Novak
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Novak)

In this book with no pictures, the reader has to say every silly word, no matter what.

Caps for Sale

Esphyr Slobodkina
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 398.2 Caps For Slo)

A band of mischievous monkeys steals every one of a napping peddler's caps.


Margaret Read MacDonald
(Juvenile Nonfiction -- J 398.2 Conejito Mac)

In this folktale from Panama, a little rabbit and his Tia Monica outwit a fox, a tiger, and a lion, all of whom want to eat him for lunch.

The Day the Crayons Quit

Drew Daywalt
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Daywalt)

When Duncan arrives at school one morning, he finds a stack of letters, one from each of his crayons, complaining about how he uses them.

Grandma’s Purse

Vanessa Brantley-Newton
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Brantley)

You never know what Grandma Mimi will have in her purse when she comes to visit!

Grandma’s Tiny House

JaNay Brown-Wood
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Bro)

In rhyming text, when the whole family and guests show up for the big dinner at Grandma's house, it becomes clear that the house is much too small to hold them all.

The Greedy Goat

Petr Horáček
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Hor)

Goat is tired of eating grass. Goat spends Saturday wandering the farmyard in pursuit of some new fare.What will she eat next?

Jabari Jumps

Gaia Cornwall
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Cornwall)

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board! Discover a moment between a patient father and a determined little boy you can't help but root for.

Little Red

Bethan Woollvin
(Juvenile Nonfiction -- J 398.2 Little Red Riding Hood Woo)

On her way to Grandma's house, Little Red meets a wolf. Which might scare some little girls. But not this little girl. She knows just what the wolf is up to, and she's not going to let him get away with it.

Mouse House

John Burningham
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Burningham)

A secret mouse family are discovered sharing a house and must escape before the mouse catcher arrives.


Steve Jenkins
(Juvenile Picture Books Nonfiction - Ej 573.79 Jen)

Learn about how different animals move.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Peter Brown
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Brown)

Bored with city life and the proper behavior it requires, Mr. Tiger has a wild idea that leads him to discover his true nature.

No Fits, Nilson!

Zachariah OHora
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej OHora)

Amelia must continually remind her gorilla friend, Nilson, not to have fits, especially when they are running errands with her mother, but sometimes Amelia stomps and growls, too.

Pete the Cat. I Love My White Shoes

Eric Litwin
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Litwin)

As he walks down the street, Pete the cat sings about his brand new white shoes as they change from red to blue to brown to wet.

Rattletrap Car

Phyllis Root
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ro)

Poppa and the children come up with ingenious ways to make the journey to the lake in their rattletrap car.

Red Light, Green Lion

Candace Ryan
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Rya)

As a green lion stands at a street corner waiting for a green light, a surprising sequence of events takes place. Each page turn brings something new that begins with the letters "li" And while readers may guess, each time, that it will be the expected green light, it usually isn't.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Mac Barnett
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Barnett)

Sam and Dave are sure they will discover something exciting if they just keep digging their hole.

Shh! We have a plan

Chris Haughton
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Haughton)

Four friends creep through the woods, with a plan to catch a bird. As one comically foiled plan follows another, it soon becomes clear that their quiet, observant companion has a far better idea.


A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Philip Christian Stead
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ste)

Amos McGee's, an elderly zookeeper, enjoys the rewards of his kindness to his animal friends.

Sylvia Long's Big Book for Small Children

Sylvia Long
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Long)

A collection of concepts like numbers, colors and opposites, together with poems, stories, and hands-on activities like making pancakes and music.

Tap the Magic Tree

Christie Matheson
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Mat)

Invites the reader to tap, rub, touch, and wiggle illustrations to make an apple tree bloom, produce fruit, and lose its leaves. Available as a Picture book and as a Board Book.

Ten Little Caterpillars

Bill Martin
(Juvenile Picture Books Nonfiction - Ej 595.78 Mar)

Illustrations and rhyming text follow ten caterpillars as one wriggles up a flower stem, another sails across a garden pool, and one reaches an apple leaf, where something amazing happens.    

They All Saw A Cat

Brendan Wenzel
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Wen)

In simple, rhythmic prose and stylized pictures, a cat walks through the world, and all the other creatures see and acknowledge the cat.

The Wall In The Middle Of The Book

Jon Agee
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Age)

A knight who feels secure on his side of the wall that divides his book discovers that his side is not as safe as he thought, and the other side is not as threatening.

What Riley Wore

Elana Arnold
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Arn)

Gender-creative Riley knows just what to wear for every occasion during a busy week with family and friends.

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Se)

Max is sent to bed without his supper, sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes their king.

Who Wet My Pants?

Bob Shea
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej She)

When Reuben the bear brings doughnuts to his forest friends, they discover that his pants are wet and he angrily accuses them of the dirty deed.

Whose Footprint Is That?

Darrin Lunde
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 591.479 Lun)

A young, playful nonfiction picture book explores the connections between an animal, how it moves, and its tracks.

Wolfie the Bunny

Ame Dyckman
(Juvenile Picture Book -- Ej Dyckman)

When her parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep and decide to raise him as their own, Dot is certain he will eat them all up until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.

The Wolf's Chicken Stew

Keiko Kasza
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ka)

A hungry wolf's attempts to fatten a chicken has unexpected results.