Bright Beginnings Booklist: Preschoolers (4-5 years)

Recommended reading for preschoolers (4-5 years)

Compiled by:
Christina Jones
"Let's Get a Pup!" says Kate

Bob Graham
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Gr)

When Kate and her family visit the animal shelter, it is very hard to leave an older dog behind.

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.

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.

Chicken Little

Rebecca Emberley
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 398.2 Henny Emb)

A retelling of the classic story of Chicken Licken, who has an acorn fall on his head and runs in a panic to his friends Henny Penny, Lucky Ducky, and Loosey Goosey, to tell them the sky is falling.


Don Freeman
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Fr)

A toy bear never finds his button, but finds a new friend instead.

Duck on a Bike

David Shannon
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Sh)

A duck decides to ride a bike and inspires other animals on the farm to do the same.

Eating the Alphabet

Lois Ehlert
(Juvenile Picture Books Nonfiction - Ej 411 Eh)

Vivid pictures and bold text provide an alphabetical tour of fruits and vegetables.

Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy

Jane O'Connor
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Oco)

Nancy wants to adopt a special puppy so that she is no longer the only fancy member of her family, but after a day of puppysitting a papillon, she realizes that being fancy is not always the most important thing.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Crockett Johnson
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Jo)

Harold goes for an adventurous walk in the moonlight with his purple crayon.

Harry the Dirty Dog

Gene Zion
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Zi)

When a white dog with black spots runs away from home, he gets so dirty his family doesn't recognize him.

How do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?

Jane Yolen
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Yo)

Humorous rhyming text describes how a dinosaur does and does NOT eat its food.

How to Catch a Star

Oliver Jeffers
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ol)

Eager to have his own, a boy comes up with imaginative ways to catch a star.

Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Mo Willems
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Wi)

Leonardo is a terrible monster -- he can't seem to frighten anyone.

Lizard's Song

George Shannon
(Juvenile Picture Books -- Ej Sh)

A big silly bear keeps trying to learn Lizard's song, until he finds one even better.


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

Learn about how different animals move.

Mr. Pusskins

Sam Lloyd
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ll)

Grumpy Mr. Pusskins doesn't appreciate his comfy home until he spends a naughty evening out on the streets.

My Garden

Kevin Henkes
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej He)

After helping her mother weed, water, and chase the rabbits from their garden, a young girl imagines her dream garden complete with jellybean bushes, chocolate rabbits, and tomatoes the size of beach balls.

Noisy Nora

Rosemary Wells
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej We)

Feeling neglected, Nora makes more and more noise to attract her parents' attention.


Ian Falconer
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Fa)

Whether at home getting ready for school or enjoying the beach, Olivia demonstrates a zest for life.

On Earth

G. Brian Karas
(Juvenile Picture Books Nonfiction - Ej 525 Ka)

We are all passengers of the Earth as it spins, tilts and circles the sun. Learn about Earth's cycles of rotation and revolution, plus how they affect our lives through the days and seasons.

Pete's a Pizza

William Steig
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej St)

When Pete is in a bad mood, his father decides turning him into a pizza might cheer him up.

Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud

Lynn Plourde
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Pl)

A feisty grandmother in her Model-T Ford struggles to get an assortment of farm animals out of the road.

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.

Roller Coaster

Marla Frazee
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Fr)

Twelve people set aside their fears and ride a roller coaster, including one who has never done so before.

Scaredy Squirrel

Melanie Watt
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Wa)

Scaredy Squirrel is afraid to leave his nut tree and makes elaborate plans to stay safe -- until he is forced to confront the unknown.

Some Friends to Feed: The Story of Stone Soup

Pete Seeger
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 782.42162 Se)

A poor but clever traveler finds a way to get the townspeople to share their food with him in this retelling of a classic tale.

Superhero ABC

Bob McLeod
(Juvenile Picture Books Nonfiction - Ej 411 Mac)

Humorous Superheroes such as Goo Girl and The Volcano represent the letters of the alphabet from A to Z. 

Ten Little Caterpillars

Bill Martin, Jr.
(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.    

The Gingerbread Man

Jim Aylesworth
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 398.2 Gin)

A freshly baked gingerbread man escapes out of the oven and eludes a number of pursuers until he meets a clever fox.

The Human Alphabet

(Juvenile Picture Books Nonfiction - Ej 411 Pil)

Dancers join limbs, twist, and grip to form twenty-six letters and accompanying picture.

The Kingfisher Book of Nursery Tale

Vivian French
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 398.208 Fr)

Read-aloud versions of several favorite folktales, such as The Three Bears and The Billy Goats Gruff.

The Wolf's Chicken Stew

Keiko Kasza
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ka)

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

Trashy Town

Andrea Zimmerman
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Zi)

Little by little, trash can by trash can, Mr. Gillie, cleans up his town.


David Weisner
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej We)

Frogs rise on their lily pads, float through the air, and explore the nearby houses while their inhabitants sleep.

What Happens on Wednesdays

Emily Jenkins
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Je)

A child describes every event that occurs on a Wednesday.

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.