Great Read-Aloud Children's Books with Reviews and Sample Lesson Plans

Contents

Here's a quick overview of this article.

  • Cover images of read aloud picture books.
  • A list of over 30 children's picture books that are especially appropriate for read-aloud. Links to reviews on the book titles. Each title includes a short synopsis.
  • Links to over 40 children's books I've reviewed on HubPages.


Selecting the Right Books for Story Time

If you are a storytime presenter, you know that some children's books are designed to be read aloud in a group setting, while others may not work for storytime groups because they are either too long, too complicated, or just not engaging enough. And you also know that there's much more to putting on a great storytime program than selecting and reading books. But selecting the right books really helps!

Below is a list of books that I read in a preschool story time setting. I recommend most of these children's picture books because they have textual and visual elements that can keep a group of young children engaged in the story. These books were a story time success for me!

Recommended Children's Picture Books

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett ISBN 0689708076. This book takes a hilarious look at why animals shouldn't wear clothes. Laugh out loud.

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams is the first story in Williams' "Chair books" as she calls them. The story about a young girl, her hard-working mother, and the beautiful, flower-covered chair they save their money to buy after a devastating fire destroys all their possessions.This book is more appropriate for elementary-aged children.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle is meant to be chanted more than read, I think. This book is simple and repetitive and lends itself to easy memorization. My children love this book so much that it has become completely shredded through multiple re-readings. I recommend you get a board-book version of this story because it will be well-loved in a preschool, library, or home setting.

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No David by David ShannonIf You're Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera. Use this book for a sing-along.Babies by Gyo FujikawaBuster Goes to Cowboy Camp by Denise FlemingCaps for SaleChicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill MartinChrysanthemum by Kevin HenkesDuck on a Bike by David ShannonExcuse Me! by Lisa KopelkeThe First Dog by Jan BrettFive Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen ChristelowThe Gingerbread Boy by Paul GaldoneGregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell SharmatThe Grouchy Ladybug by Eric CarleHand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al PerkinsHarry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick GackenbachHilda Must be Dancing by Karma WilsonI'd Choose You by John TrentIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura NumeroffJoseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms TabackThe King With Six Friends by Jay WilliamsThe Kissing Hand by Audrey PennLilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin HenkesThe Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges and Amy WalrodThe Littlest Angel by Charles TazewellLlama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna DewdneyOlivia by Ian FalconerOne Tiny Turtle See and Wonder by Jane ChapmanThe Rainbow Fish by Marcus PfisterSnowballs by Lois EhlertThe Snow Day by Ezra Jack KeatsSo Much By Cooke and OxenburySome Dog by Mary Casanova and Ard HoytSouperchicken by Jane and Herm AuchThere's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer MayerThe Three Billy Goats Gruff by Marcia BrownTikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene MoselTo Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street Dr. SeussToo Many Pumpkins by Linda WhiteThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleWe're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen OxenburyWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakWalter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn MurrayWhere Once There Was a Wood by Denise FlemingThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Velveteen Rabbit by Margery WilliamsI Need My Monster by Amanda NollFlower Garden by Eve BuntingThe Tiny Seed by Eric CarleJust One More Swim by Caroline PitcherA Chair for My Mother by Vera B. WilliamsWhen I Was Little by Jamie Lee CurtisFireflies, Fireflies, Light My Way by Jonathan London and Linda MessierFrom Head to Toe by Eric CarleGoing to the Zoo by Tom PaxtonThe Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompsen and Jonathen Bean
No David by David Shannon
No David by David Shannon
If You're Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera. Use this book for a sing-along.
If You're Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera. Use this book for a sing-along.
Babies by Gyo Fujikawa
Babies by Gyo Fujikawa
Buster Goes to Cowboy Camp by Denise Fleming
Buster Goes to Cowboy Camp by Denise Fleming
Caps for Sale
Caps for Sale
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
Excuse Me! by Lisa Kopelke
Excuse Me! by Lisa Kopelke
The First Dog by Jan Brett
The First Dog by Jan Brett
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone
The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone
Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins
Harry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach
Harry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach
Hilda Must be Dancing by Karma Wilson
Hilda Must be Dancing by Karma Wilson
I'd Choose You by John Trent
I'd Choose You by John Trent
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
The King With Six Friends by Jay Williams
The King With Six Friends by Jay Williams
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges and Amy Walrod
The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges and Amy Walrod
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Olivia by Ian Falconer
One Tiny Turtle See and Wonder by Jane Chapman
One Tiny Turtle See and Wonder by Jane Chapman
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats
So Much By Cooke and Oxenbury
So Much By Cooke and Oxenbury
Some Dog by Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt
Some Dog by Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt
Souperchicken by Jane and Herm Auch
Souperchicken by Jane and Herm Auch
There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Marcia Brown
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Marcia Brown
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street Dr. Seuss
To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street Dr. Seuss
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray
Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray
Where Once There Was a Wood by Denise Fleming
Where Once There Was a Wood by Denise Fleming
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Just One More Swim by Caroline Pitcher
Just One More Swim by Caroline Pitcher
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
When I Was Little by Jamie Lee Curtis
When I Was Little by Jamie Lee Curtis
Fireflies, Fireflies, Light My Way by Jonathan London and Linda Messier
Fireflies, Fireflies, Light My Way by Jonathan London and Linda Messier
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton
Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton
The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompsen and Jonathen Bean
The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompsen and Jonathen Bean

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina, ISBN 0061474533. Some mischievous monkeys take a napping hat peddler's wares.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (Author), John Archambault (Author), Lois Ehlert (Illustrator), ISBN 0439806968. Rhythmic alphabet fun as the alphabet letters climb up the coconut tree. An all-time children's favorite. The new sequel to this story has been made into an entertaining short film that I strongly recommend if you have multimedia access.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, ISBN 0061119741. A tiny mouse loves her very long name until she is teased at school. Her loving parents are unable to help, but the fun and fascinating new music teacher saves the day.

Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman is the classic, irresistible story about a cute little teddy bear and his adventures that take him into a department store and through the wash.

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too by Eric Carle is a simple and repetitive story that affirms the bond children have with their mothers, so it is an appropriate selection for Mother's Day or any day during a toddler story hour.

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon, ISBN 0439622778. Ducks don't ride bikes! Or do they?

Excuse Me! by Lisa Kopelke ISBN 0743490053. A little frog who burps too much is banished to live with the frogs who burp all the time. Will he learn a lesson in frog etiquette, or is he doomed to live with the uncouth frogs?

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelo, ISBN 0618836829. An adaptation of the classic finger rhyme, this is a great way to involve toddlers in story hour.

Any books in the Froggy series by Jonathan London will be entertaining reading in a preschool and up story hour. I particularly like Froggy's First Kiss and Froggy Bakes a Cake.

The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone ISBN 0899191630 This popular folktale is told to perfection in this story by the master folk tale author, Paul Galdone.

The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires and Holly Berry puts a Southwest twist on the traditional tale, with a spunky baker and wiley coyote, and local color, such as cactus eating javelinas.

Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury is one of THE GREAT children's picture books for presenting during a children's story hour. It is a lot of fun and you won't regret reading this book aloud to the children you teach.

Gregory the Terrible Eaterby Mitchell Sharmat (Author), Jose Aruego (Illustrator), ISBN 059043350. Gregory the goat craves delicious, nutritious people food, and his parents are worried that he is behaving like a picky eater!

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle, ISBN 0064434508. A grouchy ladybug tries to bully his way up the food chain. This book is about animals, telling time, bullies.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, by Al Perkins (Author), Eric Gurney (Illustrator), ISBN 0394810767. This fun book is a finger-tapping, foot-stomping good time.

Harry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gachenbach, ISBN 0899192238. Harry is sure that a double-headed, three-clawed, six-toed, long-horned Whatzit has taken his mother down in the basement. He must face his fears to rescue his beloved mom.

Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson, ISBN 1416950834. Hilda the Hippo needs a new hobby, and how! But what could be better than dancing? The brightly-colored images of Wilson's artwork make her an artist and author to read again and again. Make sure to read A Frog in a Bog, and all of the books in her Bear series, including Bear Snores On, Bear Wants More, and Bear Stays Up.

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll is a long but entertaining story by an author with an ear for storytelling. This book is meant to be read aloud. This book could be read during Halloween or for any bedtime-themed story hour, and is a must-read.

I'd Choose You by John Trent ISBN 0849914523 When Norbert the Elephant has a really bad day, his parents reassure him about just how important he is to them. This book is a Christian children's book that illustrates how parents can give their children "the blessing", a topic discussed in Trent's books for adults.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff (Author) and Felicia Bond (Illustrator), ISBN 0061128562. Laura Numeroff's book If You Take a Mouse To School is another good read for the beginning of the school year. Laura Numeroff's series of cause and effect stories includes other popular titles like If You Give a Cat A Cupcake, and If You Give a Moose a Muffin.

If You're Happy and You Know It is one of those storytime selections you need to have on hand because it is such a great way to incorporate music and motion into your story hour.

It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall and Shari Halpern is a preschool-friendly story for Halloween about growing pumpkins to turn into Jack O' lanterns. This book has a gardening angle and brightly-colored, simple collage art pictures reminiscent of Eric Carle. Please click the title to read my full review and see some companion titles.

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback, ISBN 0670878553. Thrifty Joseph the tailor finds new and nifty ways to use his worn overcoat.

The King With Six FriendsJay Williams (Author), Imero Gobbato (Illustrator), ISBN 081930342. King Zar is out of a job, and with only the clothes on his back, he sets out on a quest to find a new kingdom to rule. His six new friends help.

Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis is a new hit series about a young girl who wants to play baseball with her brother and his friends, but after being repeatedly rejected, she finds her own entertainment exploring her outside surroundings with a sense of magic and imagination. This book is a part of a series. I also like Ladybug Girl At the Beach, another title by this author.

Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes, ISBN 0688128971 Lily LOVES, even idolizes, her teacher, until he takes away her shiny new purple plastic purse.

The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges, ISBN 014230189. In this modern retelling of the classic fable, Little Red Hen invites the friends in her city neighborhood to help her make a pizza. You may also be interested in the Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman is one of several alternate retellings of this story. This book about the Passover holiday is educational and entertaining at the same time, where the Little Red Hen is a mensch, but she also stands up to and scolds her lazy friends.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney ISBN 9780670062409 Little Llama gets frustrated when his mama takes him for a long, boring, shopping trip at the Shop-O-Rama. Fun rhyming text in a situation every toddler and young preschooler can relate to. Llama Llama Red Pajama and Llama Llama Misses Mama are strong recommends by this author.

Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle is a recently published book by the talented and prolific author of the Very Hungry Caterpillar. This book has some interesting facts to share about dads in the ocean, but the best reason to share this book in story hour is for the camoflauge collage art.

"More More More," Said the Baby by Vera B. Wlliams, ISBN 0688091733

No David! by David Shannon, ISBN 059093002. Little David is ALWAYS getting in trouble. How many ways can his exasperated mom say no? Lots of laughs for this contemporary fave. You may want to check into other books from the David series, or look into some of Shannon's other entertaining but less well-known titles, like A Bad Case of Stripes.

Olivia by Ian Falconer, ISBN 0689860889 Olivia has a fun-filled day any preschooler would envy, from moving the cat, to viewing world-famous pop art. All of the books in the Olivia series are particularly good, but I really enjoy a follow up story in this series by Emily Sollinger called Dinner With Olivia.

One Tiny Turtle: Read and Wonder by Nicola Davies (Author), Jane Chapman (Illustrator), ISBN 0763623113. A beautifully illustrated non-fiction book tells the story of a sea turtle. Appropriate for preschoolers.

The Rainbow Fish by by Marcus Pfister and J. Alison James, ISBN 1558580093. This modern children's book classic tells how Rainbow Fish learns to share and make friends instead of being the most beautiful fish in the ocean.

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert, ISBN 015202095. This fanciful book about building a snowman uses colorful objects from all over the world in new and unique ways. You'll love Lois Ehlert's snow people collages. Others I like by Ehlert include Eating the Alphabet, Pie in the Sky, Planting a Rainbow, Leaf Man, and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf. Ehlert is the illustrator of over 60 children's book: you really can't go wrong with Lois Ehlert books.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, ISBN 0670654000. Young Peter in his red snowsuit enjoys playing in a snowy winter wonderland. Keats is one of my favorite children's book writers. His view of childhood is innocent and yet realistic. You may also like A Letter to Amy, Goggles (about bullying), and Peter's Chair.

So Much! by Trish Cooke (Author), Helen Oxenbury (Illustrator), ISBN 0763602965. This book of familial love has a rhythmic cadence that requires some practice reading, but is a beautiful story that illustrates the many ways family members show their love for a baby on the day of his dad's surprise birthday party.

Souperchicken by Mary Jane and Herm Auch, ISBN 0823418294 . This silly adventure story about a hen who reads her way out of the soup factory is a fast-paced story that will have children at the edge of their seats until the story ends at the vegetarian's organic farm.

There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer, ISBN 0803703740. This children's classic takes a humorous peek under the bed at a little boy's bedtime fears. The rhyming text is reassuring and funny. A great read for October. An enjoyable companion tale by the same author is There's a Nightmare in My Closet.

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel ISBN 0030127114 This children's book about two Chinese brothers, one with a very long name, and one with a short one, is a humorous and suspensful aid to teach reading. Read my review of this book that lives in the folktale genre, but does not actually represent Chinese culture.

To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss, ISBN 0007169922 This children's classic was written when my 82-year old grandmother was a young girl. But the story about a little fib that turns into a gigantic whale of a tale is as pleasing today as it was in an era when horses still pulled carts down main street.

Too Many Pumpkins, by Linda White (Author), ISBN 1591128315. Too many pumpkins changes from being a problem to a blessing when a woman shares the bounty from her nuisance pumpkin patch with her neighbors. This charming and hopeful message of this timeless tale is especially appealing during hard economic times.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, ISBN 0399247459. A very hungry caterpillar gets a tummy ache when he eats all the wrong things in this classic story by beloved children's author Eric Carle. Of course, any book by Carle is a winner. From Head to Toe by the same author will get kids up and moving.

Where Once There Was a Wood by Denise Fleming (Illustrator), ISBN 0805064826 The beautiful illustrations of a wood and animals remind everyone who read this story to tread lightly on the earth.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, ISBN 0060254920. Max in his wolf suit is sent to his room and there begins his journey to the land of the Wild Things, where he conquers and becomes king. This iconic children's tale is a childhood fave of multiple generations of readers.

Recommended Children's Books

Following is a complete list of the children's picture books I have reviewed here on HubPages.

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett · A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams · Babies by Gyo Fujikawa · Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill Martin and Eric Carle · Charley Harper's ABCs by Charlie Harper · Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons · Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes · Daughter of a King by Rachel Ann Nunes · Excuse Me! By Lisa Kopelke · Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat · Harry and The Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach · Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson · I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll · I'd Choose You by John Trent · Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback · King of Kings by Susan Hill · Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman · Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes ·Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney · Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney · Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle · No David! by David Shannon · Olivia by Ian Falconer · Out of the Ocean by Debra Frasier · Snowballs by Lois Ehlert · So Much by Trish Cooke and Helen Oxenbury · Souperchicken by Mary Jane and Herm Auch · The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone · The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle · The King With Six Friends by Jay Williams · The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman · The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges · The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell · The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy · The Red Shoes a Fairy Tale by Gloria Fowler and Sun Young Yoo · The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats · Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel · Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White · Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak · Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits

About the Author

I am a former story time presenter and full-time mother of four children.

I've written over 50 articles about children's books including how to start your own story time, reviews of children's picture books, and how to incorporate music into your story hour.

More by this Author


Comments 7 comments

TreasuresByBrenda profile image

TreasuresByBrenda 6 years ago from Canada

I read for years in my children's classrooms and the school library. You have some of my favorite books on your list.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks for that Brenda. I honor your many years of service!


rocksandal profile image

rocksandal 5 years ago from victoria bc

Story is the way of any children's heart . You can enter by any children 's heart and you can also motivate any children with good story . Because story always attract children attention and he learn so many things by this. This is duty of every parents and you have done a very perfect act .........................

http://best-self-help-book.biz/


Lindsey Whitney 5 years ago

Again, thanks for this great information. I'm going to follow your future hubpages!


plainjane44 profile image

plainjane44 5 years ago from Saint Petersburg, Florida

Good list of books. Your article was a bit too long, but great. I write children books. And I hope one day, my book or books will appear on your list. Hugs and kisses or as the teens say now, XOXO.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 5 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks Plainjane, I appreciate your feedback. I am working on breaking up some of my other hubs into shorter articles, perhaps I will do the same with this one. Regards and good luck with your children's book authoring.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 months ago from Philippines

When my daughter was little she loved my reading books to her before going to sleep. Most of the books we read are not on this list, except Dr. Seuss and the Gingerbread boy. Considering that she's now 25, that should be understandable. This is a lovely list of children's story books.

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