The best children’s picture books for preschool storytimes

The Books I Picked & Why

Bark, George

By Jules Feiffer

Book cover of Bark, George

Why this book?

This book stars an adorable puppy named George. His mother has a simple request—she wants George to bark. But instead of arf, he says meow. The mother patiently explains, “No, George. Cats go meow. Dogs go arf.” George tries again (“Quack!”) and again (“Oink!”) and again. (“Moo!”) 

Kids find this hilarious. Sometimes I’ll ask, “Do dogs go meow?” And they’ll cheer, “No!” And then I’ll say, “Who says meow?” Even the very youngest kids join in. Maybe they can’t quite talk yet, but they can clap and cheer when George finally gets it right. 

This book has everything I love in a storytime book—short text, lots of humor, and fun surprises with each page turn.

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Everybody Says Meow

By Constance Lombardo

Book cover of Everybody Says Meow

Why this book?

At storytimes, I see firsthand the value of a good page turn. There’s anticipation. And excitement. And…then…the…page…turns… Oh! Is there a surprise? Something funny?  

Everybody Says Meow has the best page turns. The story starts with a cat talking to the reader. He’s standing with his cat-friends and explains that it’s time for everybody to say meow. “Ready?” he asks. 

On the next page, all the cats are happily saying, “Meow!” BUT—there’s also a dog, peeking around the edge of the page. With a smile and a friendly wave, he says, “Woof!” 

The story continues with these page-turn surprises, and the kids eagerly await the next animal to peek around the page. I love how I have to pause my reading and wait for the laughter to quiet down.

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Oh No, George!

By Chris Haughton

Book cover of Oh No, George!

Why this book?

Another book about a dog named George! This George is a sweet, well-intentioned dog who is trying very hard to be good. But oh dear, there are so many temptations. Cake! A cat. Some lovely dirt. 

“What will George do?” the book asks. And then comes the page turn. (As you can probably tell from the title, George doesn’t always make the best choices.) The kids will shout, “Oh no, George!” with me and giggle at the silly illustrations that follow, like George happily eating an entire cake. But they can also relate. Sometimes making the right choices can be hard.  

The ending is unexpected and usually starts a lively discussion. I love anything that gets kids talking to each other about books.

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Is Everyone Ready for Fun?

By Jan Thomas

Book cover of Is Everyone Ready for Fun?

Why this book?

I love Jan Thomas’s books! This one starts with three charming cows who are excited to see a red sofa. “Look!” they say. “It’s chicken’s sofa!”

Why are they excited? One page-turn later and PLOP! The cows are all squished together, sitting on the sofa. “Is everyone ready for fun?” they ask. 

Turns out, the cows have lots of plans for this sofa. Jumping! Dancing! Wiggling! Poor chicken tries to get them to stop, but these fun-loving cows don’t notice the effect of their “fun” on chicken’s sofa. 

I love having the kids act out each scene of jumping, dancing, wiggling, and the final satisfying page. Books that get kids engaged, whether with a catchy refrain or physical actions are fun. (And like those cows, we are ready for fun!)

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Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

By Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin

Book cover of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

Why this book?

Yay for cow books! Cows can be so charming, and these cows are extra-special—they’ve learned how to type! And they use their new skill to make one polite request. They would like electric blankets. Sincerely, they would. 

I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy humor and a satisfying page-turn. This book showcases another feature that works well for storytimes—a fun refrain. 

Click, clack, moo.

Click, clack, moo.

Clickety, clack, moo.

I have kids say it with me. “Click, clack, mooo!” we say as we watch poor Farmer Brown react to each note. The ending is funny and satisfying and leaves us with a slight twist on this repeated refrain. Sometimes, I’ll hear the kids saying it throughout the day as I walk from class to class. “Click, clack, mooooo!”

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