Best Preschool and Family Books To Give Kids You Don’t Know Very Well, Part 2


(For Part One, link here)

Flora and the FlamingoFlora and the Flamingo, Molly Idle (Chronicle 9781452110066, ages 4 and up)

This wordless interactive lift-the-flap book evokes an unlikely friendship between a little girl in a bathing cap swimsuit and flippers who dances a tentative then joyous pas de deux with a pink flamingo.

See the format in action below (link here to the animated book trailer):

Night night little green monster

If there ever was a book that has been read to pieces by a generations of children, its Ed Emberly’s Go Away Big Green Monster! It is with great pleasure that I introduce the new superstar of the family, Night Night, Little Green Monster, (Little Brown). Half the scary and twice as much fun, these die-cut pages build the visage of a little green smiling face with one little curly hair. As the first star is sighted the little green monster slowly disappears with each page turn until holographic stars shine out from the pitch-black end papers.

[Ten more titles after the jump!]

How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad?How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? by Jane Yolen And Mark Teague (Scholastic/Blue Sky Press/, Ages 3+)

It’s hard to believe that it has been twelve years since the publication of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight , yet after ten titles in this franchise, thanks to the genius of Yolen and Teague, the concept never gets old. A fresh take on big scary feelings of being angry is embodied in towering page-filling prehistoric creatures.

Lucky ducklings

Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore, illus. by Nancy Carpenter (Orchard Books/ Scholastic. 0780439448611, Ages 3 and up)

Based on a true story of a duckling that fell through a storm drain grate in Montauk, Long Island, New York. With more than a slight nod to Make Way for Ducklings, this read aloud pleasure shows a community coming together to rescue the littlest.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown (Little Brown, 9780316200639)

Caldecott Honor illustrator Brown tells the story of a proper tiger who discovers that sometimes going a little crazy can be good and we cheer as he does. A joy to read aloud, this exquisitely created volume, from its corrugated orange and black striped boards under the paper dust jacket, to the faux retro illustrations to the fern-leafed repeated patterned endpapers has all the markings of a modern classic.

Below is Peter Brown talking about his creative process. a true gift to teachers and librarians from School Library Journal:



Battle Bunny, Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, pictures by Mathew Myers, (S&S)

Imagine that you are a little boy named Alex whose Gran Gran has thoughtfully given you a cloyingly saccharine picture book titled Birthday Bunny. Pencil in hand, you gleefully re-write, graffiti and draw, creating a whole new work of art.

Speaking of gifts; I always look for books that would be great for teachers.  I can’t think of a more fun and useful book for them (and kids, too) than Bugs in My Hair by David Shannon (Scholastic/Blue Sky) of No, David! fame.

It’s about head lice — yup, I said it.

With good humor and his explosive style, Shannon demonstrates that it can feel like the bugs take over your life yet there is only one solution,  to keep fighting. This would also be great for your school nurse, your pediatrician or the preschool director.

Book trailer below:

Here I Am

Here I Am, Patti Kim, Illus, Sonia Sánchez (Capstone Young Readers)

This wordless graphic format picture book depicts an immigrant child’s experience plunged into a foreign land. Reminiscent of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, it is perfect for any child who is encountering new immigrants for the first time.

Book trailer below:

Clementine and the Spring Trip

Do you know a seven- or eight-year-old child who has raced through all of Judy Blume’s Fudge books and Beverly Cleary’s Ramona? They will also love the irrepressible Clementine, back in the sixth in the series, Clementine and the Spring Trip. These books are perfect for family read-alouds, as well as serving as transitional chapter books for children making the move up from easy readers.

DC Super-Pets Character Encyclopedia

Stunned is the only word that can describe my reaction to the DC Superpets! Character Encyclopedia by Steve Korté illustrated by Art Baltazar (full disclosure, my husband works for the publisher Capstone. He brought it home and I wouldn’t give it back).

Every full collor page contains a delightful discovery of comic book heroes and their pets. It opens with a crowd shot of DC heroes with their pets — that’s 331 figures to identify. No worries, there is a key on the last page. Interested in that rabbit on page 50? He’s Hoppy, companion to Shazam! Each pet is illustrated with a portrait, fun facts and as well as a short profile of their super-hero.


Let’s not forget the kids who are more than reluctant readers. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a book for them — just a different kind of book. I’ve been a fan of Klutz since the publication Juggling for the Complete Klutz. They strike gold again with The World According to Klutz, a three-book boxed set that distills their delightfully wacky humor into The Encyclopedia of Immaturity: Short Attention-Span EditionThe Book of Inventions: Hall of Fame Edition and The Best Facts in the History of Fact. I agree with their publicity materials  “From the purely silly to the extremely gross to practical tips on how to read a grown-up’s mind, this photo-illustrated volume will occupy a group of kids for more than a few hours.”


The Dot: Make Your Own Mark Kit
For non-readers who are artistically inclined (or not), try The Dot: Make Your Mark Kit from bestselling author-illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the award winning The Dot. Reynolds recently told Publishers Weekly that when kids ask him about his favorite book, he tells them that Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is number two. “Then I pull out a blank book and say, ‘this is my all-time favorite book.’ It takes them a while to get it. Then I tell them it could be a place for your art or for your own story. It can be anything you want. I tell them their life is a blank book, and they can write their own story, or someone will write it for [them].”

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