My personal recommendations for the best story books for preschool! I am pretty old, so my preschool story books are mostly a-mazing classics that have withstood the test of time and are still fan-tas-tic!
I’m sorry there are no pictures on this page, but I cannot risk infringing copyright.
A Quick plug for my stories:
Before I get to some of the great classics, let me tell you about my dedicated story books for preschool children learning English as a second or foreign language. The English is easy and repetitive, ideal for beginners, though each story does have a slightly harder text for those who have been learning for a year or two.
Preschool children are spell-bound by own stories, which is why I created 40 stories, with lesson plans, flashcards, songs and workbooks, and these are brilliant teaching tools for busy teachers who want to give fun lessons and engage their preschool pupils. My stories are brought alive by the lesson plans made of games, that make it possible for 3-6-year-olds to learn English as a foreign language.
Fantastic classic story books
Here are some of the best ever story books for preschool. Some of these have withstood the test of time and still beat most of the new story books hands down!
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
Wow, I remember this captivating book from when I was a child. It’s over 50 years old but is still one of the best preschool children’s books ever. It won the Caldecott medal in 1964 but the illustrations are totally appealing today and the emotional journey Max goes on just as relevant! Max starts being naughty, chasing the family dog with a fork and getting up to mischief. He talks back to his mother who calls him a wild thing and sends him to his bedroom without any supper. Furious in his room, Max’s imagination turns his bedroom into a land of wild things, where he becomes king and is worshipped. He gets up to lots of mischief as king of the wild things but then he feels a desire to go to the place where he is most loved. He ends up back in his bedroom where supper is waiting! It’s best with the author’s own illustrations.
Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
How cute are the illustrations? Any children age 3 and up still adore Peter Rabbit. Like the wild thing Max, Peter gets up to no good running about in the forbidden garden where tempting lettuces abound. He gets chased and narrowly escapes being caught. Breathless and frightened he makes it home where he goes to bed with a camomile tea to calm him while his well-behaved sisters eat a scrummy dessert! As well as enjoying the story you can talk about boundaries and safety, and what can happen if you go out of bounds to places that parents say are not safe. Peter Rabbit probably won’t go into the garden again and learned his lesson!
Tip: Watch out which edition you buy. There have been modern illustrations put to the original story and they are sooooooooooooooo lacking in charm compared to Beatrix Potter’s own drawings. She was, after all, a natural scientist and conservationist as well as an illustrator and writer.
Winnie the Poo by A A Milne
Lovable Winnie the Pooh and his Tigger, Eyeore and Rabbit. Full of wit and wisdom from 1926. If you don’t know Winnie the Pooh, it’s time you did! Please share these cute tales and beautiful philosophy with your preschoolers (not for complete beginners). E.H.Shephard did all Milne’s illustrations, so if you want the originals, look out for his name in the book details.
“How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet
“You don’t spell it…you feel it.” – Winnie the Pooh
Anything by Norman Thelwell
For hilarious cartoons and uncanny insight into children, dogs, cats and above all…ponies. Timeless humour. Try Brat Race for a humourous look at children. There is very little text if any, but the pictures say a thousand words and are good talking points.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Another classic. According to Wikipedia, it has sold the equivalent of a book a minute since it was published…way back in 1969!
I know there are a lot of great new books out there, but sometimes I find they are a bit bland, striving to please all peoples and all views, or too moralising, or the pics are boring because too much personality might displease someone, somewhere. But PLEASE please add your favs to the comments box below for all of us. The best of the best must-haves…we would love to hear what your favourite and most successful story books are.
Even though the above story books are not designed for young English language learners, but native speakers, the pictures are explicit and it’s easy for children to understand what is happening from them alone. That said I recommend that you pre-teach the key vocabulary for each story beforehand, and use my games for this. Then you can read the story and do post-story activities just as with my ready-made resources. If you have my story resources you’ll find post-story activities suggested with every story, and these are adaptable to any story. Some ideas are:
- putting story pics in order,
- making a puzzle out of a story picture,
- playing hide and seek with story props or flashcards,
- drawing objects or people from the story,
- making a story poster,
- making puppets of the story characters,
- making up actions for key moments in the story,
- making masks of story characters,
- using props during story-telling,
- playing games relevant to the story theme
- making up a rhyme with actions around the story theme,
- and plenty more!
I hope you like these classic books and if you need me for anything, please just ask!
All the best
Shelley Ann Vernon
Teaching English Games