Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Best of Storytime: Books

To some extent one can predict which picture books children will find entertaining. Stories that mention underwear? Hilarious. Animals making the wrong noises? Unbelievable. Virtually every pop up book? Amazing. And a pigeon insisting on driving a bus? Well okay, I agree that is rather brilliant myself.

When planning my storytimes I include at least one book that I've used before with great success, along with new titles. Since many of the children that attend my storytime speak a language other than English as their first language, I tend to select books that very repetitive to encourage participation along with physical components that can be acted out. The age ranges are approximate and will depend upon your community. These are my highly tested and approved storytime classics.

Books for Toddlers

Across the Stream by Mirra Ginsburg
The Baby Goes Beep! by Rebecca O'Connell
Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr (Note: Somehow I only learned within the past year that you can sing this to the tune of the ABC song. It's highly catchy and addictive!)
Freight Train by Donald Crews
From Head to Toe by Eric Carlie
I Went Walking by Sue Williams
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw
Meeow and the Box by Sebastien Braun
Piggies by Audrey Wood
Spots, Feathers & Curly Tails by Nancy Tafuri
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
This Little Chick by John Lawrence
Tip Tip, Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
What Shall We Do with the Boo Hoo Baby? by Cressida Cowell
Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood

Books for Preschoolers

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
The Enormous Potato retold by Audrey Davis
Go Away Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
Hi Pizza Man! by Virginia Walters
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont
Let's Play in the Forest by Claudia Rueda
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big, Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt
Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? by Karen Beaumont
Who Is Driving? by Leo Timmers
Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen

Pop Up/Lift the Flap/Novelty Books for Most Ages:

Charlie Chick by Nick Denchfield
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Opposites by Robert Crowther
One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Peekaboo Blueberry by Barney Saltzburg
Trucks Go Pop! by Bob Staake

My personal style of sharing stories is highly interactive: discussing illustrations, making predictions as to what will happen next, and inviting the audience to join in repeated phrases or sounds. My interest is in young children practicing and enhancing their early literacy skills (particularly vocabulary, print motivation and narrative skills), rather than sitting quietly and listening as research shows children learn most from books when actively involved.

There is no one best way method for storytime; rather, I recommend choosing titles you enjoy and that compliment the way you feel most comfortable sharing books.


  1. I still like going to storytime at the library. I appreciate all those librarians who make story hour so enjoyable!

  2. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is awesome, but doesn't read well to a group. Knuffle Bunny went down better with my preschoolers.

  3. Great list - thank you! I do story time at our library and am always trying to find some 'new' books.