I'm Going to Pre-School, and I Need Some Help

My nephew Cameron is in pre-school, and this week is his turn to be the “star.” I don’t really know what that means other than that I get to go spend a day with the class and read them a story and bring treats.

I’m really excited to do it. I’m not up on children’s literature, though, and I don’t know what I should read them. Does anyone have any ideas? The kids are about 3, if that helps. I have no problem with doing goofy voices or anything like that, if needed.

I’m in a Child Growth and Development Class and we run a little “pre-school” for the children so I might be of some help. Toddlers that age like almost any picture book. The Clifford series is a great suggestion or anything with the name “Suess” on the cover.



Muhahahaha, yes, Seuss-isize them. Better yet, read to them about the Grinch. They’re only 3, there will come a day when they will think only of Jim Carrey’s made up puke green face when they conjure up the Grinch.

I always liked the Cat in the Hat Comes Back, myself.

Also Mauriece Sendak. Know I spelled that first part wrong. Can’t go wrong with him! In the Night Kitchen, Where the Wild Things Are, Outside Over There…

Yep. Maurice Sendak! Valerie, I can’t think of a more impressive "Wild Things " reader than you. I bet yer Grrrs are enough to permanently impress the wee tots well into their teens!

I like Stellaluna, by Jeanelle Cannon.

Tomi DiPaula is very well loved.

If you give a mouse a cookie is also quite good… but only if you actually give 'em cookies.

Read Go, Dogs, Go. I made my uncle read it to me over and over again, and he didn’t even do voices.

Rainbow Fish is a great one, and I second Stellaluna and Where the Wild Things Are.

The Miss Spider series are visually great, and the rhymes are fun, even though the words might be a bit above a 3 year olds level.

I volunteered as librarian when my sons went to a Catholic School, reading to the kids was great. Have fun!

Dad of a 3-and-a-half-year-old boy checking in. There are a number of books that my son loves that I’d shy away from trying to read to a large group. Something that’s simple and easy to put across and that makes fun sounds when you read it is called for. One that, in my experience, works extremely well is a fairly new book by Jules Feiffer called Bark, George. The Amazon.com review describes it better than I can at this hour, but I’ll add that the humor is of a type that particularly appeals to kids in the 3-4 age range. It’s also short enough that you wouldn’t have to worry about running long.

Other ideas: though they’re written to be “first reader” books, and most people would consider them “above” the target age group, my son really enjoys Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad stories. They’re simple, humorous, sweet without being cloying, and revel in the joy of being friends that only kids seem to be able to experience fully. If you can find it, I’ll Teach My Dog 100 Words by Michael K. Frith is lots of fun for both reader and listener – nonsense in the best possible sense. Kevin Lewis’ Chugga Chugga Choo Choo is another favorite, as are many of the Little Golden Book classics (Tootle, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Little Red Caboose, The Train to Timbuktoo). Of those, probably the best for reading aloud to a group like this would be The Train to Timbuctoo, by Margaret Wise Brown (the author of Goodnight Moon) – it’s more rhythmic and repetitive than the others, which are pretty prosaic. Another recent acquisition is Robert and Amy Spence’s Clickety Clack.

I can second the recommendation of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but I’m not as taken with the sequels (If You Give a Moose a Muffin and If You Give a Pig a Pancake).

Among the Dr. Seuss canon, I prefer Green Eggs and Ham at this age, but it’s hard to go wrong.

I’ve linked to Amazon simply as the easiest way of providing you with exact information about and reviews of each book mentioned, not to suggest that you should be buying them or should be buying them there.

I would also like to reiterate the suggestions of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. This is my favorite children’s book.

I, like rackensack am not very fond of the Pig and Moose sequels but they have just come out with another Mouse sequel called, If You Take a Mouse to the Movies and it is just as good as the first Mouse book!

I just got both the Mouse books and the first one came with a little stuffed doll of the mouse and he is the cutest thing I have ever seen!

MY favorite children’s book of all time is ELOISE. The capitalization is not an mistake. It’s by Kay Thompson. However, it’s about a spoiled 6 year old who lives in the Plaza hotel, and I’m not sure if you want a classroom of 3 year olds seeing if there is any mail chutes they can dump water down.

What about asking your nephew what his favorite book is? He IS the star, afterall.

Probably a bit over their heads, but I’m obliged to mention Pooh, or When We Were Six. Disney so brutalized Milne that it will take decades for children to appreciate the real thing once more.

My favorite book when I was a kid was Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooey.

But you may have trouble finding it these days.


Fox in Socks. (Oh wait, thats for drunken parties…)

Suess has a book of short stories that includes such wonders as “The Pale Green pants with Nobody inside them”, “Star Bellied Sneeches” and “The Zax” My copy wore out a long time ago from over love.

Where the Wild Things are is another good idea if you worry about making all the rhymes and cadence of Suess in a public performance. (Fox in Socks takes practice.)

Try some of Shel Silverstein’s poems, VB. They’re real crowd-pleasers. Where The Sidewalk Ends, The Light In The Attic…stuff like that.

Read them some Enid Blyton, like “The Goblin Hat” or Grim’s Fairy Tales.

Zen, were you being clever? The Milne poetry collections are When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. Good almalgamation, though. And all Milne’s stuff is highly recommended.

I would suggest Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson, and all the other Harold books. I like to move the books to demonstrate some of the action in the story, like Harold sailing, or his balloon landing.

As far as Maurice Sendak, don’t forget A Hole is to Dig, which he illustrated but was written by Ruth Krauss.

They might be a bit young for this, but Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel never disapppoints. Note: When the inevitable question is asked, just say “He had a coffee can.”.

Wow! Thanks everybody - there’ve been a lot of good suggestions so far. I’m going to the school on Thursday, so I have plenty of time to find the books I end up reading. I’m going to call the school on Monday and find out what the kids have already heard.

Right now I’m leaning towards “Where the Wild Things Are” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” but I also want to find out how long I get to read to them. I love Dr. Suess and Shel Silverstein, but I’d be surprised if some other star’s guest hadn’t read those yet.


Oh No!

I loved Harold and the Purple Crayon. I can’t repeat this enough. Thank you for reminding me. I need to go buy own copy. I’m living on my own, I need my collections of Kipling, Suess, Shakepeare and HAROLD!!!

I want to babysit now so I have an excuse to read Harold out loud. I wonder if a local preschool will let me read it to thier kids. mmm…

I can come up with a few new ones, but mostly all I can do is second what’s already been mentioned:

Practically anything by Maurice Sendak, especially Where the Wild Things Are

Practically anything by Dr. Seuss, especially the really easy ones like Hop on Pop and Go Dog Go

Practically anything by Beatrix Potter

At this time of year, The Polar Express – great pix, which kids like a lot

In a very small group, maybe Pat the Bunny, but everybody has to be able to touch and smell the book

Oh, gosh, there was a great board book series that had Max and Ruby in it. They are bears, as I recall. My kids loved all of them, especially the one that had Ruby trying to teach Max to talk, and he ended up saying nothing but “Delicious!”

The Monster at the End of this Book, which is a Sesame Street book and I don’t know if it’s still available

Ditto for The Color Kittens

I really don’t like the Berenstain Bears, but some people swear by them. I just swear at them.

There – is that enough? :slight_smile: