Each day, my son Bear (currently age 5) and I pick 3 books to read together. These are our favorites, and we recommend them for ages 4-6.
What Grew in Larry’s Garden
This is a sweet story about a small backyard garden, problem-solving, and the power of generosity. It’s perfect for summer (and especially relatable if you have a backyard garden, too!).
The Magical Garden of Claude Monet
A “living book” about a famous artist that makes him come alive! This one is about Monet’s garden and is especially beautiful and perfect for spring.
The Rhythm of The Rain
The illustrations are utopic and majestic as the reader follows one drop of water all over the planet.
The Sniffles for Bear
This is part of a 6-book series (Bear and Mouse) that we love. In this one, overly dramatic Bear is ill with a cold, and small, bright-eyed, effervescent Mouse is there to help. Cute and silly and especially fun when read with British accents.
Calvin Can’t Fly
Calvin is a starling who loves books, but doesn’t know how to fly… but his thirst for knowledge eventually pays off. The language in this book is intricate and delightful for parents, too.
This book is a piece of fine art, telling the story of a farmhouse in one long, lyrical sentence.
Out of the Woods
A fascinating true story about a forest fire in Canada that pushes humans and animals into the lake to find safety.
Catch My Breath
Written by a Disney animator, this book is full of wordplay surrounding the idea of breath (baby’s breath, bated breath, “she took my breath away”). It’s playful and jaunty and so much fun for kids and adults!
How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?: The Story of Food
A fascinating look at how different foods (inside a typical American lunchbox) are made or grown: from clementines to bread to tomatoes to cheese to chocolate and more. Even if you grow your own food, there’s something every family could learn from this one!
A charming (and funny!) story about a friendly fish who looks very scary. Big Al eventually gets the chance to prove what a wonderful friend he can be.
This is the story of a grandpa who can’t find his false teeth and the whole town sets out to find them. It has a hilarious surprise ending!
I Took a Walk
An interactive book with flaps that pull out to reveal plants and animals in various habitats (the woods, a meadow, a stream, a pond). A great way to learn about a specific habitat before visiting it for yourself!
A gorgeously illustrated story of a robin building her nest, laying eggs, protecting them from predators, hatching baby robins… the entire life cycle of a nest. It’s not only scientifically accurate, but also visually pleasing. (Henry Cole is a favorite author/illustrator of mine. Did you know he used to be a science teacher?)
Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type
Delightfully funny for preschoolers (cows that type messages to the farmer and make demands?!). The cows demand electric blankets and go on a strike until their demands are met.
When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree
This is a funny, heartwarming story that points children toward the magic of growing things (versus technology).
Tea Party Rules
This one is adorable and perfect for a tea party!
The Happy Lion
This is a delightful classic written more than 50 years ago that’s such a darling story about friendship and acceptance.
This is the sweetest rhyming story of an unexpected friendship between a scarecrow and a crow.
The Golden Glow
The story of a (human-like) fox who goes on a journey into the mountains to find a rare flower. There are lots of good nature lessons woven into the story!
Where Are The Night Animals?
This book is part of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, which I recommend for basic science studies. It’s educational, but beautifully illustrated and engaging.
Flight for Freedom
This tells the true story of a family who constructed a hot air balloon in order to escape East Germany and get to the other side of the Berlin Wall to freedom. It’s a perfect introduction to the Cold War era. Even though it’s an intense story, it’s told in an appropriate way for children ages 5+.
Millions of Cats
This book is a classic and also very funny. The illustrations are all in black and white, but the story is engaging enough that the kids don’t miss the color.
The Boy Who Grew a Forest
This is the inspiring true story of an Indian man who planted trees and cared for them, which completely changed the landscape and habitat of an entire island. The story is beautifully told.
The true story of Paul Cézanne’s difficult path to becoming a successful artist and his parrot who was along for the ride.
Mr. Tony and students at PS 175 in NYC transform an empty lot in Harlem into a beautiful garden. A true, inspiring story!
The true story of a Paraguayan children’s orchestra with instruments made from trash from their impoverished neighborhood. So hopeful and inspiring!
Peach & Blue
A tender story of an unlikely friendship between a frog and a peach. It’s beautifully written (so much alliteration!) and illustrated and would be great to accompany a study on pond life.
The Fisherman & the Whale
A powerful, wordless book that tells a clear and poignant story without any text.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
Whatever God has for our children when they grow up (there are lots of ideas in this book), God has a wonderful plan for their lives. This makes a sweet bedtime story!
Katie and the Sunflowers
One of a series of 10 books about a little girl who steps into famous paintings (the artists featured in this book are van Gogh, Gaugin and Cézanne). It’s the perfect way to introduce little ones to art in a light and interactive way. Katie’s adventures are memorable and engaging!
The Honeybee Man
This is the story of Fred, a rooftop beekeeper in Brooklyn, NY. It tells a lovely story, but also teaches about bees.
The Tiger Who Lost His Stripes
This is the story of General MacTiger, king of the jungle, who loses his stripes but uses cleverness to get them back. This book is on the longer side, but worth it!
The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs
This book makes noise, which I don’t always recommend, but it has helped all of our kids identify birds by their calls. It’s beautifully written and illustrated.
Henry’s Important Date
Henry the Duck who is traveling across town to his friend’s birthday party. This story also teaches little ones how to tell time with a clock on nearly every page of the story!
This is the story of an extra long dachshund, written by the creators of Curious George. It’s hilarious and such an adorable story about a lovesick dachshund.
A Fruit Is a Suitcase For Seeds
The perfect introduction to different types of fruits (even the ones we think of as vegetables) and how they house seeds.
This book tells a powerful story about working together in the face of hardship, and the illustrations are gorgeous.
After the Fall
A surprising twist on the classic story of Humpty Dumpty that teaches little ones to conquer their fears and try again.
Amos McGee Misses the Bus
The sequel to one of our favorite modern classics, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, this book teaches compassion in the most heartwarming way.
Sylvester And The Magic Pebble
Sylvester is a donkey who finds a magic pebble that makes every wish come true… which is wonderful until Sylvester accidentally wishes to become a stone. This is such an enjoyable story and a classic for good reason!
A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee
The Mr. Magee series consists of such delightful adventures for kids, and this camping adventure of Mr. Magee and his little dog Dee is one of our favorites.
Down to the Sea With Mr. Magee
Another colorful, rhyming installment of Mr. Magee’s adventures!
Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey
This set of 2 books has contributed more to the spiritual lives of our children than any other (other than the Bible). This is the perfect introduction to the story of Pilgrim’s Progress, but in a palatable way for kids.
The Tree House That Jack Built
This is a story that our kids ask for again and again, full of brilliant illustrations, a lilting rhyme, and a cozy ending. It’s a perfect choice for bedtime.
A gentle way to learn about food chains and pond creatures.
Is A Blue Whale The Biggest Thing There Is?
This book begins with a blue whale and zooms out until you’re gaining perspective about the size of the universe. It’s not written from a Christian perspective, but is a good conversation starter that the universe is the biggest thing we know of… but God is even bigger and created the universe by simply speaking it into existence!
Spring for Sophie
This is a sweet and gentle story of a young girl looking for the signs of spring (the sounds, smells, feel of spring coming at the end of winter).
Miss Maple’s Seeds
Miss Maple cares for seeds of all kinds until they’re ready to take root in the big world. A feel-good story!
Prairie Day (Little House Picture Book)
This picture book series is the perfect way to introduce the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder to young children.
A Frog in The Bog
Great for counting practice and also laugh-out-loud funny!