Summer’s Hottest Reads: 2-4 year-olds
SHARED by: Katherine Grier, Librarian of York Avenue Preschool
Firefighter Duckies by Frank Dormer
Kids who are into fun and firefighters will find much to love in this book which follows the adventures and rescues of three Firefighter Duckies. There are no ordinary emergencies here, and kids will love repeating the refrain “They are Brave…They are Strong….” before finding out exactly what wacky characters the trio save next. One is a gorilla whose chef’s hat has been set on fire by cupcake candles. Another is a whale who has gotten himself stuck in a tree. Some dinosaurs are having trouble with their bicycles, while some monsters are having trouble with their hair. Never fear, the Firefighter Duckies can help with all of that and more. Be sure to watch the wonderfully expressive faces of the Firefighter Duckies as you read. Also be sure to note the way each rescued character shows his gratitude to the little yellow heroes with an adorable “Thanks, Guys!”
Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney
There are lots of construction books out there for ages 2 to 5, but I think this new picture book by the author/illustrator who created the beloved Llama Llama series is a real winner. Little E, the excavator, is an appealing main character that toddlers will easily relate to. They will also enjoy finding the brown-and-white–spotted dog which appears throughout the story as Little E’s friend. The text is action-packed, with tons of fun rhymes that roll easily off the tongue and great sound effects that beg to be read aloud with dramatic effect: “Drrooom! Goes the DUMP TRUCK with a load to lug. Thunka-thunka, clunka-clunka, Chug,Chug, Chug!!” This is a perfect alternative to those looking for something shorter (but equally as engaging) as this summer’s other construction-related best seller, Mighty Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker.
Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin
I am very excited to include a new story by Eric Litwin in my summer reading list and even more excited to report that this book has the same sort of appeal ( and catchy downloadable song) as his early Pete the Cat books (i.e., White Shoes and Groovy Buttons). With a dog, dinosaurs, and ice cream as main characters it hits all the toddler/preschooler high points. Tom Lichtenheld’s illustrations are stupendous and add an extra depth to the simple, repetitive text of the story. Two highlights in the graphics which are not to be missed are Joe’s squirrel sidekick and the huge dinosaur’s spittle!! Without a doubt, Groovy Joe is PURE FUN! My library students loved the book. They danced and sang pretty much right away and demanded a second reading/singing as soon as I turned the last page!
I Lost My Sock by P.J. Roberts
One basic reason to read I Lost My Sock! is that it is a very cute and colorful story. Part Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss and part Lizette’s Green Sock by Catharina Valckx (which are both classic toddler favorites), this book also uses diamonds, circles, squares, hexagons and other shapes in a very clever way. The plot of the story is simple: Fox has lost one of his socks. He asks his friend Ox for help finding it. Based on Fox’s answers to a series of questions about color, size, shape and more, Ox brings many different socks to Fox’s attention. None match the one Fox is wearing. Undaunted, Ox dumps a truckload of socks in front of Fox. Still, no match!! Ox leaves and then reappears with the missing sock on his head, causing Fox to joyously shout, “YOU FOUND MY SOCK!…IT’S ON YOUR HEAD!” Ox thinks not, so Fox kindly resolves his sock dilemma in a different way, only to then discover that one of his shoes has gone missing!!
Elephant & Piggie by Mo Willems
There are 25 books in this series about Gerald the Elephant and his best friend Piggie. They are fun and funny and have good life lessons for little humans as well as big ones. Although it is hard to go wrong with any of the titles in the series, I recommend Waiting is Not Easy, There is a Bird on Your Head, Listen to My Trumpet, Are You Ready to Play Outside, and Let’s Go For A Drive, as the half dozen with which to start off.
If you are looking for even more fun books for the summer, here are 16 more classic picture books for preschoolers that I think are perfect vacation reading:
- The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca
- I Love You, Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark
- Little Elliott, Big City by Mike Curato
- Today I Feel Silly by Jaime Lee Curtis
- May I Bring A Friend by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
- The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
- Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes
- Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
- Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
- Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
- The Red Lemon by Bob Staake
- A Sick Day for Amos Mcgee by Phillip Stead
- Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet
- Knuffle Bunny series by Mo Willems
- Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion