Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman
Are the illustrations appropriate, engaging, and relevant? Remember that you want your little one to pick up that book even if you are not reading it to them. In order to encourage them to look at books independently, choose books that have pictures that will tell the story. One of my favorite books is Officer Buckle and Gloria. In this Caldecott winning book, Gloria's antics in the background engage children and adults alike!
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Are the text and the illustrations bias-free? You want to be careful not to choose books that perpetuate stereotypes based on gender, religion, ability, race, or ethnicity. InTime has a great list of evaluation criteria for children's books. One of my favorites, Amazing Grace tells the story of a young African American girl who wants to be the lead in her classroom performance of Peter Pan. A bonus is that Grace grows older in the books Boundless Grace and Princess Grace!
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
Does the book encourage interaction? Some of the books that children love are those that have a participation component. The I Spy series are fun for preschoolers. Another one of my favorite interactive books is Each Peach Pear Plumb by Janet and Alan Ahlberg! All of the Mother Goose characters are hiding in the illustrations. Another of my favorite interactive books is The Jolly Postman by Alan Ahlberg - the postman delivers letters to some familiar fairy tale characters - Baby Bear gets a party invitation from Goldilocks! Each page is shaped like an envelope and the mail is cleverly tucked inside! GREAT book.
Is this a non-fiction book, and if so, is it accurate? Preschoolers love to ask WHY so provide opportunities for them to learn new information. I enjoy the Eyewitness books for kids. Although they are written for slightly older children, the photographs and information is interesting enough to grasp the attention of curious preschooler and kindergarten aged children! Most young children will not want to read them from cover-to-cover but you can choose to read 1-2 pages each day or use them for reference books when those WHY questions pop up!
Will my child want to read this book more than once? The books that your child want to read over and over again will do more to inspire a love of literacy than you can imagine! There are many that come to mind: The Napping House by Audrey Wood, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by by Bill Martin, Jr. are other preschool favorites... but the list is endless! What are YOUR favorites?