Now Hear This: 6 Engaging Audiobooks for Preschoolers

by Jennifer Ridgway

Photo credit: KidStock, Blend Images/Getty Images

Audiobooks can be a great learning tool for preschoolers. Some parents may wonder, however, why they should use audiobooks when they can just as easily read to their children. While not a replacement for reading a book aloud, audiobooks provide many benefits of their own, helping kids to expand their imagination and strengthen their listening, pronunciation, and comprehension skills.

There are a lot of places you can find audiobooks for kids, including the library, bookstore, and online. Audiobook publishers take their work seriously, creating amazing productions that feature engaging narrators and performances. Below are a few great stories to start your journey.

  • The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders

    by Jack Prelutsky, narrated by Jack Prelutsky

    This is a great example of how an audiobook can turn a printed book into something altogether different. Prelutsky is well known in children’s publishing for his collections of poems, but this audiobook proves he also has skills as a musician. He’s taken his poems -- rich with geography and vocabulary -- and turned them into fun songs the whole family will enjoy.

  • The Gruffalo

    by Julia Donaldson, narrated by Hal Hollings

    The Gruffalo won an award for being a great read-aloud book, so it’s no surprise it works well as an audiobook. Hollings uses different voices to bring each of the animals to life. The story of a young mouse that invents a frightening creature named the Gruffalo to keep the other animals from eating him will entertain listeners young and old.

  • Where the Wild Things Are

    by Maurice Sendak, narrated by Peter Schickele

    Sendak’s modern classic about a young boy sent to his room without dinner who then sails away to tame the beasts is great as an audiobook. Schickele's wonderfully gravelly voice and perfect monster noises bring the beasts to life. There is also a catchy tune in the background, which helps set the mood for the listening experience.

  • The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favorites

    by Dr. Seuss, narrated by Kelsey Grammer, John Cleese, John Lithgow, Billy Crystal, and more

    Dr. Seuss is such a fun read-aloud experience, and the actors brought in to narrate these stories make the audiobook supremely entertaining. You can listen to it all at once (during a long car trip, perhaps) or break it up by individual story. The audiobook is formatted into chapters, so you can easily navigate to the particular story your child wants to hear.

  • Winnie-the-Pooh

    by A.A. Milne, narrated by Peter Dennis

    Peter Dennis’s narrations are the only narrations authorized by Christopher Robin Milne, A.A. Milne’s son. The production is a magical experience, bringing the Enchanted Place to life for listeners. Soothing music introduces the book and provides a bridge between each of the ten stories, and subtle nature sounds help to immerse the listener in the tales. Dennis deftly changes voice and mood to perform all the various characters.

  • Frog and Toad Audio Collection

    by Arnold Lobel, narrated by Arnold Lobel

    Frog and Toad have been favorites of many generations of children, helping instill the true magic of friendship along the way. This audio collection includes all four Frog and Toad books. Lobel himself narrates, and he proves to be an able narrator, infusing his characters with great charm and humor.