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Pre-K

18 Great Picture Books for Preschoolers and Parents to Read Together

by Dena McMurdie

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Photo credit: JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

There’s nothing quite like storytime for creating precious moments with your preschooler. So full of energy, my girls are constantly on the move, but will happily pause for some books and cuddles. My four-year-old is especially happy to sit on my lap while I read stacks of picture books to her. Reading the same books over and over can become tedious, but we’ve found several household favorites that never get old.

Whether you and your child need a laugh, a cuddle, or an escape from reality, these 18 picture books are a great way to connect. And bonus: they’re clever enough to be enjoyed by both you and your children through multiple readings.

  • No Pants!

    by Jacob Grant

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    If kids came with instruction manuals, there would be a section titled “How to Get Kids to Wear Pants.” This picture book uses humor and creativity to take young readers and parents through the familiar struggle of getting dressed. When Pablo refuses to put his pants on, his dad comes up with a unique solution that keeps them both happy.

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  • Hello World!

    by Kelly Corrigan, illustrated by Stacy Ebert

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    One of the best ways to develop meaningful relationships with other people is to show genuine interest in them. By asking thoughtful questions, we can create stronger families, friendships, and communities. This cheerful picture book celebrates the amazing people and connections children forge as they grow up.

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  • The Circles All Around Us

    by Brad Montague, illustrated by Brad and Kristi Montague

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    I can’t think of a better way to describe kindness and inclusivity to my children than with the concept of circles that Brad Montague introduces in his picture book. As we grow, our circle of friends, family, and community grows with us. Sometimes, we need to expand our circle to include others, even if it’s scary.

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  • Who Will You Be?

    by Andrea Pippins

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    A mother thinks about what characteristics her child will pick up from friends, neighbors, and family members. She dreams of the child’s future and cherishes each moment along the way. Sweet and gentle, this picture book is perfect for snuggling up with your little one and reading together.

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  • The Paper Kingdom

    by Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion

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    This beautiful story about a family making the best of a less-than-ideal situation shows kids the power of imagination. When he has to accompany his parents to their jobs as late-night office cleaners, Daniel expects hours of boredom. But his parents show him that ordinary places can become magical kingdoms with the right inspiration.

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  • Attack of the Underwear Dragon

    by Scott Rothman, illustrated by Pete Oswald

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    A funny new twist on the aspiring knight tale — complete with fire-breathing dragons, underwear, and an unlikely hero! When a tighty-whitie wearing dragon destroys the kingdom, it’s up to an assistant knight named Cole to save the day. But thwarting a dragon is no easy task. It will take quick thinking and some creativity for Cole to emerge victorious in this rollicking medieval adventure.

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  • There’s a Superhero in Your Book

    by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott

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    My kids love reading interactive picture books together, and this one is a blast. A villain called The Scribbler is scribbling all over the book. To stop her from ruining it, you must help the Superhero by tapping spots on the page, lifting the book, and stretching your arms. It’s an excellent book to read with a group of wiggly children or one-on-one.

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  • Big Feelings

    by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

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    What better book to read during a year of big feelings? We’ve felt the whole gamut of emotions over the last year, and this gorgeous book is here to help us process and celebrate them. From the ups to the downs, this picture book shows children how to handle their feelings.

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  • The Serious Goose

    by Jimmy Kimmel

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    Get your giggle on as you try to make this serious goose crack a smile. But be warned, this goose is super serious, so you’ll have to do everything in your power to make it laugh. This hilarious picture book written and illustrated by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel will have you and your kids chuckling the whole way through.

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  • When God Made the World

    by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by Gillian Gamble

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    From the author of When God Made You comes this stunning picture book about the creation of the universe. Help your child feel just how deeply they are loved as they learn how this big, beautiful world was created by using science, evolution, and purpose. This book celebrates nature, human life, and the way our lives combine into one big divine plan.

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  • Uni the Unicorn

    by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Brigette Barrager

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    Spark imaginations with this delightful book about friendship. Uni the unicorn is certain that little girls are real and that one is out there, waiting for her. It doesn’t matter what the other unicorns say, Uni keeps dreaming about befriending a little girl. What Uni doesn’t know is that not too far away, a little girl has dreams of a unicorn.

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  • Dragons Love Tacos

    by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

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    Spice up your time together with this humorous book about dragons, tacos, and hot salsa. A group of dragons are having a party (with tacos, of course). But when dragons eat the spicy salsa on the tacos, things get a little crazy. Filled with chuckle-worthy humor and charming illustrations, it’s no wonder this picture book has become a favorite with young readers everywhere.

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  • A Piglet Named Mercy

    by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

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    Introduce your child to the beloved Mercy Watson series with this picture book origin story. When Mr. and Mrs. Watson wish for something exciting to happen, they never expect a piglet to show up at their front door. Mercy brings all the excitement and mischief the Watsons could want in this adorable picture book.

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  • The Book with No Pictures

    by B.J. Novak

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    My kids love this book and we’ve read it countless times together. Especially now, when we need a laugh more than anything else, we love reading this giggle-inducing book. Designed to be read together, this upbeat and clever book will have both you and your child in stitches by the time it’s over.

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  • The Day the Crayons Quit

    by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

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    When Duncan opens his box of crayons, they’re all missing. In their places are letters from the crayons, explaining why they’ve gone on strike. This hilarious picture book will give your child a boost of imagination after they’ve colored all those printables and activity sheets you’ve made them fill out.

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  • It’s a Great, Big Colorful World

    by Tom Schamp

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    Bright, colorful, and happy, this beautiful picture book is a must-have. Perfect for pouring over with your young reader, this big book teaches children about color, animals, and food. Each spread is filled with a wide array of objects that kids will love exploring, and this delightful adventure comes to a perfect end when all the colors come together to form one beautiful, joyful rainbow of fun.

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  • Crocodiles Need Kisses Too

    by Rebecca Colby, illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan

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    When you want a cuddle with your little one, pick up this charming book with a luscious and colorful palette about unusual critters that need some love. From bumps to scales and everything in between, these animals aren’t your typical snuggly balls of fur. They’re unconventional, but they want to be loved just like everyone else.

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  • Jabari Jumps

    by Gaia Cornwall

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    Taking your first jump off a diving board is a memorable right of passage for most children. This delightful picture book captures the experience with its nervous butterflies and exhilarating adrenaline rush. Even if your little isn't quite ready for the diving board just yet, they can make that leap vicariously through Jabari instead.

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