Great books for you: from preschool – grade 2.

Sher A. Hart here with some great book recommendations for young children shared by my blog readers and me. I’m saving books for older children for another post because there are so many. But why should children wait until they go to school to learn to read when Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss can teach phonemic recognition earlier? Without even trying, parents who read rhymes aloud to their children will find their little ones learn to associate sounds with letters. In teacher talk, children develops phoneme awareness, an understanding of how words sound and are formed. “How rhymes from Dr. Seuss help kids learn to deduce” explains the tests used as proof. The article cites one study but there are many other studies confirming this fun fact. Dr. Seuss knew exactly how well rhyming could teach, and not just reading.

Look at these first two books and I’d bet you can remember what other lessons they taught. Romance writer Melissa Maygrove suggested Green Eggs and Ham, and who could resist the tongue twisting Fox in Socks? By the way, clicking on a picture will take you to Amazon in case you want to purchase the book.

My mother proved how well rhymes teach by reading nursery rhymes and/or Dr. Seuss to my older sister, me, and three younger siblings. This is why I went into kindergarten knowing how to read, and in spite of missing some school after getting hit by a car, it’s why I continued to excel at reading throughout my school years.  So thank you, Mom, for taking the time to read to us every day. I think we had every single Dr. Seuss book in our home at one time or another. My favorite was McElligot’s Pool, which is still in my babysitting kit, and Mom reminded me of another bedtime favorite, Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.  Don’t yawn; it’s catching!


Please take a moment to read Denise Zaky’s comment about her son’s kindergarten teacher. “My son was so lucky in that when he was in kindergarten he had a teacher that was never meant to teach children that age, as he did not have the patience with them not being able to read, so he taught them to read. LOL It was his only year teaching at that level and when those babies graduated to the first grade they were already on their way. The [teacher] swore he would never go through that again ;=D However, this was a huge benefit to our household as we have been and continue to be readers. I really believe it is so important to introduce the kids to fun reads now and cultivate that hunger to learn. There is so much out there in the world of books where anything is possible.” I’d bet a lot of parents would love to have that teacher teach their children to read in kindergarten. My Cat in the Hat is off to any kindergarten teacher who tackles a project like this.

In the non-rhyming early reader department, kindergarten and first grade, I also remember reading and enjoying the Frog and Toad books, and Denise’s niece loved Amelia Bedelia.

More books for readers a bit older, age 7 and up (or grade 2):

From Denise: “I took some time to think about this one as it has been a long time since I was in elementary school…and then I thought of the first series that made me want to read. It was “The Boxcar Children Mysteries” by Gertrude Chandler Warner, started these in about third grade and they were great, I believe there are about 12 books in the series and it can be purchased in a set. I will always remember these books and be forever grateful to the author for giving a lonely little girl a world of adventure.” 

Deborah Dore on Twitter recommended Mrs. Pepperpot, a grandmother who shrinks! 

Denise also said The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey was popular in her house. And Jennifer Haight (find her at The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow) recommended Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Remembering the classics and finding out about new books for children has been great fun for me. In a few days, Paul R Hewlett will share readers’ recommendations of books for age 8 and/or grade 3 through 4 or 5. No commitments because there might be enough grade 3 books to make an entire post, or Paul may focus on boy books and leave the rest to me. Meanwhile, I hope you’ve found a few books you and your children or grandchildren can enjoy. I find a lot of books at garage sales, but if you don’t, please go through my Amazon store (tab at the top of the page) for any books you’d like to buy, whether new or used. Once I earn enough to buy a postage stamp, I’ll put it on the next book I mail to a giveaway winner, LOL!

Thanks for visiting, and please leave a comment. I’ll be back (right after my nap) to see if you stayed awake for this whole post after I mentioned yawning!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. You certainly can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss!

  2. Thanks, Lisa! I’ve seen so many lesson plans using Dr. Seuss so I think most teachers agree with you. But until last week, I never read the research. An eye opener!

  3. I loved Green Eggs and Ham. Unfortunately, my kids never seemed to get into Dr. Seuss.

  4. Reading is so important. I read with both my sons, now teenagers. When I worked at College, I used ‘icebreaker’ activities so a class of 30 teens got to know each other? One Q was “your favourite book?” In 2008 I was shocked. 70% could not think of one,and 19% put “Dont read books” which is so sad!! Before I even started school, I read “Hector’s House” (also on TV).

    • I agree. I read to all 4 of my sons but now one of them rarely reads. I believe those percentages because gaming is more of a lure to many teens. I’m glad that a lot of the video games put out matching books so at least gamers might read those. I had to look up Hector’s House to find out it was a British adaptation of a French production. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I loved Frog and Toad, so many subtle lessons about friendship and life in there. And Amelia Bedelia was always a load of fun.

    • It took me a long time to remember the books (besides Dr. Seuss) that filled the gap between storybooks meant for parents to read and all the books readers recommended for third graders on up. Frog and Toad made me happy too! I missed Amelia Bedelia because it came later, but now I’ll be on the lookout for my sister’s granddaughter and grandson still young enough to enjoy them. I try to take a book each time I visit. Thanks for sharing your favorite books!

  6. Oh, I forgot about Fox In Sox! That was a favorite, too.
    Great post, Sher. And thanks for the mention. 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Melissa. I forgot about Fox in Socks too, and now I decided I’m going to find a copy for my babysitting kit. Isn’t it strange that I remembered “socks” as being spelled “sox” too? Never mind tongue-twisting, my brain is twisted! Thanks for taking time to visit and comment;>}

  7. What a great post! Dr. Seuss books are such fun. I love to rhyme and the books he created are favorites of children and adults. I think most of us can recite parts of his books from memory. :)I forgot how much I enjoyed Amelia Bedelia as a kid until I saw the book! Of course, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of my favorites, as you know. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jennifer! Your Monday riddles show how well you rhyme, and one of these weeks I’m going to remember to check before you post the answer! The strange thing about Dr. Seuss books is that I remember some pictures I haven’t seen in years better than the rhyme. And Charlie is now on my list to pick up. I’m wondering how such a chocolate lover as I am never read the book.

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