Ten Picture Books for Early Readers

Books are the best teaching tools when it comes to early childhood education. As a parent, you may be looking for the best ways to help your child develop their language skills, social skills, and critical thinking skills. Finding a book that can meet the needs of a young emerging reader may require some digging. To help you, we have put together a list of picture books that can excite your early reader and develop their love for reading.

1. The Story Thief By Graham Carter

Olive is a shy girl who loves reading. The story begins when Olive and her father are crossing a sea on their way back from the library, and one of Olive’s books falls into the water. The book reaches a giant octopus who follows Olive to the land, where he ends up stealing all of the books in the town. Olive, determined to rescue the stolen books, becomes a fearless explorer, inspired by the characters she has read about. The thief, meanwhile, didn’t quite know what to do with the books he’s stolen. All that he knew was that the books made their owners very happy. Olive tracks down the thief and teaches him the joy of reading and sharing stories.

The story thief is a wonderfully imaginative and immersive tale about the magic of reading and the thrills of experiencing real adventure.

Get a copy of ‘The Story Thief.’

Enjoy ‘The Story Thief’ read aloud by Annie’s Workshop.

2. The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright
Illustrated by Chris Chatterton

It’s a beautiful day, and Worrysaurus, the little dinosaur, has planned a special picnic. But soon, he starts worrying about things that might go wrong…

But Worrysaurus soon realizes that he can defeat his fears. He remembers his mother’s words:

“Don’t you worry now, my lovely,

you MUST try not to fret.

If it’s not a happy ending,

then it hasn’t ended yet.”

Worrysaurus gets out his special tin of happy things that helps him dispel his worries and stay happy.

Worrysaurus says:

“I will stand up tall.

I can be strong.

I will chase my fears away.

All is well and all is good.”          

For kids, every new thing can feel like a big step forward… starting school… making friends… learning to read… Like Worrysaurus, most kids get anxious about the things ahead. ‘The Worrysaurus’ is a fun illustrated story to help children understand that it is natural to feel anxious and that it is easier than they think to tackle their fears and enjoy every moment.

Get a copy of ‘The Worrysaurus.’

Enjoy ‘The Worrysaurus’ read aloud by Annie’s Workshop.

3. King of the Swamp by Catherine Emmett
Illustrated by Ben Mantle

McDarkly lives quietly all on his own in a stinky, smelly swamp. He loves nothing more than growing beautiful orchids in his swamp. McDarkly’s peace is disturbed by the King, who wants to turn the swamp into a roller-skate park. Luckily, the King’s daughter notices the beautiful flowers in the swamp and comes to McDarkly’s rescue. The King gives McDarkly ten days to prove that the swamp isn’t damp and dark and is worth saving.   

There is so much to do and very little time. McDarkly works hard planting flowers everywhere. But an army of caterpillars arrives and munches all of McDarkly’s beloved orchids. McDarkly thinks all is lost! But the day the King and the Princess arrive, all, including McDarkly, get a surprise. The happy princess declares the swamp as a nature reserve.

King of the Swamp is an amazing and unique story full of light and hope. It is a perfect story for getting kids interested in caring for nature.       

Get a copy of ‘King of the Swamp.

Enjoy ‘King of the Swamp’ read aloud by the Reading Children’s Books.               

4. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

The Witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick. After a while, the wind picks up, and every now and then, something or the other goes flying off the broom, which causes them to take many stops! Luckily, three kind animals help the Witch to find the missing items. In return, the Witch makes room for them on her broom. And then comes a mean witch-eating dragon. But the Witch’s friends unite and save her from the dragon.

Room on the Broom is a perfect story to start a conversation with kids about friendship, helping others and teamwork.

Get a copy of ‘Room on the Broom.’

Enjoy ‘Room on the Broom’ read aloud by Storyvision Studios.

5. Roaring Mad Riley by Allison Szczecinski
Illustrated by Dean Gray

Riley gets angry when her classmate, Parker, accidentally knocks down her block tower. She gets roaring mad and throws a block. Her teacher, Mr. Rex, helps her manage her anger and stay calm by breathing deep, counting to 10, shaking it out, and more.

Roaring Mad Riley is a story that discusses strategies for anger management. The story portrays a situation that most kids might have experienced. The book normalizes the feeling of anger and teaches several simple skills to manage anger safely.

Get a copy of ‘Roaring Mad Riley.’

Enjoy ‘Roaring Mad Riley’ read aloud by My Bedtime Stories.

6. The Witch's Cat by Kristie Watson
Illustrated by Magdalena Swago​

As Roald Dahl’s character Matilda Wormwood says, “Children are not so serious as grown-ups, and they love to laugh.” ‘The Witch’s Cat’ is a funny, whimsical story that would make kids laugh.

The story begins with the witch’s cat finding a dusty old cookbook. The cheeky cat decides to test his culinary skills and surprise his lovely witch with a fantastic lunch. But unfortunately, the cat’s excitement exceeded his cooking abilities, and the true course of cooking did not run very smoothly. Only when the witch turned into a frog did the cat realize his mistake. He had overlooked some important instructions, and the book he found was not a cookbook but rather a spell book. Poor cat! Although his intention was good, his negligence put the witch into trouble. But the cat gets his lovely witch back after making her drink a few reversal potions.       

This fantastic tale of magic, mischief, and mishap is a great way to discuss why it is important to pay attention to details and what can happen when you don’t! 

Get a copy of ‘The Witch’s Cat and the Cooking Catastrophe.’

Enjoy ‘The Witch’s Cat and the Cooking Catastrophe’ read aloud by Annie’s Workshop.

7. Brave Little Owl by Penny Little
llustrated by Sean Julian

It is Grandma owl’s birthday. Grandpa owl plans to surprise her by teaching all their four grandkids to fly. But the Little Owl is too scared to fly. To make it even worse, she gets teased by her brothers when her flying attempts end in disaster. In one of her attempts to fly, the Little Owl plummets to the forest floor. There she meets a Badger, a Squirrel, a Mouse, and a Bunny, all of who have conquered their fears.

Finally, when Grandpa swoops to rescue her, the Little Owl is brave enough to try again, and she flies with ease through the starry night skies.

This lovely story encourages kids to try new things and stay motivated even if they fail in their first attempt.

Get a copy of ‘Brave Little Owl.’

Enjoy ‘Brave Little Owl’ read aloud by Annie’s Workshop.

8. The Cool Bean by Jory John
Illustrated by Pete Oswald

The story is about three cool beans and one pretty uncool bean. The uncool bean tries his best to be cool by changing his dressing style, strutting around, and showing off his swagger. But however hard the uncool bean tries, he never could reach the coolness of the cool beans. 

But later, when he faces some challenging moments, the cool beans come to his aid. When he drops his lunch, one of the cool beans helps him clean up. When he falls on the playground, another cool bean helps him up. And the third cool bean helps him out of an embarrassing situation in class. 

The uncool bean realizes that kindness is cooler than the outside appearance, and he tries to spread that kindness to the other beans around him. The story of the Cool Bean emphasizes positive messages about compassion, empathy, and friendship in a kid-friendly way.

Get a copy of ‘The Cool Bean.’

Enjoy ‘The Cool Bean read aloud by Books Alive.

9. The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water by Gemma Merino

The story is about an unusual crocodile who doesn’t like water at all. He prefers climbing trees instead! 

He wanted to play with the rest of his siblings, but they all enjoyed playing in the water. So the unusual crocodile tries his best to fit in with the rest of the family. But being wet isn’t for everyone. The unusual crocodile gets a shiver. The shiver soon becomes a cold, and the cold becomes a sneeze…a surprisingly HOT sneeze. Do you know why? The little crocodile wasn’t a crocodile at all! He was a DRAGON!

This fun story will be an excellent starter for discussion about facing your fears, identifying your talents, embracing your differences, and being yourself.

Get a copy of ‘The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water.’

Enjoy ‘The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water’ read aloud by Dixy’s Story Time.

10. Pass it On by Marilyn Sadler, illustrated by Michael Slack

Have you played the telephone game as a child? In this story, the author presents a fun spin on the Telephone game, which starts with a Cow who’s stuck in a fence and asks his friend Bee for help.

“The cow is stuck in the fence!” says the Bee, “Pass it on!!”

With many animals on the farm and different interpretations of what has been heard, the original message gets hopelessly garbled. Despite the miscommunication that happens throughout the book, all the animals work together to save the poor cow at the end.

Funny situations and characters in this story will bring on giggles and convey how we sometimes hear and interpret things as we want them to be.

Get a copy of ‘Pass it On.’

Enjoy ‘Pass it On’  read aloud by Stephanie Georgiadis.

Picture books are a great way to develop your early reader’s imagination, knowledge, and outlook on the world. They can also be a lot of fun for adults to read aloud to their children. We hope you enjoyed our selection of picture books. Do you have any favorite picture books that you would recommend? Write to us at info@alacartepublishers.com