Best Toddler Read a Louds for Library Storytime

Last week I did a post on the best preschool read a louds.   Below is a companion post on what I consider to be the best books for toddler storytime.  I have always found storytime for the 2 year old crowd to be a bit more challenging.  At our library, toddler time is 10 minutes shorter than preschool, but it can feel much more challenging.  A toddler has a shorter attention span and what thrills a preschooler is completely lost on a younger child.  When doing a storytime for the 2’s, I typically keep it high energy and KEEP IT MOVING.  I incorporate puppets, music, my guitar, bubbles, and anything else that I think may capture their attention.  As such, I choose books that are shorter, have far less text, and big bold pictures.  Also, many of these books are in the question-and-answer format; toddlers seems to enjoy the surprise of turning a page and discovering the answer.


1)  Where’s Spot? by Hill.  This may be my favorite toddler read a loud of all time.  The simple search for Spot introduces us to lots of colorful friends.




2)  I Kissed the Baby by Murphy.  I love the ebullient mood of this book!  The animals seems so manic in their excitement over the baby.  I can’t help but smile when I read it.





3)  Where is the Green Sheep? by Fox.  A few months ago, I inquired of Mem Fox  as to where exactly the green sheep is.  She still hasn’t gotten back to me.






4)  I Went Walking by Sue Williams.  A great book for learning colors and the basic farm animals.





5) Flappy, Waggy, Wiggly by Leslie.  A whimsical question and answer book that shows part of the





6) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Carle and Martin.  This and it’s Polar Bear, Polar Bear companion book are children’s classics.





7)  I Dream of An Elephant by Rubinger.  Rubinger’s toddler books feature basic rhymes, simple text, and promotes color, letter, and number learning.



8)  Seals on the Bus by Hort.  This bus gets a little crazy and crowded as geese, vipers, and even skunks get on board.  It’s a great book if you’re feeling like making some animal sounds.





9)  It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Shaw.  A black/blue and white book that incorporates repetition and in which children can guess the shape.  You may have to shorten for toddlers.




10)  Under My Hood I Have A Hat by Kushkin.  A great, fun book for winter.  A little girl overdresses for the snow and finds that she can’t move.


Best Preschool Read A Louds for Library Storytime

We all have our storytime favorites.  After 8 years as a children’s librarian, I have a selection that I return to again and again that always work in front of a preschool crowd.



1)  Let’s Play in the Forest While the Wolf is Not Around by Rueda The animals in the forest are scared of the wolf until they find out what he is really hungry for: pancakes!



2)  Bark, George by Jules Feiffer.  I can’t stand any of Feiffer’s other children’s books (Daddy Mountain is especially awful to me), but Bark, George may be the best preschool read a loud ever written.



3)  Rattletrap Car by Root.  This is a longer book than I typically use for storytime, but my interpretation of the sputtering and stuttering sounds of the broken down car trying to make it to the lake always makes people smile.  A perfect book for summer.






4)  Hi Pizza Man!  by Walter.  Ok, the lady dressed in furs is a little weird, but the downward spiraling ridiculousness of this book always makes an audience laugh.  Meow meow, pizza kitty!




5)  There’s A Shark In the Park! by Sharratt.   Featuring awesome rhymes, repetition, and a dad with 1950’s hair, this book works every time.





6)  Go Away Big Green Monster! by Emberley.  Message of the book:  you can defeat your monster.  I would read this every week for storytime if it wasn’t already so super popular among the parents.





7)  The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Wood.  Share the strawberry or you’ll get eaten by a bear!  A great message for kids!





8) Little Pea by Rosenthal.  About a pea that detests eating candy for dinner (“plech!”).  A very a-pea-ling book!




9)  What? Cried Granny by Lum.  This may be my favorite read a loud of all time.  The industrious, indefatigable, Granny is determined for Patrick to go to bed!   Really punch those “Whaaaaat?”s to put the book over the top.





10)  Whose Mouse Are You?  by Kraus.  Over 30 years later and this book is still kicking.  Every time I read it, the audience goes “Awwww” at the end.  Very sweet!