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Choosing Great Books

Choosing Great Books for Young Children

For excellent recommendations from Youth Services staff, see our Preschool Booklists.


  • Durable board, cloth and plastic books that babies can grasp and explore easily (but don't restrict to just those formats)
  • Books with large, bold pictures, with either bright colours or black and white
  • Nursery rhyme books that introduce babies to the sounds of language and suit their short attention spans
  • Books with pictures of other babies and toddlers



  • Books that can be handled easily - small board books, with thick pages
  • Books with few words
  • Touchable books that invite play: lift-the-flaps, pockets, textures
  • Books with clear illustrations of familiar events - getting dressed, bathtime, eating - that are part of a child's day
  • Pictures of familiar objects - food, toys, animals, etc.
  • Simple linear plots
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Word repetition and patterning
  • Good night books that calm and settle before bed


  • Books with rhymes and alliteration that teach preschoolers the sounds of letters and words
  • Books that play with language
  • Books that depict preschoolers' growing accomplishments and developing independence
  • Alphabet books and counting books
  • Funny stories that use silly language and show humourous situations
  • Simple stories preschoolers can memorize and re-tell
  • Folk tales and fairy tales
  • Simple information books that show preschoolers new people, places and things
  • Longer picture books and short chapter books that develop older preschoolers' attention spans



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