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Picture Books Listed By Themes



Alphabet Theme

Animal Activities

Back to School

Black History
A resource of early childhood and preschool education picture books recommended for both classroom teachers and parents.  Preschool books are listed according to early childhood education themes and include both classic and new titles for young children.

Award winning author Ellen Jackson offers advice about
Choosing a Good Picture Book

Scroll down to view the booklists Or Click on the links below.

Brain Growth

Preschool Book Themes               Print this Theme

Counting and
Number Theme

Dinosaur Theme

Fall  Theme

Spring Theme

Summer Theme

Winter Theme

The Five Senses

Holiday Craft

Home Activities

Large Group 
Circle Activities



Bears and Teddy Bears

Cats and Other Pets

Classic Stories

Colors and Shapes

Counting and Number


Friends, Sharing and Cooperation


Food & Supermarket

Me and Family


Naptime and Bedtime

Outer Space

Science and Nature



Spring and Summer

Tall, Funny and Folk Tales


Me, My Family 
and Friends


Outdoor Play

Resource Room

Rhyme, Songs 

Small Group

Toddler Theme

Preschool Links

Click Here for Activity Central


Within each resource theme, recently added  picture books are indicated by a *.

If you would like to suggest a preschool picture book or theme simply...
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Scroll down to view the booklists




Animal Book Theme

Adam Mouse's Book of Poems
by Lilian Moore

Animal Babies
by Arthur Gregor and illus. by Arthur & Ylla Gregor

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing 
by Judi and Ron Barrett 

*Beastly Banquet: Tasty Treats for Animal Appetites: Animal Poems
by Peggy Munsterberg

Big Red Barn 
by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Felicia Bond 

Boo To A Goose 
by Mem Fox and illustrated by David Miller 

by Alan Snow 

*Deer at The Brook
by Jim Arnosky

Dibble and Dabble
by Dave and Julie Saunders 

by Peter Sis

by Byron Barton 

*Dinosaurs Forever
by William Wise and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Dr. Duck
by H. M. Ehrlich  pictures by Laura Rader

Five Little Kittens
by Nancy Jewell  and  pictures by Elizabeth Sayles 

Four Fur Feet
by Margaret Wise Brown

Hens Say Cluck 
by Hannah Gifford 

If You Give A Pig A Pancake
by Laura Numeroff

If You Give A Moose A Muffin
by Laura Numeroff

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
by Laura Numeroff
The  above 3 books were suggested by Margo Leah

In a Cabin In a Wood 
by Darcie McNally and illustrated by Robin M. Koontz

Is Your Mama a Llama?
by Deborah Guarino and  illustrated by Steven Kellogg

by Hugh Lewin illustrated by Lisa Kopper 

Mr Gumpy's Outing 
by John Burningham 

*Noah's Ark 
by Peter Spier 

*Noah Built an Ark One Day
by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins 

*Old MacDonald Had A Farm 
by Colin Hawkins

Owl Babies 
by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson 

Patrick's Dinosaurs
by Carol Carrick and illustrated by Donald Carrick 

*Raccoons and Ripe Corn
by Jim Arnosky

Rosie's Walk 
by Pat Hutchins 

Seven Little Rabbits
by John Becker

Spot's First Walk 
by Eric Hill

Tabby:  A Story In Pictures
by Aliki Brandenberg 

Ten Flashing Fireflies
Philemon Sturges

*The Most Amazing Dinosaur
by James Stevenson illustrator

The Rabbit, the Fox, and the Wolf 
by Sara 

*Two by Two - The Untold Story
by Kathryn Hewitt

Who Is Tapping At My Window? 
By A.G. Deming illustrated by Monica Wellington 

If you're looking for preschool animal activities and lesson plans they're in the Animal Theme and Dinosaur Theme.

Related preschool activity themes in the The Rainbow Resource Room:

  • The Bird Activity Theme
  • Penguin Theme
  • Circus & Clown Activities
  • Hibernation Theme
  • Farm Theme
To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes

Alphabet Book Theme

26 Letters and 99 Cents
by Tana Hoban

26 Ways to be Somebody Else 
by Devorah Boxer 

A B C 
by Karen Gundersheimer

A  For Antarctica
by Jonathan Chester 

*Albert's Alphabet
by Leslie Tryon

by Sue McDonald 

Alphabet Apartments 
by Lesley Moyes 

*Alphabet Soup
by Kate Banks 

Arlene Alda's A, B, C
by Arlene Alda

Beach Ball 
by Peter Sis 

Eating the Alphabet 
by Lois Ehlert 

Farm Alphabet 
by Jane Miller 

First Steps 
by John Burningham 

Halloween ABC 
by Eve Merriam Illus. by Lane Smith 

If you're looking for preschool Alphabet Activities and lesson plans they're in the Alphabet Theme.

Related preschool activity theme in the Rainbow Resource Room:

  • Alphabet & Literacy Activities  1 & 2
To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes


Color and Shape Book Theme

A Rainbow of My Own
by Don Freeman

Afro-Bets: Books of Colors
by Margery W. Brown and illustrated by Culverson Blair

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? 
By Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle 

by Lois Ehlert 

Go Away, Big Green Monster! 
by Ed Emberley 

Green Eggs And Ham 
by Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel 

*Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson

Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue? 
By Tana Hoban 

It Looked Like Split Milk
by Charles G. Shaw

Little Blue and Little Yellow 
by Leo Lionni 

Mary Wore Her Red Dress And Henry Wore His Green Sneakers
adapted and illustrated by Merle Peek 

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present 
by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Maurice Sendak 

Of Colors and Things 
by Tana Hoban 

Planting a Rainbow 
by Lois Ehlert 

Red Is Best 
by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Robin Baird Lewis 

*Round and Round and Round
by Tana Hoban

by Karen Gundersheimer 

by Keith Faulkner and illustrated by Jonathan Lambert 

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes
by Tana Hoban

*So Many Circles, So Many Squares
by Tana Hoban

What A Wonderful World
by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele

Related preschool activity themes in the Rainbow Resource Room:
  • Color Activity Theme
  • Shape Activity Theme
  • Colorful Rainbows!
To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes

Feelings Book Theme

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day 
by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz 

Ask Mr. Bear 
by Marjorie Flack

*Everybody Has Feelings
by  Charles E. Avery

Exploring Feelings
by Susan B. Neuman and Renee P. Panoff

I Wish I Was Sick, Too! 
By Franz Brandenberg and illustrated by Aliki 

*Let's Talk About Feelings: Ellie's Day
by Susan Conlin and Susan Levine Friedman

Making Faces 
by Nick Butterworth 

Mama Cat Has Three Kittens 
by Denise Fleming 

My Mama Says There Aren't Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, Or Things
By Judith Viorst and illustrated by Kay Chorao 

No, David! 
By David Shannon 

Peter's Chair 
by Ezra Jack Keats

Pete's Pizza 
by William Steig 

The following book is suggested by Velma W.
Sad Monster, Glad Monster
by Ed Emberly

by Herbert Scott and illustrated by Symeon Shimin 

Some Things Are Different, Some Things Are The Same
by Marya Dantzer-Rosenthal and illus. by Miriam Nerlove 

*Sometimes Bad Things Happen
by  Ellen Jackson 

*The Don't Be Scared Book
by  Ilse-Margret Vogel 

*Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day
by Jamie Lee Curtis 

*What Feels Best?
by  Anita Harper and Susan Hellard 

*When Emily Woke Up Angry
by  Riana Duncan 

*When Sophie Gests Angry - Really, Rreally Angry
by  Molly Bang

Where Can It Be? 
By Ann Jonas 

William's Doll 
by Charlotte Zolotow and Illus. by William Pene duBois

The following picture books can be helpful as starting points for talking about teasing and bullying.  They provide a non-personal way for children to learn about the feelings associated with hurtful behavior.
Being Bullied
by Kate and Charlotte Firmin Petty

by Kevin Henkes

Crow Boy
by Taro Yashima

The Grouchy Ladybug
by Eric Carle

Ira Sleeps Over
by Bernard Waber

It's Mine!
by Leo Lionni

Jess Was the Brave One
by Jean Little

The Meanest Thing to Say
by Bill Cosby

Oliver Button Is a Sissy
by Tomie dePaola

Rosie's Story
by Martine Gogoll

by Leo Lionni

William's Doll
by Charlotte Zolotow

Related preschool activity themes in the Rainbow Resource Room:
  • If You're Happy and You Know It
  • Feelings and Emotion Theme
To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes


Friends, Sharing and Cooperation

Alfie Gives A Hand 
by Shirley Hughes 

All Fall Down 
by Helen Oxenbury 

Best Friends 
by Miriam Cohen and Illustrated by Lillian Hoban 

Cherries and Cherry Pits 
by Vera B. Williams 

by Helme Heine

by Rachel Isadora 

*Friends at School
by  Rochelle Bunnett

*Friends at Work and Play
by Rochelle Bunnett

Friend is Someone Who Likes You 
by Joan Walsh Anglund 

George And Martha One Fine Day 
by James Marshall 

*Making Friends
by Fred Rodgers 

*Margaret and Margarita
by  Lynn Reiser

May I Bring A Friend 
by Deatrice Schenk DeRegniers 
and illus. by Beni Montresor 

Messy Bessey's Closet 
by Patricia and Fedrick McKissack 
and illus. by Ricky Hackney

Mirandy and Brother Wind 
by Patricia C. McKissack and Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney 

One For You and One For Me
by Wendy Blaxland and illustrated by Janice Bowles

Rose And Dorothy 
by Roslyn Schwartz 

Stone Soup 
by Marcia Brown 

*That's What a Friend Is
by  P.K. Hallinan

The Giving Tree 
by Shel Silverstein 

The Rainbow Fish 
by Marcus Pfister

What If The Zebras Lost Their Stripes
by John Reitano and illus. by William Haines

Willie's Not the Hugging Kind 
by Joyce Durham Barrett and illus. by Pat Cummings 

Will I Have A Friend? 
By Miriam Cohen and Illustrated by Lillian Hoban

The Preschool Friendship Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.

To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes


Farm Book Theme

Baby Farm Animals
by Garth Williams

by Debby Atwell 

*Barnyard Dance
by Sandra Boynton

Barnyard Lullaby
by Frank Asch

Barnyard Prayers
by Laura Godwin and illustrated by Brian Selznick

Big Red Barn 
by Margaret Wise Brown

Bunny Reads Back: Old MacDonald
by Rosemary Wells 

*Chickens Aren't The Only Ones
by Ruth Heller

by Bernard Most

Count the Farm Animals 1-2-3
by Rosalinda Kightley

The Day the Sheep Showed Up
by David M. McPhail

Dora's Eggs
by Julie Sykes and pictures by Jane Chapman

Egg Poems
by John Foster 

*Farmer Mack Measures His Pig
by Tony Johnston

Farmyard Animals
by Staff Sterling Publishing Company

Farm Alphabet Book
by Jane Miller

Once in the Country: Poems of a Farm
by Tony Johnston

Over on the Farm: A Counting Picture Book Rhyme
by Christopher Gunson 

*Rock-A-Bye Farm
by Diane Johnston Hamm

The Tiny, Tiny Boy and the Big, Big Cow
by Nancy VanLaan and pictures by Margorie Priceman

An entire Preschool Farm Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.

To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes

Food & Supermarket Book Theme

A Busy Day at Mr. Kang's Grocery Store
Children's Press

At the Supermarket
by David Hautzig 

*Banana Moon
by Janet Marshall

Don't Forget the Bacon!
by Pat Hutchins

Doodle Soup: Poems
by John Ciardi

Do the Doors Open by Magic? And Other Supermarket Questions
by Catherine Ripley

Eating the Alphabet:  Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z
by Lois Ehlert 

Feast For Ten
by Cathryn Falwell

*Jamberry (this book is suggested by Cheryl)
by Bruce Degen 

One Lonely Sea Horse
Saxton Frymann & Joost Elffers

My Shopping List
by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Michael Reid

In the Supermarket
by Henry Pluckrose 

*Pickin' Peas
by Margaret R. McDonald and illustrated by Pat Cummings

Sweets & Treats: Dessert Poems
by Bobbye Goldstein

Tasty Poems
by Jill Bennett

The Midnight Fridge
by Bruce Glassman

To Market, To Market
by Anne Miranda and illustrated by Janet Stevens

Tommy at the Grocery Store
by Bill Grossman

Where Are You?
by Francesca Simon and David Melling

The Preschool Food & Nutrition Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.

To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes


Multicultural Book Theme

Early childhood education books that provide children with a glimpse of other cultures and traditions.
Abuela's Weave   (Guatemala)
by Omar S. Castaneda

A is For Africa   (Nigeria)
by Ifeoma Onyefulu

Amelia's Road   (Migrant farm workers)
by Linda Jacobs Altman

Anasi The Spider:  A Tale from the Ashanti
by Gerald McDermott

At The Beach   (Chinese)
by Huy Voun Lee 

*Buenas Noches, Luna
by Margeret Wise Brown

Come With Me To Africa:  A Photographic Journey
by Gregory Scott Kreikemeir

Emeka's Gift:  An African Counting Story  (Nigeria)
by Ifeoma Onyefulu

Everybody Bakes Bread
by Norah Dooley

Everybody Cooks Rice
by Norah Dooley

Fire Race:  A Karuk Coyote Tale About How Fire Came to the People
Retold by  Jonathan London with Lanny Pinola

by Alan Benjamin

How My Parents Learned To Eat  (Japanese - American)
by Ina R. Friedman

Hush!   (A Thai Lullaby) suggested by Velma W.
by Mingfong  Ho 

In My Mother's House   (Native American poems)
by Ann Nolan Clark

Jaha and Jamil Went Down The Hill:  An African Mother Goose
byBirginia L. Kroll

Kente Colors    (Ashante, Ghana)
by Deaborah M. Newton Chocolate

Kwanzaa   (African-American)
by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate

Mama, Do You Love Me?   (Inuit)
by Barbara M. Joosse

Margaret and Margarita    (Bilingual English/Spanish)
by Lynn Reiser

Mouse Match:  A Chinese Folktale
by Ed Young

New Shoes For Silva
by Johnna Hurwitz and illustrated by Jerry Pickney

Not Yet Yvette   (African - American)
by Helen Ketterman

Shake It To The One That You Love The Best
Plays, Songs and  Lullabies from Black Musical Traditions
Collected and adapted by Cheryl Warren Mattox

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
by Ann Morris

Somos Un Arco Iris  (We Are A Rainbow)   Bilingual English/Spanish
by Nancy Maria Grande Tabor 

*Ten Oni Drummers  (Japanese)
Mathew Gollub

The Day of Ahmed's Secret   (Egyptian)
by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland

The Man on The Flying Trapeze:  The Circus Life of Emmett Kelly Sr.
by Robert Quackenbush

The Mitten:  A Ukrainian Folktale
by Jan Brett

The Village of Round and Square Houses  (Cameroons)
by Ann Grifalconi

Tikki Tikki Tembo   (Chinese)
Blair Lent illustrator,  Retold by Arlene Mosel

Too Many Tamales   (Hispanic)
by Gary Soto

Welcoming Babies
by Margy Burns Knight

Zomo The Rabbit:  A Trickster Tale from West Africa
by Gerald McDermott

Take a peek at the Multicultural Theme.

Related preschool activity themes in the Rainbow Resource Room:

  • Spanish Nursery Rhymes & Finger Plays
  • Mittens, Mittens & Math
  • Shoes, Shoes, Shoes!
  • Circus & Clown Theme
To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes

Tall, Funny and Folk Tale Books

based on a South African Lullaby and Folk Story 
Text by Pete Seeger and illustrations by Michael Hays 

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain 
by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal 

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 
by Judi Barret 

Fire Race: A Karuk Coyote Tale
retold by Jonathan London and illustrated by Sylvia Long 

Gregory, The Terrible Eater 
by Mitchell Sharmat 
and illus. by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewy 

How The Turtle Got His Shell 
adapted by Sandra Robbins and illustrated by Iku Oseki 

If You Give a Moose a Muffin 
by Laura Joffe Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond 

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie 
by Laura Joffe Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond 

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters 
by John Steptoe

Snow and the Sun / la Nieve y el Sol: A South American Folk Rhyme in Two Languages 
translated by Antonio Frasconi 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig 

The Giant Jam Sandwich 
by John Vernon Lord and verses by Janet Burroway 

The Hunterman and the Crocodile: A West African Folktale 
by Baba Wague Diakite 

The Paper Dragon 
by Marguerite W. Davol and illustrated by Robert Sabuda 

The Knee-High Man 
adapted by William Miller and illus. by Roberta Glidden 

The Talking Eggs 
by Robert San Souci 

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly 
by Simms Taback 

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears 
by Verna Aardema and illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon 

We're Going on a Bear Hunt 
by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury 

To Book ThemesPreschool  Book Themes

  More Preschool Book Themes....

If you would like to suggest a preschool picture book simply...
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