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Yale University put together a booklist that has become the go-to for Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County. It’s broken up into books for babies and toddlers, as well as preschoolers to show that a variety of books teach our children about feelings. Click here to learn more about the Yale University Pre-K Ruler, which we use in all of our classrooms. Scroll down for a list of books that would be great to add to your home library!

Infant & Toddler

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox. Illus. by Helen Oxenbury. 2008.

A phenomenal book to read with your baby! Mem Fox uses rhyme and repetition to create a multicultural book about something all different babies have in common: ten little fingers and ten little toes. After each baby is introduced, the same reassuring refrain follows, like this first pair that opens the book: “There was one little baby / who was born far away. / And another who was born / on the very next day. / And both of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes.” Mem includes interesting phrases like sneezes and chills, and truly divine. Together, she and illustrator Helen Oxenbury capture the feeling that there is something particularly captivating about those fingers and toes and something particularly lovable about all babies everywhere. “Do you have ten little fingers and ten little toes? Let’s count them.”

Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. Illus. by Eric Carle. 2007.

Baby Bear is the fourth book in a series that began 40 years ago, when Martin and Carle introduced the now-ubiquitous Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. The second in the series, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? focuses on the sounds that animals make. The third book, Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? presents a collection of endangered animals. Baby Bear portrays North American animals and a baby bear’s bond with its mother. Your children will love Carle’s large double-page animals and Martin’s text, replete with interesting vocabulary (striped skunk, screech owl, gliding, hooting). Very young readers enjoy books with repetition, and Baby Bear contains the familiar word patterns found in other books in the series.  Try using the word pattern to say something to your own child. “My baby, my baby, what do you see? Do you see your mommy reading to you? I think you do.”

I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom. Illus. by Richard Scarry. [1963] 2004.
The Rooster Struts, by Richard Scarry. [1963] 2004.

Richard Scarry’s vivid illustrations come to life in these tall, slender, reissued board books. Scarry’s art is warm, expressive, and precise. I Am a Bunny depicts the small animal’s changing habits as one season turns into the next and the yearly cycle starts again. In The Rooster Strutssimple sentences describe how each animal moves: “The duck waddles. The goose waggles.” Word repetition, rhyme, and consistent pacing lend both books an element of poetry. The illustrations convey detail and suggest a sense of balance and order in the natural world. This is nonfiction-for- the-very-young at its best. Add your own action line to describe how your baby moves: “The baby stretches.”

Mommies Say Shhh! by Patricia Polacco. 2005.

Life on a farm can be noisy! Polacco uses lilting, repetitive language and rich watercolor illustrations to show various animal families and the sounds they make. “Dogs say buff, buff, buff. Sheep say baa, baa, baa. Geese say honk, honk, honk. Bunnies say nothing at all.” And what happens when all the animals speak up all at once, causing quite a ruckus when a baby is sleeping nearby? “Mommies say shhh, shhh, shhh.” A great read-aloud where you can invite your little one to chime in.

Bears, by Ruth Krauss. Illus. Maurice Sendak. 2005.

Bears, written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Phyllis Rowand, was first published in 1948. Maurice Sendak was still an undiscovered artist at that time, but he and Krauss soon became close friends and collaborators. In this reissue, Bears has new illustrations by Sendak. Krauss’s charming story about bears and their fantastic habits now has a new twist. In addition to illustrating the bears, Sendak added a subplot: Max, the white-suited character from Where the Wild Things Are, can be seen searching for his dog, who has snatched one of Max’s teddy bears. This is a piece of literary history and a seductive read for children.

¡Pío Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes [Rimas Tradicionales en Espanol], selected by Alma Flor Ada & F. Isabel Campoy. 2003. English adaptions by Alice Schertle. Illus. by Viví Escrivá.

“The words of nursery rhymes and songs gave both wings and roots to my soul,” says Alma Flor Ada, one of the book’s editors. ¡Pío Peep! compiles 29 rhymes and nursery songs from Spain and Latin America, lovingly selected favorites of these regions’ cultures. Accompanying English versions capture the essence and the beauty of the rhyme, so both English and Spanish versions are poetic and rhythmic, just as nursery rhymes should be. Having only one rhyme per page, with beautiful illustrations by Viví Escrivá, is age appropriate, without too many visual distractions or clutter. The watercolor illustrations have just the right amount of detail for young children. You will have fun introducing these nursery rhymes to your youngster.

Families, by Rena D. Grossman. 2009.

This nonfiction board book highlights the common ways humans and animals take care of their babies. “All families give kisses . . . share snacks . . . take baths, take naps, and say ‘I love you.’” Each double-page spread juxtaposes a human family and an animal family taking part in the same activity. The photos are clear and expressive, and who doesn’t like to see families taking care of their adorable babies, whether human, giraffe, or hippo? Families is an excellent introduction to the connections between all members of the animal kingdom.

Peekaboo Bedtime, by Rachel Isadora. 2008.

Peekaboo Bedtime, a sequel to Peekaboo Morning, is a turn-the-page guessing game about all those whom a boy sees on his way to bed. “Peekaboo! I see . . . my mommy[.] Peekaboo! I see . . . my blankie[.]” Each page contains a visual clue about what he’ll discover on the following page. Bright illustrations depict a three-generation family, with several pets too. The book incorporates elements of a successful bedtime routine—waving to the moon, taking a bath, and replacing shoes with slippers. Both the family and the routine make for a comforting book about getting ready for bed. Use the the book’s refrain to describe something you see: “Peekaboo! I see . . . the blanket grandma made for you!”

Hello, Day! by Anita Lobel. 2008.

Nobody does color like Lobel, and she devotes an entire page to the illustration of each of the farm animals featured in this day in the country. Painterly renditions of a cow, a sheep, a horse, and more are accompanied on the opposing pages by simple language describing what each animal “says” (moo, baa, neigh). Your young children can practice animal sounds as you read together. Lobel’s twist—telling readers what the animals are really saying—lends an element of discovery and delivers a satisfying wrap-up to the colorful day.

Mother Goose Picture Puzzles, by Will Hillenbrand. 2011.

With 20 familiar rhymes on 40 pages, this Mother Goose collection covers the basics and accomplishes a lot more. Each rhyme is illustrated on a generously sized double-page spread, giving young children large close-ups of all the beloved Mother Goose characters. Humorous and folksy illustrations capture characters in happy-go-lucky (Peter, pumpkin eater), disheveled (Jack and Jill rolling down the hill), shocked (Little Miss Muffet), and oblivious (Little Boy Blue) states. Although wonderful to read to babies and toddlers, older children will also enjoy the rebus puzzle component: about one word per line in each rhyme is replaced with a picture that must be “read” as part of the text. In the first line of “Little Boy Blue” (“Little Boy Blue, come, blow your horn!”), a picture of a horn replaces the word horn. Because of the nature of the illustrations and the rebus puzzles, this book can be enjoyed by the whole family.

My Farm Friends, by Wendell Minor. 2011.

“Welcome to the farm,” Wendell Minor writes in the opening to My Farm Friends, warmly beckoning readers. Each turn of the page introduces one or two farm animals and teaches interesting facts and habits about each one with humor and rhyme. “Pigs can’t sweat / Or jump in a pool / So they roll in the mud / That’s how they stay cool.” Wendell’s love of animals will be clear when you read the book’s dedication, in which he reminisces about loving his family farm as a child. Children will see the care he has put into illustrating each animal. He captures a pig’s knowing glance, a sheep’s tender nuzzle of her lamb, and the gentleness of a goat’s droopy eyes and soft lips as it chews a stolen bandana. You can share with your children the additional fascinating facts about the animals found at the back.

Additional Recommendations:

Welcome with Love
Lots of Feelings
Sheep in a Jeep
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
Pat the Bunny
Besos for Baby: A Little Book of Kisses

Preschool Feeling Books

Happy

I Like Myself- Karen Beaumont
When Sophie’s Feelings are Really, Really Hurt- Molly Bang
Otto Goes to Camp-Todd Parr
A Letter to Amy-Ezra Jack Keats
Dear Mr. Blueberry-Simon James
Margaret and Margarita-Lynn Reiser
Pete’s A Pizza-William Steig
Yoko Writes Her Name-Rosemary Wells
Happy Pig Day-Mo Willems
My Friend and I-Lisa Jahn-Clough
Bear in Love- Daniel Pinkwater
My Friend is Sad-Mo Willems
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo-Rachel Vail

Brave

My Brave Year of Firsts -Jamie Lee Curtis
Sheila Rae, the Brave -Kevin Henkes
King Jack and the Dragon-Peter Bentley & Helen, Oxenbury

Proud

Annabel-Janice Boland
Elmer’s Special Day-David McKee
An Extraordinary Egg-Leo Lionni
Yoko Writes Her Name-Rosemary Wells
When Sophie’s Feelings are Really, Really Hurt- Molly Bang

Excited

The Snowy Day-Ezra Jack Keats-3(Eng & Spa)
Bear in Love- Daniel Pinkwater-1
My Friend is Sad-Mo Willems-3

Curious

Bear in Love- Daniel Pinkwater
An Extraordinary Egg-Leo Lionni

Calm

Goodnight Moon-Margaret Wise-Brown

Loved

The Kissing Hand-Audrey Penn
A Chair for my Mother-Vera B. Williams
Felicity and Cordelia: A Tale of Two Bunnies -Lisa Jahn-Clough

Cooperative

The Biggest Snowman Ever-Steven Kroll
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever- Steven Kroll
Swimmy- Leo Lionni
My Friend and I-Lisa Jahn-Clough

Caring

A Chair for my Mother-Vera B. Williams
A Sick Day for Amos McGee- Philip C. Stead
The Mitten-Jan Brett
Will I Have a Friend? – Miriam Cohen

Kind

A Sick Day for Amos McGee- Philip C. Stead
I’m Gonna Like me- Jamie Lee Curtis
The Mitten-Jan Brett

Sad

Yoko Writes Her Name-Rosemary Wells
Dear Mr. Blueberry-Simon James
A Letter to Amy-Ezra Jack Keats
Otto Goes to Camp-Todd Parr
Jamaica’s Blue Marker-Juanita Havill
Pete the Cat and the New Guy-Kimberly and James Dean
My Friend is Sad-Mo Willems
When Sophie’s Feelings are Really, Really Hurt- Molly Bang
Will I Have a Friend? – Miriam Cohen

Lonely

Otto Goes to Camp-Todd Parr
Yoko Writes Her Name-Rosemary Wells
Little Beaver and The Echo- Amy MacDonald & sarah Fox-Davies
Swimmy- Leo Lionni-3 Swimmy- Leo Lionni
Will I Have a Friend? – Miriam Cohen

Disappointed

Pete’s A Pizza-William Steig
Otto Goes to Camp-Todd Parr
Duck Soup-Jackie Urbanovic
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day-Judith Viorst

Worried

Little Louie and the Baby Bloomer-Robert Krauss
My Big Dog-Janet Stevens & Susan Stevens Crummel
Scaredy Squirrel-Melanie Watt
Ira Sleeps Over-Bernard Waber
Otto Goes to Camp-Todd Parr
Will I Have a Friend? – Miriam Cohen

Angry

Sometimes I’m Bombaloo-Rachel Vail
Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean-Jane Lynch
Jamaica’s Blue Marker-Juanita Havill
Llama Llama Time to Share-Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat- Anna Dewdney
The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum-Deborah Blumenthal
My Friend and I-Lisa Jahn-Clough
I Am So Mad-Mercer Mayer-1

Frustrated

My Friend is Sad-Mo Willems
Caps For Sale-Esphyr Slobodkina
Click Clack, Moo Cows That Type-Doreen Cronin
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day-Judith Viorst
Bear in Love- Daniel Pinkwater

Scared

Scaredy Squirrel-Melanie Watt
When I Feel Scared-Cornelia Maude Spelman
Ira Sleeps Over-Bernard Waber
King Jack and the Dragon-Peter Bentley & Helen, Oxenbury
The Kissing Hand-Audrey Penn
Llama Llama Red Pajama-Anna Dewdney
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo-Rachel Vail

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