Books are magical, aren’t they? But sometimes it can be a little hard finding the right book for the stage your child is in. Let me help. I’m a homeschooling mom and an incurable bibliophile. I’ve compiled a list of 12 picture books that are perfectly delightful for ages 3 to 6, (although 2-year-olds and 98-year-olds will also likely be drawn in by the excellent illustrations and story lines.) I chose some of the less commonly known picture books that we read over and over again, without getting bored.
- James Herriot’s Treasury for Children is a collection of tales about the author’s life as a rural British veterinarian. There are stories that will make you laugh and cry from one page turn to the next. They’re beautifully illustrated by Peter Barrett and Ruth Brown. If you have an animal lover in your home, you need to at least check it out from your local library.
- Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem There are several stories in this series, and we happen to own the entire collection. The illustrations have such minute details, and both boys and girls alike will be swept up in the stories of little mice that live in Brambly Hedge.
- Corgiville Fair by Tasha Tudor. The first time I read this aloud to my boys, I laughed so hard that I cried. Tasha Tudor’s illustrations are always charming, and this time was no exception. The story involves a goat race at the local fair in Corgiville—a land populated by corgis, cats, rabbits, and boggarts.
- Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall. This is the story of a man who loads up his ox cart with many foods and handmade items to sell at a market. He buys a few things at the market and comes home, only to start the process of growing plants and making items by hand all over again. It’s a beautiful tale of seasons in a hard-working family setting.
- The Bear That Heard Crying by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. A retelling of the true story of a 3-year-old girl who was lost in the woods in New Hampshire in 1783. She was protected by a bear until she was found four days later.
- On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott. If you’re expanding your family and are worried about an older sibling’s response, this would be a fantastic book. It teaches that there is “always room for more in mother’s lap.”
- Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. A truly unique tale about a young boy who visits the elderly in the nursing home that he lives near. One day he overhears his parents talking about how one of the residents has lost her memory. The boy determines to find a memory for his friend.
- Mole Music by David McPhail. A good illustration of how we don’t know how our determination and actions can have profound effects on the world around us.
- Waiting for Winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser. The quirky depictions of a squirrel in this book are absolutely irresistible.
- Petunia by Roger Duvoisin. A goose finds a book and decides that by loving it and carrying it around, she will be wise. The goose becomes proud, and there are disastrous consequences. At the end of the book, the goose realizes how foolish she’s been, and that learning to read can be a step in obtaining true wisdom.
- Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. After this book, you will see your life’s purpose differently. Miss Rumphius determines to travel the world, live by the sea, and make the world a more beautiful place.
- The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward— A favorite with my boys, this is the story of a boy who determines to shoot the “biggest bear” and what happens when he encounters and befriends a bear cub.
I hope you found one or two that you’re not familiar with. What are your family’s favorite picture books?