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An educator shares their top 10 timeless books for preschoolers

October 18, 2020

It’s that time of the year! Yes, Book Week is upon us. A time to dress our little ones up in characters from their favourite books. 

Reading forms such a huge part of the curriculum at child care, as it’s the foundation for learning in children.

We spoke with Sarah Murray, the Centre Manager from Milestones Early Learning in North Parramatta, to find out her recommendations for the best books for preschool-age children. 

PLUS we’ve got some wonderful reviews of each of the books from some tough critics - young children!

Why do you think reading to preschoolers is so important?

‘Reading to preschoolers is so important because what we do, share and role model with our young people develops dispositions in their personality,’ shares Sarah. 

‘With literature being the foundation of learning, reading builds academic skills for the long term. The social and emotional moments shared between an adult and a child are powerful, diving into an unknown world and getting lost together in the story. 

This builds beautiful reciprocal relationships and trust in each other to stay connected and feel supported while sharing in learning moments and memories.

When you’re reading, I always say to jump into the story with the children, read with passion and heart, tell the story and narrate its context. You’ll be surprised at the difference.’

What are your top 10 books for preschoolers?

‘These are the books that we reach for time and time again,’ says Sarah. There are also some wonderful reviews of each book from some young preschoolers (who have read them once or twice). 

1. The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson

‘There is a mouse and so many animals want to eat him, so he pretends that he’s really tough and that he is mates with a bad guy so that they’ll be too scared to eat him. There’s lots of nice rhyming too.’

James - 4 years old.

2. The Gruffalo’s Child - Julia Donaldson

‘In this one, the Gruffalo tells the baby Gruffalo that the mouse is really scary. The snake and the owl and the fox are in it too. And it’s snowing! I love it.’

Molly - 3 years old.

3. Room On The Broom - Julia Donaldson

‘The witch is nice and lets everyone get on her broom, like the dog and the frog and a bird. There is a scary dragon but it’s OK because all the animals scare him away and save the witch!’

Ollie, 4 years old  

4. Possum Magic - Mem Fox

‘I love this book because it has a beautiful baby possum and she eats lots of yummy things, like pavlova, Vegemite sandwiches and lamingtons. Her Grandma is magic. I wish my Grandma was magic.’

Evie, 5 years old.

5. The Wonky Donkey - Craig Smith

‘This book has lots of funny tongue twisters about a donkey that is stinky and cranky and wonky.  When we read this book at my school the teacher sings it and we all laugh and laugh. He’s a honky tonky winky wonky donkey!’

Tilly, 5 years old.

6. I Am The Music Man - Debra Potter

‘I like this book because it has holes in the page so you can peek through and see who is playing the instruments. There are more and more holes on each page. My mum always sings it instead of reading it.’

Lincoln, 5 years old

7. Where The Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak 

‘We have my mum’s book of this that she read when she was little. It’s a bit worn out! I like it because there are massive monsters and Max becomes their king. They are sad when he leaves but he is so hungry he has to go home.’

Bianca, 5 years old

8. Wombat Stew - Marcia Vaughan

‘This is a book about a wombat that gets caught and the fox wants to eat him. But his friends trick the silly old fox by putting lots of things in his pot that taste disgusting!’

Jack, 4 years old

9. Whoever You Are - Mem Fox

‘This book is nice because it talks about all the different people in the world, and how even though we are all different we are also the same in lots of different ways.’

Maddison, 5 years old

10. Green Eggs and Ham - Dr Seuss

‘I like this book because the guy doesn’t think he likes green eggs and ham but Sam keeps asking him to try it with a mouse or on a train. In the end he says fine, I will try it, and then he really likes it!’

Felicity, 4 years old

Do the educators read to the babies at your centre?

‘Our Educators share stories with not only our pre-schoolers but children of all ages,’ says Sarah. ‘We regularly do this during small and large group experience and spontaneously.’

How do you celebrate Book Week at your centre?

‘This year we will be celebrating book week in our centre with a dress-up day of your favourite character from a story,’ says Sarah. 

‘Children are asked to bring in their favourite stories. And hopefully, our preschool children will be able to visit our local library for storytime.’

You can find out more about Milestones Early Learning in North Parramatta here, or search for child care in your area by entering your postcode in the search box at the top of the page.

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Written by

Lee Price

Toddle is the most comprehensive child care finder in Australia, on a mission to make parents’ lives easier.