Our daughter, Julia, is four years old now, and she loves when we read to her. In going through the books in her room last week, I wrote down a list of the books we return to again and again. Some of them have carried over from when Timothy was younger. Others are new additions to the family. Here are a few I’d recommend for your preschoolers:

1. Just Because You’re Mine
Sally Lloyd-Jones

You probably know of Sally Lloyd-Jones from her masterpiece – The Jesus Storybook Bible, but you shouldn’t overlook this charming tale of a little squirrel scampering through the woods with his dad. The point of the story is that the father doesn’t love his son for being handsome, brave, fast, or friendly. “No, little one… I love you just because you’re mine,” he says, painting a picture of father-love bestowed on a child apart from any merit or earnings. I have read this book to Julia more times than I can remember, and I have yet to grow tired of it.

2. My Little Girl
Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas

I was skeptical when someone gave us this book by country singer Tim McGraw. The jump from writing songs to writing books seemed like a cleverly designed marketing ploy. But I was wrong. After more than a dozen readings of this book with Julia, I consider it a favorite.

The story follows a little girl spending the day with her dad. The dad displays tenderness and toughness in the way he respects his daughter and speaks highly of her mother.

Well-written with good illustrations.

3. How Many Veggies?
Phil Vischer

This book will never be deemed a classic. It goes squarely into the “great fun” category, and as such, it has value in the joy it brings. We used to read it to Timothy all the time, and now Julia likes it too. One recommendation: reading the book is more fun if you vary your voice based on whoever is speaking.

The story starts with Bob the Tomato taking a trip. One by one, additional members of the Veggie Tales cast join him until the boat is almost submerged in the water. The climactic moment is surprising, and the ending is designed for a good laugh too.

4. Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy

This is a delightful story that teaches children good social skills and how to use their imaginations. Multiple readings have not diminished our enjoyment of this book.

In the story, Lulu is an imaginative little girl who goes to the park with her mom and her dog. Lulu and her friend Sam can’t decide on what to do at the playground. Once they don their new personas – “Ladybug Girl” and “Bumblebee Boy” – the playground is transformed into the scene for their adventures. Additional friends also join the “Bug Squad.”

In an age where kids are constantly entertained, it’s important to see examples of children using their imaginations when playing by themselves. This book excels at doing just that.

5. Your Favorite Seuss:
A Baker’s Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss’ books are so wildly imaginative (and often silly) that it is easy to overlook the beauty and brilliance of his work. The patterns of rhyme, the twisting of well-known words, the moral sensibilities underlying the stories – all of these come together to provide an immensely joyful reading experience.

Timothy’s favorites are Yertle the Turtle, If I Ran the Zoo, and The Lorax. Julia prefers The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch that Stole Christmas, and Green Eggs and Ham. Dad and Mom like all of them.

6. Read to Tiger
S.J. Fore

Another fun, short story.

A little boy wants peace and quiet so he can read a book. But a tiger continues to distract him (pretending to be a bear, blowing a whistle, riding a train).

The story is well-written, with the right amount of repetition and a continual element of surprise. It’s fun to read and fun to look at. Out of these seven books, this one is the more recent addition to our collection. 

7. Fool Moon Rising
Kristi Fluharty

This is a good night-time book because it has good artwork, crisp writing, and tell a memorable story

In the story, the moon thinks he is terrific because of the light he gives. Eventually, the moon discovers that he is merely a reflection of the sun. In the end, he discovers that the greatest joy comes from reflecting light back to the sun.

The moral of the story is that the greatest joy for human beings comes not from receiving glory for ourselves but in reflecting praise back to the God who has made us.