Do you ever pick up a book, and sigh? Just the feel of it, the beauty of the pictures, the care with which it was created -- these things speak to you before you even start to read the story.
As you are easing into this summer, and wanting to spend some cozy moments with small people, here is a list of gentle, beautiful picture books -- including a perfect first chapter book! -- and five super fun fairy and folk tales for threes and fours!
1. I Took the Moon for a Walk -- This was a book I saw once on someone's website, in a photo of her child reading. I am so happy I noticed it -- I had this one memorized once. Rhymes without being sing-song, evocative language, perfect for bedtime.
2. We're Going on a Bear Hunt -- Best sound effects ever in this summer camp rhyme-turned picture book.
3. A Lot of Otters Oh. This book. Otters who save the moon's child and rub fallen stars into their fur to make enough "commotion of light" to let Mother Moon know where her little one has gone. Magic.
4. The Snowy Day -- Remember this one? How Peter goes out in the snow, and brings some home in his pocket? Cool off with this classic. Still wonderful.
5. The Poppy Seed Cakes I bless the day I found a vintage copy of this one in an antique shop. Andrushek's Auntie Katushka brings a lot of poppy seeds from the Old Country just so she can make poppy seed cakes. Erminka loves the red boots her uncle sent to her little brother that are too big for him. We love these stories.
Folk tales to find and tell
Now, if you want to make an even deeper connection, and let the little one or ones with you make their own pictures in their heads, and maybe make them laugh and ask you again and again to tell them one more time, these folk tales will be just the thing for you! You can find them in many fairy tale and folktale books. These are five of my favorites to tell with young children.
1. The Mitten (Jan Brett made a lovely picture book of this old story).
2. The Gingerbread Man/The Johnnycake/The Pancake/The Bun -- everyone loves runaway baked goods! So many different versions to choose from -- they are all fun!
3. Sweet Porridge Only the little girl can make the magic porridge pot stop cooking!
4. The Turnip Repetition and rhythm delight the three- and four-year-old like nothing else.
5. Masha and the Bear an audio version of this charming Russian version of Goldilocks is yours free for signing up for my mailing list! Just click here!
Have a beautiful summer!
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.