once upon a time

Special stories for babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Foster your kids' love of reading with enjoyable, engaging books. Here are just a few of the many wonderful stories you can discover together with your child. Happy reading!

A Book for Daisy
A Ball for Daisy written and illustrated by Chris Raschka

A wordless story of an irrepressible little dog whose most prized possession is accidently destroyed. A buoyant tale of loss, recovery and friendship. A 2012 Caldecott Medal Book. (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2011)

Ages: 3 and up

Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse written and illustrated by Eric Carle

A blue horse, a pink crocodile, a yellow cow—these creative collage illustrations are meant to inspire children to use their own imaginations, just as Carle was inspired by the painter Franz Marc. (Philomel/Penguin, 2012)

Ages: 3-6

Back to School Tortoise
Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M. George; illustrated by Merel Eyckerman

Tortoise shows us that all sorts of creatures can feel nervous on the first day of school. Whimsical watercolors add to the text. (Albert Whitman, 2011)

Ages: 4-6

Clink by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Matthew Myers

Nobody wants Clink, a dusty robot, until he meets a boy who is great at fixing things. Colorful paintings provide delightful details. (Balzar + Bray/HarperCollins, 2011)

Ages: 4-8

Everthing Goes: On Land
Everything Goes: On Land written and illustrated by Brian Biggs

In this dizzy cartoonish adventure, a boy and his father journey through streets crowded with vehicles to pick up mom from the train station. (Balzar + Bray/HarperCollins, 2011)

Ages: 2-5

Grandpa Green
Grandpa Green written and illustrated by Lane Smith

Elaborate topiary sculptures give visual form to memories in a wildly fanciful garden tended by a child and his beloved great-grandfather. A 2012 Caldecott Medal Book. (Roaring Brook Press, 2011)

Ages: 5-9

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Truck-loving toddlers will be willingly tucked into bed along with the vehicles in this superbly constructed goodnight poem. (Chronicle Books, 2011)

Ages: 1 and up

I Love to Sing
I Love to Sing written and illustrated by Anna Walker

A zebra and his dog friend enjoy singing exuberantly in many places. Simple but expressive ink illustrations. (Simon & Schuster, 2011)

Ages: 2-4

I Want my Hat Back
I Want My Hat Back written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

After losing his hat, Bear politely and patiently questions his fellow forest dwellers as to the whereabouts of his “red pointy hat.” A 2012 Caldecott Medal Book. (Candlewick Press, 2011)

Ages: 4 and up

Let's Look at Dinosaurs: A Flip-the-Flap Book written and illustrated by Frances Barry

Simple interactive collages present dinosaurs, with one question and answer about each. Additional information on the endpapers. (Candlewick, 2011)

Ages: 4-7

Marisol McDonald
Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match /Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown; illustrated by Sara Palacios

Bright, vivacious Marisol, a Peruvian-Scottish-American girl, loves peanut butter and jelly burritos and speaks both English and Spanish, but her teacher and classmates do not appreciate Marisol’s mashing of cultures. A 2012 Belpre Illustrator Honor Book. (Children's Book Press, 2011)

Ages: 4 and up

Me... Jane
Me... Jane written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

Watching birds and squirrels in her yard, a young girl discovers the joy and wonder of nature. A glimpse of the childhood of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall. A 2012 Caldecott Medal Book. (Little, Brown, 2011)

Ages: 1 and up

Naamah and the Ark
Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti; illustrated by Holly Meade

As Noah's wife sings the animals to sleep, an age-old tale is told afresh in a soothing poetic form brought to life with beautiful collage illustrations. (Candlewick, 2011)

Ages: 4 and up

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: A Counting Nursery Rhyme written and illustrated by Salina Yoon

A tiny mouse leads the fun through cut squares that peek into colorful circus scenes with plenty to count on every page. (Robin Corey Books/Random House, 2011)

Ages: 1-3

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray; illustrated by Marla Frazee

A duet of spare, poetic observations and ethereal illustrations explore the realities and possibilities of many kinds of stars, embracing the immediacy of a child's experiences. A great read aloud. (Beach Lane Books, 2011)

Ages: 2-6