The Ready! Set! School! Recommended Book List

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Friends & Family Activities

Activity 1: I Know Me

  • All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes. Alfie figures things out and accomplishes some little four-year old feats on his own. [ORIG:Gentle, realistic depictions of a boy who can figure things out and accomplish some little four-year-old feats on his own.]
  • No, David! by David Shannon. David realizes his mom still loves him even though she tells him “No” throughout the day.
  • I Like Me by Nancy Carlson. A cheerful girl piggy confidently states: “I have a best friend. That friend is me!”
  • I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont. In rhyming text, a child expresses his self-esteem.

Activity 2: I'm a VIP (Very Important Person)

  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Chester the raccoon goes to the first day of school by himself.
  • Look What I Can Do by Jose Aruego. Two water buffalo compete.
  • Brave Charlotte by Anu Stohner. When danger strikes, Charlotte is brave and goes for help to save the day.

Activity 3: My Feelings

  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. This rhyming book explores a child’s emotions.
  • When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry by Molly Bang. A young girl is upset and doesn't know how to manage her anger.
  • Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. A grouchy ladybug challenges everyone she meets.
  • Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis. Everyone has moods that can change each day.

Activity 4: Playtime


  • I’m Gonna like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis. This book looks to the source of what makes children feel comfortable in their own skin.
  • Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi. Teaches children to use their hands for fun and caring actions and to understand that hitting is never okay.
  • Playtime by Ronald Heuninck. A picture book with beautiful illustrations of children playing.

Activity 5: Ready, Set, Go!

  • Swimmy by Leo Lionni. A little black fish in a school of red fish figures out a plan for safety.
  • The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop's Fable by Angela McAllister. The hare shows off against the tortoise’s sharp mind and determination.
  • Bubble Bath Pirates by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Pirate mommy announces bath time and to the bath it is for her little pirates.

Extra Activities

  • Rabbit and Hare Divide an Apple by Harriet Ziefert. When Rabbit and Hare both insist on having the largest piece of mushroom, they lose the whole thing to a sly skunk.
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. The Little Blue Engine tries to pull a stranded train full of toys.
  • Curious George by H.A. Rey. A little monkey is caught in the jungle and brought to the city. He can’t help being interested in all the new things around him.

Words & Language Activities

Activity 1: The ABCs

  • Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom by Bill Martin. All the letters of the alphabet race each other up the coconut tree.
  • Dr. Seuss’s ABCs by Dr. Seuss. This fun book helps small children to learn the letters and their sounds. {Provides a fun way for small children to learn the letters and their sounds.]
  • A: My Name is Alice by Jane Bayer. The well-known jump rope rhyme is built on letters of the alphabet.
  • Alphabatics by Suse MacDonald. The letters of the alphabet are transformed into twenty-six illustrations

Activity 2: Let's Read!

  • You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman. A book to help everyone learn to love reading.
  • Read to Your Bunny by Rosemary Wells. Tells what happens when parents and children share twenty minutes a day reading.
  • Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and Marc Brown. The librarian, by mistake, drives her bookmobile into the zoo.

Activity 3: Telephone Talk

  • The Telephone Book by Dorothy Kunhardt. Open the drawer, mail the letter, and answer the telephone.
  • I Wonder Why the Telephone Rings and Other Questions About Communication by Richard Mead. Questions and answers explore the world of animal and human communication.

Activity 4: Rhymes and Songs

  • Finger Plays for Nursery and Kindergarten by Emilie Poulsson. Fun, funny, and educational.
  • The Big Book of Nursery Rhymes and Children's Songs by Amsco Publications. A treasury of 169 all-time favorite rhymes and songs for children.

Activity 5: Scribbles and Letters

  • Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells. It's kitchen chaos when two bunnies bake a cake for Grandma's birthday.
  • The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg. A jolly postman delivers letters to several famous fairy-tale characters.
  • Dear Mrs. La Rue: Letters From Obedience School by Mark Teague. Gertrude LaRue receives letters from her dog Ike, who wants to come back home.

Extra Activities

  • I Read Signs by Tana Hoban. Introduces signs and symbols frequently seen along the street.
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. A tall tale of the town of Chewandswallow, where the weather is served three times a day. Life is yummy until the weather goes wacky!
  • Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. Pairs of rhyming words are introduced and used in simple sentences.
  • Tell Me a Story, Mama by Angela Johnson. A young girl and her mother remember together all the girl's favorite stories about her mother's childhood.
  • The Jolly Mon by Jimmy and Savannah. Relates the adventures of a fisherman who finds a magic guitar floating in the Caribbean Sea. Includes the music for the song "Jolly Mon Sing."
  • Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom by Bill Martin. All the letters of the alphabet race each other up the coconut tree.

Numbers & Shapes Activities

Activity 1: 1, 2, 3

  • Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang. Numbers from ten to one are part of this lullaby.
  • Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno. A counting book depicting the growth in a village during twelve months.
  • Ten Sly Piranhas by William Wise. A school of ten sly piranhas gradually dwindles as they eat each other.

Activity 2: Everybody Counts

  • Count and See by Tana Hoban. There are things to count all around you.
  • Count on Your Fingers African Style by Claudia Zaslavsky. Describes how finger counting is used for communication of price and quantity in an African marketplace.
  • The Great Pet Sale by Mick Inkpen. Attracted by a sale at the pet store, a boy tries to decide which animal to buy with his money.

Activity 3: Where Does It Go?

  • Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue? by Tana Hoban. Introduces colors and the concepts of shape and size.
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Brother and Sister Bear learn the proper way to tackle cleanup.
  • The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi.  A grandmother explains why, in their village on the side of a volcano, the men live in square houses and the women in round ones.

Activity 4: The Shape of Things

  • The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss. Children discover that there are more shapes than just squares and circles.
  • Shapes, Shapes All Over the Place by Janie Gill. Uses a child's curiosity to find shapes.
  • Architecture Counts by Michael Crosbie. Illustrations of various architectural details introduce the numbers one through ten.

Activity 5: What's the Pattern?

  • Spotted Yellow Frogs by Matthew Van Fleet. Picture book story told from the point of view of a sock.
  • Carlos and the Cornfield by Jan Romero Stevens. When Carlos sees the results of not following instructions on the proper way to plant corn, he tries to make things right.
  • The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins. Each time the doorbell rings, there are more people who have come to share Ma's wonderful cookies..

Extra Activities

  • Warlord's Puzzle by Virginia Walton Walton Pilegard. Hoping to avoid punishment for breaking a beautiful tile that was his gift to a Chinese warlord, an artist suggests that the warlord hold a contest to see if anyone can mend it.
  • It’s About Time by Stuart J. Murphy. A twenty-four-hour day is full of things to do! This book is an easy introduction to the skill of telling time, perfect for very young readers.
  • The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. Despite everyone's dire predictions, a little boy has faith in the carrot seed he plants.
  • More Bugs,Less Bugs by Don L. Curry, Johanna Kaufman. Simple text and photographs present the adding and subtracting of a variety of bugs.

Health & Safety Activities

Activity 1: My Little Muscles

  • The Little Hands Art Book:Exploring Arts & Crafts With 2- to 6-Year-Olds by Judy Press. A collection of fun activities to do with young children.
  • Finger Rhymes by Marc Brown. A collection of finger rhymes with hand movement illustrations.
  • Piggies by Don and Audrey Wood. A child’s fingers become “piggies” and go through a variety of scenes ending in bedtime.

Activity 2: My Big Muscles

  • Ball, Rope, Hoop Activities by Jack Capon, Frank Alexander. A collection of fun movement activities you can do at home with few materials.
  • Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley. Animals and children join in a variety of fun movements.
  • Silly Sally by Audrey Wood. Silly Sally walks backwards and upside down to town as others who move in interesting ways join her.

Activity 3: I Can Do It Myself!

  • I Can Do Anything! by The Luster Family. Children tell things they can do.
  • Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban. Frances struggles going to bed until she finally overcomes her fears.  [Francis struggles going to bed. She is finally able to overcome fears and sleep.]
  • Helping by James Levin. Photographs show children helping at home, at school, and around town.

Activity 4: You Are What You Eat

  • Betty Crocker Kids Cook! by Betty Crocker. Kid-friendly food that kids can help make.
  • Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban. Frances only wants to eat bread and jam until she has it for every meal and realizes variety is nice.
  • This Is the Way We Eat Our Lunch: A Book About Children Around the World by Edith Baer. Take a trip around the world to see what other children eat.

Activity 5: Just In Case

  • Dinofours: It's Fire Drill Day! by Steve Metzger. Explains that the sound of the fire bell keeps children safe and includes fire safety tips.
  • We Shake in a Quake by Hannah Gelman Givon. Rhyming verse introduces young readers to earthquakes and how to be safe.
  • It's Time to Call 911: What to Do in an Emergency by Inc. Penton Overseas. Calling 911 isn't for fun. Only call it for an emergency.

Extra Activities

  • Whose Legs Are These? by Peg Hall and Ken Landmark. Examines a variety of animal legs, noting how they look different and function in different ways.
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly: A Play Rhyme by Nadine Bernard Wescott. Rhyming text and illustrations explain how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Includes instructions for accompanying hand and foot motions at the end of the book.
  • Kitchen for Kids: 100 Amazing Recipes Your Children Can Really Make by Jennifer Low and Mark Burstyn. Features recipes for kids.
  • Wash Your Hands by Tony Ross. A little princess is constantly being reminded to wash her hands so that germs won’t make her sick.
  • Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London and Frank Remkiewicz. Rambunctious Froggy hops out into the snow for a winter frolic but is called back by his mother to put on some necessary articles of clothing.

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Books: I Know Me

All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes. Alfie figures things out and accomplishes some little four-year old feats on his own.

No, David! by David Shannon. David realizes his mom still loves him even though she tells him throughout the day.

I Like Me by Nancy Carlson. A cheerful, girl piggy confidently states: "I have a best friend. That friend is me!"

I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont. In rhyming text, a child expresses his self-esteem.

Complete Book List