Today is the first day of my Read 1000 Books before Kindergarten series. In the coming days I’ll talk about how to read to your baby/toddler/preschooler, why you should read 1000 books to your child before kindergarten, and more. Today I’m talking about who you’ll meet in favorite picture books and what to read with your young children. I’ve collected a list of my favorite picture book characters you should “get to know” by reading the books with your kids before kindergarten. Your kids will love them!
A Few Favorite Picture Book Characters (in Series)
The first set of characters I’d like to introduce are Elephant and Piggie. Elephant is named Gerald, and he’s a worry wart. Piggie is more of a carefree spirit. In their books, which are award-winning early readers by Mo Willems, the two friends have adventures, talk about sharing, play games, and meet new friends. There are 25 books in the series, and the last one is a thank you to the readers who have read their books. I love the personalities of these friends, but the characters also face similar issues to those the little kids reading them may face. If you love Elephant and Piggie or if you’d love to meet them, scroll to the end of the post to enter a special giveaway!
We also love the Berenstain Bears series in our house. Brother and Sister Bear, and later Honey Bear, helped me learn how to clean my room, get ready for the doctor and dentist, and more. The stories are highly relevant to kids. The newer ones are not as “classic” or memorable to me, but maybe that’s just because I didn’t read them as a kid. (I admit that as a grown up, there are many words in the text!)
How could a favourite picture book characters list not include Curious George by H.A. Rey? The stories both old and new show a monkey that is usually pretty naughty, and yet very lovable. Just a note for those who love originals only and not copy-cat sequels: Many of the stories in our Five Minute Curious George stories are excerpts from the originals.
Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy (created by Don Freeman) is a another picture book set with a memorable character. We love Corduroy the teddy bear. He joins his owner, Lisa, in more adventures (probably written by a ghost writer).
Amelia Bedelia (created by Peggy Parish) features a very literal person who “strips the sheets” by ripping them in strips, and “runs home” during baseball instead of running to home base. Although my 3-year-olds never seemed to like her, by ages 4 and 5, they enjoyed her ridiculous personality. Modern-day picture books of Amelia Bedelia as a child also add more double meanings into the kids’ vocabulary.
More Favorites Characters in a Series
There are dozens more series that we love. Here are a few of the picture books (first in the series):
- Duck and Goose by Tad Hill
- Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin
- Kipper by Mick Inkpen
- Maisy by Lucy Cousins
- Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
- Big Dog, Little Dog by P.D. Eastman
- No, David!! by David Shannon
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
- Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathon London
- Biscuit by Capucilli
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Some Stand-alone Favourite Picture Book Characters
These favorite characters don’t have a whole shelf of sequels for reading about them. But the authors who created themmade them memorable enough that even just one book makes them our favorites. Great books for your young “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” reader.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. See my hermit crab and moon activities for more books inspired by this author.
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Kids relate to Max in his wolf suit.
- The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Want to meet more amazing book characters? Get picture book inspiration and see some of my favorite picture books with my mega list of 100+ picture book preschoool activities. I’ve also written about favorite pictures books my toddler loved and favorite ABC books. Although those don’t necessarily have memorable characters, they are memorable in their own right!
More about Reading 1000 Books Before Kindergarten
Favorite Picture Book Characters to Read before Kindergarten (today)
Why Read 1000 Books before Kindergarten? (Tuesday)
Building Your Home Library (Thursday)