There are two things that I’ve most looked forward to sharing with my children: books and food.
Why books? Aside from the obvious benefits of developing early literacy skills, books bring me joy, and I have always wanted to share that joy with my children. Snuggling at night while we read bedtime stories, spending a snowy day under blankets with a good book or two, and nestling in the corner of the bookstore as we scavenge for new books are some of my favorite childhood memories, and I’ve always wanted to share that with my children too.
Naturally, I started reading to Noah as soon as we got home from the hospital. I wish I’d brought a book or two to the hospital with me, but I wasn’t really planning on a hospital stay. Reading bedtime stories quickly became a part of our nighttime routine. Bath time, milk, story time, milk, sleepy time. In the first few weeks, he’d often fall asleep before I finished reading the first book. By two months old, as long as I start the bedtime routine early enough, we can get through two to three bedtime stories, and I’ve recently discovered that he won’t fall asleep for the night without them now!
My high school journalism teacher and, now, longtime friend, recommended that we embark on the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge to keep track of what we’ve read. And, that is exactly what we’ve decied to do!
Noah and I have committed to the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge — with a twist! The challenge is simple — read 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten! This challenge typically allows for repeats, so I suppose we could count “Sweet Dreams, Roo” about a dozen times so far, but I thought it’d be more interesting to try to read 1,000 different books instead! We’re going to need to take advantage of our local public library to complete this challenge unless we want to turn our entire house into a library without any room for beds, couches, or us!
Rather than writing extensive reviews for 1,000 books, we’re going to rate the books with a for books we loved, afor books we didn’t like at all, and afor books that we thought were just okay.
Fortunately, we loved most of our first 100 books on the road to 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten because they were favorites from my childhood, and I’ve been waiting to share them with my children for a VERY long time. We’ve also started trying some new (to me) books, and I’m going to make a point of adding in some new releases later on.
While we still read two to three books per night, we repeat a lot of our favorites, so it’ll be interesting to see when we reach 1,000 unique books. I plan to post an update after every 100 books, but reviewing the books, finding images of their covers, and linking all of them to Amazon is definitely taking longer than reading the books themselves! As a result, I might break up the subsequent blogs into blocks of 50 books.
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Llama Llama was an instant hit, and I’m sure we’ll read more Llama Llama books in our next 100 books on our journey to read 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. If you haven’t read any Llama Llama books yet, they have a meter and rhyme similar to Dr. Suess, but they use real words, teach great lessons, and have clear story lines.
Llama Llama Red Pajamas by Anna Dewdney
I’ll admit that I’d never actually read the full Llama Llama book until I read it to Noah. This book is such a delight; I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before! The word choice is poetic; every page rolls of your tongue. The book teaches kids that it’s okay to go to bed at night, and Mama will always be there for you. Maybe one day it’ll teach Noah that it’s okay to sleep without being able to see me every time he opens his eyes! Buy On Amazon
Llama Llama Hide and Seek
Llama Llama Hide and Seek is a Lift-The-Flap Book, and it contains one of our favorite book characters, Llama Llama, so this book was definitely a keeper! We’ve read this book many times, and I’m sure we’ll read it many more times in the future! Buy on Amazon
Llama Llama Loves to Read
I had a difficult time deciding if our next Llama Llama book would be “Llama Llama Likes to Read” or “Llama Llama Loves his Mama,” but I eventually settled on this one. It’s a bit longer than the other two Llama Llama books that we’d already read, but it was great nonetheless. I loved that this book taught writing based vocabulary words such as letter, alphabet, word, and story. Buy on Amazon
Llama Llama Numbers
This book was a disappointment. Since we love Llama Llama, I really wanted to love this book, but you can’t count the objects on each page! This makes it an utterly useless (and frustrating) counting book. Buy on Amazon
While it was informative to check out what Penguin Random House has done with The Very Hungry Caterpillar after Carle’s passing, I don’t think we’ll continue down that path. The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been way overdone. They’ve published about a hundred books featuring The Very Hungry Caterpillar in what appears to be a money-hungry marketing strategy that involves putting The Caterpillar on everything. I love the Caterpillar, but I think we’ll stick with original Eric Carle stories going forward.
😍 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Although Noah was terrified of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the first six weeks of his life, he’s made friends with The Very Hungry Caterpillar whose name is way too long. This is a classic that every child should read at least once in their life!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Fun Foods by The World of Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Fun Foods is a soft book. It doesn’t have a ton of different textures or sensory attachments, but the pages crinkle, the pages have bright colors, and the “one word per page format” leaves a lot of wiggle room for creativity. I talk to Noah about healthy foods, a caterpillar’s real diet, the colors on the pages, and the textures on the pages as we read this book.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Breakfast by The World of Eric Carle
Noah and I aren’t sure how we feel about The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Breakfast. It teaches counting to ten, but The Very Hungry Caterpillar eats a lot of not-so-healthy breakfast snacks, and it feels a bit overdone. This was my first introduction into “The World of Eric Carle” after Carle’s death, and it sent me down the rabbit hole to learn about ALL of the caterpillar themed books… If your child really loves “The Caterpillar,” this book will be a delight. Otherwise, it’s very very similar to the original — with a stranger selection of food! Buy on Amazon
Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle
We love the board book version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear with the slide-to-reveal flaps. Like most of Eric Carle’s books, this book teaches kids about colors (and animals!). Buy on Amazon
The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
I’m still on a mission to find the board book version of The Very Lonely Firefly with the fireflies that actually light up. For now, we have the regular board book version. It’s still a great book, but the lights are more exciting! Buy on Amazon
The Artist Who Painted the Blue Horse by Eric Carle
Reading this book as an adult made me realize that Carle ran out of ideas far before his passing. He may not have overworked his Very Hungry Caterpillar as much as the publisher has since 2021, but his books are very much the same. With that said, he has a unique style and they book is still pleasing to read. Buy on Amazon
A Home For Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
A House for Hermit Crab isn’t one of our favorite Eric Carle books. It took a few tries to finish this book. It has more of a story than other Eric Carle books though. Buy on Amazon
My First I See You by The World of Eric Carle
My First I see You is a World of Eric Carle book; it wasn’t actually written by Eric Carle, but nonetheless, we like this book! It has tons of mirrors in it! Buy on Amazon
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me is a very artistic book. The use of fold out pages to highlight lengths and heights is neat, and overall, it’s just a pleasant experience. I don’t think it’d be as enjoyable as as board book. Buy on Amazon
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
This book is very similar to the original, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Hear.” This one’s actually more accurate; the sounds that the various animals hear and make are factual whereas the colors of the animals in the original book are eccentric (a purple dog?). Buy On Amazon
Winnie the Pooh
We love Winnie the Pooh! Noah’s nursery is Winnie the Pooh themed, and we have so much fun reading about Pooh and his friends! I’m sure there will be plenty of additional Winnie the Pooh books in our next 100 books on our journey to read 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.
Sweet Dreams, Roo
Sweet Dreams, Roo is one of our favorite bedtime stories, and it made it onto Noah’s first book list, “What’s on Noah’s Bookshelf: Great Book for Babies.” Every one of Roo’s friends tells him a bedtime story in this book, and each story ends with “The End,” so the duration of the book is flexible! Buy on Amazon
Pooh’s Secret Garden
This lift-the-flap book has a good storyline. It’s a longer story, so it’s better for babies or children with longer attention spans. This book should remain interesting for quite awhile. The pages are thick and almost plastic-like, so it’s far more durable than most paperback books. Buy on Amazon
My First Bedtime Stories: Winnie the Pooh
These sare very very simple stories. They’d be decent stories for a child to read when they’re learning to read, but they don’t make great bedtime stories which is what they’re marketed as. It seems like this book relies on the popularity of Winnie the Pooh; they left a lot to be desired. Buy on Amazon
Winnie the Pooh: My First Library (12 Books)
These books were honestly a bit too small to enjoy. They’re cute though, and with some extra narration, they can be fun. They’ll be good for Noah to read when he’s learning to read as they’ll give him the “I read a whole book by myself” satisfaction early on his reading journey.
- Where is Eeyore’s Tail?
- A Bath for Tigger
- A Visit from Pooh
- Rainy Day
- The Honey Pot
- Winnie the Pooh
- What is a Woozle?
- A Hungry Pooh Bear
- Hundred Acre Walk
- Count with Pooh
- Hundred Acre Friends
Winnie the Pooh Pop Ups (5 Books)
These books were fine. They have a single pop up in the center of the book. Because I really like Pooh and friends, I enjoyed reading this books with Noah, but they aren’t overflowing with positive messages, literary quality, or beautiful roll-off-the-tongue writing.
- Pooh’s Windy Day
- No Rumbly in my Tumbly
- A Natural Adventure
- Piglet Hears an Echo
- Remembering Friends
- A Good Day for Ducklings
A Gift For Pooh
A Gift for Pooh was one of the first books in Noah’s book collection. It’s a lift-the-flap book, and it contains all the nuances that make Pooh a familiar favorite. Pooh carries his honey pot around. Piglet says “oh d-d-d-d-dear.” Tigger bounces everywhere. Rabbit’s a bit grumpy. There’s a red balloon. Buy on Amazon
Corduroy Bear Books
We quite enjoy Corduroy Bear! We have the miniature Corduroy Bear from the Corduroy Book Gift Set, and it’s the perfect size for Noah to cuddle with right now. I’m sure we’ll read more Corduroy books in our next 100 books in our journey to read 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.
Corduroy is another one of our favorites. The little 4-inch Corduroy from the Corduroy Gift Set makes story time so much fun, and he’s the perfect size for Noah to cuddle. Our stuffed Corduroy does have all of his buttons (unlike the one in the story!). This book teaches us that friends are more important than things. We’re also enjoying Corduroy: Lost and Found, and we look forward to trying out some of the other Corduroy stories. Buy on Amazon
Corduroy Lost and Found
Noah loves Corduroy. He cuddles with his small Corduroy Bear when we read. This book is very relatable too; almost every child thinks they’ve lost their favorite stuffie at some point, but this story assures us that they’ll be okay! Buy on Amazon
Dr Seuss Books
I’m sure we’ll read a lot of Dr. Suess on our journey to read 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. Dr. Seuss books are whimsical, and the Beginning Reader books are great for kids learning to read.
Are You My Mother?
While this book is technically written by PD Eastman, it’s still part of the Dr Seuss Beginning Readers collection. Are You My Mother? is an adorable story about a chick searching for its mother. It’s sad and sweet, and like most Dr Seuss books, it has a good amount of repetition to make it memorable for young readers. Buy on Amazon
Fox in Socks
Fox in Socks feels like a tongue twister challenge. Read it too fast and you might trip on the words, but isn’t that half the fun?
I Can Read with My Eyes Shut
My favorite quote is in this book, so I enjoyed this one. Noah was mesmerized the the bright color illustrations.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Buy on Amazon
I am Horton
We listened to this book at story time at the library. One of the little girls in attendance loved it so much that she tried to take it from the librarian mid-story! The librarian handed it to her at the end, and she was VERY happy. Needless to say, this book is a winner! Buy on Amazon
Interactive Peek Through Books
The interactive peek-through books are art-centered books. They’re engaging, and some of them are really impressive. They use holes and/or slits in the pages to give the reader a “peek” at the next page. Turn the page, and the hole highlights something on the previous page that you might have missed, and a new picture is revealed on the next page.
Goodnight Starry Night
This book was really well done. It’s a perfect way to introduce your baby to historically significant paintings such as Starry Night, and the book itself is really creative. The rhythm of the words remind me of Goodnight moon, making it a really soothing bedtime story too. Buy on Amazon
This peek through book has more to read than most peek through books, and the cut-outs are really creative. Each page has an insect. When you turn the page, that insect turns to “kiss kiss” with one on the next page. Buy on Amazon
Peek-a-Who is tons of fun, but it does require “extra” narration. If you just read the book, there’s not much to it. The book acts as a sort of guided game of peek-a-boo, so take your time turning the page, and don’t forget to act surprised on each new page! The final page includes a mirror for peek-a-you! The last page is definitely Noah’s favorite! Buy on Amazon
This high contrast peek through book is impressive. Each page has a small peek through hole, revealing something small and seemingly insignificant (like a line). Turn the page and discover that the line is a frog’s smile, the circle is a crocodile’s eye, etc.
Shapes by Jacques Duquennoy
We also checked this book out from the library, and I knew I was going to buy it before we even left the library. It’s a very impressive “peek through” style book. Instead of “holes” in the page, it has clear films. The lines and shapes on the clear film “flip” over to form something new. Buy on Amazon
Soft (chewable) books
I find that good soft books are hard to find. A lot of soft books just crinkle, and I prefer soft books with different textures on the pages. Many of them only have one “good” page with all the sensory fun, and they use this one page to market the book. As such, I find it necessary to see these books in person before buying.
This soft book has more words than most. It’s easier to read “as a story” than other soft books, and like most soft books, has crinkly pages.
Zoo Baby Book
This soft book has a lot of different sensory attachments — a mirror with a fuzzy back, tags of different textures, crinkly pages, a smooth plastic teether, a fuzzy squeaker, and a perfectly noisy rattle. He quite enjoys kicking this book when I hang it using links, and it also makes a good lap toy for the car.
While almost any book can serve as a bedtime stories, the books in this section are specifically meant for bedtime, focusing on how much parent loves child, saying goodnight, sweet dreams, etc.
Guess How Much I Love You
We read this book when we came home from the hospital, and Noah loves his Little Nutbrown Hare plush. This is a great short bedtime story. The story is all about how much Little Nutbrown Hare loves Big Nutbrown Hare and vice versa. It’s perfect for relaxing and cuddling at the end of the day. Buy on Amazon
I Love You to the Moon and Back
How Do Dinosaurs…
The Little Engine that Could
The Little Engine That Could is a classic that should be in every child’s book collection. Not only does this book teach kids about perseverance, but the repetition (I think I can, I think I can) makes it memorable and comforting. Buy on Amazon
The Pout Pout Fish
This is a colorful rhyming book, and with the right reader, it has fun sound effects! Pout Pout fish learns that he doesn’t want to be glum and dreary, and he figures out how to cheer up and have a positive attitude. We might try some of the other Pout Pout books. It wasn’t my favorite book, but it’d be worth checking out some of the others. Buy on Amazon
Giraffe’s Can’t Dance
Giraffe’s Can’t Dance is a touching tale of a Giraffe that can’t dance. He gets frustrated, but with some encouragement from a friend, he perseveres and learns to dance. Buy on Amazon
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is another overdone book (series). All of the books are basically the same, but if your child just LOVES If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, the adaptations will give you a break from rereading the same book over and over again. A few versions have been donated to my library over the years, so I did try a few out with Noah.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
The original If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is still my favorite. I can’t pinpoint what makes this book better than the variations as they’re really all the same. I think it’s just nostalgia. Buy on Amazon
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
The Narwhal books are very popular, but I don’t really see what makes these books so great. They’re silly graphic novels, so they’d probably be good for young reluctant readers, but it wasn’t a great book for Noah right now. Buy on Amazon
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Some people see The Giving Tree as a sad tale about self-sacrifice, but I still think The Giving Tree is a sweet book and worth reading. It’s definitely worth some time to discuss with older children. I don’t think it’s a great book for babies as it didn’t really delight Noah or put him to sleep. Buy on Amazon
The Velveteen Rabbit
Noah was only one month old when we tried this book for the first time, and it wasn’t a huge hit. I think that the book was too long and the colors of the illustrations too muted. I still LOVE this book, and we’ll try it again when he gets a little older. Buy on Amazon
What is a Sloth?
What is a Sloth? is an extra durable non fiction lift the flap book. It has a decent amount of information for such a tiny book, and I think Noah will enjoy this one when he gets a big older. Buy on Amazon
Parts of Me
This book is only available as part of the Lovevery Play Kit Subscription. Noah’s mesmerized by the children’s faces. This book teaches kids their body parts.
ABC and 123 Books
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type is a silly rhythmic book. This book teaches children that temper tantrums won’t solve anything. It also shows children how to stand up to those bossing them around. The upbeat nature of this book doesn’t exactly lull babies to sleep, but it’s a nice lighthearted end to the day. Buy on Amazon
Don’t Push the Button
This is a fun book, but as the reader, you need to really sell it for your audience to enjoy it. I also think it’s best read to a group; the group dynamic really adds to the anticipation. I’m not sure how fun it’d be read again and again, and I think GREAT kids books are one’s you’d want to read over and over. Buy on Amazon
Hot Rod Hamster
I expected a bit more out of Cynthia Lorde because I really enjoyed her middle grades novel, Rules. With that said, Hot Rod Hamster is a fun and catchy book that I’m sure will delight young audiences. It rhymes, it’s best read quickly, and it’s silly. Buy on Amazon
This Book Just Stole My Cat by Richard Byrne
I picked “This Book Just Stole my Cat” because Noah has a few kitties at home, so I thought it’d be fun to read! This book was cute, fast-paced, and outright silly! We’ll read this one again! Buy on Amazon
Itty Bitty Kitty Corn
Is it a cat? or a unicorn? It’s both?! I suppose if you have a child that will only read books about pink cats and unicorns, this would be perfect…? Not my cup of tea. Even if my child loved it, I don’t know if I could bring myself to read this one again… Buy on Amazon
Can Somebody Please Scratch my Back?
Can Somebody Please Scratch my Back is a decent book for Mo Willems fans. With that said, it goes on for too long. It was cute, but halfway through the book, Noah and I were over it. I’m also not sure why the author refuses to capitalize any of the sentences. It seems like an artistic liberty taken with no creative benefit. Buy on Amazon
We have a cat like the cat in “Cat Problems,” so I thought it’d be a cute read. This book seems like a better joke gift for a cat owner with a crazy cat. Despite the short pages, it’s a bit longwinded and annoyingly repetitive. The book annoyed me rather than making me (or Noah) laugh at the annoying cat. (Yes, there’s a difference!) Plus, the pictures weren’t bright and colorful enough to catch Noah’s attention. Buy On Amazon
The simplicity of Mo Willems books is what makes them fantastic. Willems brings his characters to life; as a reader, you feel as if The Pigeon is running around in front of you, Elephant and Piggy are having a conversation right next to you. The drawings seem simple but they’re impressively expressive. To really enjoy Mo Willems books, you must use different voices for each character!
The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
The Pigeon Needs a Bath was Noah’s first introduction to Mo Willems, and it absolutely delighted him. He was having a rough afternoon, and this book brought a HUGE smile to his face. Buy on Amazon
The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! By Mo Willems
Like most Mo Willems books, this book is funny and fast paced! Noah loves to hear me make the pigeon and duckling voices, and the quick page turns make it great for young listeners. Buy on Amazon
Elephant and Piggy: I Really Like Slop by Mo Willems
Elephant and Piggy books are great for young listeners and kids just learning to read. When Noah gets a little older, we can each read a character’s lines. Buy on Amazon
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus was Mo Willem’s debut novel, so if you like Mo Willems books or haven’t tried his books yet, this one is definitely worth reading! Buy on Amazon
Noah seems to like books with pictures of simple ducks. He doesn’t have any interest in our chickens, but the ducks make him smile. As such, I found him some new books with ducks!
This was a cute book. We borrowed it from the library, and it didn’t seem like anything special to me. With that said, it gave Noah the biggest smile and a giggle, so I think we’ll read it a few times before we return it to the library before I decide whether or not to buy it for our home library. Buy on Amazon
Pete the Cat Books
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
We love Pete the Cat. I’m not sure why this particular book seems to be more popular than the other books. There are tons of lesson plans, activities, and more for this particular Pete the Cat book. Buy on Amazon
Best Friends is really just a collection of quotes and phrases to go with various Disney movies. It wasn’t really special, and I don’t think we’ll re-read it.
Where’s My Baby?
This book is cute. It’s really nothing special. It does teach kids about the names for various baby animals, but so many books do the same, and this one didn’t do anything unique.
Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
Grandma saw this book on Noah’s bookshelf and read it to him because she remembered that it was one of my favorites as a kid, but I’m trying to hold off on the Spot books until Noah is ready to learn to read. Buy on Amazon
*Whew* Reviewing, finding cover photos for, and linking to all of those books took more time than reading the 100 books with Noah! Check back later for Noah’s next 100 books in his journey to read 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
Join Noah on his 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge! Let us know when you read one of the books on Noah’s list! #NoahsBooks