School is right around the corner and what better way to prepare your 2 to 5 year old child on the basics than with these great picture books? I’ll begin with books about amounts then move on to alphabet books and end with two other important concept books.

N 1231-2-3 Peas, by Keith Baker, is masterly rendered digitally as you observe peas running, romping and skipping through this book. Children will have a blast learning how to count to 20 and then on to 100 by 10’s. This is the pea-fect book!

Hide & Seek, by Il Sung Na, has her wonderful signature illustrations throughout where the pictures are simple with white background making counting easy. As Elephant counts to 10, his animal friends hide. Kids will have great fun locating the camouflaged chameleon on every page.

N one twoOne Two That’s My Shoe!, by Alison Murray, has a playful puppy running off with a bright red shoe that belongs to its owner: a young girl. The vivid colors, and rhyming simple text, make this book fun to count as the girl attempts to retrieve her shoe. The author’s wonderful book, “Apple Pie ABC”, has recently been reissued as a board book.

Basher: 123, by Simon Basher, is a perfect book for counting to 20. Each page is filled with a solid color and the animals to count are different on every page. The rhyming text is simple and fun to read. But what I like best is the running numbers from 1 to 20 listed on every page which showcases the number and the amount being taught on each page. Basher has the same format on his “ABC Kids”.

N abcABC Zoo Borns!, by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland, has adorable photographs of baby animals that represent each letter. The simple text describes each animal and the letter being taught is the capital letter. Be sure to check out the back of the book for more information about each animal.

Alphabet, by Paul Thurlby, is a clever concept to teach letters. Thurlby makes each letter memorable by making sense of the shape. For instance, for “F”, he has a fierce lion in the shape of the “F”. There are also both the upper and lower case letters in the book. The jacket opens up into a poster-size alphabet chart.

N an edibleAn Edible Alphabet: 26 Reasons to Love the Farm, by Carol Watterson, and brightly painted with acrylics and using collage by Michela Sorrentino, has to be one of the best books to help children understand the source of our food. Questions about how foods are grown, the difference between fruits and vegetables, why chickens don’t have teeth, which kind of tomato is used for ketchup and much much more. However, the text is kid friendly making the entire book rich with lively information!

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet, by Leslie Mc Guirk, is a clever book featuring rocks the author found near her beach home. The rocks are photographed and are in the shape of the letter and also another rock demonstrates a word the letter represents. The letter “M” is in that shape and another rock is in the shape of a mitten. The end pages display the entire “rock” alphabet. I only wish the letters represented were either all lower or upper case.

N first dAlphaOops! The Day Z Went First, by Alethea Kontis, and brightly illustrated with computers by Bob Kolar, has recently been reissued into paperback. This unique book begins with the last letter and “Z” steals the show. This book is clever and very funny!

The following two books are excellent for young children to begin to understand how to use dictionaries. Kingfisher First Dictionary and Clifford’s BIG Dictionary are both easy demonstrations on how to locate words and the font is large and the layout is kid-friendly.

N imageSimon Basher has two new concept books that help youngsters understand easily: Opposites and Time. The “Time” book has a clock pictured on one side of the open page and the opposite side demonstrates a picture of what you might be doing at that time. For instance, the first clock shows 8:00 and the opposite side has bowls of cereal. The “Opposite” book has the opposing ideas on each open page spread. For instance, “big” has a large elephant. “Small” has tiny mice.