If you are looking for good books for toddlers and preschoolers, my favorite publisher is Usborne Publishing Company. So many of our favorite books when my children were that age came from Usborne – and the Farmyard Tales stories top the list.
I bought my youngest The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales by Heather Amery, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright when he was about three. It is a compilation of all the little books in the series, and includes an audio CD.
Farmyard Tales tell the antics of of the animals on Apple Tree Farm. Each story starts the same way: “This is Apple Tree Farm. This is Mrs. Boot, the farmer. She has two children called Poppy and Sam, and a dog called Rusty.”
Isaac loved the repetition. He would ‘read’ the beginning page with me every time I read to him. He loved looking at the illustrations as I read to him, and laughed aloud at the silly things the animals did. (I did put the book & CD in a safe place, because he was known to tear pages in books and I didn’t want him to destroy (deliberately or accidentally) his favorite read-aloud book.)
Four years later, and Isaac still loves his The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales. Once he was old enough to handle the book and the CD, I put the book on the shelf and he would put in the CD and listen to all the stories, following along in the book. Now, he reads the book himself, still enjoying the stories. Every once in awhile, he will bring it to me and ask me to read a story or two out of it.
The stories are simple, and the illustrations are appealing. Stephen Cartwright includes a little yellow duck on every page, which is fun to find as you read the stories.