Storytime Essentials: Picture Books for a Deserted Island


I absolutely love playing the game that begins with this question: “If you were on a deserted island and you could only have X amount of X, what would you take?”

So, for today’s post I’ll write about the ten picture books I’d want on my deserted island. You know…in case it’s not really deserted and there’s a colony of children just craving a storytime!


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
Colors, animals, rhythm — this really is one of the most versatile books. As a bonus, it can be sung to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, so it could work as a lullaby as well in case I need to lull the children to sleep.

Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek
Whether it’s an insects storytime or a colors storytime, the surprise pop-up butterfly at the end will clearly thrill children. And there’s a chance that perhaps a predator might be scared of the pop-up and it could be used as self-defense, right?

Can You Make a Scary Face by Jan Thomas
With this interactive book, we’d burn off the multitude of calories acquired by drinking coconut milk and eating berries (read: very little amount of calories), and we would definitely be laughing as we did. Bonus points: practicing our scary faces for protection.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
Besides the relating to our tropical environment, this great rhythmic story would be comforting to the children because it’s a story that nearly every kid in my library knows. Plus, we’d need to learn our ABCs somehow, right?

Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee
A bounce, an adventure, and a safe tumble in the hay await us here. We’d also have a nice break from all of the jungle animals with these sweet domestic animals. Also: I’ve never known this book to flop, especially if I get all the kids to jump with me.


Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (pop-up)
This simple story will remain us of simpler times when we could send the animals that scare us back to the zoo and away from us. The pop-up edition will give us more than enough bang for our buck and while kids may know the answers to the animals after a few re-reads, they will love the book all the same.

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Another title that can used for a multitude of themes: colors, counting, dogs, baths. It also can be substituted as a bedtime and since I’m betting money that I don’t have my flannelboard collection, I would absolutely need a visual to tell this story.

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Again: we have to exercise sometimes! This is another book that is great for identifying animals and also has Eric Carle’s amazing illustrations. (I tried really hard not to repeat authors, but you can see that I failed on several occasions.) This fun, engaging book will keep all the kids around no matter how distracting the island may be.

It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle
We’re definitely going to relate to this book in the jungle. (But whereas, the main character is more scared of tigers, I’d be more scared of the snakes!) I think it would be a great read for my island kids and hopefully remind us that scary things can sometimes work out in our favor.

Press Here by Herve Tullet
This would be a great read and fun for the kids even as they grew up. While I mostly picked preschool & under books, this is one of the ones that would carry us through the grade school years. Plus, we could rotate turns and the kids would look forward to the day when they were the star of the story!

I hope that I won’t be lost anytime soon, but even without the deserted island question, these are ten of my favorite storytime books that I am proud to own in my professional collection!

2 comments on “Storytime Essentials: Picture Books for a Deserted Island

  1. Margo Tanenbaum
    April 27, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    Great list! But no Mo Willems??? He’d have to be in my desert island collection, although I don’t know which one. It would be hard to choose between Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant & Piggie!

    • Katie
      May 11, 2015 at 11:59 am #

      Believe it or not, I’d leave Mo behind. I generally don’t do Elephant & Piggie for storytime and those are my favorites Mos.

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