Preschool and Picture Books

Theme: Creative Trades: Bargaining, Bartering, Swapping, and Re-using

A Chair for My Mother - (ISBN: 978-0688040741)

by Vera Williams

After a fire destroys all the furniture in the home a little girl shares with her mother and grandmother, neighbors offer second-hand replacements that are colorful and homey. But the girl longs for a comfy place for her mother to rest after a long day waitressing. She and her grandmother save up their coins and, little by little, manage to fill enough coin wrappers to purchase a wonderful soft chair. Try keeping your leftover pennies in a glass jar, and see how many paper wrappers you can fill up. You can get them from a bank or shop owner.

An Apple Pie for Dinner - (ISBN: 978-0761454526)

by Susan VanHecke

When Granny checks her kitchen for apple pie ingredients, she has everything she needs except the apples. She sets off to trade some lovely plums for the desired fruit. Along the way, she makes many trades with a variety of people and finally ends up with some yummy apples. She invites all of her new friends home for apple pie they all make together! Try to imagine the delicious odor coming from the kitchen! What could you and your friends or family trade to make a recipe together?

Arthur Clean Your Room - (ISBN: 978-0375808722)

by Marc Brown

Arthur finds a creative way to straighten his room and discard unneeded items by arranging to trade them to various friends for other things. Can you predict what the problem will be with his new exchange plan?

Fleas - (ISBN: 978-0399247569)

by Jean Steig

A farmer encounters a stray dog in his field one day and ends up with a case of itchy fleas. His unbearable condition is soon remedied when he meets a young woman with a too-talkative uncle she would do anything to get rid of! Next, the farmer trades the uncle for some stinky cheese! How many swaps does he make before he ends up again with the original dog, flea-less this time?

The Fox and The Hen - (ISBN: 978-1907152023)

by Eric Battut

A young hen trades her first egg for a worm and immediately regrets the trade made with a wily fox. She tries to find something that will induce the fox to return her first-born egg! She tries seeds, feathers, and cheese, but nothing tempts the fox away from his image of a hard-boiled egg supper. What offer does she finally make, an offer that he can’t refuse?

Jack and The Beanstalk - (ISBN: 978-1402730641)

by John Cech

Monkey for Sale - (ISBN: 9780374350178 )

by Sanna Stanley

One Fine Trade - (ISBN: 978-0823418367)

by Bobbi Miller

Something from Nothing - (ISBN: 978-0590472807)

by Phoebe Gilman

Activities for this Theme

Try the recipe for Granny’s apple pie from An Apple Pie for Dinner . Let your younger children add the sugar and spices!


Read a Sesame Street classic tale about trading one’s possessions to buy a loved one a gift. Ask older family members to share the voices in the reading.


Help your younger children make a bird feeder from some recycled materials.