You can’t go wrong with a book that has animal sounds, especially if your group involves toddlers. Story time at StrongStart includes babies up to 5 year olds. So to find a book that is enjoyable and keeps the attention of those various ages is a book that I will use again and again.
This book, by Jonathan Allen, is a fun way to introduce sounds for each animal. Which keeps the young members of the group involved. For the older children I used it to help focus on the first letter sound in each word.
The first time retelling the story, without the book, the word bubbles were blank. When introducing each animal and after the children told me the sound they make I wrote it on the bubble sounding out each letter.
The book, pictures and word bubbles were left for the families to explore and retell. I noticed several families use it as a matching game.