Small children, especially when hearing a story in a language that they are not too familiar with (as could be with English) focus most of their attention on illustration. I have found that children need catchy illustration to keep their attention. Younger children (0-5) love bright colors and simple illustratons that they can relate to. Maisy the Mouse is the most popular character created by Lucy Cousins (who has a BA Honours in Graphic Design and a postgraduate degree at the Royal College of Art).
If you are looking for stories for your classroom or for your own children I would suggest using any of the Maisy books, Hooray for Fish or Jazzy in the Jungle.
To help teachers create their own lesson plans using these books the editorial Walker Books has developed several FREE useful links to support these title. Check out: http://www.walker.co.uk/grown-ups/activities-for-home-and-school.aspx