Archive for the ‘Rhyme’ Category

Interactive books are great for storytime. It’s even better when the book is both entertaining and educational. Let’s Count Goats will provide the necessary fun, as these anthropomorphized goats behave much like humans. This book will also give children a chance to practice their counting. And, as children love to point out, “It’s a rhyming book!”

“Here we see a show-off goat playing on the bars. But can we count the rowdy goats careering round in cars?”

Anything written by Mem Fox is a sure bet, and Jan Thomas’ pictures are perfect, as usual. The illustrations are cute, humorous, and flooded with color.

Check the WRL catalog for Let’s Count Goats!

Read Full Post »

darkDark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night, by Joyce Sidman, is a Newbery Honor winner and a collection of poetry about the animals of the night and their lives after the sun goes down.  Each animal is written in a different style of poetry and each animal gets its own informational blurb after the poem.

This book is a great way to expose children to the different varieties of poetry in an engaging way.  Also, Rick Allen’s linoleum cut illustrations are a stunning companion to Sidman’s poems.  This book would be ideal for children grades 3-6.

If your child enjoyed this book he/she can also try Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman or Lemonade & Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word by Bob Raczka.

Check the WRL catalog for Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night.

Read Full Post »

DotThis is a book of opposites as demonstrated…by a dot. This is a very well done and cute concept book…one could even say it was spot on! This book is simple enough for the baby/toddler crowd but has enough inherent humor in it to attract the older crowd’s attention.





Dot 1Dot 2


Extremely simple illustrations are perfect for viewing from a distance and yet also offer up some surprising detail for the more attuned visual observer. I have to admit, this book gave me a bit of a giggle! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


  • Storytime or lapsit appropriate
  • Easily viewed illustrations
  • Concept Book


Check the WRL catalog for Dot. 

Read Full Post »

Kid TeaLooking for a color book that’s off the spectrum? Try Kid Tea for a different and lively audience-participation read-aloud.

Rhyming text follows a boy and girl’s week of play, in which the children get covered with brown mud on Monday, purple popsicles on Tuesday, yellow Jell-O on Wednesday, and so forth. At the end of each day–such as the purple popsicle one– the text exclaims, “Dunk me in the tub, please, for purple kid tea!”

Yes, I know, that sounds a little gross. But the cartoonish illustrations of the kids submerged in different colors of bath water are a great way to help kids learn colors. And kids will love belting out the “refrain.”

This book would be fun to read and then share again with a flannel board. A color matching game would be another great follow-up.

Check the WRL catalog for Kid Tea.

Read Full Post »

gaGuess Again! is all about misdirection. Each page presents the reader with a rhyming clue and an image in silhouette or behind a lift-the-flap that seems to lead to an obvious answer. Only it isn’t really the answer. It only takes a couple of tries before readers realize that they need to “guess again” and not follow their instincts. Children will begin to see how they were tricked and will find the actual answers very humorous. An additional running gag leads to a great payoff at the end.

Expect your audience to want to linger over the illustrations when they discover what they thought they saw wasn’t really what they saw.

Check the WRL catalog for Guess Again!

Read Full Post »

The Circus Ship by ChCircus Ship Coverris Van Dusen is an engaging picture book filled with expressive animal illustrations and lilting rhyme.  Chris Van Dusen’s previous books include A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee and If I Built a Car.  About The Circus Ship, Van Dusen says, “I’ve focused on light sources and textures in the artwork for this story—on details like paint peeling off the clapboards of the houses.  This makes the book more complex and richer overall than my previous work.  Also, this is the first story I’ve written that has a villain, which was a lot of fun.”  In an author’s note, Van Dusen reveals that the idea for The Circus Ship came from a real-life event, the wreck of a circus ship called the Royal Tar in 1836.  He did not try to retell that story in his book, but instead wrote “a new adventure for children that [he hopes] still captures the spirit of the Royal Tar.”

The story begins with the wreck of a circus ship off the coast of Maine.  While the ill-tempered circus manager escapes in a lifeboat, the fifteen circus animals are left to fend for themselves.  They swim to an island and cause all sorts of trouble for the people who live in the village there.  At first the villagers are annoyed, but they change their tune after a tiger saves a little girl from a burning building.  When the angry circus manager comes to the island searching for his animal performers, the villagers hatch a plan to outwit him so the animals can continue living with them.

On nearly every spread, Van Dusen’s illustrations cover the entire page, leaving no white space.  Many of the pictures have parts of people or animals cut off by edge of the page, as if Van Dusen were holding a camera and couldn’t quite fit all the action in the frame.  This technique effectively immerses readers in each scene of the story.  The animals’ bodies and faces are very expressive.  A lion’s extended tongue and slumped shoulders convey exhaustion, while closed eyes and floppy “wrists” show that an alligator is very relaxed.  Most fascinating is the spread where the animals are hiding in plain sight to avoid discovery by the circus manager.  A camel’s humps look very much like the haystacks in the field around him, while a monkey is wearing a baby bonnet and being pushed in a stroller.  No reader will want to turn the page without finding all fifteen camouflaged creatures.

Van Dusen uses rhyming four-line stanzas, giving the story a nice rhythm.  He chooses strong verbs like “staggered” and evocative adjectives like “bedraggled.”  The Circus Ship is best shared one-on-one to give readers and listeners the opportunity to notice all the details in the illustrations.  However, this book can work with a small group, especially if the reader has time to pause on certain pages and show the illustrations to each child up-close.  This story was a big hit when I read it to a small group of elementary schoolers this spring.  It would also be appropriate for sharing with preschoolers.

Check the WRL catalog for The Circus Ship.

Read Full Post »

Moo Baa La La La coverSandra Boynton’s very popular board books include Doggies, Horns to Toes and in Between, and But Not the HippopotamusMoo, Baa, La La La! is one of my favorites.  This book features bright colors, rhyme, and lots of animal sounds.  The first few pages set up the reader to expect a straightforward exploration of animal noises.  Drawings of a cow and sheep are accompanied by the words, “A cow says MOO.  A sheep says BAA.”  On the third page, however, Boynton’s humor arrives with an illustration of tap-dancing pigs in brightly-colored suits and the declaration, “Three singing pigs say LA LA LA!”  After correcting this silly mistake, the narrator moves on to the sounds of other animals, including dogs, cats, and not-so-familiar rhinoceroses.  The last spread shows all the animals quietly gathered together, waiting to hear what sound the reader makes.  When I read these final pages in storytime, I invited the participants to make their favorite animal sounds.

Many elements of Moo, Baa, La La La! make it just right for babies.  Hearing the bouncy, rhyming text will help children learn the sounds of the English language, preparing them to learn to speak and read.  Boynton’s text could easily be memorized and repeated like a nursery rhyme even without the book in hand.  In her book Reading Magic, literacy expert Mem Fox describes some of the ways grownups can share rhymes with young children.  She writes, “Songs and rhymes provide comforting rhythms in children’s early lives and also expose kids to gorgeous forms of language. […] They can be read, recited, chanted, or sung in a soft, low voice whenever a child is sleepy or fretful.  And they’re also fun to say and learn when children are wide awake and happy.”  Boynton’s illustrations are also well-suited for babies.  They are high-contrast and simple, which makes them easy to see.  Boynton’s animals, which are drawn with bold black outlines, appear on plain colored backgrounds.  The only spread that gets a little busier is the last one since it includes all the animals featured in the book.

The small size of this board book makes it most suitable for one-on-one sharing.  However, those who wish to share this title with a group may want to seek out a larger edition.  For those who have iPads, an interactive version of this book is available as an app.  Moo, Baa, La La La! also makes a fantastic baby gift!

Check the WRL catalog for Moo, Baa, La La La!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers