Whether it's a colorful character or a great rhyming text, there are certain books that just beg to be read aloud. As I mentioned in my earlier post about favorite picture books, it was impossible for me to choose just ten. So here's part two: my favorite read aloud books.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd.
If ever a book was meant to be read aloud, it's this one. Goodnight Moon has a perfect cadence that matches the illustrations beautifully. This book can lull anyone to sleep.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow.
The bouncy rhythm and repetition of this familiar rhyme makes it a natural candidate to read aloud. Christelow's drawings add a whole new dimension by allowing the reader to see the growing exasperation of the doctor whose advice is consistently ignored. And, the last page (which shows the mother jumping on her own bed once the monkeys have finally gone to sleep) always gets a huge laugh.
Jamberry by Bruce Degen.
What a joyous celebration of language. Bruce Degen strings together wonderful phrases such as "raspberry, jazzberry, razzamatazberry" that just roll off the tongue. The vibrant pictures bursting with color are a perfect compliment to the text. Plus, I love the "Boys-in-Berries" pun on the side of the berry train.
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley.
Emberley confronts childhood fears head on in this book about a big green monster. But his creative papercut illustrations go a step further by allowing the reader to literally strip away every single scary part. It's great fun to read aloud and it empowers kids by showing them that they have the power to get rid of monsters all by themselves.
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer.
This book works every time I read it aloud, whether it's to a crowd of during storytime or to my son at bedtime. Famed cartoonist Jules Feiffer uses delightfully silly illustrations, terrific pacing and repetition to make this book a surefire hit with the preschool crowd. This is another book that ends with a great punch line.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and Jon Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert.
This rollicking, rhyming book is always lots of fun to read aloud. Not your average alphabet book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has flair, style and a playful story. If you've only read it as a board book, be sure to check out the full edition where the letters manage to get themselves untangled. I always end the book by singing the alphabet song and following along with the large printed alphabet on the end papers.
The Baby BeeBee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie, illustrated by Steven Kellogg.
Who can resist the baby beebee bird? All the animals in the zoo who are trying to sleep, that's who. Steven Kellogg's new illustrations add a wonderful exuberance to this old read aloud favorite. Everyone will want to join in with the baby beebee bird. Warning: this book causes the side effect of hearing your child say "beebeebobbibobbi" for the rest of the day!
The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Michael Smollin.
I love how Grover connects with the audience in this book. The ropes and brick walls that Grover creates in an attempt to keep the reader from turning pages are simply delightful and egg the reader on. I've read this book at countless storytimes, and every time the kids beg me to keep turning pages even as Grover implores them not to. Like Go Away, Big Green Monster, this book empowers kids to keep turning pages and to confront their fears in a very humorous way.
The Lady with the Alligator Purse by Nadine Bernard Westcott.
"Miss Lucy had a baby, she named him Tiny Tim" is often familiar to adults as a jump rope song. Nadine Bernard Westcott has adapted this simple rhyme into a joyful book that's lots of fun to sing along with. This one is great for all ages.
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems.
This is a fantastic book to read aloud. The simple text and illustrations build slowly and expertly to an extremely humorous climax. I always love hearing the kids in storytime shouting "No!" loudly at the pigeon as he keeps trying to drive the bus. And of course, I have a weak spot for the pigeon. This book also turned up in Jen and Pam's top picture book lists.
What books do you love reading aloud? What books do your children love listening to?
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Continuing last week's discussion of favorite books, I would like to share some of my favorite titles for middle grade readers (ages 8 to 12). I've been a reader since a very young age (as is apparent from the photo to the right) It's nearly impossible to narrow down to 10 titles, out of all of the children's books out there. But here are a few of my treasured favorites, books that I've read multiple times. I've limited myself to one title per author, though many of these authors have written other books that I loved, too. Most of these are books that I own in multiple editions, because I can never resist them when I run across them. I have not ranked this list, because that would be truly impossible. It is alphabetical by author.
One thing that's clear to me from assembling this list is how strong childhood loyalties are. It take a lot for a recent title to push aside one of my childhood favorites. But the ones on this list made the cut. What are your favorite children's books? Are you able to find recent titles that take their place alongside your childhood favorites, or do your childhood preferences reign supreme?