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Favorite Books to Read Aloud: Susan

Posted by Susan on May 6, 2009 at 6:00 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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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. Five Little Monkeys.jpg

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.jpgJamberry 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.Go Away Big Green Monster.jpg

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. Bark George.jpg

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. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.jpg

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. Baby Beebee Bird.jpg

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. Monster at the End of this Book.jpg

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.

Lady with the Alligator Purse.jpg 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. Don't Let the Pigeon.jpg

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?


Abby writes...

I love Bark, George, too! Other favorite readalouds are LEONARDO THE TERRIBLE MONSTER by Mo Willems, HATTIE AND THE FOX by Mem Fox, and DOOBY DOOBY MOO by Doreen Cronin.

SusanAuthor Profile Page writes...

Abby- I completely agree. All the books you mentioned are great read alouds. Thanks for the suggestions!

Pam writes...

For bedtimes and storytimes I totally second Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Monster at the End of this Book, The Baby BeeBee Bird, Bark George, and (of course) Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Great selections.

Let me add Snip, Snap! What's That? and Chickens to the Rescue! as some of my new favorites for storytimes.

adrienne writes...

An excellent list! Lately, I'm loving reading aloud books by Jan Thomas. I just read her Rhyming Dust Bunnies in storytime yesterday, and it was a total hit with the kids, parents, and-most important-me.

Debbie writes...

Great list. The Baby BeeBee Bird was a definite favorite around our house when my kids were younger. And I've always loved The Monster At The End of This Book!

There are so many great read-alouds, but one that springs to mind right now is "What! Cried Granny -- An Almost Bedtime Story" (Lum/Johnson), which is really fun to read out loud.

Dora writes...

I agree this is a great list. My favorites from this list are: Five Little Monkeys
and also There's a Monster at the End of this Book - which I remember reading often to my niece many many years ago.

I would like to add: Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo ( I am a speech language pathologist in private practice. I have a five-year-old student who asks for this book every week. It's an "add-on" story. It's also got some rhyming words and is good for teaching the "ch" sound. And its got great detailed illustrations that this child loves to look at.

Beth writes...

Love these selections! Wanted to add some of my child's favorites - "Is Your Mama a Llama?" by by Deborah Guarino and Steven Kellogg and "Such A Silly Baby!" by Steffanie Lorig, Richard Lorig, and Amanda Shepherd. I can't read these at bedtime, because my daughter gets too wound up! At bedtime, the last book we read every night (after the one or two others she's chosen) is "Time For Bed" by Mem Fox and Jane Dyer.

Brand new and completely effervescent as a read-aloud: Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy - illustrated by Polly Dunbar!

Gotta stretch before attempting this one, though!

Ann writes...

Some of my new favorite read-alouds are I'd Really Like to Eat a Child by Sylvianne Donnio, Guji Guji by Zhijuan Chen, and Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelmann. I'm also becoming a huge fan of Jan Thomas' books, especially Rhyming Dust Bunnies and A Birthday for Cow.

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