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50 Books & 50 More Books to Read in Kindergarten

The Lexington Public Library Books to Read in Kindergarten is a diverse list of titles including award-winning books, notable children’s authors, and promising new works chosen by experienced Children’s Librarians at the Lexington Public Library.

Downloads for Print:

Book Skills:

  • Love Books (Print Motivation): Being interested in and enjoying books.
  • Use Books (Print Awareness): Noticing print, knowing how to handle a book and how to follow the words on a page.
  • See Letters (Letter Knowledge): Knowing that letters look different from each other and have different names and sounds.
  • Tell a Story (Narrative Skills): The ability to describe things and events and tell stories.
  • Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness): Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.
  • New Words (Vocabulary): Knowing the names of things.

 

A Bad Case of Stripes

 
Image of A Bad Case of Stripes
Author: David Shannon
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (2004)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E SHANN

Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she never eats them. Why? Because the other kids in her school don't like them. And Camilla is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact, she’s so worried that she's about to break out in a bad case of stripes!

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why did Camilla break out in stripes (and other patterns?)
What did you notice about the patterns that break out on Camilla? Do they have anything to do with what’s happening around her?
Look at each of the pictures. Was there anything about Camilla that stayed the same each time she changed?
What made Camilla finally turn back into herself?
Did Camilla learn anything from having a bad case of stripes?
Look at the last page. Was there anything different about the way Camilla looks?
Fun things to do together: 
David Shannon always hides a picture of his white terrier Fergus somewhere in each of his books. Look for the picture of Fergus in this book.
Camilla loves lima beans. Have lima beans for lunch or dinner one day.
Draw a picture of yourself with stripes, polka dots or some other pattern.
Check out a book about patterns, for example, Pattern Bugs by Trudi Harris or Patterns at the Museum by Tracey Steffora. Recognizing and completing simple patterns is an important kindergarten readiness skill.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Large, colorful illustrations make this book very appealing to children of all ages.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This book contains many words that may be unfamiliar to your child. Talk about the meaning of such words as specialists, bacteria, nutritionist or bizarre.

A Chair for My Mother

 
Image of A Chair for My Mother
Author: Vera B. Williams
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (1982)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E WILLI

A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How would you feel if you lost all your things in a fire? What do you think you would miss the most?
How do the pages with the fire look different than the rest of the pages in the book? Why do you think the author chose to illustrate the pages this way?
When the family moved into their new apartment, what did neighbors and friends do to help?
What kind of chair do the girl and her mother want to buy?
Fun things to do together: 
See how long it takes to fill a jar with coins. Guess (predict, estimate) how many coins it will take to fill the jar.
Count and sort coins into separate piles: pennies, nickels, dimes, etc. Go to the bank and get paper rolls for your coins and wrap them together.
Design a room together. Use pictures from magazines or draw pictures of the different furniture and decorations you would like to have in this room.
Help your child make a savings plan for something he or she would like to have. Work together on a simple graph to show how much must be saved each day, week, or month to be able to purchase the item.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This more complex picture book story has a few words not common to picture book stories you can look up and discuss with your child: bargain, armchair, charcoal, ashes, furniture.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The author starts with the coin jar, recalls a past event in simple flashback (the fire and the new apartment), and then goes on to tell the full story of the jar of coins. Explain this time shift to your child and help them understand a story can go backward (flashback) and forward again to explain an event.

A Splendid Friend, Indeed

 
Image of A Splendid Friend, Indeed (Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book (Awards))
Author: Suzanne Bloom
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Suzanne Bloom

Item Call Number: 

E BLOOM

When a studious polar bear meets an inquisitive goose, they learn to be friends.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
The polar bear has to be very patient with goose's questions. When was a time you had to be patient? Was it hard to wait?
How would the story be different if the polar bear wasn't patient and lost his temper? How do you think the goose would feel?
Who is your best friend and why?
Do you know what makes a friend?
Can you be friends with someone who is different than you?
Fun things to do together: 
Look at the many colors in Bloom's illustrations. Ask what colors the different objects are. See if your child can locate these colors in his/her room or clothing.
Pack a snack and blanket. Enjoy a picnic outside with your child.
Play "Goose, Goose, Bear" instead of "Duck, Duck, Goose"
Draw a picture of you and your best friend doing something together that you both like.
Have a "Blue / White" color walk. Point out all the different blue and white objects that you can find.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The polar bear's enjoyment of reading, writing, thinking, etc.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The simplicity of the drawings allow a child to tell the story without reading.

Alexander and the Terrible, No good, Very Bad Day

 
Image of Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Author: Judith Viorst
Publisher: Atheneum (1972)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E VIORS

Recounts the events of a day when everything goes wrong for Alexander.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What are some of things that happen to Alexander? If these things happened to you, would you be happy or sad? Why?
Have you ever had a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”? What happened? How did you feel?
How can you tell from the pictures if Alexander is happy or unhappy?
Why does Alexander say he wants to go to Australia?
Fun things to do together: 
After reading the book, have your child “retell” the story using the pictures only. Talk about whether the story is different or close to the story the words tell.
Have your child draw a picture of a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”. Discuss what things might happen that would make your child feel badly. Talk about things your child could do to feel better.
Find Australia on a map and compare its location to where you live and how a person might travel to get there. Locate the equator on a world map and talk about how the seasons are different below and above it. Discuss seasons and what happens in each of them.
Go the library and find information on the different animals that live in Australia. Make a kangaroo, koala or sheep craft from the many craft websites on-line.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This story offers great examples of different adjectives with the same meaning and is a great vocabulary builder with words like scrunched, almond, cavity, and scolded.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The logical, straight-forward sequence of events can easily be retold to practice narrative skills.

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock

 
Image of Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock
Author: Eric A. Kimmel
Publisher: Holiday House (1990)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Janet Stevens

Item Call Number: 

E KIMME

Anansi the Spider uses a strange moss-covered rock in the forest to trick all the other animals until Little Bush Deer decides he needs to learn a lesson.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How did Anansi trick his friends and why did he want to?
How do you think his friends felt when they realized they had been tricked?
Who tricked Anansi and how did they do it?
Do you think Anansi learned his lesson?
Fun things to do together: 
Go the grocery store and pick out some of the foods that are in the book- yams, bananas, melons. Compare and contrast weight, texture and color.
Check out some African music from the library.
Find the continent of Africa on a globe or map. Look for Ghana, Kenya and South Africa since they are home to many of the animals in the story.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The bright illustrations and very funny story will encourage several readings.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This West African folk tale lends itself perfectly to a captivating story.

Bark, George

 
Image of Bark, George
Manufacturer: Scholastic Inc.
Part Number:
Price:
Illustrator: 

Jules Feiffer

Item Call Number: 

E FEIFF

A mother dog tries to teach her pup how to bark, and is surprised at why he wasn't learning.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What was your favorite part of the story?
What do animals do when they go to the veterinarian?
What are the animal noises made in this book?
What is the order of the animals pulled from George?
Do you think George swallowed a human at the end of the book?
Fun things to do together: 
Take an empty box and pretend that it is George. Pull the animals in the book out of the box when telling the story.
Set up a pretend vet's office with band aids, clipboards, Doctor kits, and stuffed animals.
Visit a pet store or a vet's office.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The simple storyline makes this book easy to retell with stuffed animals.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Children will love making the animal sounds with the story.

Bear Snores On

 
Image of Bear Snores On
Author: Karma Wilson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (2002)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages

On a cold winter night, many animals gather to party in the cave of a sleeping bear who awakens and protests he has missed the food and the fun.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why does Bear sleep all winter? What is hibernation?
What other animals hibernate?
What is a lair? What do you think the inside of a cave would be like?
What foods would you like to eat after sleeping all winter?
Why do all of the animals run out of the cave when Bear wakes up? What sounds does he make? Would you be afraid?
Fun things to do together: 
Put two chairs together and drape a blanket over them to create your own lair for playing and napping.
Use magazines to cut out pictures of favorite foods. Glue them to paper plates and serve them to stuffed animals.
Sing The Bear Went Over the Mountain and act out Going on a Bear Hunt.
Cook together. Make stew, pop some popcorn, and brew tea.
To emphasize the story’s rhyming text and play with the sounds of the words, make flash cards for all the rhyming words in the story. Mix them up and try to match them. Think of more words that rhyme with those in the story and make more cards for those.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story has a straightforward plot progression with multiple simple plot developments which make it perfect for retelling to practice describing events in order from beginning to end.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
This story has rhyming text that offers children the opportunity to hear and play with the smaller sounds of words. Children enjoy rhymes because they have a sing-song, rhythmic quality that makes them fun to read.

Bedtime for Frances

 
Image of Bedtime for Frances
Author: Russell Hoban
Publisher: HarperFestival (1995)
Binding: Library Binding, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Russell Hoban

Item Call Number: 

E HOBAN

Frances has trouble going to sleep because of frightening sounds and objects that may be going to get her

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What time is Frances's bedtime?
Does Frances want to go to bed?
What does Frances think is in her room? Is it real?
What snack does Frances get to eat?
What is the wind's job?
Does Frances finally go to sleep?
Fun things to do together: 
Talk about bedtime routines in your house and create a routine for a stuffed animal or doll.
Use animals or dolls to recreate the song "10 in the Bed".
Sing the song "Twinkle, Twinkle".
Throw a blanket on a chair and what do you see? A giant? A lion?
Draw simple pajamas for a set of paper dolls.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
A story that many children relate to and are anxious to find out the outcome encouraging them to read.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
The short concise sentences relate the thoughts and actions so clearly and keep the story moving
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The short concise sentences relate the thoughts and actions so clearly and keep the story moving.

Bill Grogan’s Goat

 
Image of Bill Grogan's Goat
Author: Mary Ann Hoberman
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2002)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E HOBER

Presents the familiar rhyme about a pesky goat that gets in trouble for eating shirts off the clothesline.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What do you think of Bill Grogan? Was tying his goat to a railroad track a good thing or a bad thing to do?
The train in the story is a passenger train. Who are the passengers?
Notice the different patterns on each of the three red shirts. Can you find those patterns anywhere else in the story?
What happens at dinner? What happens when you make a mess?
What does the goat end up doing? Why?
Fun things to do together: 
This book was adapted from a folk song. Listen to a recording of the original “Bill Grogan’s Goat.”
This is a traditional “echo song.” Have your child repeat each line after you.
Find a book about goats to learn more about what they really eat.
Wash some shirts and hang them up to dry outside instead of putting them in the clothes dryer.
Find the pairs of rhyming words throughout the book.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The silly story and pictures along with the rhyming text will make this an enjoyable story. Singing the book will add to the enjoyment.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The rhyme scheme of the song makes it fun to read aloud and encourages children to play with the ending sounds of words.

Biscuit

 
Image of Biscuit (My First I Can Read)
Author: Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Publisher: HarperCollins (1996)
Binding: Library Binding, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

EASY READER CAPUC

A little yellow dog wants ever one more thing before he'll go to sleep.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why do you think that Biscuit keeps asking for things like snacks, drinks, and extra hugs?
Why does Biscuit go upstairs at the end of the book?
What does Biscuit do when he gets upstairs in the little girl’s room?
Do you sometimes ask for drinks and “one more hug” at bedtime? If so, why?
Fun things to do together: 
Set up bedtime routine cards for your child. Have a card for pajamas, teeth brushing, story, hug, tuck-in time, etc. These can help your child know what to expect at bedtime.
Make coupons for “10 more minutes at bedtime” or “ 1 more hug at bedtime.”
Role play to act out the story with your child. Take turns acting out the parts of Biscuit and the child.
Using your child’s day as a model, work together drawing pictures or making a list of things that Biscuit is likely to do from waking up to going to sleep at night.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This story is simple and easy to re-tell or act out.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
This story has many repetitive sight words that will help to build reading confidence.

Book! Book! Book!

 
Image of Book! Book! Book!
Author: Deborah Bruss
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (2001)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Tiphanie Beeke

Item Call Number: 

E BRUSS

When the children go back to school, the animals on the farm are bored, so they go into the library in town trying to find something to do.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What was your favorite part of the story?
Which of the animals is your favorite one?
What animal sounds can you make?
What kind of book would you ask for from the librarian?
Have you ever seen a cow in the library? A horse? A duck?
Fun things to do together: 
Sing "Old MacDonald had a Farm"
Take your favorite stuffed animal to the library and see if the librarian can talk to them.
Check out some books on cows, chickens, frogs, horse, and pigs.
Make lunch bag puppets of the animals and re-enact the story.
Draw or make a barn and some animals to go in it.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This book is ideal for working with patterning and sequencing of a story.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Children will love making the animals sounds in this book.

Caps For Sale

 
Image of Caps for Sale Board Book: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business (Reading Rainbow Books)
Author: Esphyr Slobodkina
Publisher: HarperFestival (2008)
Binding: Board book, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Esphyr Slobodkina

Item Call Number: 

E SLOBO

A band of mischievous monkeys steals every one of a peddler's caps while he takes a nap under a tree.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What was the man selling? What were the colors of all his hats?
Can you count the hats he wore on his head?
How did he feel when he lost the hats?
What did the monkeys do in the story? What did you think of the monkeys?
How did he get his hats back?
Why didn't the man sell any hats?
Fun things to do together: 
Make a hat from newspaper or other material. http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/columbus/newspaper_sailors_hats.htm
Act out the story with the child acting as both the peddler and the monkey.
Balance several soft things on your head and see how far you can go.
Cut out twenty circles of different colors from construction paper and move the circles around to see how many patterns you can create.
Count the circles and sort them by color.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The playful monkeys and colorful illustrations draw the child in. Repetitive phrases encourage the child to say the words along with the reader for a more interactive, fun experience and help build confidence for budding readers.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The simple story leads the reader to a satisfying conclusion. Repetitive phrases throughout the story structure aid children in understanding and retelling the story.

Click Clack Moo

 
Image of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
Author: Doreen Cronin
Publisher: Scholastic (2005)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Doreen Cronin

Item Call Number: 

E CRONI

When Farmer Brown's cows find a typewriter in the barn they start making demands, and go on strike when the farmer refuses to give them what they want.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why do the cows and the hens ask Farmer Brown for blankets?
What do the cows do when Farmer Brown refuses to help them?
What deal do the cows make with Farmer Brown to get the blankets?
When the ducks get the typewriter, what do the ducks want from Farmer Brown?
What is a "neutral" party?
Fun things to do together: 
Show your child a keyboard and help them type a simple note to Farmer Brown asking for something they want; Print it out for them to see.
As you read, ask your child to "read" the Click, clack refrains with you and be very enthusiastic about the sounds the animals make.
Point to the "Click, clack" refrains as you read them to emphasize the text and give the child a cue as to when to say them with you.
See if you can find a manual typewriter, then you can experiment with the clicking noises.
Sing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"
Play a game of "Duck, Duck, Goose"

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story structure, the actions of the animals, and the reactions of the farmer make this story a good choice for practicing description of events and retelling a story in sequence.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The print is black, large and bold, often against bright white space or in boxed areas resembling typed letters, making the words stand out on the page. The font makes the words easy to point to as you read aloud, capturing the child's attention and encouraging them to follow along.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

 
Image of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Author: Judi Barrett
Publisher: Scholastic (1976)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E BARRE

Life is delicious in the town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and juice, snows mashed potatoes, and blows storms of hamburgers--until the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What foods do you like to eat?
What food would you like to “rain down” on you?
Why did the people of Chewandswallow leave?
Looking at the pictures, can you see a difference between the pictures that go with the story Grandpa tells about Chewandswallow and the pictures of Grandpa and the children together?
Can you think of some other things that look like or remind you of food?
Fun things to do together: 
Make a necklace or bracelet from different colored macaroni. Lay out a pattern for your child to follow and have them finish the pattern accordingly until the necklace is finished.
Use cookie cutters and have fun with food by cutting out shapes from sandwiches or pancakes.
Do some experiments with different foods, including bread, to find out whether they will sink or float? Make a picture chart and decide together beforehand whether they will sink or float. Discuss the reasons why the hypothesis was right or wrong.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Identify the “story within the story.” Read the story several times. Encourage narrative skill practice by having your child describe the different meals and the effects of them, in order, that fell from the sky.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The text is placed inside colored boxes on each page, apart from the illustrations, which sets off the text and makes the words very visible.

Corduroy

 
Image of Corduroy (40th Anniversary Edition)
Author: Don Freeman
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (2008)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Don Freeman

Item Call Number: 

E FREE

A toy bear in a department store wants a number of things, but when a little girl finally buys him he finds what he has always wanted most of all

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is your favorite part of the story?
Do you think it would be fun to run around a store at night when no one is there?
Do you have a favorite bear?
Do you like to ride the escalator in big stores?
Fun things to do together: 
Set up your stuffed bears and other animals and have a Teddy Bear Picnic.
Learn (or pretend) to sew a button on like Lisa does for Corduroy.
Hide your teddy bear under the covers (but keep the ears out!) and see if someone else can find him.
Act out the nursery rhyme "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear".

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The soft and gentle story about finding a home and a friend will encourage children to talk about their own stuffed animal friends.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This book has some challenging words in the story such as "escalator", "watchman", and "toy department".

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

 
Image of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Author: Mo Willems
Publisher: Hyperion Press (2003)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Mo Willems

Item Call Number: 

E WILLE

When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place - a pigeon!

Series:  Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late (2006), The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog (2004), The Pigeon Wants a Puppy (2008)

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Where do you think Pigeon would go if he drove the bus?
How do we know how Pigeon feels when he does not get to drive the bus?
How does Pigeon lose some of his feathers?
How do you know pigeon feels? What do you think pigeon is feeling when there are no words - just black squiggles above his head?
Fun things to do together: 
Sing The Wheels on the Bus. Then sing The Pigeon on the Bus and make up your own words. For example, "The Pigeon on the bus flaps his wings..."
Pretend to be on a bus. Arrange kitchen chairs in rows to resemble bus seats. Take turns being the driver and the pigeon begging to drive the bus.
Visit a local park or downtown area to feed and observe the pigeons. Try to count and categorize them by color, markings, size, etc.
Create your own sequel to this book. Don't Let the Pigeon Bake a Cake, Ride a Horse, etc.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
With a funny and engaging character like Pigeon, children learn to love and laugh along with books.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
With text highlighted in different colors, as well as us bold print, children can learn how the words move on the page.

Down the Road

 
Image of Down the Road
Author: Alice Schertle
Publisher: Sandpiper (2000)
Binding: Paperback, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

E.B. Lewis

Item Call Number: 

E SCHER

Hetty takes her first trip to the store by herself and is very careful with the eggs she's bought, until she stops to pick apples.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Where does the story take place? City or country? How can you tell?
What instructions did Mama and Papa give to Hetty?
What else besides eggs could you buy at Mr. Birdie's Emporium and Dry Goods Store?
How did Hetty feel when she broke the eggs?
Why did Papa and Mama climb the apple tree?
Do you think Mama and Papa will let Hetty go to the store again by herself? Why or why not?
Fun things to do together: 
Point to and make sound effects for words like "thup", "bump", "squish" and "splat" to reinforce phonological awareness.
Play running a store like Mr. Birdies.
Practice carrying eggs in a basket.
Make an apple pie together.
Climb a tree together.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This story provides an opportunity to discuss words such as "dry goods", "dillydally" and "skimming".
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Hetty's marching words are fun to say. Point out the words "splat" and "tweet, tweet, tweet" and ask your child how to make that sound.

Fireman Small

 
Image of Fireman Small
Author: Wong Herbert Yee
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (1994)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages

Every time he gets into bed, Fireman Small is called to rescue an animal in trouble.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is Fireman Small’s station number?
Why does Fireman Small have his pants and boots at the end of his bed?
What animal’s picture is on his bedspread? Name some of the other objects in Fireman Small’s bedroom.
What kind of pet does Fireman Small have at his fire station?
What things does Fireman Small do to be a “community helper”?
Fun things to do together: 
Visit a fire station.
Read a children’s book about fire safety.
Practice crawling under “smoke.” Drape a sheet over a low table or a few chairs to serve as the smoke.
Learn and practice “Stop, Drop, and Roll.”
Help your child draw a map of your house and talk about how to get out of it in case of an emergency.
Talk about what 9-1-1 is for and when to use it.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Fireman Small is called out on three separate missions in the story - perfect for retelling the story in sequence and talking about the beginning, middle, and ending of stories.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Children love rhymes and this story is full of rhyming couplets that will encourage children to “read” along and play with the smaller sounds of words, as well as great silly “sound” words like “jing-a-ling-jing” that are fun to say.

Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash!

 
Image of Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash!: Counting Round and Round
Author: Suse MacDonald
Publisher: Little Simon (2007)
Binding: Hardcover, 30 pages

Follow the leader and count the fish that live beneath the sea. Turn the book upside-down and count again.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How does each fish change when you turn the page? Look at the picture on the right; then turn the page and look at the picture on the left. How do they compare?
What shapes do you see?
What colors can you see?
Which fish does not have fins?
Fun things to do together: 
Visit the library or an aquarium to learn more about fish and their habitats.
Count the number of fish on each page to associate the written number with the actual number of fish. Group goldfish crackers by number (one alone, two together, three together, etc.) and then eat them for a special treat.
Design your own fish with unique patterns. Use buttons, ribbons, and other scrap materials to add texture.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Books that encourage children to manipulate them ( pull outs, fold outs, upside down pictures, etc.) create added interest and participation in the activity of reading books.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The rhyming text is fun to read and will encourage children to enjoy playing with language.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
Reading the book correctly requires turning the book to follow along and count forwards and backwards. This helps a child learn how to properly hold the book to read it.

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

 
Image of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Big Book
Author: Eileen Christelow
Publisher: Sandpiper (2006)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Eileen Christelow

Item Call Number: 

E CHRIST

As soon as they say good night to Mama, the five little monkeys start to jump on their bed. But trouble lies ahead as, one by one, they fall off and hurt themselves.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is your favorite part of this story?
How many monkeys were jumping on the bed at the beginning of the story and at the end of the story?
Did any of the monkeys stop jumping when another monkey got hurt? Why?
Did you ever get hurt? Did your parents help you? Did you have to go to the doctor?
Fun things to do together: 
Count from 1 to 5 forwards and backwards
Draw a monkey and make a band-aid to put on his head - give it a kiss to feel better
Put a mattress on the floor and jump on it while singing the story (or find a rhythmic instrument, such as maracas, to play while chanting the book in rhythm)
Get a box and a toy. Help your child place the toy on top of the box, beside it, inside it, under it, and over it; then have your child do it themselves to practice obeying ?position/spatial word' directions.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story is simple and repetitive, making it simple and fun for children to re-tell (or sing)!
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The illustrations make it easy to highlight the action words on the page - i.e. "jumping on the bed".

Frog and Toad are Friends

 
Image of Frog and Toad Are Friends
Author: Arnold Lobel
Publisher: Harper & Row (1970)

Binding:  Hardback, 64 pages

Illustrator: 

Arnold Lobel

Item Call Number: 

E LOBEL

Five warm, funny stories of Frog and Toad's friendship that can be read by parents or a beginning reader.

Series: Frog and Toad All Year (1976), Adventures of Frog and Toad (1979), Days with Frog and Toad (1979), Frog and Toad Together (1999)

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What are some of the nice things that Frog and Toad do for each other?
What do you like to do with your friends?
Have you ever received a letter in the mail? Who was it from?
Which story was your favorite?
How do you think Frog and toad became friends?
Fun things to do together: 
Print out a calendar and draw a picture for each month.
Make up a story about one of your friends then tell it to them.
Make a collage from lost and odd buttons.
Design silly swimsuits for the members of your family.
Write a letter to one of your friends and send it in the mail.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
These stories about Frog and Toad provide children with five simple examples of the everyday adventures of these beloved characters. Children can build upon the structure of those tales when learning to tell their own stories.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
A beginning reader like this title helps show children how to use a book. Run your finger along the words as you read to demonstrate how print runs from left to right along the page.

Froggy Gets Dressed

 
Image of Froggy Gets Dressed
Author: Jonathan London
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (1992)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E LONDO

Rambunctious Froggy hops out into the snow for a winter frolic but is called back by his mother to put on some necessary articles of clothing.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What clothes do you wear when you want to play in the snow? In what order do put them on your body?
In what season do you see snow on the ground? What clothes do you wear in the other seasons?
What is your favorite thing to do when you play outside in the snow?
Why does Froggy go back to bed?
Fun things to do together: 
Play dress up for the different seasons .
As you read the book, ask your child to predict what will happen next each time Froggy gets dressed and goes outside.
Dress up a stuffed animal or doll to go outside, putting the pieces of clothing on the wrong body parts and ask your child to fix what’s wrong. For example, put mittens on the doll’s feet and ask if this looks right.
Pull a selection of your child’s clothes and work together to sort them into different groups based on season, what part of the body they are worn on, color, type, etc.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
The story introduces new words for winter clothing, dressing, and undressing.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The cumulative, linear structure of the story makes it fun for children to retell. Help your child locate the clothing items in the story in his or her closet and encourage them to act out the story with these props.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Children can really have fun with sounds and language in this story. The many sound words (zoop, zap, zwit, flop) make for a fun read aloud and will inspire children to "read" along with you.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

 
Image of Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Author: James Marshall
Publisher: Dial (1988)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

James Marshall

Item Call Number: 

E MARSH

Three bears return home from a walk to find a little girl asleep in baby bear's bed.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Look carefully at the pictures of the Bears' home. Do you see anything in the pictures that tell you Goldilocks is in the bear's house?
Which bear is big? Which is small? What are the different sizes of furniture for each of the bears?
How would you feel if Goldilocks came into your house without permission? Should you ever go in to someone's house without permission?
Fun things to do together: 
Act out the story with your child with puppets or other toys.
Take a look at Baby Bear's messy room. Identify as many objects as possible.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This story offers opportunity to learn and talk about the concepts of small, medium, and large (little, bigger, biggest) and discuss the concept of size comparison.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This classic story's structure is a great example of the elements of a story (beginning, middle, end and perfectly identified characters) and a perfect choice for practicing how to tell a story and describe events.

Green Eggs and Ham

 
Image of Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books)
Author: Dr. Seuss
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (1960)
Binding: Hardcover, 72 pages
Illustrator: 

Dr. Seuss

Item Call Number: 

E SEUSS

Sam-I-Am mounts a determined campaign to convince another Seuss character to eat a plate of green eggs and ham.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Would you try green eggs and ham? If so, where would it be? In a box, with a fox, etc?
Why do you think Sam refused to stop asking his friend to try green eggs and ham?
Why do you think Sam's friend tried green eggs and ham?
What are the different types of transportation in the story? Can you count them all?
Fun things to do together: 
Identify the animals and colors in the story.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Repetitive phrases makes this story easy to remember. It has a great rhythm perfect for reading aloud.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Dr. Seuss introduces many pairs of rhyming words such as box, fox, house, mouse, etc.

Gregory the Terrible Eater

 
Image of Gregory, the Terrible Eater: Oversize
Author: Mitchell Sharmat, Ariane Dewey
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey

Item Call Number: 

E SHARM

A very picky eater, Gregory the goat refuses the usual goat diet staples of shoes and tin cans in favor of fruits, vegetables, eggs, and orange juice.

Food Pyramid Link: http://mypyramid.gov/preschoolers/index.html

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why do Gregory's parents call him a terrible eater?
What did Gregory's parents want him to eat? What did Gregory want to eat?
What are some of your favorite foods? Are they healthy foods?
What are some foods that you don't like?
Do you like to try new foods? What are some new foods you have eaten lately?
What are some things that people eat when they are terrible eaters?
Fun things to do together: 
Cut pictures of foods from a magazine. Decide which ones are healthy foods and which ones are junk foods.
Look at the food pyramid and healthy lifestyle information for kids on this website with your child.
Take a copy of the food pyramid along on a trip to the grocery store. Have a scavenger hunt to find a food for each food group on the pyramid.
Have a "Gregory" night where everyone in the family tries a new food.
Plan a healthy meal for your family. Include something from every food group.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
It is easy for children to relate to a picky eater like Gregory. Reading about characters like themselves will help children learn to love books.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
It is easy for children to relate to a picky eater like Gregory. Reading about characters like themselves will help children learn to love books.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

 
Image of The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon
Author: Crockett Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins (1987)
Binding: Hardcover, 64 pages
Illustrator: 

Crockett Johnson

Item Call Number: 

E JOHNS

Harold goes for an adventurous walk in the moonlight with his purple crayon.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why do you think Harold chose to use a purple crayon and not another color?
Harold sometimes draws scary things, like dragons or falling - what scares you? Do you feel less scared if you draw them on paper?
What does the moon look like? Is it always the same? Does it change night to night?
Fun things to do together: 
Get a big purple crayon and a large sheet of paper and draw, draw, draw
Make up a story about your drawing.
Make a drawing using a different colored crayon - Does the story change?
Be brave and find an area where you child has permission to draw on the wall - explore different dimensions!

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This simple story leaves a lot for the imagination of young children.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The lines/drawings that Harold draws on the page so movement of the text and the story from left to right.

Harry the Dirty Dog

 
Image of Harry the Dirty Dog
Author: Gene Zion, Margaret Bloy Graham
Publisher: HarperCollins (1956)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Margaret Bloy Graham

Item Call Number: 

E ZION

Harry, an adorable white dog with black spots, loves his family but hates baths. Facing having to have a bath, he runs away and gets so dirty that he looks like a black dog with white spots.

Series: No Roses for Harry (1958), Harry and the Lady Next Door (1960), Harry by the Sea (1965)

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Look at all of the animals in the pictures. Which ones would you like to have for a pet? Why or why not?
Does this story take place now or a long time ago? What do you think of the clothes people wear in the story? (Dad wears a suit, Mom wears a dress and apron, most of the adults wear hats).
How do vehicles and trains of today look different than those in the pictures?
What letter is on the roof of the doghouse in the backyard? What does it stand for? What other words can you think of that start with this letter?
Fun things to do together: 
Draw two pictures of Harry. Draw one as a white dog with black spots. On the second picture, put a small amount of glue on various parts of his body and sprinkle those areas with potting soil in order make Harry look dirty.
Pretend you are Harry and take turns playing hide and seek with a bath brush or sponge.
Visit the dog park or pet store.
Gather stuffed dogs and play dog groomer, veterinarian office or animal shelter.
Count how many dogs, cats, birds, children, etc. there are in the story.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Harry is such an engaging character that children will want to read the other 3 books about him.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This simple, but fun story has a clear sequence of events that children will easily be able to retell or act out.

Hattie and the Fox

 
Image of Hattie and the Fox
Author: Mem Fox
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (1987)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Patricia Mullins

Item Call Number: 

E FOX

Hattie, a big black hen, discovers a fox in the bushes, which creates varying reactions in the other barnyard animals.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Does Hattie get scared? Have you ever been scared?
Do you think that the animals are answering kindly to Hattie?
Did the other animals learn a lesson from Hattie?
What is your favorite part of this story?
Fun things to do together: 
Re-read the story and make your voice sound like each animal would sound
How many different animal sounds can you make?
Tear up colored tissue paper and make your own pictures just like Patricia Mullins.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The predictable and repetitive plotline gives way to a surprising twist with a cow's loud "Moo!" that scares away the fox intruder and startles the formally complacent barnyard animals. Children will love the suspenseful description of each part of the fox as he is revealed, but will appreciate even more the raucous bellow of the cow.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The repetition of the animals' ho-hum responses to Hattie's increasing alarm at the creature in the bushes as well as the sequential nature of Hattie's description (a nose, then eyes, then ears, etc.) of this creature can make for an exciting story to tell.

Hi! Fly Guy

 
Image of Fly Guy #1: Hi, Fly Guy! Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book (Awards))
Author: Tedd Arnold
Publisher: Cartwheel Books (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E ARNOL

 

cWhen Buzz captures a fly to enter in The Amazing Pet Show, his parents and the judges tell him that a fly cannot be a pet, but Fly Guy proves them wrong.

Series includes:  Fly High, Fly Guy! (2008), Hooray for Fly Guy! (2008), Shoo, Fly Guy! (2006), Super Fly Guy (2006), There was an Old Lady who Swallowed Fly Guy (2007)

 

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What animals do you think of as pets?
What unusual pets do you see in the story?
What's the difference between a pet and a pest?
Why do you think Buzz's parents did not want him to have a pet fly?
Fun things to do together: 
Sing "Shoo Fly" with your child.
Read this story with "I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly" illustrated by Round, Westcott, or Karas.
Draw a picture of your pet - real or imaginary. What would it look like? What would it be? What would it eat?
Gather your stuffed animal friends and judge your own pet show.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This fun read contains a lot of simple vocabulary ideal for a beginning reader.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Written in short chapters, this story is easy to read and tell. Plus kids can demonstrate their knowledge of the difference between pet and pest.

How Are You Peeling?

 
Image of How Are You Peeling?
Author: Saxton Freymann, Joost Elffers
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (1999)
Binding: Hardcover, 48 pages
Illustrator: 

Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

Item Call Number: 

E FREYM

Brief text and photographs of carvings made from vegetables introduce the world of emotions by presenting leading questions such as "Are you feeling angry?"

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Have you ever felt some of these feelings?
Do you think other people have these feelings?
Do certain colors make you feel a certain way?
What is your favorite vegetable? Is it in the book?
Fun things to do together: 
Make your own vegetable or fruit sculpture to eat and take pictures
Draw different feelings you have had.
Talk about the different types of fruits and vegetables that are used in this book - be brave and try those you have never tasted before.
Tell a story about your feelings

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Freymann and Elffers pair amusingly carved fruits and vegetables to accurately portray the wide range of feelings a person might encounter.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The authors mix rhymes into the text at varying intervals, sometimes within the same line of text, sometimes rhyming every other line.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

 
Image of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
Author: Jane Yolen
Publisher: Blue Sky Press (2000)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Mark Teague

Item Call Number: 

E YOLEN

Parents and children ponder the different ways a dinosaur can say goodnight, from slamming his tail and pouting to giving a big hug and kiss in this comical look at dinosaurs behaving like children and imitating all the ways they try to avoid going to sleep at night.

Series: How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? (2003), How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? (2005) How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? (2007)

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Which dinosaur in the story is your favorite? Why?
What is your bedtime routine?
Have you ever tried to keep from going to bed like one of the dinosaurs in the story? What did you do to keep from going to bed?
Fun things to do together: 
Find the name of the pictured dinosaur hidden in the artwork on the pages.
Many of the dinosaurs have teddy bears and some have pet cats or dogs. Find and count the teddy bears, cats, and dogs in the pictures.
Listen to and learn "We Are the Dinosaurs" by Laurie Berkner on her CD Whadd'ya Think of That?
Using colored construction paper, help your child make a capital "D", cut it out, and glue it to a white piece of construction paper with the "back" of the D parallel to the bottom of the paper. Using crayons, add a head, a tail, legs, scales and a background. Draw a scene around your dinosaur. Is he or she sleeping in the grass under a tree? Drinking from a lake? Walking with a baby dinosaur?

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children will relate to and laugh at this silly story about dinosaurs behaving badly about bedtime.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The rhyme of this story helps children hear and play with the ending sounds of words.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
Looking for the hidden name of the dinosaur on each page draws the child's attention to the printed words.

Hurry! Hurry!

 
Image of Hurry! Hurry!
Author: Eve Bunting
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (2007)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Item Call Number: 

E BUNTI

All the animals of the barnyard community hurry to greet the newest arrival who is just pecking his way out of an egg.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Is Hen calling “Hurry! Hurry!” with fear or excitement? How can you tell?
The arrival of each animal is foreshadowed. On the first page of the story, what other animal besides Hen is visible?
How many of each animal respond to Hen’s invitation? Three ducklings, one duck, one goat, etc.
When the animals arrive at the barn, who is sitting beside the egg?
What season of the year is it in the story?
What other animals hatch from eggs?
Fun things to do together: 
Read the story together as a call and repeat book. Be sure to read with expression and use variation in voice to reflect the expression of the text – higher voice for questions, etc.
Practice making all of the sounds that each of the animals make.
Sing Old McDonald Had a Farm.
Visit a farm to see the animals or a park to feed the ducks or birds.
Look at the baby pictures of other family members together and talk about how new life is welcomed into the world.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Because this book is almost wordless, exploring the pictures will allow children to use their own words to describe what is happening in the pictures and will provide an opportunity for sharing new words with them.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The only words that are in this book are all of varied print types and larger sizes. This helps bring a child’s attention to the words on the page and encourages awareness that books have words that we read for meaning.

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More

 
Image of I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards))
Author: Karen Beaumont
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Karen Beaumont

Item Call Number: 

E BEAU

In the rhythm of a familiar folk song, a child cannot resist adding one more dab of paint in surprising places.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is your favorite part of the story?
What is your favorite color and why?
What color would you paint your stomach? Your hand? Your leg?
Do you think tWhat you would get in trouble if you were caught painting on yourself?
Do you like to paint pictures?
Fun things to do together: 
Name all the colors shown in the book.
Grab a paintbrush and pretend to paint yourself
Try singing along with the book.
Use the book to learn anatomy vocabulary (i.e. - arm, leg, neck)
Draw a picture of your child and let them paint their body parts.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This book is fun, energetic and engaging. Kids will love to sing along with the book.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
With many body parts named, this book is great for learning all about you.

I Stink!

 
Image of I Stink!
Author: Kate McMullan
Publisher: HarperCollins (2002)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Kate and Jim McMullan

Item Call Number: 

E MCMUL

Similar stories by Kate and Jim McMullan: I'm Dirty (backhoe), I'm Mighty (tugboat), and I'm Bad (dinosaur)

Questions to talk about with your child: 
In the story, the garbage truck tells us his alphabet soup recipe. What ingredients are the stinkiest? The most gross?
What new words did you read about? What do you think "dual op" means?
Inside the book cover is a map of the garbage truck's city. Where else do you think the truck goes? What buildings do you see?
Fun things to do together: 
The story even explains how the trash system works in a simple way (truck picks up garbage, compacts it, and transports it via the river to a garbage dump). Take the trash or recycling out together. Discuss why garbage trucks are important.
Visit Kate McMullan's website and try out these fun activities: http://www.katemcmullan.com/ActivityPages/PictureBooks.pdf
Read more about garbage collectors and trucks at the Lexington Public Library.
Design your own garbage truck with items from your recycling bin.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The print size and location on the page in this title indicates motion and size. Word placement assists with the reader's attitude and helps provide personality for the garbage truck.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
The author includes items that always grab kids' attention - dirty diapers and puppy poo.
See Letters (Letter Knowledge): 
McMullan includes a unique alphabet and teaches different letter sounds and words beginning with those letters.

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato

 
Image of I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola)
Author: Lauren Child
Publisher: Candlewick (2000)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E CHILD

A fussy eater decides to sample the carrots after her brother convinces her that they are really orange twiglets from Jupiter.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why will Lola “not eat a tomato”?
Are you a fussy eater? What foods do you not like to eat?
What foods do you love to eat?
Why does Charlie tell Lola that carrots are called “orange twiglets”? What other food names does he make up for Lola?
Does changing the names of food (i.e. peas are “green drops”) help them taste better? Why or why not?
Fun things to do together: 
Find magazine pictures of a variety of foods and cut them out. Put them in a basket and take turns drawing one out a time. Make up new names for each of the items. Keep a list of the names you create.
If your child is a picky eater, make a chart of how many new foods they try. A visual aid to help them chart their progress may create more excitement about trying new foods.
Ask members of the family to vote for their favorite and least favorite foods. Make a graph using the results.
Sort vegetables and fruits in your refrigerator by color, size, shape, taste, seeds or no seeds, or any other criteria that sounds like fun.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children will notice and enjoy the unusual flow and varying arrangements of text on the pages. Use your finger to point out the most unusual placements, for example, the separated text on the individual carrots.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This book introduces children to the names of foods, creating new words, and having fun with language.

In the Small, Small Pond

 
Image of In the Small, Small Pond
Author: Denise Fleming
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks (2007)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Denise Fleming

Item Call Number: 

E FLEMI

Illustrations and rhyming text describe the activities of animals living in and near a small pond as spring progresses to autumn.

Denise Fleming Link :  www.denisefleming.com

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Can you find the frog that is on every page in the story?
Do you think the animals make different sounds than what the author wrote down?
What is your favorite part of this story?
Fun things to do together: 
Make a list of the animals in the book and choose one to learn more about.
Try making your own pond, either in real life or through art.
Write your own rhyme about something that is outside.
Learn how to make your own paper and make your own Denise Fleming-esque art. (Denise Fleming created the illustrations by pouring colored cotton pulp through her hand-cut stencils.)
Visit www.denisefleming.com for further details and activities

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This story introduces great examples of synonyms, nouns and verbs like minnows, dip, wiggle and jiggle.
See Letters (Letter Knowledge): 
The large and dramatic font in this book helps to attract children to the text. It also makes it easy to recognize the flow of the words.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk

 
Image of It Looked Like Spilt Milk
Author: Charles G. Shaw
Publisher: HarperCollins (1947)
Binding: Library Binding, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E SHAW

Objects that change on every page create an imaginative picture book that allows children to stimulate their minds and use their creativity. The children are kept guessing by the familiar objects such as the angel, the ice-cream cone, and the pig, until the surprise ending.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What were three of the things the shapes looked like?
Look up at the sky. What color is the sky right now? What color are the clouds?
What other colors have you seen in the sky?
Why do you think the sky and the clouds sometimes change color?
What was your favorite shape in this story? Why?
Fun things to do together: 
Lay down on a blanket in your yard and look up at the sky. Talk about the shapes you see in the clouds.
Go to the library and check out books about clouds, weather, and seasons.
Children can illustrate their own version of this story by using torn construction paper to make cloud formations.
Make shapes out of white felt and use the book to sequence the shapes in the story.
Put a blob of white paint in the middle of a piece of blue paper. Then fold the paper in half and wait a minute before unfolding. Help your child write “Sometimes it looked like ________ but it wasn't ________.”

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This book introduces some everyday words for things a young child is likely to encounter, but encourages critical, creative thinking about words and images for older children.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
For narrative skill practice, children can use shapes cut from white felt to retell the story.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
This book has pictures on the right of each double spread and bold white text on the left of each spread. This design will draw the child’s eye to the text and help to emphasize the importance of connections between words and pictures.

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub

 
Image of King Bidgood's in the Bathtub
Author: Audrey Wood
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (1985)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Audrey Wood

Item Call Number: 

E WOOD

Despite pleas from his court, a fun-loving king refuses to get out of his bathtub to rule his kingdom in this Caldecott Honor book.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Which of the King's bathtime fun activities was your favorite?
How long is King Bidgood in the bathtub? What parts of the story tell you how much time passes?
What else could the king do in the bathtub to have fun?
How does the young page finally figure out how to get King Bidgood out of the bathtub?
Do you have a favorite bathtime toy or game? What do you like to play during bathtime?
Fun things to do together: 
Blow bubbles together during the bathtub scenes.
Read the story during bathtime and follow it with the song "Bathtime"by Raffi from his Everything Grows CD.
Recite the nursery rhymes Old King Cole and Rub-A-Dub-Dub Three Men in a Tub.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The repeated phrases will inspire children to join in and aid them in retelling the story in sequence.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The sound effects are fun and expressive to read, like "boom, boom, boom" and "glub, glub, glub" and they encourage children to listen to the smaller sounds within the words and repeat them with you.

Lemons Are Not Red

 
Image of Lemons Are Not Red
Author: Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (2004)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E SEEGE

A creative introduction to the world of colors. Red lemons turn yellow, purple carrots become orange, and white reindeer change to brown.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Before you turn each page, can you predict what item IS the correct color? (example: Lemons are not red, but I think that apples and tomatoes are red.)
What are some fruits and vegetables that are red? Yellow? Green?
Explore the concept of “NOT.” What items are NOT red? What items are never red? What things are NOT fun? Or NOT soft?
Fun things to do together: 
Explore the color wheel. Mix primary colors together and predict the results. Experiment with mixing to see how the artist creates some of the other non-primary colors (such as pink) in this book. Try mixing different colors with white or black.
Play “I Spy” with colors. See how many items you can identify that are one color. See if you can identify objects that have many different colors.
Create your own NOT book. Cut out shapes in the middle of pages. On the first side, you can include the NOT (example: a red page for a lemon, a bathtub for a truck), on the second side, include the correct scene (example: a yellow page for a lemon, a construction site for a truck).

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children will enjoy identifying what is wrong with each picture. They delight in the mystery of cutouts, pop-ups, and lift-the-flap books. These types of books encourage and motivate children to more active participants while reading with you more involved while reading alone.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Children learn common nouns and uncommon nouns like eggplants and flamingos and the colors of these objects in a creative way.

Leo the Late Bloomer

 
Image of Leo the Late Bloomer
Author: Robert Kraus
Publisher: HarperCollins (1971)
Binding: Library Binding, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E KRAUS

Leo, a young tiger, finally blooms under the anxious eyes of his parents.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What are the things Leo cannot do at the beginning of the book?
How do you think Leo felt at the beginning book? How did he feel at the end? Have you ever felt like Leo?
We all learn new things as we grow up. What kinds of things do you think you will learn and do as you grow up?
How are you different now from when you were younger?
What do you think blooming means in this story? What about late bloomer?
Fun things to do together: 
Talk with your child about what you were like as a child. Talk about times you felt different from others, or could not do something others could do and how you changed over time.
After you read this book, practice writing or drawing. The letters in your child’s name are a great first writing experience. Children are often very motivated to learn to write their names.
Flowers and blooming imagery are prevalent in the story. Make flowers out of construction paper. Talk about the skills your child has already mastered (shoe tying, bike riding, etc.) and chose one skill to write on each petal of the flower. Leave some blank to add new skills that will be gained.
Read The Little Engine That Could by Waddy Pipper from the original 50 Books to Read in Kindergarten list and compare and contrast the two stories and Leo and the Little Engine.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children will identify with Leo and his struggle to learn and do new things.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Look up and talk about the meanings of the words patience, blooming, and never.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The simplicity of the story makes this easy for children to retell.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

 
Image of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Author: Kevin Henkes
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (1996)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Kevin Henkes

Item Call Number: 

E HENKE

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher, but when he asks her to wait a while before showing her new purse, she does something for which she is sorry later.

 

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why was Lilly so upset with her teacher?
What do you do when you get upset?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What color is Lilly's purse? What is your favorite color?
Fun things to do together: 
Mix different colors and see what makes the color purple.
Have a special story time with books about mice and have some type of "cheesy" snack.
Look through magazines and find purple objects.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Colorful and varied illustrations keep the reader engaged.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Glittery, jingly, fiercely, furious are examples of out of the ordinary vocabulary.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
A child's point of view makes this an engaging story.

Little Bear

 
Image of Little Bear (Anniversary Edition)
Author: Else Holmelund Minarik
Publisher: HarperCollins (1957)
Binding: Library Binding, 64 pages
Illustrator: 

Else Holmelund Minarik

Item Call Number: 

E MINAR

Little Bear's four adventures include taking a trip to the moon and having a birthday party

Series: Father Bear Comes Home (1959), Little Bear's Friend (1960), Little Bear's Visit (1961), A Kiss for Little Bear (1968), Adventures of Little Bear (1990)

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is your favorite part of this story?
What wishes do you have?
What do you remember about your last birthday? What are you looking forward to at your next birthday?
If you had friends that were animals, what animals would they be?
Fun things to do together: 
Find a box and pretend that you are going to fly to the moon
Create your own birthday soup
Make up your own Little Bear story and use some of your stuffed animals as characters

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children will be interested in and identify with Little Bear's experiences as he invites friends over for his birthday, enjoys an imaginative trip to the moon, and asks his mother for a story at bedtime.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The four little connected stories in this book are perfect examples of simple story structure and rereading and retelling the stories of Little Bear (with or without props) will help children understand basic story structure.

Llama Llama Red Pajama

 
Image of Llama Llama Red Pajama
Author: Anna Dewdney
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Item Call Number: 

E DEWDN

At bedtime, a little llama worries after his mother puts him to bed and goes downstairs.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How does Baby Llama feel about going to bed? How do you feel when you have to go to bed?
When Baby Llama gets tried of waiting for mama, what does he do?
What does the word patient mean?
How does Mama Llama show Baby Llama that she loves him? How do you know your family loves you?
Fun things to do together: 
Practice color knowledge by looking for red items when you go to the store. You might find red pajamas at a department store, red apples at the grocery store, etc.
Sort laundry together; sort clothes by color, by person, by type, i.e. all socks, all t-shirts, etc. Talk about pairs by working together to match up pairs of socks.
Make a list of the rhyming words in the story. Come up with other words that rhyme with those on your list.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Books about going to bed (or not wanting to go to bed) are very appealing to children. This story will be a favorite for repeated readings.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The rhyming text is lively, fun to read aloud, and will encourage children to “read” along and enjoy playing with the sounds of language.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
Some words meant to be read with emphasis and voice variation are a different color and are bolder print than the rest of the line, drawing attention to the text.

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!

 
Image of Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!
Author: Nancy Carlson
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (1999)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages

Even though Henry is looking forward to going to kindergarten, he is not sure about staying once he first gets there.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What activities does Henry need to do to be ready for his first day of school?
What are some of the things that his mother tells him he will do in kindergarten?
What does the word “homesick” mean? What does Henry pack in his backpack in case he feels lonely on his first day?
How does seeing all the new students make him feel?
Where are you going to school? How do you think it will be like Henry’s experience?
Fun things to do together: 
Visit your child’s school and meet teachers and staff and show your child the restrooms, lunchroom, and library. Remind your child that the school staff will help if he or she becomes lost or confused about what to do.
Make a flash card game out of rehearsing your emergency contact information (phone number, address, full name, and parents’/guardians’ names). Draw a phone keypad on the sidewalk with chalk, and then ask your child to jump from number to number including your area code.
Practice sorting by color, shape, number, etc. using things like toys, fruit, or clothes. Sort laundry by person, color, and size, which also incorporates the importance of cleaning up and helpfulness.
At the grocery store, work together to find items on your shopping list. Create a list with pictures and words using online ads or print ads. Search by the item’s beginning letter sound, packaging color, or shelf location.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Books about going to school for the first time have tremendous child appeal because they excite them and speak to worries they have about new experiences.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This story has a simple plot with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Ask questions that help your child practice summarizing the story and understanding that Henry’s day has a specific order.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

 
Image of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Lyle the Crocodile)
Author: Bernard Waber
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (1973)
Binding: Hardcover, 48 pages
Item Call Number: 

E WABER

Lyle is perfectly happy living with the Primms on East 88th St. until irritable Mr. Grumps next door changes all that.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why do you think Loretta dislikes Lyle? What would you do to make a new friend?
In what ways would a crocodile make a good pet? In what was would it make a bad one?
Why is Mrs. Primm upset in the department store? What is Lyle doing? What would you do if you were lost in a big store?
How does Lyle escape from the zoo?
What happens when Lyle and Signor Valenti decided to drive past Lyle’s old house one last time?
Fun things to do together: 
Learn how to jump rope double-dutch and high jump like Lyle.
Check out books from the library about crocodiles to learn about where they really live and what they eat.
Walter Waber has written several books about Lyle the Crocodile and the Primms. Tell or write your own story about what Lyle does next.
Talk about how worried Mrs. Primm was when she could not find Lyle in the store. Write a story or draw picture about what do when you go shopping together.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This story offers opportunity to introduce and discuss higher level words not common in picture book stories: distrustful, glimpse, toothsome, coaxing, browsing, antique, occupants, and more.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story has a straightforward progression with multiple plot developments which make it perfect for retelling to practice describing events in order from beginning to end.

Make Way for Ducklings

 
Image of Make Way for Ducklings (Viking Kestrel picture books)
Author: Robert McCloskey
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (1941)
Binding: Hardcover, 68 pages
Illustrator: 

Robert McCloskey

Item Call Number: 

E MCCLO

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard find the perfect home to raise their ducklings in Boston's beautiful Public Garden

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Once the ducklings became good swimmers, Mr. & Mrs. Mallard moved them to their new home in the Public Garden? Have you ever had to move to a new home?
Why did Mrs. Mallard think that the public garden would be a good place to live? What are some good things about where you live?
How did Michael the policeman help the Mallard family? How do the police help people in your neighborhood?
Fun things to do together: 
Re-read the story and let the child make all of the duck and traffic sounds. Be sure to point to sound words (honk!, quack! etc.) on the page to reinforce print awareness.
Make a large-scale, simplified map of the streets, St. Charles River, Public Garden, buildings, etc. Retell the story and retrace the ducks route to their new home.
The ducklings are named in alphabetical order - Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack. Talk about what alphabetical order means. Say and talk about the words with emphasis on how the different beginning letters look and sound and how they make each word different.
Visit a local park or Lexington Cemetery and feed the ducks.

Book Skills
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Be sure to use your finger to point to the sound effects in the story. Children will love to honk, quack, and tweet.
See Letters (Letter Knowledge): 
The names of the ducklings give children the perfect opportunity to play with changing the first letter of the name to create all of different ones.

Mañana, Iguana

 
Image of Manana Iguana
Author: Ann Whitford Paul
Publisher: Holiday House (2004)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E PAUL

Iguana, Conejo, Tortuga, and Culebra are excited about having a spring party, but only Iguana is willing to do any of the work. Includes a glossary of Spanish words used.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
• What do you think Conejo, Tortuga, and Culebra will say when Iguana asks them for help?
• Look at the picture of the animals. What do you think the Spanish words “conejo,” “tortuga,” and “culebra” mean in English?
• “Fiesta” is the Spanish word for party. Have you ever been to a party? What kinds of things did you do there?
• Conejo, Tortuga and Culebra learn that it is important to help your friends. Can you tell me about a time when you were helpful to your friends?
Fun things to do together: 
Practice the days of the week in English and in Spanish.
Attend Bilingual Family Storytime at the Village Branch to learn more Spanish words.
Use a library book, an encyclopedia, or a website to look at pictures of the kinds of animals that live in the American southwest.
Make your own piñata.
Have a fiesta at home. Be sure that everyone pitches in!

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The repeated lines, especially the funny ones, will appeal to children and will encourage them to chime in on those lines with repeated readings of the story.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Great vocabulary words in this story include English and Spanish party words like invitations, streamers, guests, fiesta, and piñata and Spanish words for the days of the week and some common animals.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Children will enjoy describing the events of this story. The linear plot and the repetition will help children retell this somewhat longer story with ease.

Me I Am!

 
Image of Me I Am!
Author: Jack Prelutsky
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (2007)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages

An illustrated poem which celebrates individuality and self confidence accompanied by illustrations of different children participating in the various activities and hobbies they enjoy.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is a hobby? What kinds of things do you like to do for fun?
What kinds of fun things are the children in this book doing?
What does individuality mean?
How are the three children in this book different?
How are you and your best friend different? What do you have in common?
Fun things to do together: 
Make a list of the different hobbies of the children depicted in the illustrations. Next to those hobbies, write down the names of your family members who enjoy doing those things, too.
Use that list to make a simple graph to see how many family members enjoy biking, dancing, etc.
Draw pictures or find photographs depicting favorite hobbies or things your child enjoys to help create his or her own Me, I Am! story.

Book Skills
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The rhyme scheme of the poem makes it fun to read aloud and encourages children to play with the ending sounds of words.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The uppercase, repetitive "ME I AM" draws attention to the text as written words with meaning.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

 
Image of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Author: Virginia Lee Burton
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (1939)
Binding: Hardcover, 48 pages
Illustrator: 

Virginia Burton

Item Call Number: 

E BURTO

Mike Mulligan proves that, although dated, his steam shovel is still useful.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Who were the different community helpers who watched Mike and Mary Anne work?
Why were Mike and Mary Anne sad?
Why did people watching make the workers work faster?
What did Mary Anne become when she finished the hole?
How are the machines in the book different from today's machines?
Fun things to do together: 
Visit the library and find books on different types of earth movers, bulldozers, & other big machines.
Make a simple steam shovel with brads and poster board.
Visit a construction site. Who and what do you see there?
What would your favorite big machine look like? Half dumpster/ half bulldozer? Or maybe a crane with a dump truck?
While boiling water for tea or dinner, discuss the steam coming from the pot. If the steam is blocked, it converts to water, but if not evaporates into the air.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The story and colorful pictures will encourage kids to read.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
The end papers have a list of words that define all the parts of a steam shovel.

Millions of Cats

 
Image of Millions of Cats
Author: Wanda Gag
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (1952)
Binding: Hardcover, pages
Illustrator: 

Wanda Gag

Item Call Number: 

E GAG

How can an old man and his wife select one cat from a choice of millions?

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Do you think there would be such a place filled with so many cats?
What color cat would you have picked?
Do you think the little kitten was happy living with the old man and his wife?
What happened when all the cats ate and drank?
What do you notice about the colors in the book?
How do you think the cat felt about being the only one left?
Fun things to do together: 
Sing some songs and nursery rhymes involving cats such as "Three Little Kittes" or "Pussycat, Pussycat".
Act out the story using stuffed animal toys.
Draw a picture of a cat that would be the prefect one for the family.
Cut cat pictures out of magazines and sort by color, size, stripes and spots
Visit an animal shelter and bring a donation of food or litter when you visit.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The small size of the book encourages small hands to hold it and the woodcut illustrations clearly show contrasts for young eyes.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This is a story with a clear beginning, middle and end.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The repetition and rhyming of some phrases.

Miss Nelson is Missing

 
Image of Miss Nelson Is Missing!
Author: Harry Allard, James Marshall
Publisher: Sandpiper (1985)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E ALLAR

The kids in Room 207 take advantage of their teacher's good nature until she disappears and they are faced with a vile substitute.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What did the students do instead of listening to Miss Nelson? How should they have behaved?
Who is the substitute teacher for Miss Nelson? How are Miss Nelson and the substitute different?
What do the kids think happened to Miss Nelson?
Writers often use a plot device called foreshadowing to provide clues as to the outcome of a story. What clues does the author leave to indicate that Miss Nelson and Viola Swamp could be the same person?
Fun things to do together: 
Play dress up and see how many disguises you can make.
Use your imagination to come up with other reasons Miss Nelson could be missing to create your own version of the story.
Visit the library for books on manners and treating others with respect.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
There are some words uncommon in picture book stories to talk about: rude, rapped, arithmetic, business, wicked, swarm.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The linear (one event following another) story demonstrates cause and effect well. For instance, the kids misbehaved so a stricter teacher was needed. This linear plot makes this story easier for children to retell and describe.

Mother, Mother I Want Another

 
Image of Mother, Mother, I Want Another
Author: Maria Polushkin Robbins
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Jon Goddell

Item Call Number: 

E ROBBI

In this newly illustrated edition, Mrs. Mouse is anxious to get her son to sleep and goes off to find what she thinks he wants.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What was your favorite part of the story?
What special things do you need before you go to bed?
What animal mommy would you want to be your mommy? Why?
What do you think about the little songs made up by the animal mommies?
What do you do every night before bedtime?
Fun things to do together: 
Make up your own "Good Night" song.
Lay out your stuffed animal friends and re-enact the story.
Make a kiss coupon book out of construction paper.
Get chocolate kiss candies and have a kiss candy hunt with a real giant "kiss" at the end.
Get different varieties of chocolate kisses and count and sort them by package color and package pattern.
Make up different types of kiss sounds: duck kisses, cow kisses, little kisses, big kisses, fish kisses, etc.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This story can be become part of your nightly bedtime routine by asking your child of they would like another... Mother?
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Children love the silly little songs that the Mothers sing to Mouse. Have your child make up their own bedtime song.

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing

 
Image of Mr. Gumpy's outing
Author: John Burningham
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1970)
Binding: Hardcover, 30 pages

Mr. Gumpy accepts more and more riders aboard his boat until the inevitable occurs.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Look at the title page and talk about the setting of the story. Is it in the city or the country?
What is Mr. Gumpy doing on the first page of the book? Why is he wearing boots and what does he have in his hand?
Mr. Gumpy’s boat is called a “punt.” What other kinds of boats do you know? (Ex. row boat, sailboat, motorboat, etc.) Have you ever ridden on a boat? What kind?
Talk about the words trampled, bleated, mucked about, and squabbled. What do they mean?
Fun things to do together: 
Explore the directional concepts of left and right. Using a cardboard box or laundry basket as a punt boat and a mop or broom as a pole, practice poling your punt. Push the pole into the “mud” on the bottom of the river to move your boat, alternating sides.
Imitate the sounds and motions that the animals make. Flap like a chicken, etc.
Fill a small bowl with water and make a boat out of a jar lid or a piece of tin foil. Count and add pennies to the “boat” and see how many it will hold until it tips and sinks.
Have a tea party like Mr. Gumpy and his friends.
Play sink or float! Gather various small objects like buttons, milk jug caps, bottle corks, and toys and fill a sink or bathtub with water. One by one, take each object and guess if it will float or sink and write your guesses down on paper. Test each object one by one and compare the results to your guesses.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
The story provides opportunity to introduce and discuss higher level words not common in picture book stories: trampled, bleated, mucked, squabbled.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story is very straightforward and has multiple plot developments which make it perfect for retelling to practice describing events in order from beginning to end.

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

 
Image of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!
Author: Candace Fleming
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Atheneum (2002)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E FLEMI

After planting a garden he has dreamed of for years, Mr. McGreely tries to find a way to keep some persistent bunnies from eating all of his vegetables.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How many of the tools in the store window can you name? How are the tools used?
What other names does Mr. McGreely call the bunnies?
What vegetable does Mr. McGreely dream about that night after he puts a tall wooden fence around his garden?
How do the bunnies get into the garden after Mr. McGreely builds the “huge, enormous thing” around his garden?
Do Mr. McGreely and the bunnies ever become friends? How do you know?
Fun things to do together: 
Grow a plant from a seed or place a carrot top in water and watch it grow.
See how many vegetables you can name at the grocery store.
Glue a bean to the bottom of a piece of paper. Use markers, crayons, or other art supplies to draw what you think will grow from the bean.
Instead of “Duck, Duck, Goose,” play “Seed, Seed, Sprout.”
Gather a variety of vegetables and sort them by color, shape, whether they grow above or below the ground, and whether you like to eat them raw or cooked or both.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This story introduces the names of vegetables and gardening tools and terms as well. The story also introduces some unusual words like golly, sowed, gnawed, nibbled, trench, and chomped.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Mr. McGreely’s series of steps to prevent the bunnies from getting into his garden makes this a great choice for talking about how stories work (beginning, middle, ending) and is great practice for learning to tell a story in sequence.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The size and color of the text varies and the placement of the text draws attention to specific aspects of the illustrations. This encourages awareness of the print, how it relates to the pictures, and connects children to the idea that words can be read and have meaning.

My Kindergarten

 
Image of My Kindergarten (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))
Author: Rosemary Wells
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (2004)
Binding: Hardcover, 96 pages
Illustrator: 

Rosemary Wells

Item Call Number: 

E WELLS

Just like a true Kindergarten year, Rosemary Wells' My Kindergarten is full of fun and learning. It follows the year of a Kindergarten class and all of the amazing things they do and learn.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How did you feel on your first day of Kindergarten? What did you do?
What is your favorite part of Kindergarten?
Would you like to have Miss Cribbage as a teacher? What are some fun things that she does with her class?
What is something new that you have learned in Kindergarten?
Fun things to do together: 
Look at the different patterns on your clothing. Make a book of patterns.
Look at stamps from other countries at this website: http://www.bnaps.org/stamps4kids/world.htm. Design your own stamps for different countries of the world.
Get a book of poetry and read a short poem.
Make "What's-It-Made-Of? Boxes for animals, vegetables, and minerals and collect things from around your house to put in them.
Measure the feet of everyone in your family. Whose are the longest? Whose are the shortest?

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
From stories to songs, from maps to games there is something for everyone in this story about the kindergarten experience. Books that appeal to children on many levels are valuable tools in teaching children to love to read.
See Letters (Letter Knowledge): 
The pages of this book are filled with bright, colorful letters. Help your children see letters by having them point them out or make their sounds as you read the book.

Oh No, Gotta Go!

 
Image of Oh No, Gotta Go!
Author: Susan Middleton Elya
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (2003)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E ELYA

As soon as she goes out for a drive with her parents, a young girl needs to find a bathroom quickly. The text includes some Spanish words and phrases.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why are some of the words in a larger print?
What buildings and landmarks do you know in your neighborhood?
What do you do before you go on a long car trip? What do you like to take with you?
This story is so funny! Can you tell a story about something funny that has happened to you?
Fun things to do together: 
Use this book as a starting point to talk about bathroom etiquette and hygiene.
Talk about the things that are important to do before a long car ride and what you should bring with you on such a trip.
Point out the words that rhyme as you read the story. Think of other words that rhyme with them.
Make a list of the places you know in your community where you would find a restroom.
Check out other bilingual or Spanish books from the library to learn more Spanish vocabulary words.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
The Spanish words and phrases in this book introduce children to a new language and encourage them to use context of sentences to figure out what the words mean in English (there is a Spanish glossary and pronunciation guide in the back of the book).
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
This book rhymes in both English and Spanish and is great fun to read aloud. Practice playing with and enjoying the sounds of language will help children learning to read when they have to sound out unfamiliar words.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The use of bold words and the playful and changing arrangements of the text draw attention to the printed words.

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

 
Image of Old Macdonald Had A Farm
Author: Jane Cabrera
Publisher: Holiday House (2008)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E CABRE

The inhabitants of Old MacDonald's farm are described, verse by verse.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What are Old Macdonald and his wife holding on the last page of the story? Were you surprised?
What part of the story hinted that there was going to be a baby?
What is your favorite farm animal noise to make and why?
How is this book different from the song “Old MacDonald”?
Fun things to do together: 
Talk about what animals belong on a farm versus what animals belong in a zoo.
Use stuffed or plastic animals to act out the song – throw a silly animal (monkey) in to the mix!
Make a guessing game out of the animals featured in the book. For example “I have 4 legs, a long tail and I like to gallop. What am I?”
Make stick puppets of the animals and act out the story or sing the song using the props.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This book has a familiar story based on a song that is very popular with children.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This story is simple and easy to re-tell or act out with stuffed animals or puppets.

Olivia

 
Image of Olivia
Author: Ian Falconer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Atheneum (2000)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Ian Falconer

Item Call Number: 

E FALCO

Whether at home getting ready for the day, enjoying the beach, or at bedtime, Olivia is a feisty pig who has too much energy for her own good.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What does Olivia do at the beach?
What is Olivia’s favorite painting at the museum? Why do you think she likes it?
What is Olivia’s favorite color? Why do you think so?
Why doesn’t Olivia want to go to bed? How do you feel when you have to go to bed?
Fun things to do together: 
Visit an art museum. Prepare for the trip by checking out some art books for children from the library.
If you have no museum near you, explore art books and look at the paintings and the sculptures. What shapes do you see? What colors do you see? What’s happening in the paintings?
Play dress-up just like Olivia does in the story. Describe each new outfit to each other.
Find pictures of the real Empire State Building, either online or in library books and compare it to the one Olivia makes in the book.
Build your own sand castle at the beach, in a sandbox, or build one at home out of toy blocks, empty boxes, yogurt tubs, or other household items that safely stack.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Olivia is a very funny character and children will relate to her and see themselves in mischievousness.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The humor and the simplicity of the story will make it a favorite for repeated readings and a great tool for narrative skill practice because children will enjoy retelling and describing Olivia’s actions in the story.

Once I Ate a Pie

 
Image of Once I Ate a Pie
Author: Patricia MacLachlan, Emily MacLachlan Charest
Publisher: HarperCollins (2006)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Katy Schneider

Item Call Number: 

E 811.54 M22o 2006

A funny and touching collection of poems about dogs, what they do, and why they are so special.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How can you tell that this is a book of poems? Do poems always rhyme?
Do you have a favorite dog in this book? What makes that dog your favorite?
What makes each of these dogs different? How are they the same?
These dogs in these poems have a lot of personality. What do you think personality means?
Fun things to do together: 
Create your own poem stories about your favorite animal.
See if you can identify each of the different types of dogs pictured in this book. Check out a book on different dog breeds.
Poetry books about high interest subjects like dogs are a great way to expose children to the rhyme and rhythm of poetry. Check out I Didn’t Do It, also by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest, for another great poetic look at life from the dog’s point of view.
Look at the way many of the words are printed in the poems. For example, talk about why the word BARK is so bold and large and why the word tiny is printed so small. Write a short poem and make the words bigger or smaller to reflect the meaning.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children love books about dogs, pets, and animals which also makes this a perfect introduction to poetry.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Each poem tells a different short story that children can describe and explain for narrative skill practice. Children will also have fun adding information on to poems and creating their own stories from them.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The fonts, arrangements, and placements of words are used creatively to enhance meaning in these poems. For example, the word tall is stretched, the word big is large and bold, the word running is jumbled. These bold words jump off the white pages and add much to the meanings of the poems and how they should be read aloud.

Orange Pear Apple Bear

 
Image of Orange Pear Apple Bear
Author: Emily Gravett
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (2007)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E GRAVE

Explores concepts of color, shape, and food using only five simple words as a bear juggles and plays with fruit.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How many different ways can you arrange the words in Orange Pear Apple Bear to make a new sentence?
Which arrangement of the four words is your favorite?
How does the story end?
Which of these fruits do you like the best? Why?
Fun things to do together: 
Eat some apples, oranges and pears. Compare the color, look, feel, smell, taste, and sound (when you bite them) of each fruit. Make a list of the words to describe the differences and similarities of the fruits.
Act out the book with real fruits and a stuffed animal. See how quickly you can go through each combination.
Try and come up with other words that rhyme with apple, orange, pear, and bear. Nonsense words count, too!
Talk about the comma and how it makes a difference in the meaning of each phrase. What is an orange bear? Does “orange, bear” mean something different?

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Not only can children very simply and easily retell this story, the brevity of the text will encourage them to study the pictures and add their own words to expand the story.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
No matter how the word arrangement changes, the rhyme and sound play remain intact. Children love simple rhymes and will quickly learn to “read” this simple book along with you.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The simplicity and the arrangement of the text, as well as the changing order of the four words and the change in meaning that results, all serve to highlight the printed word and its connection to the pictures in this story.

Owl Babies

 
Image of Owl Babies
Author: Martin Waddell
Publisher: Candlewick (1992)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E WADDE

Three owl babies whose mother has gone out into the night try to stay calm while she is gone.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why does the story take place at night?
What does nocturnal mean? What other animals are nocturnal? What other animals live in trees?
Which baby owl seems to be the most scared of the three? Why?
Was there a time when you couldn’t find your mom? What did you do?
Why do all of the baby owls sit on the same branch?
Fun things to do together: 
Make a bird feeder. Take a piece of stale bread, a pinecone, or a corn on the cob and spread peanut butter over it. Then finish it off by pressing bird seed into the peanut butter and hanging it from a tree or a fence.
Look for bird nests in the trees in your yard or park. Use binoculars to bird watch.
Gather twigs, leaves, and feathers to build a nest.
Visit a park to find bird or duck feathers. Lightly spray the feathers with water to see how they naturally repel water.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This book will appeal to children because they will relate to the owls’ anxiety about being separated from a parent and will be pleased and relieved when their mother returns.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story details are brief and the plot is linear (straightforward beginning, middle, end) which makes this a great choice to retell and describe for narrative skill practice.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The book design of text on the left hand page and main illustration on the right, as well as the changing text color and the use of italics on words to be emphasized, all serve to draw attention to the printed words. You can enhance this by occasionally running your finger under the words as you read aloud.

Pete's a Pizza

 
Image of Pete's a Pizza
Author: William Steig
Publisher: HarperCollins (1998)
Binding: Library Binding, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

William Steig

Item Call Number: 

E STEIG

What do you do when Pete's in a bad mood? When it is raining and he cannot go out and play? Turn him into a pizza, of course!

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What do you like to do on rainy days when you can't go outside?
Do you like to pretend to be something else? What do you like to pretend to be?
What are your favorite pizza toppings? What could you use for those toppings if you were making a pretend pizza like Pete's father?
What do people do to cheer you up when you are in a bad mood?
What steps do you go through to make a pizza?
Fun things to do together: 
Make your child into a pizza like Pete. Try other foods, too, like hot dogs and tacos. Let them do it to you or a stuffed animal.
Brainstorm for ideas for rainy day activities. Put them all in a Rainy Day Box and draw out an activity on the next rainy day.
Make a pretend pizza from construction paper. Have your child tear out the shapes for the toppings and glue them on. Fine motor exercises like these are excellent ways to prepare your child for handwriting and scissor skills.
Let your child help you make a real pizza. Have them measure the ingredients.
Introduce fractions by having your child help you divide a pizza into equal pieces.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This story captures the joy of a silly family ritual. Books that celebrate these moments in children's lives are natural teachers of the love of books.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story of Pete and his father making rainy day fun is easy and fun to recreate at home. By recreating stories, children learn to describe events and tell stories.

Please, Puppy, Please

 
Image of Please, Puppy, Please
Author: Spike Lee, Tonya Lewis Lee
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E LEE

A close-up look at what happens when a couple of high-energy toddlers meet their match in an adventurous pup who has no plans of letting up.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
The illustrator’s use of perspective gives us a view of the action that’s different from most picture books. Talk about this perspective. Why do you think Mr. Nelson painted his pictures this way?
Why do you think the boy and girl are having such a hard time with their dog?
What happens to the cat in the story?
What would you name this puppy? Why?
Fun things to do together: 
Talk about the punctuation. Point out exclamation points and question marks.
Talk about why some of the words are printed in a larger size.
Visit the Humane Society to look at dogs or check out a book about taking care of dogs from the library.
Look at dog books to see if you can figure out what type of dog is in the story.
Go beyond the story and imagine what the dog’s name might be. How did the children get the dog? What are the children’s names?
This book, as well as Lee and Nelson’s companion story, Please, Baby, Please, features African American children in a simple story unrelated to race or culture. For more examples of such natural diversity look for books illustrated by Karen Katz, LeUyen Pham, Cathryn Falwell.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The large, double page illustrations and unusual perspective make this book very appealing and children gravitate toward books about pets and animals. They will enjoy being able to join in reading with you as they learn the repeating pattern of the simple text.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story is very simple and easy to retell with a well defined beginning, middle and end.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The words please and puppy are repeated many times making this book easy to read and the text is huge and bold. When reading aloud, emphasize the largest bold words with your voice and enjoy playing with the language of the story.

Rapunzel

 
Image of Rapunzel (Caldecott Medal Book)
Author: Paul O. Zelinsky
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (1997)
Binding: Hardcover, 48 pages
Item Call Number: 

J 398.20943 G317zelr 1997

The classic tale of the girl with the long golden hair beautifully illustrated and retold by Paul Zelinsky. Discover why the sorceress locked Rapunzel in the tower and what happens when a mysterious prince appears.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is a fairy tale? What other fairy tales have you heard or read?
What do you think would happen if the husband didn't get Rapunzel for his wife?
Why does the prince fall in love with Rapunzel?
How does the prince get into the tower?
Why does the sorceress send Rapunzel away?
How does the story end?
Fun things to do together: 
Act out the story using a husband, wife, Rapunzel, sorceress, prince, and twins. Set the chant "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair" to music.
List all the good qualities of the sorceress.
Make a diorama (a miniature scene) of the garden or the tower using a shoe box. Imagine various rooms that might be inside the tower.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Did you know you could eat rapunzel? There are a lot of new words in this story. Discuss the words and their definitions with your child.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Fairy tales have a fairly regular story structure and are easy and fun to learn, making them easy to use for practice in telling stories or describing events. Act it out or use dolls or puppets as the characters.

Sheep in a Jeep

 
Image of Sheep in a Jeep
Author: Nancy E. Shaw
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (1986)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Margot Apple

Item Call Number: 

E SHAW

Records the misadventures of a group of sheep that go riding in a jeep.

Series: Sheep on a Ship (1989), Sheep in a Shop (1991), Sheep Out to Eat (1992), Sheep Take a Hike (1994), Sheep Trick or Treat (1997), Sheep Blast Off (2008).

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Where do you think the sheep are going in their jeep?
What are words in the book that rhyme?
What do the sheep do with their jeep when it crashes? Do you think anyone will buy it? Why or why not?
Do you think the sheep will be better drivers next time? Why?
What do you think would have happened if the pigs hadn't helped the sheep?
Fun things to do together: 
Have your child pretend to be a sheep in a jeep by sitting in a laundry basket and pretending to steer. Add a kinesthetic element to the story by tugging them out of a pretend mud puddle and crashing them into a pile of pillows.
Use letter magnets to make rhyming words.
Have your child make an advertisement trying to sell the sheep's wrecked jeep. Help them think of words to describe the jeep?
Make sheep by gluing cottonballs onto construction paper.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
The fun, rhyming language of Sheep in a Jeep encourages children to make sounds and hear the smaller sounds within words.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The fun, rhyming language of Sheep in a Jeep encourages children to make sounds and hear the smaller sounds within words.

Snowballs

 
Image of Snowballs
Author: Lois Ehlert
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (1995)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Lois Ehlert

Item Call Number: 

E EHLER

Some children create a family out of snow. Includes labeled pictures of all the items they use, as well as information about how snow is formed.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Which snowperson was your favorite and why?
Have you ever made a snowman? If so, what kind of things did you use to dress it up?
What is your favorite season?
Why did the snow people melt?
Fun things to do together: 
Make snowmen using white construction paper and various things from around the house.
Use the back page of the book as a quiz to test your child's memory of which snowman had what on him.
Make birdfeeders for your backyard using peanut butter and pinecones with birdseed.
Sing "Frosty the Snowman."
Turn the book into an "I Spy" game for each page.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Since the snowmen are made out of so many pieces, this book will want to be read over and over to find them all.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
While reading the book, point out all the different materials used. On the end pages, there are labeled pictures of everything.

Snowmen at Night

 
Image of Snowmen at Night
Author: Caralyn Buehner
Publisher: Dial (2002)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E BUEHN

Snowmen play games at night when no one is watching.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What games did the snowmen play?
Which games did they play that you would like to play, too?
How do you think the snowmen moved since they don’t have real feet?
What would you do if a snowman wanted to play with you?
Fun things to do together: 
Build a snowman together using sports equipment, like a baseball bat and hat, to pretend your snowman will need them when he goes to play at night.
Have a winter picnic and make a plate, bowl, and cup out of snow. Invite your snowman to join you. Talk about the differences and similarities of winter and summer picnics.
Make tube sock snowmen using dry beans, fiber fill, buttons and chenille sticks. (denisefleming.com). Use the snowmen to act out the story.
Cut out paper snowflakes and tape them to the windows or hang them from the ceiling with string to float in the air. Discuss the unique shapes of real snowflakes and how no two are exactly alike but they do all have six points. Go to the library and check out non-fiction books on snow and weather.
Make a weather calendar and note with pictures and words what the weather is like each day. At the end of the month make a chart showing the different types of weather and which type of weather appears the most and least often.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This imaginative story encourages children to wonder “what if” and is perfect for narrative skill practice. Ask your child to describe what he or she thinks happens next or happens instead.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The rhythm and rhyme of the text makes this an enjoyable story to read over and over again and playing with rhyme helps children learn to sound out unfamiliar words later when learning to read.

Spicy Hot Colors / Colores Picantes

 
Image of Spicy Hot Colors: Colores Picantes
Author: Sherry Shahan
Publisher: August House (2004)
Binding: Hardcover, 24 pages
Illustrator: 

Paula Barragán

Item Call Number: 

E SHAHA

Jazzy poetry, dancing skeletons, walking iguanas, musical sounds, and popping firecrackers all gather to introduce nine colors through onomatopoeia and alliteration in English and in Spanish.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Which colors do you like the best?
Can corn be green, or does it have to be yellow? Can skeletons be purple or do they have to be white?
What colors are spicy? What colors are cool? What colors are hot?
Fun things to do together: 
Find some items around the house and make up with different sounds that they might make - (shimmy-shammy-slunk might be the sound of water as it goes down the drain).
Ms. Barragán, the illustrator, is from Ecuador. Where is Ecuador? Can you find it on a map?
Use bold-colored crayons, paint, and/or bold-colored construction paper with black paper to make your own Barragán-esque art.
Make up a song using the funny words in this book.
Dance and march to the rhythm of this book.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story introduces not only new words in Spanish for colors, but also likely unfamiliar English nouns like iguana, cilantro, and castanets as well as fun and unusual adjectives like "spitter-sputter "and verbs like "slither" and "swivel."
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The onomatopoeia (sound words) and alliteration (words with the same beginning sounds) like "drip-drop" and "flitter-flutter " provide ample exploration and play with sound.

Stellaluna

 
Image of Stellaluna
Author: Janell Cannon
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (1993)
Binding: Hardcover, 46 pages
Item Call Number: 

E CANNO

After she falls headfirst into a bird's nest, a baby bat is raised like a bird until she is reunited with her mother.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How does Stellaluna get separated from her mother?
How would you describe the friendship between Stellaluna and the birds?
What obstacles might there be to continuing the friendship?
What might have happened to Stellaluna and the birds if Stellaluna had not been reunited with her mother?
Fun things to do together: 
Read “Bat notes” at the end of the book and discuss with children.
Build a Bat House. Check out bat books or use the library databases for children to find out more about the importance of bat houses.
Visit the zoo and talk about the difference and similarities of bats and birds as you observe them. Read a book about each and talk about or write down their similarities and differences
Janell Cannon has an affinity for unusual animals and her books introduce children to beautiful animals not normally thought of as cute, fluffy, and perfect for children’s books. Read more books by Cannon, such as Crickwing, Verdi and Pinduli.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This is a funny and heartfelt story about a bat that finds itself a second family. Children will be drawn to the themes of belonging, identity, and friendship.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Despite the amount of detail, the straightforward story is one that children will be able to retell and describe specific events with some ease to work on narrative skill development.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The book design – text on the left side page and illustrations on the right side – increases awareness of the important connection between words and pictures in telling the story.

Stone Soup

 
Image of Stone Soup (Aladdin Picture Books)
Author: Marcia Brown
Publisher: Aladdin (1997)
Binding: Paperback, 48 pages
Item Call Number: 

E BROWN

When three hungry soldiers come to a town where all the food has been hidden they outwit the greedy villagers by making a soup from water and stones.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What did you think of the soldiers’ plan? Do you think they found the best way to solve their problem? Why or why not?
How did the three men gain the villagers’ trust?
What would have happened if the villagers thought they were being tricked?
How did the villagers feel about the men after the feast?
Why did they give the men the best beds in the village?
Fun things to do together: 
Make a chart of all the different vegetables that were used in the soup. Find out what your family members’ favorite vegetables are and make a graph.
Make your own stone soup. Cook a favorite vegetable soup recipe and discuss healthy foods and snacks.
Read another version of the Stone Soup tale. How are the tales similar? How are they different?

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Help your child create personal connections to the story and a lasting memory by cooking stone soup together.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Practice retelling the story with your child using different props.

Strega Nona

 
Image of Strega Nona (Caldecott Honor Books)
Author: Tomie DePaola
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (1975)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Tomie de Paola

Item Call Number: 

E DEPAO

When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony's deceitful decision to show the townspeople how it works gets him into trouble in this Caldecott Honor book.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What does the name Strega Nona mean?
What does Strega Nona tell Big Anthony he must never do?
What does the magic pot do when you recite the magic words?
How does Big Anthony get into trouble?
Have you ever done something that you were told not to do?
Fun things to do together: 
Put on a pot of pasta together, and over the pot, recite Strega Nona's magic words, "Bubble, bubble, pasta pot?"
Make your own magic pasta pot; take an empty butter tub or some other empty plastic container and cut lots and lots of yellow yarn for pasta. Put it on paper plates when it's "done" and serve it to the family.
In this story, blowing three kisses is a magic command to stop the pot. For an entire day, blow three kisses to each other to say "Please" and "Thank You."

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Knowing the names of things. This story presents opportunities to discuss the meanings of some unusual words and phrases, for example: convent, town square, grazie, applause, barricade, and sputter.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The ability to describe things and events and tell stories. With repeated readings, children can recall the events of the story in sequence and describe what goes wrong when Anthony forgets the magic kisses.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Strega Nona's rhyming magic chants are fun to say and memorize.

Swimmy

 
Image of Swimmy
Author: Leo Lionni
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (1963)
Binding: Library Binding, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Leo Lionni

Item Call Number: 

E LIONN

This is the story of a clever little fish named Swimmy. When his brothers and sisters are eaten by a big fish, he teaches his friends to work together to stay safe and free to explore the ocean in all its beauty.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How did Swimmy feel when he escaped from the tuna and swam all alone in the sea?
What helped Swimmy feel happy again? What things make you feel happy?
What did Swimmy do to help the fish not be afraid?
What part of the big fish did Swimmy pretend to be?
How many red fish work together to make one big fish?
If you could live in the ocean, what would you want to be? Why?
Fun things to do together: 
Cut several red fish shapes and a black one out of construction paper. Use various lengths of fishing line or string to suspend the fish from a coat hanger to create a mobile.
Cut a variety of sea creatures/plants/treasure chest out of different colored construction paper. Attach a paper clip. Use string and a stick to create a fishing pole and tie a magnet to the end of the string. Go fishing.
Visit a pet store and find out about all the different kinds of fish they have.
Cut a large fish pattern out of two pieces of cellophane or construction paper and punch holes all around the edge. Stuff with small pieces of shiny paper and sew together with yarn.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Beautiful and poetic language is used to create a mood & learn new words such as "medusa, marvel & sea anemone".
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Children will quickly understand and be able to explain how Swimmy's idea of working together kept them safe.

Tacky the Penguin

 
Image of Tacky the Penguin
Author: Helen Lester
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (1988)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Lynn Munsinger

Item Call Number: 

E LESTE

Tacky the penguin does not fit in with his sleek and graceful companions, but his odd behavior comes in handy when hunters come with maps and traps.

Series: Three Cheers for Tacky (1994), Tacky in Trouble (1998), Tacky and the Emperor (2000), Tacky and the Winter Games (2005)

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What would you do if you lived in a "nice icy land" like Tacky? How would you build a snowman? What would happen if you had a snowball fight? etc.
If you could be any of the characters in the story, who would you want to be? Why?
Why did all of the penguins except Tacky run away and hide when the hunters came?
What do you do when you are scared?
What is the bravest thing you have done?
How do you help your friends?
Fun things to do together: 
Practice marching in straight lines like Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly and Perfect. Then march in a totally made up way like Tacky.
Make up a silly song like Tacky did and sing it to the melody of a well known song.
Use markers to draw a winter or Antarctic scene. When the drawing is finished and dry, use a damp sponge and go over the paper lightly. Use a shaker to gently shake salt over the picture. When the salt touches the paper, it will crystallize and look like snowflakes.
Find Antarctica on a globe or map. Use the library to find which animals live in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
In Tacky, children find a character that they immediately identify with and love.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Children will love acting out all of the things that Tacky does differently than his friends.

The Biggest Bear

 
Image of The Biggest Bear
Author: Lynd Ward
Publisher: Sandpiper (1973)
Binding: Paperback, 88 pages
Item Call Number: 

E WARD

In this 1953 Caldecott Award winning book, Johnny Orchard befriends a bear cub that quickly grows up and becomes a big problem. Johnny tries to return the bear to the woods, but each time the bear comes back.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What are the differences and similarities between how we live today and how Johnny lived?
Why did Mr. McCarroll dislike bears?
What problems did the bear cause?
Why did Johnny have to take the bear into the woods? Why did the bear continue to come back?
How was the problem of getting rid of the bear resolved?
Fun things to do together: 
How big is a bear? Find out more about bears and their habitats. Compare your height and weight with a bear.
Go on a nature walk in the woods. Draw pictures and identify the different animals and plants you see on your walk.
When did this story take place? Create a chart comparing the similarities and differences between the time when Johnny lived and the present day.
Discuss gun safety with your child. Even if you do not own a gun, your child may encounter one.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Point out and discuss some of the new farm and nature words in the book.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The simple layout of the text on the left and pictures on the right make it easy for your child to become aware of the text. Occasionally use your finger to follow along with the text in the book as you read together.

The Carrot Seed

 
Image of The Carrot Seed 60th Anniversary Edition
Author: Ruth Krauss
Publisher: HarperCollins (1989)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Crockett Johnson

Item Call Number: 

E KRAUS

Despite everyone's dire predictions, a little boy has faith in the carrot seed he plants.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why doesn’t the boy’s family believe that his carrot will come up?
What did he do to help his carrot grow?
Why did he keep on caring for his carrot, even though his family doesn’t think it will come up?
At the end of the story, the little boy’s carrot is as big as he is. What is the biggest vegetable you ever saw? Where did you see it?
What vegetables do you like to eat?
Fun things to do together: 
Plant carrot seeds and watch them grow. Each week you can measure how much the carrot has grown. Make a simple graph or keep a journal to record the measurements and the changes over time.
Do a simple experiment. Plant seeds in cups with the following conditions: 1. Soil, water, sunshine 2. Soil and sunshine, but no water 3. Water and sunshine, but no soil 4. Water and soil, but no sunshine. Check the progress of each seed each day, and talk about why some seeds sprout while the others don’t. Keep a log of your observations.
Visit a farmer’s market as a family. Ask the vendors what they do to raise their fruits and vegetables. Ask them why they like raising produce.
Talk about and sort vegetables by their attributes (qualities or characteristics). Which ones grow underground? Which ones grow in trees? Which ones have seeds? Which ones don’t have seeds? What colors do you see?

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Very simple and brief story is easy for children to describe and retell. This is perfect and simple example of story with a beginning, middle, and end.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The design of the book – bold text on one white page and illustrations on the facing page – emphasizes the words that tell the story. Point to the words occasionally as you read to increase your child’s awareness of the print and its connection to the pictures.

The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash

 
Image of The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash
Author: Trinka Hakes Noble
Publisher: Dial Press (1980)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Steven Kellogg

Item Call Number: 

E NOBLE

A schoolgirl tells her mother a wild story about the resulting chaos that ensues from her classmate Jimmy’s decision to bring his pet boa constrictor along on a class trip to the farm.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is the girl who is telling her mother about the trip to the farm doing while she is telling the story?
What did the pigs do on the school bus? What foods were they eating?
What do you think the numbers on the clothes that the farmer’s wife was hanging out to dry might mean?
What is the farmer’s wife doing on the very last page of the story? What would you make for your favorite pet?
What place would you like to visit on a class trip?
Fun things to do together: 
Picture walk and find all the different animals that appear in the pages of the story. Make a simple graph and record how many of each animal appears to determine which kind of animal appears most frequently.
Help your child retell the events of the story in sequence using animal puppets or drawings.
Check out children’s non-fiction books on boa constrictors to find out if they make good pets.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This story is funny – children will love to hear the story and look at the pictures again and again.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
There are some words in the story not common to picture books. Look up the meanings of new words like poultry, dull, topic, and silence that are found in the text and in the pictures.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The story is full of funny cause and effect situations which make it a great tool to practice describing events and storytelling sequence and discussing the meanings of beginning, middle, and end.

The Doorbell Rang

 
Image of The Doorbell Rang
Author: Pat Hutchins
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (1986)
Binding: Hardcover, 24 pages
Item Call Number: 

E HUTCH

Each time the doorbell rings, there are more people who have come to share Ma's wonderful cookies.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How many cookies did Ma bake the first time? How do you know?
What happens to the kitchen floor during the story?
Can you count or make your best guess how many cookies Grandma has on her tray? On the last page, how many children will share them?
Why is it important to share?
Fun things to do together: 
Bake cookies and divide them into two piles, four piles, six piles, etc.
Mop the kitchen floor together.
Cut a circle out of brown construction paper for each cookie Grandma has on her tray. Count how many children can share them if every child gets one cookie, two cookies, etc.
Go to a bakery and buy cookies to share. How many friends will get a cookie if you buy a dozen cookies and give two to each friend?
Invite your grandma over and let her help you bake some cookies.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Cookies and sharing are a great story subjects for young children.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The structure of this story makes it ideal for narrative skill practice and introduction to math concepts. Use real cookies or cookies cut out of construction paper to retell the story using these props and take time to do the math.

The Empty Pot

 
Image of The Empty Pot (An Owlet Book)
Author: Demi
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (1996)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E DEMI

When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How does the Emperor decide to choose a successor?
What is the challenge the Emperor gives the children to do?
How long do the children have to grow a flower?
What does Ping’s father tell him when his flower does not grow?
What does Ping tell the Emperor and what was the consequence? Were you surprised?
Fun things to do together: 
Go to a flower garden and learn more about flowers.
Plant some flower seeds in pots and watch them grow.
Cook some seeds and eat them.
Largely influenced by Chinese culture, Demi’s thoughtful fables are ripe with lessons about what it means to be human in any culture. Read more of Demi’s books such as The Donkey and the Rock, Liang and the Magic Paintbrush, and The Dragon’s Tale.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Well told story with beautiful illustrations. Children will relate to Ping’s story about trying very hard to accomplish something.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The straightforward simplicity of the story about honesty makes this any easier story for children to retell and describe.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The text is set off and emphasized by the way Demi encircles and separates the illustration from the text on each page. Occasionally run your finger under the words as you read to add further emphasis to the text.

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

 
Image of The Jacket I Wear in the Snow
Author: Shirley Neitzel
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (1989)
Binding: Library Binding, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E NEITZ

A young girl names all the clothes that she must wear to play in the snow.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why does the little girl put on these clothes?
Would she wear these clothes to the beach?
When would you wear these clothes?
Why did the little girl cry?
What happened when the little girl went inside?
Fun things to do together: 
Play dress up using clothes that you would wear for different seasons. Have a beach party with Hawaiian music, summer clothes, and a beach ball or wear winter clothes and sit around a pretend campfire and drink hot cocoa. Discuss the weather and which months of the year are warm or cold and what clothes are worn and why.
Create a rebus book with pictures from magazines or stickers. Staple plastic zip top bags together to make the book and change out the pages to make a new story.
Make clothing flash cards with a picture and the word on the back. Write some sentences where your child can fill in the blank with the pictures and finish the sentence.
Take a “clothes walk” and decide in what weather your child would wear them and why.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The cumulative structure of this story, the specific details, and the repetition make it easier to retell and a perfect choice for narrative skill practice.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
The rhythm and rhyme of the words along with the pictures guide the child along to “read” this alone.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
This rebus picture book helps children understand how words fit into sentences and give meaning.

The Little Engine That Could

 
Image of The Little Engine That Could
Author: Watty Piper
Publisher: Philomel (2005)
Binding: Hardcover, 48 pages
Illustrator: 

Loren Long

Item Call Number: 

E PIPER

Although she is not very big, the Little Blue Engine agrees to try to pull a stranded train full of toys over the mountain.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Can you think of something you have done that you thought would be difficult?
Why won't the other engines help the train full of toys?
Why did the Little Blue Engine help the train full of toys? What would you have done if they had asked you for help?
How are you similar to the Little Blue Engine? How are you different?
Fun things to do together: 
Make a train using the chairs from your kitchen table. What will your train carry? Where is it going?
Make shakers from dried beans and paper cups. See if you can imitate the rhythm of a train.
Make rectangular train cars. Write a letter of your child's name on each car. Help your child put the cars in the right order to spell his or her name.
Make a Marshmallow Train Snack. Use large marshmallows for the cars and pretzel sticks to connect them. Use peanut butter to stick on Cheerios for wheels.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Being interested in and enjoying books. Time-tested stories like this story about the persistent little engine have helped generations of children to learn to love books.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Being able to describe things and events and tell stories. The repetitive and predictable pattern of The Little Engine That Could helps to teach children a natural and ancient structure for telling stories.

The Mitten

 
Image of The Mitten Board Book Edition
Author: Jan Brett
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (1996)
Binding: Board book, 36 pages
Item Call Number: 

E BRETT

Retelling of the traditional folktale about how a boy's little lost mitten becomes a refuge from the cold for an increasing number of larger and larger animals.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why was the boy’s grandmother hesitant to make snow white mittens?
Why do you think the animals want to be inside his mitten?
Where would the animals usually be during the winter?
Why do you think the animals inside the mitten keep allowing other animals to enter?
How does the boy find his mitten?
Why do you think it is important to try not to lose things?
Fun things to do together: 
Discuss the different animals in the book. Use the library to discover what each animal truly does during the winter season.
Explore measurement concepts. Have fun with nonstandard measurements by using building blocks, legos, cotton balls, pennies, etc. to “measure” the length of a mitten, an arm, a sidewalk, etc.
Make 26 pairs of identical size mittens from construction or typing paper. Print uppercase letters on 26 mittens and lowercase letters on the remaining mittens. Place mittens in alphabetical order or match uppercase letters to corresponding lowercase letters.
Cut 21 small mitten shapes and write the numbers 0-20 on the mittens for your child. Have the child glue them on to a snowy scene in the correct order or for more advanced fun, practice simple addition and subtraction.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children will love and love to laugh at the idea of all those animals squeezing into a small mitten until it falls apart. Silly, funny, stories have high level of child appeal.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
For narrative skill practice, make cut outs of a mitten and the animal characters and have your child retell the story with these props. The simple, clear sequence of events makes this a great practice tool.

The Mysterious Tadpole

 
Image of The Mysterious Tadpole: 25th Anniversary Edition
Author: Steven Kellogg
Publisher: Dial (2002)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Item Call Number: 

E KELLO

It soon becomes clear that Louis's pet tadpole is not turning into an ordinary frog.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What’s Alphonse’s favorite food?
How many different places does Alphonse live?
What might happen to Alphonse if Louis and Ms. Seevers do not find the treasure chest?
What kind of animal did Uncle McAllister give Louis at the end?
What would you choose for a pet besides a cat or a dog?
Fun things to do together: 
Get a tadpole and watch it change or check out a library book the about the lifecycle of a frog.
Check out a library book about the Loch Ness Monster.
Find Scotland (the place Uncle McAllister found the tadpole) on a map. Talk about how someone could travel there from where you live.
Check out a library book about the Loch Ness Monster.
Go to the pool and try to swim like a frog and the Loch Ness Monster.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Kellogg’s illustrations are very detailed and often hysterical. Children will want to read the story repeatedly and will want to pour over what is happening in the pictures.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
 
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The twist and turn plot still has a very linear (straightforward) storyline that will help children easily recall the events in sequence when they are asked to describe the story.

The Neighborhood Mother Goose

 
Image of The Neighborhood Mother Goose
Author: Nina Crews
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (2004)
Binding: Library Binding, 64 pages
Illustrator: 

Nina Crews

Item Call Number: 

E CREWS

This is a wonderful treasury of nursery rhymes illustrated with collage photographs of contemporary urban cities and multicultural children

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is your favorite rhyme? Can you say it by heart? (A child that knows 8 nursery rhymes by the age of 4 will be a good reader by the age of 8).
What letter does your name start with? Can you find that letter on the pages with the A Was an Apple Pie rhyme? If you could have a garden like Mary, what would you grow?
Would you like to live in a shoe? Why or why not?
Fun things to do together: 
Say three words. Ask your child to put a thumb up if the words rhyme and thumbs down if they don't. For example, cat, hat, bat and run, fun, play.
Read some of your child's favorite rhymes again. Ask your child to clap when hearing a rhyming word.
Say a silly sentence with a missing word. Ask your child to use rhyming clues to figure out the missing word. For example, "I saw a bear combing his _____(hair)".
Plant an indoor flower or vegetable garden in paper cups.
After discussing living in a shoe, ask your child what his or her dream house would look like. Ask them to draw a picture of the house.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
With its photographs of multicultural children, this collection will be popular with children because it reflects their world.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Fun words & phrases like "Wee Willie Winkie" and "Diddle Diddle Dumpling" invite children to play with language.

The Seals on the Bus

 
Image of The Seals on the Bus (An Owlet Book)
Author: Lenny Hort
Publisher: Owlet Paperbacks (2003)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E HORT

Different animals--including seals, tigers, geese, rabbits, monkeys, and more--make their own sounds as they ride all around the town on a bus.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Do you think that this story reminds you of another song that you might have heard? If so, what is that song and what is different about the song and the story?
Which animal on the bus is your favorite? Which is your least favorite?
Would you get on a bus that had all those animals on it? Why or why not?
Why are the people on the bus shouting, “Help! Help! Help!”?
Fun things to do together: 
Set up kitchen chairs in a row, and pretend that you are a bus driver. Line up some stuffed animals, and see which ones you would pick up.
Draw a map of your street/neighborhood/city and look at what route your bus would take. You can also draw animals at certain landmarks/intersections to pick up.
Talk about bus fares and how much it would cost to go to the grocery store or post office. Use play money and practice counting out change.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children will enjoy joining in to make the animal sounds at each stop and will want to read the book again and again.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This story is simple and easy to re-tell or act out.

The Snowy Day

 
Image of The Snowy Day
Author: Ezra Jack Keats
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (1962)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Jack Ezra Keats

Item Call Number: 

E KEATS

The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What activities does Peter do in the snow?
Why was the snowball in Peter's pocket gone when looked for it later in the story?
Describe how snow feels and what it looks like.
What activities do you enjoy doing in the snow?
Fun things to do together: 
Put on a hat and mittens and make hot chocolate before reading the story.
Sing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" and "Frosty the Snowman" together.
Pretend to walk in the snow (or actually walk in the snow) as Peter does with your toes pointing both in and out.
Make snowballs from crumpled plastic grocery bags and have a snowball fight.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Peter's snow adventure takes place over a specifically defined period beginning with his waking discovery of a snowy morning into the next morning. This straight forward time line and his simply detailed experiences with the snow make this story a good choice for describing events and telling about them in sequence.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
Words and sentence structures are used in conjunction with illustrations to highlight details of the story - how Peter walks in the snow toes in and then toes out and the snow falling on his head with a plop - drawing attention to the words on the page.

The Story of Ferdinand

 
Image of The Story of Ferdinand
Author: Munro Leaf
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (1936)
Binding: Hardcover, 72 pages
Item Call Number: 

E LEAF

Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What was your favorite part of the story?
Do you sometimes feel different from your friends? How does that make you feel?
What do you think about Ferdinand’s mother? Was she right to let Ferdinand be himself rather than try to be like the other bulls?
How does Ferdinand deal with the matador?
Fun things to do together: 
Sit under a tree to read the story. Think about Ferdinand sitting under his tree smelling the flowers. What do you smell as you sit under the tree? What do you hear?
Go to a flower shop and smell the flowers. Try to describe the different smells of the different types of flowers. Which one do you think Ferdinand would have liked best? Which do you like the most?
Buy some flower seeds and make a garden for Ferdinand.
The illustrations show Ferdinand’s mother (a cow) marks Ferdinand’s changing height as he grows on a tree. Find a place in your house to mark how tall your child is as he or she grows, a great early opportunity to talk about measurement. Be to put the date next to each mark.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
There are some words not commonly found in picture book stories. Look up and discuss the meanings of new words like lonesome, matador, bull ring, and fierce. Locate Spain on a map.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The linear plot (events in straight-forward sequence) of this story makes it a nice choice for narrative skill practice. Encourage your child to describe the major events of the story in order from beginning to end.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The black words on the stark white pages bring focus to the text. Occasionally run your finger under the words as you read to emphasize the fact that you are reading words to your child and those words have meaning.

The Stray Dog

 
Image of The Stray Dog: From a True Story by Reiko Sassa
Author: Marc Simont
Publisher: HarperCollins (2001)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E SIMON

A family befriends a stray dog while on a picnic, names him Willy, and decides to keep him.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What is a picnic? What things would you bring on a picnic?
What did you think of the family’s decision to leave Willy behind? What does “stray” mean?
How could you tell the family thought about Willie all week after that day at the park?
How did the children convince the dog warden to leave Willie with them?
How does the story end?
Fun things to do together: 
Look at a city map together and find parks close to your home where you could go on a picnic.
Make a list of the things you would need on a picnic. Go shopping with your list and go on a real picnic.
Go to a dog park and watch dogs play together.
Visit the Humane Society website together to learn about how to help animals without homes.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Talk about the meanings of the words collar, leash, stray, warden.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The simple, brief story is easy to retell by acting it out with family members and a stuffed dog.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The double page spread features the days of the week in a much larger, noticeably different text format which draws attention to printed words as a source of meaning.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

 
Image of The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Potter)
Author: Beatrix Potter
Publisher: Warne (2002)
Binding: Hardcover, 70 pages
Illustrator: 

Beatrix Potter

Item Call Number: 

E POTTE

Naughty Peter Rabbit disobeys his mother by going into Mr. McGregor's garden and almost gets caught.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
How many rabbits were in the story? How many little rabbits?
What were their names?
Who did the garden belong to?
What color was Peter's coat?
What did Peter lose in the garden? What happened to them?
What did Peter eat to make his tummy feel better?
Fun things to do together: 
Visit a pet store and look at the rabbits. Discuss which one looks the most like Peter and his family.
Visit the grocery and try to find all the vegetables that Peter ate.
Hop like a bunny and twitch your nose. Act out the story.
Make a simple rabbit puppet using a paper bag and construction paper.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This classic story has comfort, adventure and a happy ending that keeps the reader interested.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Children are introduced to the names of many vegetables and gardening tools in the story.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Potter's title is a simple story with a great conclusion.

The Ugly Duckling

 
Image of The Ugly Duckling
Author: Hans Christian Andersen, Jerry Pinkney
Publisher: HarperCollins (1999)
Binding: Library Binding, 40 pages
Illustrator: 

Jerry Pinkney

Item Call Number: 

E ANDER

An ugly duckling spends an unhappy year ostracized by the other animals before he grows into a beautiful swan.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Did the other animals in this book do anything that made them ugly?
How did the duckling feel when the other animals teased him? Have you ever felt that way? What happened that made you feel that way?
Was there anyone in the story who was kind to the duckling?
How do you think the Ugly Duckling's egg got in the mother duck's nest?
What seasons were shown in the story? How could you recognize them?
Fun things to do together: 
Curl up in a ball on the floor and pretend to be a duckling hatching from an egg.
Make up your own fairy tale like Hans Christian Anderson. Make one of your stuffed animals the main character.
Make animals sounds for all of the different animals the Ugly Duckling meets.
Draw a picture of your favorite scene in the book.
Look at pictures of different kinds of eggs. Talk about what kinds of birds you think might come out of the eggs.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This version of The Ugly Duckling has large and detailed illustrations. Children will love looking at the small details in each picture.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Classic stories like The Ugly Duckling teach children the framework for telling stories.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 
Image of The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Author: Eric Carle
Publisher: Philomel (1981)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Eric Carle

Item Call Number: 

E CARLE

This story follows the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats his way through a varied and very large quantity of food until, full at last, he forms a cocoon around himself, goes to sleep, and emerges from his sleepy cocoon a beautiful butterfly.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What are the days of the week?
What does the caterpillar eat on each day?
How many items does the caterpillar eat on each day?
What happens to the caterpillar after he goes to sleep in his cocoon?
What are your favorite fruits and foods?
Fun things to do together: 
Use a calendar and record the foods eaten on each day in the story or make your own calendar and do the same
Using a magazine, cut out pictures of the same foods in the story use them to glue a healthy meal to a paper plate
Watch a child's educational film, like a Magic School Bus video or DVD, about the life cycle of a caterpillar

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
This story offers practice with the words for the days of the week and a variety of common foods.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The cumulative structure of this story - what the caterpillar eats on each passing day and the simple progressive details of his life cycle - are ideal for practice in describing simple events and recounting details of a story.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

 
Image of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Caldecott Honor Book)
Author: Simms Taback
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (1997)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Simms Taback

Item Call Number: 

E TABAC

Everyone knows the song about the old lady who swallowed a fly, a spider, a bird, and even worse, but who's ever seen what's going on inside the old lady's stomach? With this inventive die-cut artwork, Simms Tabak gives us a rollicking, eye-popping version of the well-loved poem.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why do you think the old lady swallowed a fly? Could it have been an accident?
What was the reaction of the cow? What about the bird, dog, and cat?
Have you ever swallowed something strange that you would not normally eat?
Who is the man at the end of the story? What is his reaction to the old lady's death?
Fun things to do together: 
Make a food chain. What might the cat really eat? The fly? The spider and the bird?
Write the names and/or draw a picture of the various animals eaten by the old lady on a small piece of paper. Put them in sequential order.
On a paper plate, draw your face and cut a small slit for your mouth. Using clip art or pictures from magazines, cut out pictures of "yummy" foods you'd like to eat. Slip them into your "mouth" to eat them.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This title is a silly, funny, classic tale (or song) and children will laugh at the ridiculousness of the plot as well as the humor of the rhymes. The bright, detailed illustrations and the growing hole (an actual hole) in the old lady's stomach with the turn of each page will also inspire children to get up close to the book for a better look at each reading.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Being able to describe things and events and tell stories. The cumulative structure (the fly, the spider, the bird, etc.) and the repeated phrases will inspire children to join in and encourage them to retell the story in sequence.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. This title has a very infectious rhyme and rhythm which is very often enjoyed as a song and encourages children to play with the ending sounds of words.

There’s a Nightmare in My Closet

 
Image of There's a Nightmare in My Closet
Author: Mercer Mayer
Publisher: Puffin (1992)
Binding: Paperback, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Mercer Mayer

Item Call Number: 

E MAYER

At bedtime a boy confronts the nightmare in his closet and finds him not so terrifying after all.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
The little boy in the book goes to bed with his cannon and his gun. Why does he do that?
What do you sleep with so you will feel safe?
Why did the little boy decide not to shoot his nightmare?
What do you think the little boy will do about the other nightmare in his closet?
What do you do when you have a nightmare?
Fun things to do together: 
Help your child explore his or her closet with a flashlight. What do you find in there? How many toys are there? How many pairs of shoes?
Ask your child to draw a picture of his or her last nightmare or dream. Talk with him or her about what they draw. Ask them to identify the objects, and what happened in the nightmare. Ask your child to explain why he/she found that dream frightening.
Make bedtime a special event. Dress in pajamas. Have a bedtime snack of hot chocolate or hot milk, and peanut butter or cheese crackers.
Play calming music while your child brushes his or her teeth. Tuck your child into bed and read soothing stories. Leave soothing music playing when you turn out the light—the library has a rich variety of lullaby CDs for you to check out!
Use household items to make monster masks (paper plates, paper towel tubes, paper shopping bags, yarn, etc.) Act out the story. Then act out what might happen when the little boy wakes up and sees the other nightmare in his closet.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Children will find this to be a very relatable story as they are learning to sleep all night alone and to cope with bad dreams they may have. Sharing this book will help ease fears and build confidence as it becomes a favorite story.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This is a great story to act out and retell for narrative skill practice, with straightforward, simple details and few plot developments.

Three Billy Goats Gruff

 
Image of The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Author: Paul Galdone
Publisher: Clarion Books (1979)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Paul Galdone

Item Call Number: 

E GALDO

Three clever billy goats outwit a big ugly troll that lives under the bridge they must cross on their way up the mountain.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why do you think the troll will not allow the goats to cross over the bridge?
What word rhymes with the word goat? (coat, wrote, note, vote)
What else is living in the river?
What is different about each of the goats? (size, colors, horns)
Why is it that the Big Bill Goat Gruff wasn't afraid?
Fun things to do together: 
Count the goats together. Which goat arrived first? Second? Third?
Borrow a book about goats from the library and learn more about their habits.
Talk about small, medium, and large sizes. Gather items from around the house and identify their sizes.
Go on a letter walk and list things begin with the letter "g".
Use wooden spoons, blocks, or sticks to make the "trip trap" sound in the book.
Make a bridge from household items - paper cups, blocks, playing cards - how can you make it stronger?

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
This is a fun book to read. It has great sound effects, a slightly scary troll, and satisfying ending to make everyone happy.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Since this story has strong repetition and a distinct beginning, middle, and end, it is an easy story to act out.

Tikki Tikki Tembo

 
Image of Tikki Tikki Tembo
Author: Arlene Mosel
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (1968)
Binding: Hardcover, 44 pages
Illustrator: 

Blair Lent

Item Call Number: 

E MOSEL

This classic Chinese legend tells the story of a boy who nearly drowns in a well because his brother cannot pronounce his very, very long name fast enough for an old man to save him.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why did Tikki Tikki Tembo’s parents give him such a long name?
How do you feel about the way Chang was treated?
Why does Chang have such a hard time making the grown-ups understand him? What would you have done if you were in Chang’s situation?
The story says that “from that day to this the Chinese have always thought it wise to give all their children little, short names instead of great long names.” Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
Fun things to do together: 
Discuss how you chose your child’s name. If you know, tell your child how your parents decided on your name.
Tikki Tikki Tembo’s name meant “the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world.” Go the library for a book about the meaning of names to find out what your names might mean.
Learn some real Chinese names by searching the internet, looking in books, or asking friends.
Act out the story, taking turns as the different characters and play with the plot. Create a different ending or make up different names for the characters.
Practice saying Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. It’s fun to say and full of rhyming words!

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
This is a “predictable story,” where some of the plot points are repeated over and over. Repetition helps your child predict what will happen. Predicting words and storyline encourages children to “pretend read,” giving them the confidence to go on to real reading.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
Tikki Tikki Tembo’s full name is fun to say and encourages your child to play with rhythm and rhyme.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
Notice how the well is always in the same place in each picture. This adds to the predictability of the story. The illustrations also depict a culture different from the one your child is used to.

Too Much Noise

 
Image of Too Much Noise (Sandpiper books)
Author: Ann McGovern
Publisher: Sandpiper (1992)
Binding: Paperback, 48 pages
Item Call Number: 

E MCGOV

Peter complains his house is too noisy so the wise man advises him to obtain some rather unusual house guests.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What was your favorite part of the story?
Can you name all the animals Peter got to keep his house quiet?
What were all the sounds the animals made?
In the end, was Peter’s house really quieter? Did the wise man’s plan work? Do you think the man was wise?
When do you like for it to be quiet in your house?
Fun things to do together: 
Sit quietly in your house and listen for noises? Describe the noises you hear. Are they quiet or loud noises?
Lie down on a blanket outside and close your eyes. What sounds do you hear outside?
Visit the zoo or a farm. What animal sounds do you hear?
Use stuffed animals to retell the story or make your own version of the story. Take turns playing the parts of Peter and the wise man.

Book Skills
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The cumulative linear structure of this story (clear beginning, middle, and end) makes it easy for children to recall the events in sequence to practice telling stories.
Make Sounds (Phonological Awareness) : 
This story has many sound words (swish, hiss, moo, baa, etc.) that make it fun to read aloud and invites children to imitate and play with the sounds.

Turtle’s Race with Beaver

 
Image of Turtle's Race with Beaver
Author: Joseph Bruchac, James Bruchac
Publisher: Dial (2003)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Item Call Number: 

E BRUCH

When Turtle swims up from the mud in the spring, he discovers his pond has been dammed by Beaver. Turtle is willing to share but selfish Beaver challenges Turtle to a swimming race for ownership of the pond in this traditional Seneca story.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
Why does Beaver challenge turtle?
Who do you think will win the race?
How does Turtle win the race?
What does Beaver learn after the race?
Why is it important to share?
Fun things to do together: 
Learn more about more about the Seneca and other Native American tales by checking out some books at the library.
Check out non-fiction books about beavers and turtles and learn about their habitats.
Plan a race with a friend and use a timer to measure the length of time it takes to complete the race.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
Involve your child in the story by chanting for the animals during the race.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
The details of the plot are easy to practice retelling the story of the race.

Where the Wild Things Are

 
Image of Where the Wild Things Are
Author: Maurice Sendak
Publisher: Harper Collins (1988)
Binding: Hardcover, 48 pages
Illustrator: 

Maurice Sendak

Item Call Number: 

E SENDAK

A naughty little boy, sent to bed without his supper, sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes their king.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What happened to Max when he disobeyed his mother?
How are the wild things the same? How are they different?
Why do you think some of the pictures are very small? Why do you think some pictures are so big? What is special about the pages with big pictures?
Why does Max sail back home?
Why is his supper still hot?
Fun things to do together: 
Design your own mask for the wild rumpus.
Max's imagination created a whole new world. Use your imagination and draw an imaginary world all of your own. How would you travel in this world? What would you wear?
Design your own monster paper plate mask.
Look at the wild things carefully. They are all so different. Some of them have horns or claws. Others have hair or feathers, toe nails or bird beaks. Draw yourself as a "Wild Thing."
Max tames the Wild Things by staring into their yellow eyes without blinking. Get a clock or a watch and time how long you can go without blinking.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Children love silly sounding and made-up words. Maurice Sendak included complex words like mischief, terrible, gnashed, and rumpus.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Max's imaginative journey to the land of the Wild Things is structured as a simple, linear story which will encourage children to retell it in their own words. The wordless pictures will allow them to add their own details to the story of the rumpus.

Whose Chick Are You?

 
Image of Whose Chick Are You?
Author: Nancy Tafuri
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (2007)
Binding: Hardcover, 40 pages
Item Call Number: 

E TAFUR

A chick hatches out of its egg, but who does it belong to? No one seems to know—not Goose (Honk!), not Duck (Quack!), not Hen (Cluck!), not Bird (Chirp!). Not even Little Chick (croo? croo?). But Little Chick's parents know, and—as sharp observers will delight in noting—they've been swimming nearby all along.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What time of day does the story begin? How does the story end?
Which bird found the egg first?
What do you think makes the sky and clouds change colors?
What do you think the words same, different, and unique mean? In what ways are you the same as other members of your family? In what ways are you different or unique?
Fun things to do together: 
Pretend you are both newly hatched chicks and act out your responses to your new environment.
Practice naming shapes and making story connections by making an easy and fun chick or bird craft assembled with basic shapes cut out of construction paper: ovals, circles, rectangles, triangles, etc.
Draw pictures about what makes you special. Help your child write a short paragraph to go along with the drawings about his or her special qualities.
Check out a book about baby birds from your library and talk about the differences and the similarities between them as you study the pictures.

Book Skills
Loves Books (Print Motivation): 
The message in this story is a reassuring one about families, love, and belonging - themes that resonate with young children. Children will also love to “read” the animal noises along with you in repeated readings of the story.
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Make a vocabulary game out of the names of the animals and the words for the sounds they make. Copy pictures of the animals and paste them to cards. Write the sound words on another set of cards and have your child match them.
Use Books (Print Awareness): 
The text is simple with very few words per page in very large, bold font that children will notice. Occasionally use your finger to point to the words you read to emphasize the idea that you are reading these words.

The Wolf's Chicken Stew

 
Image of The Wolf's Chicken Stew
Author: Keiko Kasza
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (1987)
Binding: Hardcover, 32 pages
Illustrator: 

Keiko Kasza

Item Call Number: 

E KASZA

A hungry wolf's attempts to fatten a chicken for his stewpot have unexpected results.

Questions to talk about with your child: 
What foods did the wolf take to the chicken's house and why did he take them to her?
What meal did the wolf want to make with the chicken? What is a stew?
The wolf gets a big surprise. What is it?
At the end of the story, what does the wolf want to do for the Baby Chicks?
Fun things to do together: 
Chose one of the foods mentioned in the story, chose a simple recipe, and cook it together.
Examine the page that shows the wolf cooking in his kitchen and show your child those tools and ingredients in your own kitchen and talk about how you use them.
Use a silly, expressive voice for the wolf when reading the story.

Book Skills
New Words (Vocabulary): 
Interesting and expressive words like stew and scrumptious are introduced.
Tell A Story (Narrative Skills): 
Children can recount the order of the foods that Wolf cooks for Mrs. Chicken, talk about why and describe the final result of the wolf's efforts thanks to the straight-forward progression of the story's events.

 

 

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