The Best Rhyming Children’s BooksPaul Barman
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Children just love rhyming books. The rhythm and silly words are entertaining, and it’s easy for parents who read to kids to really get into the beat. And of course, acting out funny animal sounds is sure to please your tiny audience.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite rhyming children’s books for you and your little ones to enjoy.
1. Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho
A Caldecott winner, Hush! is one of the best naptime books, adding flavor to the familiar theme of barn animals.
Hush! Who’s that beeping the pond? “Ghap-ghap! Ghap-ghap!” A glossy white duck. White duck, white duck, don’t come beeping. Can’t you see that Baby’s sleeping? White duck, white duck, don’t you cry?, My baby’s sleeping right nearby.
2. This Little Chick by John Lawrence
Authentic woodcuts illustrate a traditional verse about an adventurous chick.
This little chick from over the way
went to play with the pigs one day.
and what do you think
they heard him say?
3. Nutshell Library by John Lawrence
Grippable by tiny hands, this timeless box set contains verse books about the alphabet (Alligators All Around), good behavior (Pierre), counting (One Was Johnny), and the months of the year (Chicken Soup with Rice). In 1975, girl group master Carole King transformed the books into the musical TV special “Really Rosie.” When will it be released on DVD?
K – keeping kangaroos
L – looking like lions
M – making macaroni
N – never napping
(from Alligators All Around)
4. Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough
Jez Alborough has one of the catchiest flows in kid-dom. If you like this one, check out his addictive Duck in a Truck series.
All dogs walk and jump and run, but dogs don’t fly — it can’t be done. “But I did,” said Sid. “I did.”
5. On Beyond Zebra! by Dr. Seuss
The audacity to create new letters for the English alphabet puts this selection ahead of Seuss’s more famous titles.
I said, “You can stop, if you want, with the Z because most people stop with the Z. But not me! I’m telling you this ’cause you’re one of my friends. My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!”
6. Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss
This book uses fun, musical verse to teach kids about different orchestra instruments — beginning with one solo trombone and ending with a symphony of 10 players.
FLUTE, that sends our soul a-shiver;
FLUTE, that slender, silver sliver.
A place among the set it picks
To make a young SEXTET — that’s SIX.
7. Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
Most masterpieces are made by masters, but both Zin Zin Zin and Is Your Mama a Llama? are one-offs — the only picture books written by the authors.
“Is your mama a llama?” I asked my friend Dave.
“No she is not,” is the answer Dave gave.
“She hangs by her feet and she lives in a cave.
I do not believe that’s how llamas behave.”
“Oh,” I said, “You are right about that.
I think your mama sounds more like a …”
8. Baby Beluga by Raffi
A beautiful board book illustrating the lyrics to the first song my son learned outside of the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” somnoverse.
Baby beluga in the deep blue sea.
Swim so wild and swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below
and a little white whale on the go.
9. The Charles Addams Mother Goose by Charles Addams
You already know the nursery rhymes, but trust me, you need this book. Once an expensive collectable, it was reprinted to showcase Addams’ take on the classic — a stoned Mother Goose riding side-saddle on an irritated goose … a giant spider about to bogart Miss Muffet’s tuffet picnic … a lizard that hatches out of broken Humpty Dumpty …
10. Frederick by Leo Lionni
Mostly prose, Frederick — a picture book expressing the value of poetry itself — rhymes only at the end.
… And as Frederick spoke of the sun
the four little mice
began to feel warmer.
Was it Frederick’s voice?
Was it magic? …