looking for picture books from songs/ rhythmic texts

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looking for picture books from songs/ rhythmic texts

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Oct 8, 2007, 2:14pm

I teach preschool and early elementary music and am always on the lookout for picture books that illustrate from songs (especially traditional songs.) I don't mean song collections, but books that illustrate one song, like Peter Spier's The Fox Went out on a Chilly Night or Eric Carle's Today is Monday. I also use books with simple rhythmic texts like In the Small, Small Pond or Duck is Stuck ("No luck. The Duck is Stuck. Stuck in the Gooey, gooey muck.") Dr. Seuss and similar rhymes are too long and complex -- I'm looking for short simple phrases. Nursery rhymes are great, and I have lots of those, but I'm looking to branch out a bit.

So, what are your favorite song stories? What do you find yourself chanting after story hour or bedtime reading? Inquiring minds want to know!

Oct 8, 2007, 2:24pm

It might not be something one would immediately think of, but there's a children's book of Stay up late, the Talking Heads song ... it uses the lyrics by David Byrne and is illustrated by Maira Kalman.

My daughters loved the book, and we'd sometimes even put the CD on and sing along ... it's really a wonderful book.

Oct 8, 2007, 3:22pm

In our school library we have This Old Man and Both Sides Now, (the Joni Mitchell song). Both work nicely.

Oct 8, 2007, 5:14pm

One that caught my eye recently was Llama Llama Red Pajama.

Oct 9, 2007, 9:25am

Just thought of another: Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema. A great rythmic book, that the kids love to chant along with. A cumulative story similar to The House that Jack Built, but set in Africa. The illustrations are beautiful too.

Oct 9, 2007, 10:58am

Sheep in a jeep is also very entertaining ... and seems to be closer to your "duck is stuck" example.

Oct 9, 2007, 11:31am

Thanks, these are all good suggestions!

Oct 9, 2007, 11:38am

The roly-poly spider by Jill Sardegna with terrific illustrations by Tedd Arnold (really love his stuff) is often on my lips for days after I use it for storytime. The song is the same as Eensy-Weensy (or Itsy-Bitsy, depending on where you're from) Spider, but with a funny story about a spider who eats all her friends and gets too fat.
I ain't gonna paint no more by Karen Beaumont is another great one. It's one of my favorite books for a storytime and gets a terrific intake of breath for those who can anticipate the rhyme when you get to "Oh what a nut, gonna paint my ..." as the recidivist child starts splashing paint all over his body.

Oct 9, 2007, 7:20pm

I like Ain't Gonna Paint No More, too! And Llama Llama Red Pajama is also wonderful.

One of my storytime faves is The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort. It's the wheels on the bus tune, but instead of the parts of the bus, it's the sounds of the animals as they take over a city bus with chaotic results.

There are also 2 great versions of If You're Happy and You Know It that involve animals. One is by the fab Jane Cabrera and the other is by Jan Ormerod.

Oct 10, 2007, 1:58pm

Thanks, tiny-, you reminded me of The wheels on the race car by Alex Zane which is another great take on "The Wheels on the Bus" song but is great fun for kids who like racing ... and dogs!
AND that leads me to Down by the station by Will Hillenbrand (how could I forget this? I made a flannelboard for it!)where the train leaves the station and picks up all the animal babies to take them to "work" at the Children's Zoo. Being a music teacher, aviddiva (and a palindrome as well), you might balk at the slight awkwardness of "See the little panda cub, waiting-for-to-go." All the same, it's a cute book that is nice and big for storytime.

Oct 10, 2007, 3:10pm

Thanks, you all! As a music teacher (and a bit of a traditionalist) I try to use original versions of most songs rather than updated rewrites because I want the kids to sing or chant along. That said, I love Seals on the bus because of the animal noises, and I'm definitely going to look for I ain't gonna paint no more and Llama, Llama, Red Pajama -- those absolutely sound like books I could use.

Oct 13, 2007, 6:48pm

Some of Sandra Boynton's books have great, simple rhymes. My husband always read But Not the Hippopotamus as a rap and he would chant Barnyard Dance as if he was calling a square dance.
There are board book versions of a number of popular children's songs including Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes. There is also an edition of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom that includes a CD/ tape which has Ray Charles singing the entire story as well as the authors repeating some of the many childhood chants that inspired it.

Oct 14, 2007, 12:55am

The Aunts Go Marching is a really fun book. Kind of quirky ending, but definately one you should check out.

Oct 23, 2007, 4:18am

I am a HUGE fan of Robert Munsch. He wrote a book called Mortimer where a kid that does not want to go to bed sings "bang clang battle bing bang make my noise all day!" It is fun and repetitive is really fun to read out loud.
Abiyoyo: based on a South African lullaby and folk story is actually written around a song and is fun to sing with preschoolers.

15tangle First Message
Edited: Oct 24, 2007, 9:43pm

i have just discovered library thing.

"singing books" are one of my very favourite topics.

I have found that just as music calms the savage beast, so too does it calm the savage kindergartener!

some my very favourite singing books are:

If you were my bunny

A you’re adorable

Over in the meadow

Lizard’s song

Take me out to the ball game

in terms of rythym or rhyme I love:

There were Monkeys in my Kitchen

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

One Gray Mouse

i also love

Lizzy's Lion but it might be a bit too scary for preschoolers... (a robber meets a bad end when he sneaks into Lizzy's house). After reading it one time I had a kindergartener tell me "Ms. Moffatt that is NOT a nice book!"

have fun with them!

Oct 24, 2007, 9:46pm

Oh that reminds me of one I forgot - Take me out of the Bathtub. Which is a book of silly lyrics set to very familiar tunes.

Oct 25, 2007, 3:54am

One of my favorite rhythmic books for preschoolers is One Hungry Monster.. it is a counting book and is lots of fun to read. Another fun one is Tacky the Penguin which includes a couple of silly singing oppurtunities as well as fun with word patterns.
A fun rhyming one with a funny story is No Jumping on the Bed.

Edited: Nov 12, 2007, 7:48am

Others have mentioned A-you're Adorable and Over in the Meadow...two of my favorites to read/sing at Story Time. I also like, for sing-a-long-ability, Five Little Ducks and Down by the Station. I have these as Big Books for Story Time sessions.

Also, Carole King sings Chicken Soup with Rice,by Maurice Sendak, but it's a longer piece.

Rhythmic texts (no song that I know of) that I also use include:
The Piggy in the Puddle
Sheep in a Jeep
A Boy and His Bunny
And almost anything by Margaret Wise Brown and Sandra Boynton

Oh, and one more thing, a song without a book (that I know of) that always makes the kids and me laugh is "From the Indies to the Andes in His Undies (it was a very, very daring thing to do)" sung by John Lithgow on his first CD.

Patty (ToReadToNap)

Nov 13, 2007, 11:51am

Thanks, everyone! I now have lots to look for!

Nov 30, 2007, 11:45pm

A Visit to William Blake's Inn, Nancy Willard

Mar 24, 2008, 8:51am

Scholastic has a series of books called Sing and Read. It includes: Do Your Ears Hang Low, The Ants Go Marching,Hickory Dickory Dock and others.

Also I love Iza Trapani's board books for singing along. I'm a Little Teapot, and Baa Baa Blacksheep are two of my favorites.

Mar 24, 2008, 8:52am

Sorry, one more. Have you seen Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter of Peter Paul and Mary beautifully illustrated and has a CD in the back of the song.

Mar 24, 2008, 12:02pm

Yes, I've been using Puff this spring. The five year olds all think it's sad, but the 2's and 3's can't get enough of it.

Mar 24, 2008, 3:10pm

The Little School Bus by Pamela Roth is a good one to do with a class of 4/5yr-olds, and it is easy to add a simple tune to the rhyme. I pull children out to the front to be the characters - bus driver, goat in a coat, pig in a wig, hairy bear, etc - and give them pictures of the characters to hold. Great one for rhyme awareness & memory as well as the singing.

Apr 4, 2008, 11:53am

One Duck Stuck was the first one to come to mind, but We're Going on a Bear Hunt works very well. In fact when one of my kids was in a special ed preK program, they used that and created a sort of occupational therapy-related little obstacle course to mirror the obstacles of the book.

A lot of Sandra Boynton's are great too. Barnyard Dance! springs to mind. For classics, "Goodnight, Moon and The Runaway Bunny are always good.

Apr 6, 2008, 12:20pm

Since I hadn't seen them mentioned, I thought I'd throw out a couple more books that were created from popular songs, though they don't always rhyme!:

John Denver's picture books include Sunshine On My Shoulders, Grandma's Feather Bed, and Take Me Home Country Roads.

Billy Joel also has Goodnight, My Angel and New York State of Mind

Apr 8, 2008, 12:56pm

The Derby Ram, A Ballad by Rick Schreiter

Apr 8, 2008, 4:22pm

Oh, I love that song, I'll have to look for the book.

Apr 8, 2008, 10:09pm

My boys loved Altoona Balbuna

Apr 9, 2008, 10:27am

Forgot to mention Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Extremely popular among the primary set. In fact, my little library is on our second copy as the first one was loved to death.

Apr 11, 2008, 12:04pm

I love using song books in my story time. Favorites include Cumbayah by Floyd Cooper, The Hokey Pokey by Sheila Hamanaka, I've Been Working on the Railroad by Nadine Westcott and The Twelve Days of Kindergarten by Deborah Lee Rose.

May 27, 2008, 7:22pm

animal boogie paperback comes with cd
this jazz man (like this old man)
punk farm old macdonald
the cheese farmer in the dell
comin' round the mountain
denise fleming- first day of winter
bubblegum bubblegum by wheeler

Edited: May 31, 2008, 11:27am

If you really like traditional-type stories one I have that all ages of kids I have taught like is Pickin' Peas by Margaret Read MacDonald. It's about a little girl picking peas in the garden and being tricked by a rabbit stealing the peas. It's very funny and very rhythmic, the kids always read along with you. If you're musical, it has a melody in the back of the book.

I know it's summer, but maybe something to look for to start the year out?


Oh! I forgot Jamberry by Bruce Degen too, I'm always almost singing by the time I get to the end of reading that one!

Jun 4, 2008, 2:39pm

My daughter likes I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly... (I think the version we have is by Westcott, who has also done Skip to My Lou and Eensy Weensy Spider.

Edited: Jun 5, 2008, 5:41pm

I like several of Don and Audrey Wood's books, such as King Bidgood's in the Bathtub and The Napping House.

edited to correct authors' last name!

Jun 29, 2008, 2:32am

There's a beautifully illustrated My Favorite Things by Richard Rodgers. My own kids love it.