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Holiday Reads
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I want you all to have plenty of time to check these books out of your local library, so even though it’s not yet December this is just the tip of the holiday book iceberg.

” If You Take A Mouse To The Movies” by Laura Numeroff is a favorite in our house. I love it because like how your house transforms around the holidays the ever popular “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” transforms too, every page is “decorated” with something from Christmas trees, red and green popcorn buckets, and snowmen. If you aren’t familiar with this series of books the text is cause and effect with each page taking the mouse and a little boy from different holiday situations like listening to Christmas carols, making ornaments and of course going to the movies on a winter day.

” Hurry, Santa!” by Julia Sykes is an okay book. I wanted to like it more than I did. The pictures are cute, the idea of Santa being late for Christmas morning has a lot of potential and the author tried but it just never gelled for me. I would still check it out from the library and test it out with your child, but I won’t be adding this to my must buy list.


“McDuff’s New Friend” by Rosemary Wells was a classroom classic in my last year teaching. I think I read it every day for 3 weeks straight and then a few weeks after Christmas too! In it McDuff the little Westie dog saves the day finding Santa stuck in the snow! I love Susan Jeffer’s retro illustrations and the little details like the dad feeding the baby, the doggy sweaters the McDuff wears in the snow, and how Santa gave them all gifts they needed in the story .

Thanksgiving Books

” A Plump and Perky Turkey “ by Teresa Bateman is such a cute and funny book about a town that needs a turkey and the lengths they go to to find one. The town is sadly outwitted by the turkey and end up eating shredded wheat for thanksgiving. The illustrations kept my little man interested even though the story’s humor was above his head.

“10 Fat Turkeys” by Tony Johnston was a classroom favorite, it’s about as silly as a book gets and the kids had no clue they were actually learning about subtraction while listening to the crazy rhymes. This won’t explain the pilgrims , or talk about the Mayflower, but it will make your kids laugh! Very cute!

“The First Thanksgiving Day : A Counting Story” by Laura Krauss Melmed is a stunning gem of a book. I can’t believe I haven’t read it before, normally great books like this go through teaching circles like wildfire. The book has so many layers it will keep toddlers and preschoolers alike busy and engaged. The text explains the first Thanksgiving while counting 1-10 in rhyming poetry and the illustrations by Mark Buehner have hidden treasures, see if you can find them! After I return this to the library, I will be buying it for sure!


” Thanksgiving is for giving thanks” by Margaret Sutherland is book that explains what Thanksgiving is, and gives lots of examples of things to be thankful for. I like this book although I could go without the page where the narrator is thankful for lollipops, all the other things are wonderful like a teacher’s encouragement, grandma’s hugs, and sunny days and to me the lollipops sorta fall flat. Easily skipped over if you are not keen on it but the book as a whole is valuable teaching tool about thanksgiving.

Halloween Books Part II

More Spooky Reads!
I think any holiday especially one as awesome as Halloween ( that’s my sweet tooth talking) is a fantastic catalyst for reading. Use your child’s excitement to get some learning in ! Here are three more fun Halloween Books.

“Dem Bones” by Bob Barner is sort of two books in one. The superficial layer uses the words of the ever popular old time spiritual with fun Halloween inspired skelleton illustrations. There is also a second layer that has longer text for older children that goes into the anatomy of the bones the song sings about. Great way to keep a Halloween theme strong while teaching about the human body!

” Maisy’s Halloween “ is a cute board book for toddlers that follows Maisy’s search for the right Halloween costume. There is something about this little mouse that children just love, it’s also a cute introduction about the fun we have dressing up for Halloween.

” Big Pumpkin” by Erica Silverman is a staple in most preschool classrooms. It’s a cute story about a witch who is desperate for pumpkin pie but her giant pumpkin is too big for her to pick up! Luckily she enlists the help of a ghost, vampire, mummy and bat and with a little teamwork they save the night! The rhyming text is almost like a song and kids love it!

Halloween Books!

Scary Good Books !

I am posting this now so there is some hope that my readers will be able to find these books in their local library before they are all snatched up!

” Monster Math” by Anne Miranda is a fun math lesson turned into a fun and entertaining storybook. You can simply read the book or you can have your little mathematician help you guess how many new monsters arrive and leave on each page. The illustrations are adorable and even if the math skills are above your toddler or preschoolers heads they will still enjoy the book.
” Inside a House That Is Haunted” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli was the hands down favorite Halloween book for my 3 year old class in 2005. I must have read this 200 times and even after Christmas had come and gone it was still requested all the time. The story is a rebus read along, so it is repetitive and it builds upon itself. This is great for children who are eager to “read along” before they are able to read words. The repetitiveness allows them to anticipate what is next and feel included. Very cute even after reading it hundreds of times.

” 10 Trick – or Treaters by Janet Schulman was the book I bought to try and eclipse ” Inside a House That Is Haunted” and while my class loved this one two my plan didn’t quite work out. This book has the most adorable pictures and in every page there is an owl hidden somewhere, which is a great trick to keep reluctant readers involved. The story counts down from 10 to no trick or treaters with fun rhyming text and a fun array of trick or treaters in cute costumes.

Alphabet Book List

animalia by Greame Base

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Animalia by Graeme Base is iconic in teaching circles, you can loose yourself for hours in the detailed illustrations. The book is an alphabet book on steroids! Each page had a wonderful paragraph in each letter such as for the letter L ” Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.” The pages are filled to the gills with pictures of things that start with that letter as well. Parents and kids a like will fall in love!


Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming is a wonderful example of what an alphabet book should be. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers learning their first letters, the text is short , the letters are front and center and the illustrations are fun and interesting. My son loves this book, I grabbed it at the library after remembering how much my Pre K class loved it too! Many alphabet books are too long to read entirety at circle time or in one shot with a toddler but this my 19 month old will sit through Z every time!


The Racecar Alphabet by Brian Floca did not live up to my expectations. My main complaint it that the letters aren’t showcased at all. Yes each page starts with the appropriate letter but I really feel like in an alphabet book the letter needs to be obvious , and easy for young children to pick out. The text was centered around each letter but there wasn’t very good flow from one page to the next. I was disappointed in this pick.

What Pete Ate
What Pete Ate from A to Z by Marie Kalman had my Pre-K class in stitches begging for more. It really is a funny book about a dog and his alphabetical list of things he’s eaten. I like it because it’s funny and simple and the alliterative text isn’t forced. The sarcastic bits will keep parents giggling too!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is one of my absolute favorite books ever. Many alphabet books are great tools but this one not only entertains it never gets old. It’s text is musical , it’s premise is brilliant in it’s simplicity and kids love it. My favorite line is ” Skit skat scoodle doot. Flip flop flee. ” I hope I am conveying how much fun this book is to read out loud. I have never had a class who didn’t like it and if you don’t have it, you should!
Chicka Chicka ABC is a fantastic board book and shorter version of the longer book. My son loves this book and it’s the perfect amount of text for a toddler, the illustrations by Lois Ehlert are so bright and bold that even very young babies will respond to it! A must have for all bookshelves.

Baby's Alphabet by Jean Marzollo
Baby’s Alphabetby Jean Marzollo will appeal to your baby and toddler, we were given it as a gift and my son has loved it since about 9 months on. The photographs of other babies will keep your little one interested and you will be surprised how soon they will anticipate the next page, I know I was. Sadly our copy is now flying the friendly skies , we took it on a flight with us last week and forgot it. Hopefully someone with a baby finds it !

The Ocean Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta is a good book, not a page turner but it is filled with fun facts about sea creatures. The book is geared towards older children but because it has letters prominently displayed on each page, with great illustrations your toddler will enjoy it too. The text really is too long to read from A-Z for a circle time or a toddler but it was very easy for me to simply read each letter and label the ocean animal for my son who then sat through the whole alphabet. If your child is into all things that swim this is a good book to foster that love and learn a little about letters at the same time!


Alphabeep!: A Zipping, Zooming ABC by Debora Pearson is a great book for older toddlers and preschoolers. The transportation themed book uses rhymes and colorful illustrations to go from A to Z. The text was a bit long for my young toddler but I shortened it and he was able to enjoy the book , children 2 and up will love it just the way it is! This is on my must buy list.