21 Picture Books About Art

I am passionate about art, and I believe that if our kids can tell Dora from Diego they can tell Picasso from Matisse. So even if like me you are in a small town without easy access to masterpieces you can share it with your children through books. These picture books about art are a great way to expose your kids to famous works of art , the lives of artists and even to a little geography all without having to leave your house.  If you want to channel these famous artists and make some of your own versions of their masterpieces check out 15 Fine Art Projects For Kids.

Touch the Art: Brush Mona Lisa’s Hair by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo is the inspiration for this post and my son’s new found love of Renaissance Art. The book is a board book with touch and feel aspects to it. The text is cute but not a story, each page asks the reader to do something with the touch and feel item . The real gem is bringing the art to young eyes. The book includes wonderful masterpieces : Girl with A Pearl Earring , Birth of Venus, The Arnolfini Portrait and more!

Babar’s Museum of Art by Laurent de Brunhoff is one of my favorite art books for kids. My son has recently decided he hates it because he doesn’t want to see the elephant versions of the art. All the art in the museum are masterpieces that you will recognize redone with elephants. He slams the page in the way only toddlers with a definite sense of justice can and says ” No elephant paintings Mama, real ones!” Trust me though this book is awesome and he loved it a few months ago. The story is about how Queen Celeste wants to change the abandoned railway station into a museum to house all their collected art . The museum itself looks just like the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and the story also explains art for children.

Georgia’s Bones by Jen Bryant won’t expose your child to much of the artists work but it will give your child a sense of who she was and what inspired her. The book focuses on how Georgia saw the world, the shapes and colors and views around her. It paints the artists as a quiet, thoughtful girl and a clam and pensive woman. It also takes readers to such different parts of the United States where Georgia found similar inspiration from such different environments.  You may want to grab a map and find all the locations with your child after reading this.

Learn the Alphabet with NorthWest Coast Native Art by Ryan Cranmer (and others) was an amazing gas station find. Yes I said gas station. I ran in for some diet coke and came out with an alphabet book ! This book is amazing, bright beautiful and even though I bought it for my daughter since it’s bright colors and sturdy pages are perfect for a baby, my almost 4 year old son adores it. What I love is when he reads it to her . The Native art is gorgeous and if you are unfamiliar with North West coast art you are in for a treat.

 Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan is a great book not only about Jackson Pollock but also about how an artist goes through the artistic process, their influences and what their life is like. This book is perfect for older children but my son loved looking at pictures and Jackson Pollock’s dog! I would suggested this for anyone with budding artists!

Celebrity Cat

Celebrity Cat: With Paintings from Art Galleries Around the World by Meredith Hooper is a unique look at some of the greatest masterpieces through the eyes of cats. It’s Cat visiting night at the museum and the cats are quick to notice that there aren’t many of their kind in these wonderful paintings. So one cat takes it upon herself to add them in . I love this book because not only does it expose the young readers to some fantastic paintings like The Mona Lisa, and Van Gogh’s Chair, it also has a wonderful message. See after the cats are included even though the world of cats love these new paintings soon they discover that they don’t need to be in those paintings they need to make their own! Creative and cute story that integrates the art seamlessly!

ABC Pop! (Picture Puffin Books) by Rachel Isaadora is a fun alphabet book that uses images from pop art to illustrate each letter. My daughter is absolutely loving alphabet books right now and this one was a hit by the letter C. She loved the bright fun pictures and guessing what part of the pictures the letter was representing. Very cute book with a art theme.

Museum TripMuseum Trip by Barbara Lehman is fantastic. This wordless book has a clear strong message – that if exposed children can loose themselves in art, it opens a new world with new adventures before unseen! The story opens with a little boy on a school field trip to a museum, he looses his group , and soon finds himself in the art. After completing many mazes he is given a medal before he rejoins his group. My favorite part is as he is getting on the bus with his class he is wearing his medal and so is the museum curator. Love it!

I've painted Everything

Hugo and Miles In I’ve Painted Everything by Scott Magoon is going on my Christmas list. I have renewed this book for months from my local library. I finally have to return this book and I just don’t want to! The book is all about Hugo a painter who has painter’s block. He goes to Paris with his best friend Miles for inspiration, and among the sites, the masterpieces and thanks to the Eiffel tower he finds it! I love this book and my son just eats it up. He wants to go to Paris to the “Moosay Dor-see” to see Van Gogh and climb the Eiffel tower thanks to Hugo!

Katie Meets The Impressionist

Katie Meets The Impressionists by James Mayhew is a art fairytale! Katie goes to the museum with her grandmother and before she knows it she is in the paintings and the world of the painters and their families. Katie goes from painting to painting gathering flowers for her grandma and exploring a world on the other side of the canvas. What I enjoy about this book is that it brings the paintings to life for readers and it shares the back story in a way that children can connect to and imagine the possibilities when they go to museums! Of all these books this one held my son’s attention the least. I like to think it’s because he’s not a fan of impressionism, but I think it was simply a little long for his not quite 3 year old attention span. Maybe if Renoir had painted garbage trucks… seriously though this is a fabulous book and worth a read!

In the Garden with Van Gogh by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober is a little board book filled with easy rhymes and great art. The book doesn’t really have a story so much as a theme but it works. My son enjoyed it and asked to read it again after we were done. I like that books likes all these bring art into little hands for them to explore.

Can You Find It?: Search and Discover More Than 150 Details in 19 Works of Art by The Metropolitan Museum of art is what Where’s Waldo would be if he grew up and got a degree in art history. Using paintings from their collection each page asks readers to find a series of things. It’s tough. The items are only listed and some don’t really look like what they are supposed to be. Luckily there is an answer key . This is a great book for plane rides, road trips and waiting for dinner at a restaurant with a school age kid. You can start and stop and it’s complex enough that the next day you might just forget and be able to start all over again.  As a preschooler my son wasn’t ready for this book it frustrated him terribly . If it does just shelve it until they are ready.

Museum ABC by the Metropolitan Museum Of Art is a book that was first loved at our house because of the “C is for Cat” page , an early interest of my sons. I loved it because for each letter there are 4 usually very cropped pieces of paintings, showing only that part that fits the subject of each letter. In my nerdy love of identifying paintings I play a game with myself trying to figure out which are which as my son is identifying the letter, and finding the subject matter in each. The book is so beautiful, it’s hard to do it justice in a simple review. A wonderful concept and a great intro to art books for even the tiniest patrons.

Museum 123 by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art is another simple but beautiful counting book.  What I love about this book is that the number is not on the same page as the onbjects/images the child is being asked to count. Instead a simple question of how many is followed by a painting with the objects, and the next page has a large number. My son loved counting then flipping the page exclaiming ” I knew it , I said that number I was right!” My only complaint is that it only went to 10!

Oooh! Picasso by Mil Niepold and Jeanyves Verdu is a book that looks at Picasso’s sculptures from different perspective for consecutive pages before revealing the full piece of art. I love Picasso but this book did nothing to excite me and I couldn’t even get my kids to flip through it with me. I don’t think it’s a bad book it just didn’t appeal to us.

Artful Reading by Bib Raczka is a perfect combination of promoting an appreciation of art and a love of reading. The concept is simple with each page showcasing a painting of someone reading . What I love so much is that while the text suggests what type of reading the painting is showing it’s still up for the reader to go deeper into each and decide what they are seeing. Both times my son and I rad this book we discussed what the people were reading and which we liked the best. I love books like this.

Here’s Looking at Me: How Artists See Themselves by Bob Raczka is devoted to self portraits and the story behind each one in this fascinating book. This is a book for children older than my son who is 4 but I still showed him every painting ( all self portraits) and read highlights of the text which I found fascinating and can’t wait to share it with my kids when they are a little older. I read a lot of art history books for fun and I learned a few things reading this.  I can’t think of a better book to couple with a lesson about self portraits for kids 6-12.

No One Saw by Bob Raczka is a more general book  focusing on familiar subjects of different artists. What I think is so genius about this book is that it focuses kids’ attention on the subjects of the paintings and is a natural introduction into a conversation asking children what they would paint better than anyone else.

Seen Art? by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith is one of those books that makes me squeal with delight. The story is funny, and clever and the art included is diverse and some is probably new to most readers. The story is about a little guy who is looking for his friend Art and people keep misunderstanding him and directing him to the MOMA where he is shown art as well as the debate of “But is it art?” plays on as he passes well recognized masterpieces and provocative modern art alike . I was turning the pages too fast for my son I was so excited to see what was next while he wanted to look at the art. I loved the page where he comes to a Monet , you see the little guy from behind and he is very small and despite not seeing his face you can imagine his face frozen with wonder. the book is fantastic and I love the levels of meaning and the sheer amount of art packed into this book. Well Done!

Squeaking of Art

SQUEAKING OF ART, The Mice Go to the Museum by Monica Wellington is a fun book to read before and even more fun to read after a visit to a museum. This book follows a group of mice that all explore the museum, and the art on it’s walls. Each page is a different theme and the text is a dialogue between the mice and their Cat guide about the art displayed. The art itself are the author illustrator’s versions of art you will probably recognize. There are multiple paintings on each page and if you are like me and like to quiz yourself on your ability to name the painting and artist this book is for you. There is a guide at the end of the book for every page. I think I like this book even more than my son for that reason. My son likes it because he can recognize some paintings, but thy are redone in bright vibrant colors and have a more cartoon look, which I think appeals to my son even more than the originals. When we “read” this book we often skip the text and simple look and explore the art. No matter how you read it this is a fine addition to any library for those who love fine art.

teaching art appreciation

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! by Johan Winter is a book not only about Pablo Picasso but also about creativity, courage and originality. The books gives the reader a little look into Picasso’s early life but really it’s about his evolution from realism to cubism and the resistance he got from just about everyone. I love how it painted Picasso as a brave individual who took the leap from doing what everyone loved to doing what he needed to do as an artist. It’s about being true to yourself and not selling out. It also really hammers home the ideas that people even adults can grow and change.  One of my favorite things to as little kids is what they want to be when they grow up and really so often kids think when you are grown up it’s done, your choices were made and you just live with them after that. This helps explain that being a grown up doesn’t mean all your choices have already been chosen .

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Banned Children’s Books We Love

 

This week is Banned Books Week and I wish I could say that no picture books are ever banned but sadly that is not the case . Parents are by far the most frequent challengers and school libraries are by far the most frequent place to make a challenge.  I hope no matter what your personal feelings about a book may be that you are as outraged as I am that books are still being banned in this day and age. I know that some of you aren’t comfortable reading some or maybe all of these books with your kids and as a parent you get to make the rules at your house for your family and I respect that. We are all capable of setting rules for our own families that fit with our own boundaries but banning books from schools and libraries is not the answer. That one book that you may disagree with may be the one book that sparks a love of reading and learning for a child .

The Sissy Ducklingby Harvey Fierstein is a lovely book. As a mom to a son I worry about him getting teased when he is older if he isn’t into sports, or likes to bake cookies more than play video games. This book address that, in a cute but frank way. I especially love how the dad isn’t super happy that his son is into more traditionally girly things. I think that even though we hope that all parents would be immediately supportive the reality is, that parents are human too and acceptance can take time even when there is lots of love. ETA: Now that my son is almost 6 and very into sports and very into pretty much everything that is stereotypically “boy” I use this book to teach him the other side. To see that all people are unique and to respect everyone for that uniqueness not for their ability to fit some societal mold.

So why was it banned? The reasons given were gay positive themes.  As you will see that is unfortunately a recurrent theme on this short list.

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while they may not all look alike, all families are made with love.  Great book , cute illustrations and children love it.

This book wasn’t banned 10 years ago it was just recently banned from use for an elementary school curriculum about diversity, tolerance and bullying. It was banned from a curriculum about tolerance. Am I the only one who sees the irony? The issue was with it’s pages that state that some families have 2 moms and some have 2 dads. It makes me sad that some children who do have 2 moms or 2 dads won’t get a chance to see their family reflected in this bright, fun and diverse book.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a much debated book. It’s the true story of two male penguins in central park zoo who didn’t have any interest in the girl penguins but definitely liked each other. When the zoo keepers noticed that they were in every way a matched pair they also noticed that they prepared for a baby just like the other penguins. Time after time they were sad until they were given an egg to care for. Just like all families love and care is what matters when creating a family and baby Tango and his two daddies have thrived . My son loved this book and asked me to please go see the penguins when I was in NYC. I didn’t have time to but I wish I had. Their story simplifies a very debated topic and I think it’s a great book not only to explain how all families are different but also how love and care are really what makes a family even for penguins.

This picture book was the most frequently challenged and banned book of 2010, 2008, 2007 and 2006. A true story about a family of penguins. Wow.

In the Night Kitchen (Caldecott Collection) by Maurice Sendak is one of the many books I remember exactly where I was when I first read it ; Coquitlam Public Library sitting in the shag carpeted row boat amazed that the main character Mickey had no clothes . Which is exactly why it got banned.

First let me tell you about the story if you have never read it. Mickey falls out of bed and into the night kitchen where the bakers try to bake him and ultimately he saves the day and falls back into bed and back to sleep. For me this story is about power and freedom and how kids don’t get to feel that day to day but free from reality at night in their sleep they can. Even as a little girl giggling at the pictures in the book I read the words and felt the freedom from being little that Mikey felt. When I read it to my son he giggled and giggled at Mickey’s body. I was sorta hoping he’d be more mature than I was at 5, we always expect the best from our kids right? Like me he still got the heart of the story and even expressed that Mickey was naked because he was dreaming and got to do whatever he wanted.

So why was is banned? That whole lack of clothing issue really upset a lot of people. So much so that it’s been in the top 25 banned books for decades.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig is a book many of you may recognize from your own childhood . I remember the sweet story from my own. Sylvester is a little donkey who finds a magic pebble and after discovering that it grants wishes he makes a terrible mistakes and turns himself into a rock. As a rock he is unable to wish himself back into a donkey and is left to sit silently while his parents are frantic, search and finally grieve. Sylvester almost gives up himself until by chance his parents come across his rock and the magic pebble and he is turned back into his “true self”.  My son loved the story and I loved how when we talked about it he expressed so much empathy for Sylvester and his parents. The obvious message that you have to be careful what you wish for is a powerful one for kids learning about consequences. The other messages which for us were the more important ones were that  family bonds can break through anything and that no matter what even if he is a rock I would never give up on him.

Now it sounds like a great book right? It is. So why was it banned? When Sylvester goes missing his parents go to the police who are portrayed as pigs. All the characters are animals and my son didn’t make the connection because he’s never in his life heard anyone refer to police officers as pigs. I thought it was tongue in cheek but in 1977 it was enough to get banned.

Would you ban these books?

Melissa Taylor from Imagination Soup has great posts about banned books and self censorship  and an Open Letter To Parents That Ban Books In My Libraries on Parenting.com that I encourage you to read .

25 Picture Books About Cars And Trucks

picture books about cars and trucks I was never a car person and construction vehicles were not at all interesting either , until I became a mom. My son’s first word after Mama was Bama which we soon discovered meant garbage truck, after that Didder which was digger and so on and so on. It didn’t take long before I could tell a grader from a front loader and could hear the garbage truck from 2 blocks away so we’d never miss it. In those years of his obsession we read a lot of books about cars and trucks here are our favorites.

picture books about cars and trucks

The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barraca is a about a stray dog in New York City who is rescued by a taxi driver and spend the rest of his days riding in the front seat soaking up the diversity of their fares. The rhyming text, and detailed illustrations by Marc Buehner work well together to make this a fun read .

Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers who are obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant and at 2 still enjoys reading it, aw well as counting the workers and trucks on each page.

Sputter, Sputter, Sput! by Babs Bell is all about a little car that zooms… until it starts to sputter! What could be causing that? It’s out of gas! The story is simple but the illustrations take it from basic story to a quirky and fun book.  The concept of up and down is reinforced multiple times but with fresh and fun illustrations by Bob Staake each time. My son enjoyed this book but it was a quick read , I think it would have been a favorite a year ago though , it was a little simple for him now at 3 1/2.  It’s definitely worth a look to see the illustrations !

The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race by Stan and Jan Berenstain shouldn’t be overlooked. I really enjoy this book but not as much as my son who has begged for it every day before nap this week. It’s a good story about being persistent and they sneak lots of learning into the rhyming text. Colors, opposites and more can be reinforced by this retelling of the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare.

Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia was an instant classic in our house. My son loves vehicles and this book was the perfect length with the right amount of text and awesome almost Eric Carle like illustrations. Usually books about vehicles just name the trucks and diggers but this book shows children not only what they do but how they can work together to make something. Great book for the digger and backhoe obsessed!

The Three Little Rigs by David Gordon is a fresh twist on the classic Three Little Pigs with trucks instead of pigs. My son ate this book up, he loved it. The “wolf” in the story is a wrecking ball that smashes and crashes the Little Rigs garages , I thought he was a little scary but after reading the book I asked my son his favorite part and sure enough he said the wrecking ball. I loved the illustrations and was not surprised one bit to read that the author/illustrator has done work for Pixar.

Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a birthday gift for my son in November and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of lego that was taking over our house… however it has since become such a favorite he recently “read” it to my sister’s dog. It’s a story all about how a road is built , explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road.  I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers.  I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless .

Cars: Rushing! Honking! Zooming! by Patricia Hubbell has a fun retro look and is a whimsical look at all sorts of cars , places they go and who drives them.  Like her book Trucks the drivers in this book aren’t always conventional, or human. My son thinks it’s hilarious that zebras, ducks and other animals are driving cars alongside humans. I love the rhyming text that never feels forced and zooms along with the illustrations.

Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! by Patricia Hubbell was another hit with my son. The book is about all the trucks that one can find on the road, from armored trucks to diggers and of course garbage trucks! My son is a huge garbage truck fan and was elated when there wasn’t just one but two in this book!  The text rhymes and chugs along well with the whimsical collaged illustrations by Megan Halsey.  Many of the drivers in the book are animals and when I asked my son if elephants really drive trucks he looked at me seriously and said ” Sometimes they do! ” , regardless of my son’s take on reality he really enjoyed this book and if your child is as into trucks as he is they will too.

When Daddy’s Truck Picks Me Up by Jana Novotany Hunter is not so much a book about trucks as it is about trust in your parents.  A little boy is excited to see his dad who is a truck driver and away from home often, today is the day he comes to preschool to pick him up, or maybe not. What I like about this book is that your child gets to see that the dad is eager to get to the school to see his little guy as much as the little boy is eager to see his dad. Sadly sometimes even when parents try to get there on time they just aren’t, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get there as soon as they can and still love you .  I can say that in all my years of teaching classes a late parent was almost a daily event, and while it was nothing to us teachers a young child is thrown for a loop! I think this book is a wonderful resource for parents to talk about the possibility of this happening.

My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis is a fun book full of great rhymes and funny illustrations from Daniel Kirk. The story is simple a truck is stuck and even though other vehicles come to help, nothing budges until a tow truck arrives. The best part is the cargo of bones in the truck are slowly stolen by hungry gophers while the others work to free the truck. It’s got a great message about helping people and the illustrations make me giggle, especially the guy in the moving van who is blowing bubbles. I have never understood that but it makes me laugh.

Everything I Know About Cars: A Collection of Made-Up Facts, Educated Guesses, and Silly Pictures about Cars, Trucks, and Other Zoomy Things
by Tom Lichtenheld is hilarious! I grabbed it at the library today knowing I would need some car books to pair with this activity and didn’t preview it at all.  All I knew is that it was a book about cars I had never read.  At nap when I finally opened it with my son in his car Pjs- I realized it’s very long, and probably more appropriate for 4+.  I didn’t put it down though because after reading “A collection of made-up facts, Educated Guesses and silly pictures about Cars, Trucks and other Zoomy things” on the first page I was hooked. The author had me at zoomy things. My son only made it through the first few pages, but I couldn’t wait to open it back up after he was asleep.  The book takes the readers through the history of cars ( totally made up) , the basics of road trips, kid designed cars … and ends with a tutorial on how the reader can draw their own made up car. I really liked this book and plan to buy a copy for my 4and 7 year old nephews who will love the humor ( yes some of it is potty humor) and the illustrations.

Trucks Go by Steve Light is a new find for us. I spotted this board book from across the library during preschool story time today. There were kids everywhere and I was not sure that I would get to it before someone else did. I kept my composure , didn’t have to elbow a single person and popped it in my bag. The minute of worry was worth it , what an awesome book! The illustrations are so beautiful that I would seriously consider framing every page. The book goes through different trucks ( garbage truck, cement mixer, fire engine etc..) and the sounds they make. My son was laughing and repeating the sounds while we read this at bedtime and enjoyed the water color illustrations almost as much as I did. Grab this one like I did.

Trucks Roll! by George Ella Lyon got a huge compliment from my son today when we read it. When he really really wants more of something not only does he ask for it with words but the sign language he learned so long ago comes out. This book got the “More Trucks!” out loud and the frantic more signs! The book is the perfect length for 2-4 year olds who like my son love anything you can drive. It also explains well what trucks drivers do and how so many things make it from one place to the next. Cute book, worth a read for sure!

I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullen was the bain of my existence in my Pre-K class, the kids loved this book and I really liked most of it, but there are some gross things in it like puppy poo, dirty diapers and kitty litter but we put all those things in the garbage so they are totally appropriate. Just know that they will also get a group of 4 and 5 year olds giggling and repeating the words for days on end. Overall though the book is effective and I own a well read copy. The garbage truck is sarcastic and rough, and the alphabet of garbage is creative.

The Truck Book by Harry McNaught is another favorite in our house, mostly because it has a forklift in it. There isn’t much of a story, instead it’s a collection of labeled illustrations. If your child is like mine and loves , no obsesses over things that move this is a fantastic book. I admit I get bored reading it even if my son doesn’t. To fight that boredom we play I spy and both of us are happy.

Cool Cars by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker is a bright little book that talks about all different types of cars and even a little bit about the rules of the road in a zippy rhyming text! This author and illustrator pair have made a number of wonderful books that both my kids have enjoyed from early toddlerhood on. Completely worth checking out anything they do!

The Mighty Street Sweeper by Patrick Moore is a rare book, it’s rare because it is a story about self esteem clothed in a truck book. The street sweeper isn’t the biggest, the fastest or the most powerful truck but it’s still mighty and proud. I really like this book, we read it before nap and again before bed and I liked it even more the second time. The message about being happy with who you are is really touching . I liked that the book says that you don’t have to be the best at everything to still be proud of your hard work. My son really enjoyed this book as well and it was excited to read it again at bedtime.

Construction Countdown by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!  <–  That was written in 2008 and now over 2 years later my son still likes this book and has grown with it, now doing the counting all by himself.

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.

I’m a Truck by Dennis Shealy is about Big Blue Bill a big rig on his way from the Big Tuna to the Big Apple! As he travels along the highway, stops at trucks stops and runs into road construction he visits with his truck friends. Most every type of truck is covered in this book and the illustrations by Bob Staake are so detailed that you can spend extra time just finding things on each page. All the trucks are anthropomorphized and some hilariously so. I am quite fond of a logging truck named Leif who had a beard and toque ( winter cap for non Canadians ) , he makes me giggle. My son loves the part where Big Blue Bill is stuck in city traffic behind a garbage truck who is stinky!  The text is a good length and I have a feeling this will be a favorite for a while at our house.

I Love Trucks! by Philoemen Sturges is about all sorts of trucks from firetrucks, bulldozers, ice cream trucks and of course garbage trucks!  Each page has simple text that gives a brief description of the main action each truck does like roll, dump, dig etc… My son eats this book up even though he enjoys much longer book as well. The illustrations by Shari Halpern ( who also illustrated many others of this author’s ) are bright bold and have a cartoon like quality that grabs young children’s attention.

Truck Driver Tom by Monica Wellington  is one of my son’s picks. The story is simple, Tom and his puppy drive produce from the farm to the market and see the country side and much more along the way. The best part of this book are the fun bright and detailed illustrations, there is a wide variety of trucks, cars , emergency and construction vehicles! Also it’s a great lesson about how our food gets from the farm to us.

Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolf was an awesome find. It immediately reminded me of ” One Duck Stuck ” by Phyllis Root and that is not a bad thing at all! The rhyming text is fun and the illustrations made me giggle, especially the Elvis impersonator in a pink Cadillac! My son was so impressed with this book, I was able to negotiate my reluctant eater to finish his lunch if I read it one more time . That speaks volumes!

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha is my favorite garbage truck book , and yes I have read a lot. Mr. Gilly is a hard working garbage man with one task, to clean up Trashy town. The text is so melodic I find myself singing while reading ” Dump it in, Smash it down, drive around the trashy town” . It’s not all trashy time for Mr. Gilly though, after a hard days work cleaning up Trashy town he gets into his bubble bath ! My son loves that this big garbage collector has a bath just like him. Super sweet and colorful book that explains garbage collection is a nice way.

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Dinosaur Picture Books

books for kids Dinosaurs are always a hit at our house and reading dinosaur picture books with your kids is fun anytime. There are so many great books to choose from and this list is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have a favorite dinosaur picture book that isn’t included please leave a comment so other readers can check it out.

Dinosaurs Roar, Butterflies Soar! by Bob Barner. They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover but this cover was so bright and inviting I popped the book in my bag without so much as reading the title. It turned out fine for me, this easy non fiction book is a wonderful way to explain to kids how the dinosaurs became extinct but that some even more outwardly fragile species like the butterfly survived. One think I really appreciate about this book is that on each page there are two sections of text in different fonts. The larger font tells the main simpler explanation while the second paragraph in the smaller font goes into more scientific detail for older or more advanced kids. My son loved it and I would say judging it by it’s cover was pretty accurate.
Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton has always been a favorite of mine for introducing dinosaurs to young kids. It’s very basic, very bright and has the fundamental facts about dinosaurs without loading toddlers down with too much information to sort through. The illustrations are bright, fun and descriptive on their own and will keep even the most fidgety 3 year old entertained.
I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaurby Stella Blackstone is such a pretty dinosaur book. This board book appealed to my daughter right away but I will be honest it was the images not the text that drew her in. The illustrations are all pictures of bright fabric dinosaurs with beads and sequins and the sparkle was an immediate hit with my girly girl. The text is short which is perfect for the board book audience and has good rhymes even if the rhythm isn’t as great as other titles by this author. I like that the author manages to slip in some basic facts about different dinosaurs as well.
Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! by Sandra Boynton is a cute little book about opposites with dinosaurs as it’s characters. This is a good book for little people who love dinosaurs but aren’t really ready to dive into facts about them yet. The melodic rhyming text and adorable pictures appeals to younger toddlers, and on the page where the dinosaurs are called bad for painting on their friends made both me and my son laugh .
Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus is one of those books that I wonder why I’ve never read before. It’s so good! It could be used in a dinosaur unit to talk about how large the dinosaurs was , it’s illustrations show the size difference between a frog and a dinosaur beautifully from the frogs perspective, it could be used to teach about the frog life cycle as well. What I loved though was the rhyme and rhythm the book had, it was almost musical and in a book about frogs and dinosaurs that is awesome!

Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons is an interesting and comprehensive introduction to dinosaurs for preschoolers. If you have a little one who wants to know more, this is a great book for them. It covers the basics and then some about dinosaurs and paleontology.

Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo by William Joyce. We were 2 pages into this book and my son already declared which character was his favorite. He loved this book. The story follows and adventurous family that goes on Safari where their youngest child catches a dinosaur. The dinosaur is named and accepted into the family . While they travel everything is wonderful but things get harder when they return home and not everyone in their hometown is as accepting as they are . I loved this book , it’s whimsy and heart for adventure.

Dinosaur Woods by George McClements was my favorite pick from our latest library trip. I laughed all the way through this book because of it’s snide remarks and funny asides . I made a huge mistake though, I told my son how hilarious it was and oversold it to him. The humor went right over his 5 year old head. Ooops! Luckily the story is great on it’s own . It’s about a bunch of forest friends who are trying to save their home from developers and get a great idea to make a dinosaur since no one would ever take a home away from a dinosaur. It’s really a book about conservation but it’s funny ( I stand by that) and sweet and a new favorite of mine.

Dinosaurumpus!by Tony Mitton is a dream of a book to read to a group of kids. It was the 3 rs of a wonderful picture book : rhyme, rhythm and repetition. The author makes dancing dinosaurs into a fantastic musical  story. My favorite part of this book is the chorus on each page and kids jump onto it immediately, so expect them to participate and sing along. It should be notes that while toddlers will likely love the book and it’s great friendly illustrations it’s not a short book. You may want to edit it for length or read it in parts.

If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most is an old favorite of mine. It’s a simple book that imagines how life would be so much easier if dinosaurs came back. They could help build skyscrapers, graze on your lawn so you don’t have to mow and even help librarians reach the books on the top shelf. Of course it doesn’t take that old a child to tell you why most of these ideas are silly but it’s a delightful book that can be read to a wide range of ages and depths of imagination. My favorite line is that if they came back they would give giraffes someone to look up to.

Dino Pets by Lynn Plourde is a simple book about a little boy who keeps buying pet dinosaurs. The wonderful thing about this book though is that he only ever buys exceptional dinosaurs and the reader gets to learn about them all. The fastest, longest, softest, smallest, and even scariest dinosaurs are featured in the story and the non fiction facts that the end of the book. Great bridge between fiction and non fiction for young kids.

Tyrannosaurus Dad by Liz Rosenberg has great intentions but I am not sure it delivered. The part I really liked was that this story is about a little boy who has a very different dad, who is a dinosaur. I also liked that she never explains why he is a dinosaur, it drives home the fact that families come in countless variations and that the dad’s downfall isn’t so much his size or the fear factor but instead it’s that he works all the time. Many kids can relate to that. What I didn’t like so much was the actual text, it didn’t flow as easily as I would have liked and instead of a real story it seems like a synopsis of events. Good heart though.

Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Bob Shea is the reason my voice has been hoarse for days. My kids love, no ADORE this book.  My son who is 5 is in stitches every time we read it and my daughter who is 2  reaches for it time and time again. The thing about this book is you must read it with gusto for it to reach it’s full potential because it’s story isn’t deep it’s really just about a destructive dinosaur who doesn’t go pee when he should. Sound familiar? Kinda like little kids who dump toys, bang and stomp and deny that they have to use the potty until the very last minute. It struck a chord at our house and I have a hunch it may at yours too.

Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur: A First Book of Manners by Judy Sierra is a really great book about manners with one really bad line. Ok so a little girl meets a dinosaur at the store and proceeds to have polite exchanges while she gets in and out of uncomfortable situations. I really like the learn by example aspect of this book and the bright illustrations. When the dinosaur  turns down a treat the little girls offers her this is what the book says ” The Dinosaur is worried that the brickle snack will make her fat.” Urgh. I try so hard to try to promote healthy body image and to not demonize food around my kids especially so I edited the line but it may not bother you as much as it did me.

Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda is truly awesome. You will gasp, giggle and find yourself amazed at every turn of the page when you read this incredible book. There is a large pop up in each two page spread ( beware some might be scary! ), as well as smaller pop ups on the pages as well. Under neath the intricate art are a ton of facts as well, it can just be a little tricky to get some kids to pay attention to the text with a giant dinosaur coming out of the book.  My sister bought this for my son years ago but we waited until last year to give it to him, and at 4.5 he is still awed and distracted by the pop ups . My guess is as his reading skills get stronger this will be a favorite quiet time book to read and play with.

Good Night, Dinosaurs by Judy Sierra is a tongue twister and I love it! I have a hard time pronouncing dinosaur names, but the cute little rhymes she writes to go with each really help. The book is simple, parent dinosaurs tucking in and getting their little dinosaurs ready to fall asleep. Your child will love the catchy “Good Night Dinosaurs, Sleep Tight Dinosaurs, Good Night Dinosaurs, Goodnight!” I know I did.

Dinosaur Roar! Board Book by Paul and  Henrietta Stickland and is a board book that I’ve read often enough that I don’t need to look at the book. The premise is simple, using 2 different dinosaurs every page illustrates a pair of opposites. Toddlers and young preschoolers adore this book and I can’t blame them, it’s adorable and a great tool for teaching ! My son loves how funny the illustrations are and clearly enjoys the rigidity of the opposite concepts.

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs by Paul Stickland is a great counting book for kids with bright and colorful dinosaurs. Both my kids liked this book so it appeals to toddlers and preschoolers alike. My favorite part is the surprise ending that always produces giggles!

The Super Hungry Dinosaur by Martin Waddell is a nice story about a little boy who saves himself and his family from a hungry and kinda scary dinosaur.  First he talks the dinosaur out of eating him and his family but then when he goes after his dog he captures him. When the dinosaur gives up the fight and begs for food the little boy agrees to feed him if he makes amends. It ends with a huge burp ( a sure fire hit with kids) and a super full dinosaur. Why I have bothered to include this book was that it’s story really seems to talk to kids desire to be a hero, to save their family and feel powerful.  The bit about natural consequences was a nice bonus too.

I Am an Ankylosaurus by Karen Wallace tells the story of an ankylosaurus and how she lays her eggs, protects them with her armor and tail, eats leaves and fights off a tyrannosaurus rex. It’s not a bad book and dinosaur lovers will still like it, my son did but I was sorta left with the question “So what?” I didn’t care about this dinosaur , there was nothing that made me feel like I should. Like I said my 2 year old liked it but didn’t ask to read it again.

Dino-Soccer by Lisa Wheeler is a fun play by play look at a serious dinosaur soccer match. I appreciated how the author wove facts about dinosaurs into the active text about the soccer game. My soccer loving son really liked it and was completely engaged in the neck and neck game that the two teams of dinosaurs facing off. I liked the mini lessons about sportsmanship and the fast pace the book maintained throughout.

Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems . Everyone loves Edwina; everyone except Reginald Van Hoobie-Doobie. Perhaps it’s because Edwina is a dinosaur and Reginald knows that dinosaur’s are extinct. He decides to educate everyone on this fact but no matter what he does, no one seems to listen to him; no one except Edwina. From flyers to a one-man-band, my kids love what Reginald does to try and get people to listen to his ‘Dinosaurs are extinct’ message. I love that the one person Reginald has an issue with (Edwina) is the one who helps him understand his real issue; he just wants people to listen to him. ( review by Carrie Anne)

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen is another favorite. I like the whole series in general and think this book is a great one to read before doctor appointments especially if you have a child like mine who is never happy to go! I love the details in Mark Teague’s illustrations and never tire of reading this book, even when my son grabs it again and again.

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13 Books About The Beach For Kids

reading lists for kids Exploring the ocean, tide pools and the beach is great to do in person but if you are landlocked you can still share the wonders of the ocean with your children with great picture books. If you can go explore the beach reading books about the beach for kids like these before and after are a great way of deepening their hands on experience.

kids books about the beach
Beach by Elisha Cooper. Go to the beach and sit back and just watch the day unfold, that’s what this book is like. It starts off early in the morning, with just the unmarked sand and rolling waves but quickly it fills with people: a woman spreads a towel on the sand, a girl covers her friend in sand, seagulls hover overhead watching. The book is like mini stories all collected in small images. There’s a page that talks about the clouds that roll by and the different shapes they form. Eventually people leave and the beach is quiet again. I love this book. I love the water-colours and how the story builds from a quiet morning to a full beach day back to quiet again. The other thing that is nice about how this story is written, you don’t have to read every single piece. Each little image is a little story unto itself. ( review by Carrie Anne)
Stella, Star of the Sea by Mary Louise Gay. Stella and Sam are spending the day at the beach. Stella is older and she’s been to the beach once before and knows all its secrets. Stella enthusiastically takes charge of the surroundings, exploring and enjoying everything the beach has to offer without hesitation: diving in the water, collecting shells, digging a tunnel to China. Sam on the other hand has never been to the beach and approaches things a little cautiously, asking if the water’s cold or if sea monsters live beneath the waves. Questions aside, after he’s been schooled by Stella and sees how much fun she’s having, he too relaxes and joins her in the water. Not only is this a great book about visiting the beach for the first time, Sam asks questions that first time beach goers might ask, but the relationship of big sister, little brother between Stella and Sam is wonderful and feels very natural. ( review by Carrie Anne)
beach books for kids
One White Wishing Stone by Doris K. Gayzagian is a beautiful book. Visually it reminds me of an impressionist painting, the soft beach colors used by illustrator Kristina Swarner are calming and pretty. This is more than just a counting book, there is a story of a little girl at the beach,what she finds and how she plans to use them when she takes them home. It’s so beautifully done that it almost makes me forget how much I hate finding sand in my car after a trip to the beach.
Miranda’s Beach Day by Holly Keller.Miranda and her mom spend a warm, sunny day at the Beach enjoying the water, the animals and the sand. Miranda experiences the beach with all her senses: feeling the hot sand under her toes and the water swirl around her, hearing the roar of the waves as they wash on the shore and the seagulls squawk in the air above, tasting the salty sand that sticks to her face, seeing the small Hermit crab skuttle across the sand. My kids loved reading this book; it had the ability of transporting them to the beach right from the living room. The illustrations are warm, muted water-colourings that add to the whole beach feel.( review by Carrie Anne)
The Seaside Switch by Kathleen V. Kudlinski is a book packed with information about tides and creatures in the sea. As a child I found nothing more fascinating than a tide pool and all the scurrying crabs and this book captures that. It’s main story is how the tide changes throughout the day and brings with it different animals. The book is too long for most toddlers but my son enjoyed pointing out the animals in the book.
Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer is a sweet book. Little Critter and his grandma hit the beach and enjoy an afternoon together. There is something so sweet and touching about this book and the special bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren. Mercer Mayer really did a great job at capturing the unique relationship between grand parents and grand children in this book. It also does a good job covering all the beach bases. They swim , play in the sand and have treats. The last page is adorable with Little Critter being carried into his house sound asleep on his grandma’s shoulder.
The Sandcastle Contest by Robert Munsch. I gave this book a really bad review the first time I reviewed it. While it still isn’t my favorite Munsch book, I am taking back some of what I said.The tantrum the main character has when no one believes him about really making everything from sand was a good teaching tool for my children. It opens up a great dialog about anger, and deep breaths, and wrecking things when we are mad. I think this book could be a good way for parents to talk about anger and frustration without feeling like you are giving a lecture.

Otto Goes to the Beach by Todd Parr . I really enjoy this book and so have my kids. Otto is a dog who goes to the beach but no one wants to do the same things as he does, even the fish swim the other way. In the end after feeling very sad Otto finds a new friend and all his misery is forgotten. I love Todd Parr books, I love the insanely bright colors, the cute simplistic illustrations and I love the messages they send. This book followed his other books perfectly and provided a great final message about not giving up finding a friend who will like all the same things you do!

At the Beach by Anne and Harlow Rockwell .A little girl visits the beach with her mom. She plays in the sand, hunts for shells, takes a swim before she settles in to a nice beach lunch. A visit to the beach can be a full day and this story gives the reader a great description of what to expect. This is great for young kids who haven’t been to the beach. It explains using a young girl’s point of view what you bring to beach and what you can expect to do once you’re there. The illustrations are muted and warm and fill the page and included our young red-haired beach girl enjoying herself in each one.

Beach Party! by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback reminds me of “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle , and that comparison is a compliment. This large board book is a fun and cute way to introduce toddlers to movement as well as animals you find or want to avoid at the beach. The reader is asked how they want to walk today then they see how each animal moves. This would be a fun read for a circle time where kids could get up and move like the animals in the book.

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt is hilarious, I actually snorted while reading it. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in with a great story. Before you even start flipping pages on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.

What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is great book in my favorite science series the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out . This book is a little long for toddlers but really great for preschoolers and easy to break into parts. The book starts talking about snails, then moves to turtles and finally sea shells. Like the others in the series this book break down facts to a preschoolers level without loosing any substance. If you are looking for a non fiction book for your little one, you must check out this series, they are hands down my favorite non fiction for young children.

The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow is a touching story of a little boy excited to go to the sea for the first time from his mountain home. The mother describes it so well that you will be aching for a trip too. I must admit though that my son and I barely paid attention to the words, we were both so moved by Wendell Minor’s paintings. We couldn’t help but ooh and awe every time we turned the page.

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