31 Counting Books For Kids

math books for kidsMath can go anywhere when you pack one of these counting books along with you. What a great way to work on numbers and reading at the same time. I chose these books because they aren’t just generic counting books, they are fantastic books that also have counting in them.  Did I skip your favorite? Tell me about it in comments so we can keep building this list together! The book titles are liked to Amazon with affiliate links.

Anno's Counting Book

Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno almost didn’t make it into my library bag. I am so glad it did. This is a wonderful book full of possibilities. There is no text just simple aerial illustrations of a field as it evolves one number at a time. The field fills up quickly and it can be tricky to classify the pictures on each page to match it with the number displayed but once you do , each page is a lesson!

Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker is a simple counting book with minimal text. What it lacks in words it delivers in illustrations. The rich colors of the hens, the golden hay and the yellow chicks were all expertly executed. We read the board book version of this book and as we turned each page the illustrations wowed us. The text that is included is rhyming and pleasant but the illustrations steal the show.

Quack and Count by Keith Baker is even better than Big Fat Hen. This book is awesome for multi-age groups because although the text is simple there are two levels of math on each page. Simple duck counting as well as addition to arrive at the same number. I squealed when I read this to my son and daughter , immediately realizing how perfect a book this was for us! Your kids will love the illustrations too.

Granny Went To Market

Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone is a book I got to know very well when writing lessons for Itty Bitty Bookworm preschool curriculum using it. This a a really fantastic book that is filled with language arts, geography and math lessons. Granny is a traveler and everywhere she goes she picks up a number of souvenirs. Not only are a number of countries like Switzerland, Mexico and Peru visited, but the souvenirs she buys relate to the country’s culture and offer even more learning opportunities for interested kids.  The rhyming text will enchant even the youngest world traveler , this is a must for any jet setting family!

doggies

Doggies by Sandra Boynton has been one of my daughter’s favorite books for ages. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a simple counting book about dogs, their different barks and one pesky cat. Toddlers love barking along with it so it’s a great book for places where they don’t have to be shushed, it’s not a great one for quiet only places like a church service.

moon

Goodnight Moon 123 by Margaret Wise Brown uses the familiar illustrations from the classic book by Margaret Wise Brown and turns it into a counting book. The page with 100 stars really has 100 stars on it, count and see!

Dinner At The Panda Palace

Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson is a great book. I grabbed it only because of the title but found a gem. My son and I both loved it and had a blast reading it. The story is about a restaurant and the people , or rather animals that come into the restaurant in ever enlarging groups. The text is rhyming and well written. My son loved counting each group that came in figuring out after a few times that each group had one more animal than the previous group. It was a great opportunity to practice one to one correspondence as he counted on each page.  There was also a great message about there always being room for one more when all the chairs were taken and a mouse came knocking wondering if he could eat too!

Books About The Zoo

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle is fun counting book perfect for toddlers. Actually as I type this my toddler is reading it. There are no words, just pictures and numbers and that makes it accessible for toddlers who are just learning both numbers and animals. Parents can read it slowly counting and naming the animals while making the animal sounds, or more quickly just counting!

Mimi's book of counting

by Emma Chichester Clark is a cute little book about a Grandma and granddaughter counting things in their every day. The counting is simple and easy to follow along with but what makes this book standout for me is how sweet the bond between the generations are. My son loves this book because he calls his paternal grandma Mimi . When we read it we make the Grandma in the book Mimi and the little monkey becomes my son. I like that we are counting while also celebrating a special bond in my son’s life.

Eggs and Legs: Counting by Twos by Michael Dahl is a cute book with silly illustrations and a fun concept to teach counting by twos. The book counts from 0-20 by 2s but each page has multiple depictions of each number including dots to count and the number in the text. This was super useful to show my son as we counted by 2s that we weren’t skipping the numbers, just grouping them to count faster. Fun and useful book.

math books for preschoolers

On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a great find, my son loved counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations , simple text and hidden numbers on each page. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit!

This Jazz Man

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt is my new favorite book. The book updates the classic children’s song “This Old Man” and inserts all different men in a jazz band, however at the end of the book it explains that each jazz man is actually a real person including Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and more! I love the bios at the end of the book because I want to learn more about jazz too. OK back to the book, the book itself is a counting book,and my son who is 3 eats it up! He loves calling out the number and instrument as I read the rhyming text.

fish eyes

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Elhert is a classroom favorite in every school I have ever been in. The colors are so bright and the eye cut outs that give readers a sneak peak at what colors are coming next are fascinating for babies and kids alike. I have used this book for various themes like under the sea, shapes and of course counting.

one little chicken

One Little Chicken: A Counting Book by David Elliot was a great library find. You count chickens as they dance all different styles, my favorite being the chickens who dance the hula ! The rhyming text is really fun and the pictures will make you giggle, I mean there are chickens in leotards doing ballet! Totally tickled my funny bone. The best part though is that it gets the reader involved after counting to ten, the chickens turn the tables stare at the reader and implore them to dance!  One of my new favorite counting books.

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.

ate a hare

My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman is a funny counting book that counts all the disgusting things the narrator’s sister ate from 1-10 . The rhyming text builds and repeats as she eats and eats! My son was thoroughly entertained.

rabb

Ten Little Rabbitsby Virginia Grossman is a really beautiful and cozy counting book. The reader follows Native American rabbits from one who is traveling on the plain to 10 all asleep in their tee pees . My son loved the illustrations by Sylvia Long and after reading it wanted to play hide and seek just like the rabbits in the book.

1, 2, buckle my shoe

1, 2, Buckle My Shoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines is a wonderful first counting book, and a favorite of my daughter. The text is the simple rhyme and the pictures are photos of quilted numbers and buttons. The buttons correspond to the numbers and are so bright that they practically beg a child to touch and count them. My daughter who is 14 months loves to push the buttons, trace the numbers and laughs at the hen. Very sweet book.

daddy hugs

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband in 2007 for his first father’s day to read with my son and my son hated it. However in the years since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage. Edited for 2013: My daughter has always loved this book!

1+1=5: and Other Unlikely Additions by David LaRochelle was sent to me by the publisher a few years ago. The book as you might guess by the title is not about adding the obvious but rather the less obvious numbers in an illustration. Do not read this book with your child until they understand addition and counting. When they have those skills down this book is genius! I say that because it forces them to look at all different numbers of things to figure out what the author is counting.  Readers see the equation first and the objects they are counting are usually hidden so you will have to turn the page to figure it out. Flip the page and it’s more obvious , for example 1+1 = 100 and the picture includes a pumpkin and watermelon. Flip the page and you see they are cut open with many seeds in full view. It’s tricky but if you have a child interested in math or mysteries grab it and have a look.

counting wildflowers

Counting Wildflowers by Bruce McMillan is a simple book but it stands out for me because it is interactive with 20 circles to touch on every page that fill up as you count flowers on each page. The reader can count the blooms, and then count again with the circles , all the way up to 20. When you are trying to reinforce a skill like counting the use of repetition is really helpful. Simple but great.

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 shown on the same page as the objects 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!

Zin Zin Zin a Violin

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduced musical instruments in it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the back with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it .

ten on the sled

Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman is a really fun and educational book. The book is a new spin on the old song ” Ten in A Bed” but instead of squeezing onto a bed these cold weather animals pile on and off the sled one at a time. What is wonderful from an educational sense is not just the obvious counting element but as each animal exists the sled the verb used for how they exit begins with the same letter as the animal does. This was fantastic for my son who wanted to sound every animal and verb out.  Add a fun rhyming sing song text and this is a great read.

one hungry monster

One Hungry Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe is a fun counting book  great for all ages of kids. My son will sit for the first 5-6 pages, even though the whole book is too long for him now at two and a half years old. The book is a counting book and kids who are learning their numbers love these sorts of books, it also has a small lesson about manners since the monsters have terrible manners.

construction-countdown-k-c-olson-hardcover-cover-art

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.

one-duck-stuck

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root looks like an everyday book , but inside you will find a brilliantly repetitive storyline, that promotes teamwork, and mathematical skills! See a duck gets stuck in the muck and while others are eager to help the duck isn’t unstuck until they all work together. My class was nuts about this book a few years ago and my son has greatly enjoyed it since infancy. Don’t pass this book up.

monsterbookskids

Molly’s Monsters by Teddy Slater is a counting book in monster’s clothes. The book is about a little girl named Molly who is just trying to sleep when her room is flooded with monsters. They come in progressively larger groups and my son liked  counting to make sure the text was correct. My favorite part was that the first monster to arrive and the last to leave , never does leave and instead snuggles into bed with Molly. I also like that to get these pesky visitors to leave she turns on the light and makes a scary face at them. Clever.

 

123

One, Two, Three by Tom Slaughter is super simple, bold, bright, and a great counting book!  This isn’t a complex book but it is one that encourages counting with it’s brilliant illustrations.  I would happily recommend this book to families with babies through preschoolers , my 3 year old loved it and partly because he read all the pictures and numbers himself!

10TerribleDinosaurs

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!

mouse count

Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh is another gem from this author illustrator. In this book the mice outsmart a hungry snake and save themselves from his belly. In the meantime the reader counts along as the mice are caught and put in a jar , then again when they escape. The simple illustrations are so effective and my son loved this book.

10 Books About Easter

10 easter books for kidsWe love chocolate, we love jelly beans but we love books even more. Every Easter we put at least one book in the Easter basket.  Sometimes they are Easter themed like these sometimes they are about cars and trucks, animals or princesses. The important part is that we are slipping books in as treats wherever we can. Here are some great books about Easter to read before and after the bunny hops over to your house. Also pop over to Scholastic Parents and check out my latest post about creating a book hunt . Just like Easter egg hunt only you find books and read them as you go along.

The Golden Egg

The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown is one of those books I have clear memories of from childhood. Thing is I don’t really remember the story so much as the cover. In this case it’s ok to judge a book by it’s cover because although the ending has always seemed tacked on to me I enjoyed this simple and cute book about a bunny and the egg that he finds. My son liked it too, although he was much more into the illustrations of butterflies in the first and last few pages.

scholastic book giveaway

The Best Easter Prize by Kristina Evans is a sweet ( maybe too sweet) book about doing the right thing. It’s Easter morning and after church is a big Easter egg hunt and whoever finds the most wins the prize. At first our heroine can’t find any but then she hits the jackpot only to find a crying friend who has an empty basket. Of course she offers her some of her eggs ( sweet) but then they cross the finish line holding hands ( too sweet). My dislike of sickly sweet picture books aside the story as a whole is cute, my kids enjoyed it and the lesson is valuable.

What Is Easter? by Michelle Medlock Adams was a bit disappointing for us. I love her What is Christmas book and vaguely remember liking this the first time I read it ( and gave it a good but not detailed review) so I grabbed this for my daughter’s Easter basket before re reading it. Ooops. Live and learn sometimes authors you love make books you won’t. This book takes a Christian viewpoint vs the many secular Easter books focusing on egg hunts and the Easter bunny. The book explains the facts about Easter and how it’s the celebration of Jesus’s death and resurrection . It starts out noting all the secular aspects of the holiday and how they are fun but are not the real reason you celebrate. Where it lost my son and I was when it said that Jesus was crucified on a tree. You don’t have to be Christian for that to make you say WHAT? My son interrupted my reading and said ” You are tricking, No he died on a cross!” ( glad he listens in church!) So discussed I it on twitter and while the poetry of it is apparent as a mom and former Sunday School teacher let’s give the kids the basics and then branch out into discussions about interpretations etc… later. If you have this book I’d love to hear your take. * Interestingly as I said I reviewed this book years ago and gave it a positive review and didn’t mention the tree, nor do I remember it being an issue. My only explanation is I read it as poetic language and as an adult it didn’t phase me, and as a toddler my son didn’t stop me reading it like he did today at 4.

Ollie’s Easter Eggs (a Gossie & Friends book) by Olivier Durea is a cute book about friends working hard to dye their Easter eggs, well all but one Ollie who is playing and looking incredibly adorable in bunny ears while the others work hard. However Ollie may have missed out on dyeing the eggs but he makes up for it by masterminding a true egg hunt! My 4 year old son loved this book and how sneaky Ollie was as he snatched the hidden dyed eggs and re hid them! Cute addition to this popular series.

Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs? by Karen Katz is a great way of having an Easter egg hunt while reading a story. If you aren’t familiar with the ” Where are Baby’s …” series of life the flap books, they are simple books where the reader searches for an item finding other things first before finally finding the title object, in this case Easter eggs. My daughter loves these books and plays with them even when we aren’t reading them together. I love the bright illustrations and the simple holiday theme.

The Biggest Easter Basket Ever
by Steven Kroll is another story about cooperation and how two helpful hands are better than one, and a whole bunch of hands is way better! Clayton and Desmond both want to win the town’s biggest Easter basket competition but after making their own baskets they sneak a peek at the competition and realize they don’t stand out. Luckily as the story progresses they figure out working together is key. My son loved this book but some younger friends ( young 4 year olds) lost interest in the middle. I love this author and I love how working together is presented in a practical way instead of simply because it’s the right thing because I think the former is easier for young kids to grasp.

Peter Rabbit’s Happy Easter

by Grace Maccarone is an interesting tale about how Peter Rabbit became the Easter Bunny. The book has a few loose ends I really wish would be tied up but before I get to that let me give you a quick taste of the book. The story is how Peter wants to make his mom forgive him for being naughty so he steals ( although he doesn’t see it that way) eggs from neighboring farms to give her as a gift. Before he gives them to her paint falls on them and they get colored all different beautiful colors. His mom tells him not to steal and so he returns them at night becoming the Easter Bunny. Ok here are my issues…I don’t mind naughty characters, in fact I usually really enjoy them but sneaking back to return something you stole without apologizing left a bad taste. I know why the author wrote it like that to turn him into the Easter Bunny but it still didn’t sit well with me. The illustrations by David McPhail really stole the show , I thought they were beautiful.

The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry was the text I was expecting and hoping What is Easter would have. I am just glad it will be added to our family library soon. This book does a fantastic job at explaining the holiday of Easter, it’s origins and traditions on the level of kids still young enough to read a board book. It doesn’t hurt that the church in it looks identical to ours and my son was so excited that our church was in the book! I also appreciated the diversity in the illustrations .

Easter books

The Best Easter Eggs Ever!
by Jerry Smath is my favorite book in this pack . The story follows the Easter bunny and his 3 young assistant bunnies as they prepare for their big day. The Easter Bunny is getting tired and a little bored of his polka dot design for the eggs and decides to send out his assistants in search of new designs. The little bunnies head out with one egg and paints to all different places to find inspiration. When one of the little bunnies is captivated by the night sky she doesn’t notice how dark it is and how lost she has gotten. The Easter Bunny and his other assistants find her and in the morning the new designs are celebrated. My son loves an inside look at any sort of secret place like the Easter Bunny’s or Santa’s workshop so he was drawn into this book immediately. I liked the illustrations and how detailed they were , it certainly got me excited about Easter.

easter books for kids

The Night Before Easter
by Natasha Wing is a Easter version of the classic “Twas The Night Before Christmas” . With fun pictures and an Easter Bunny so joyful I wanted to apply for his job this book was a hit at our house. My son was engaged through the whole book guessing at the rhymes and listening intently from one page to the next. Of all the books this was the only one that really engaged my toddler as well. She pointed out animals and loved the little boy in the book. Great Easter book.

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Top 12 of 2012 { Our Most Popular Posts}

top 12 of 20122012 was the year of kids craft round ups.  You all love them! They were by far the biggest traffic providers of 2012. As much as I like them they aren’t actually my favorite. They are fun to put together but my heart belongs to the single activity posts . I will post my favorite 12 of 2012 on Monday. Until then here are the top 12 traffic getters of 2012. Enjoy.

  1. 75 Books That Build Character
  2. 25 Alphabet Activities For Kids
  3. 75 TV Free Activities For Kids
  4. 30 Bug Crafts For Kids
  5. 50 Simple Outdoor Activities For Kids
  6. 21 Easy Easter Crafts
  7. 35 Easy Animal Crafts
  8. Easy Halloween Crafts
  9. 22 Activities For Kids Under 2
  10. 25 Classic Crafts For Kids
  11. 15 Fun Activities For Kids
  12. 20 Earth Day Activities For Kids

21 Board Books For Babies and Toddlers

board books Many books have board book editions but aren’t always available at your library or bookstore. The 21 board books for babies and toddlers listed here are generally found in this format anywhere you find books. If you have a favorite board book you don’t see listed here please leave a comment for me and other readers about why it’s your favorite!

 

How Big Is a Pig? by Claire Beaton is a favorite in our house and has been for both my kids. I love the felt illustrations, the detail amazes me and helps distract me from noticing that I have read it 20 times in as many minutes. The story itself is great too, it focuses on opposites in the farm yard with a zippy rhyming text. My daughter loves taking this one in the stroller while I run and because it’s a board book I can give it to her without worrying that after a few miles it’s ripped and ruined.

Doggies by Sandra Boynton has been one of my daughter’s favorite books for ages. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a simple counting book about dogs, their different barks and one pesky cat. Toddlers love barking along with it so it’s a great book for places where they don’t have to be shushed, it’s not a great one for quiet only places like a church service.

Moo Baa La La Laby Sandra Boynton always makes me laugh. There is something about the facial expressions her animals always have that crack me up, and lets me honest if the book is good for the adult reading it, it’s always a plus. Super bright colors on each page is a huge plus for my baby girl as I flip the pages, and even though she doesn’t get the humor yet she will soon enough and it’s a book that will grow with her.

Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton.  This author is a preschool parents dream, short and easy to read melodic books with illustrations to die for. The story is simply a little love song about all the ways the dog loves the puppy, simple and touching. As an educator something I love is that the dogs don’t have an obvious race , they don’t even have an obvious gender which is perfect. Regardless of who loves who in your family your child can see you in the dog and themselves in the puppy! I think that is the perfect valentine! My son didn’t warm up to this book right away, but now not only does he love it he is very very specific that only I can read it to him . It’s become a big favorite in our house.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown isn’t an innovative choice but I make babies who love this book. My son could be “Goodnight Mooned ” to sleep as a baby if we simply recited the words and while my daughter isn’t at that point yet she sits happily listening to our voices as we read it to her. I will be the first to admit I didn’t always love this book but as a mom it’s been more than a book, it’s been a signal to my son that it’s bedtime and I hope that it becomes part of my daughter’s routine soon too.  The story is simple , it’s not even really a story so much as a baby bunny saying goodnight to all the objects in his room including the moon peeking in the window.

The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle was one of my son’s favorite books to read before bed when he was a toddler, not so much because of the story but because the board book version has flashing lights at the end ! The story is all about a firefly looking for another firefly but mistaking all different light for a friend. Toddlers love this book because it gives them a chance to be bossy and say ” No that’s a flashlight” to the firefly. The text is the right length for little guys but not boring for older kids , and I need to mention the little lights are really quite magical in a dark bedroom, especially if you are in a place that doesn’t have fireflies!

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.

Clap Your Handsby Lorinda Bryan Cauley is a rhythmic rhyming book that suggests movements for the readers ( perhaps when she is sitting or standing she will follow along) with fun and silly pictures of kids mixed with animals doing the actions. What probably appeals to my 3 month old are the bright colors on the white background and the rhythm of the text.Also it’s a fun book to have an older sibling join in with and do the actions as you read.

Beddy-bye, Baby: A Touch-and-Feel Bookby Karen Katz is a cute bedtime book for the toddler crowd.  I like the rhyming text and that it’s a feel and touch book  but with the exception of the final page the textured pieces are too small . Fumbly flappy infant hands have a a hard time hitting the small textured sections. Ideally they would be larger so the child can explore as the adult reads . It’s not a huge complaint and I love Karen Katz so I would still recommend this book for families with little ones.

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?by Karen Katz. This lift and flap book is the newest addition to our Karen Katz collection. My son adores these books. I read this in the check out line 3 times and he was asking for more before I could get my groceries in the fridge. I like this book because it’s a cute and gentle introduction to Halloween and all the creatures that go along with it. Also there are fun textures to many of the illustrations which help keep little hands busy! Edited for 2012 : Even though this is a Halloween book both my kids loved it and it’s never been put away since I bought it in 2009. It’s easily one of my daughter’s all time favorites.

This Little Chick by John Lawrence is just about the perfect board book for my daughter right now, she didn’t even try to eat it! The rhymes are melodic the text full of animal sounds is spot on for our littlest readers . My son and I had fun reading this old favorite to my daughter for the first time.  The illustrations are fantastic with lots of contrast and is the perfect length for  a quick snuggle and read for wiggly babies who are eager to move.

Cowboy Small by Lois Lenski is a cute cowboy book for the younger set. We have the board book edition and it’s been loved for a long time at our house, although since our return from the Calgary Stampede it’s been read constantly. The text is simple, the drawings are charming and the book covers all the basics of what a cowboys does day and night. My son loves that Cowboy small has a guitar, and is pretty fond of the part when he gets bucked off a bronco as well.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. With the turn of each page the reader is left wondering what’s next, and if the reader is my son he will cut you off to tell you what’s coming next before you have a chance to turn the page. There are other titles in the series , including ; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my very favorite! My daughter actually sits looking at these pages instead of simply trying to eat the book, which in my opinion is a great review from a 6 month old!

Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault  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.

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee .This  book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do.  My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families.  The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of  families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is simply one of my favorite books ever. I love it and love that my daughter doesn’t fuss when I read it to her because it was a special book for my son when he was little and it’s a book he will still curl up and read quietly with us, making it fun cuddle time for all three of us. If you aren’t familiar with this book it’s all about a sneaky gorilla who unlocks all the animals at the zoo and they quietly follow the zoo keeper home and climb into bed with him, until his wife wakes up! I love this book cause I relate to the zoo keepers wife , when I wake up there is always a sneaky 3 year old gorilla in my bed!

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root looks like an everyday book , but inside you will find a brilliantly repetitive storyline, that promotes teamwork, and mathematical skills! See a duck gets stuck in the muck and while others are eager to help the duck isn’t unstuck until they all work together. My class was nuts about this book a few years ago and my son has greatly enjoyed it since infancy. Don’t pass this book up.

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.

 The Busy Little Squirrelby Nancy Tafuri is a great book for babies and toddlers. The readers follow along with a squirrel as she gathers nuts , seeds and berries for the winter. As she hunts for her treasure she encounters many animals who all make their respective sounds and ask her to play, of course she is too busy and continues on.  Even though the idea is not groundbreaking  I like that this book can be used to introduce animal sounds without simply sitting down with let’s say flash cards and teaching them to your toddler. Even if you have no real animals near by books like this one are a great way to authentically teach very young kids.

Bye-Bye Time by Elizabeth Verdick is a great book for toddlers who are anxious about separation.  It goes through drop off time at school between a little girl and her dad. When I worked in a childcare setting bye bye time was a huge source of anxiety for many students, books like this one are such great tools for parents and teachers. There are wonderful tips at the back that in my experience are all great advice. This book is just one of many by the same author that are all wonderful tools for families and classrooms. My favorite being Teeth Are Not for Biting and Words are Not for Hurting

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell was an instant hit with my son. I knew it would be, much like little Bill the smallest of the three baby owls my son is fond of saying “I want my mommy”. The three birds are distraught when they discover mama owl is not there. I love how they huddle together, and think a lot before mama Owl returns non- challant about the fact that she’d returned. The illustrations of the owls are so expressive , which with very few facial features is impressive. Patrick Benson did a wonderful job bringing all three owl’s personalities out visually as well as making the setting ominous without being frightening to young readers. Great book!

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31 Books To Read About School

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children's books about school

School is less than a month away for some of my readers while others still have a while before the alarm clocks get set, lunches get packed and they get on the school bus. These books are all about going to school and are a great way to ease the transition from summer to school year with young kids. Some are about preschool, some are about that big first day at kindergarten and some are more general. Many handle the topic of school anxiety and I think those are the great tools for kids that are not eager to separate or are natural worriers.

I Don’t Want to Go To School! by Stephanie Blake is a funny little book that deals with the big issue of not wanting to go to school. The little bunny Simon in this book doesn’t want to go even though his parents are supportive and try to make him feel confident about going. I loved that when he got to school the first thing he did was cry and the author was so matter of fact about it. That lets kids know that there is no shame in expressing emotion and even after they cry things will probably get better, it did for Simon. My son loved that all Simon ever said was “No way!” and quickly took over every one of Simon’s lines. It was a big hit, got lots of giggles and had a great message.

Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book by Lucy Cousins is not groundbreaking , it’s text is very formulaic but that doesn’t matter to most young readers who are being introduced to preschool for the first time. My daughter loved this book and my son loved helping me read it to her. It was sweet to see my son tell his little sister all about what she will do at preschool between reading. The book covers all the basics and one thing that really stood out was the page showing Maisy and other students in the potty. The reason I liked this was that for many children a big step at the same time as starting preschool is potty training. The bright colors absolutely thrilled my toddler.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg has a special spot in my heart.  It’s a book about not wanting to go to a new school, the first day is always the hardest and it’s easier to just stay in bed! The beauty of this book isn’t just the recognition of the anxiety about the first day but in the end the twist is that it’s the teacher who has the jitters not a student. I love this book and the power it has to help anxious kids, I have read it more than once to a jittery child and see how it can help first hand.

First Year Letters by Julie Danneberg is a really great book about a new , eager teacher and her loyal class. My son loved this book because it was filled with funny mishaps during a teacher’s first year of teaching. The mishaps include runaway pets, falling buffalo, visits from the fire department not once but twice, and more every day things like barf. If you have a child like mine that thinks barf is funny, they will love it. I love the premise, letters written by students much like journal entries with coordinating illustrations. It made me want to get back to teaching and my son asked me if he’d get to have a teacher like that some day. I hope he does!

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis was just an okay book for me but my son really really liked it, and since he is the one heading off to kindergarten in the fall I think his opinion should be the most important one on this review.  The book is about a little boy heading off to kindergarten with a big sister who is there to answer his questions and remind him that kindergarten rocks. It addresses many of the worries that kids have and one page has a bunch written out in the illustrations. This was my favorite part of the book because my son related to these worries and it gave us a chance to talk about them.

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean is a special school book for our family. At my son’s kindergarten orientation the teacher read this to her class and the prospective students and it’s been a favorite ever since. The book follows Pete who is a cool cat with rockin’ shoes. He heads to school and while he isn’t exactly sure of how things works he doesn’t worry, he just goes with the flow.  There is no way you will be able to red this book without smiling, it’s so chill and relaxed and plain fun. Both my kids love it and I love the repetitive questions about Pete and his reactions to new situations and answer each one every time we read it. Not many of these books are must buy , but I would add this to your shopping list it’s that good!

Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper is a delightful book. Miss Mingo is a flamingo and teacher who wants to know about her students on the first day of school. She starts the exercise by sharing some fun facts about being a flamingo , like why she is pink, and before you know it the whole class of different animals are sharing. This book not only shows kids that it’s okay to share about themselves but it is full of fun facts about animals in the fine print. I learned something I never knew about a Narwhal! It is a bit long for a toddler but each page highlights new animals and it’s easy to skip a few for those that aren’t ready for a book of this length. This is going on my buy list!

Kindergarten Countdownby Anna Jane Hays is a cute book about a little girl who is crazy excited about the first day of kindergarten. The rhyming text is silly but it still manages to address some of the issues that all kids face wen transitioning to something new. On each page there are items to count along with the countdown of days leading up to the first day of school and I like that interactive element.   It’s also a useful book to talk about the days of the week as well.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes This book is about a little mouse who is about as anxious as possible. She worries about everything, and it makes her family worried too. This is a fantastic book to read before starting anything new! I read it for the children’s time at my church right before school started in the fall. It was a great opener for a talk about anxiety. We all have worries and even though we may not worry as often or as fiercely as Wemberly this book makes it seem okay and normal to feel those feelings. The way the author illustrates both through words and pictures the intensity of her feelings really creates compassion in the reader for this little mouse. And that ability to understand what another is feeling is something that I desperately want to instill in my son.

Russell’s Secret by Johanna Hurwitz made me laugh and although my son liked it as well I think I liked it more. It’s a story about a little boy who doesn’t want to go to school he wants to stay at home like his baby sister. So his mom treats him like a baby until he can’t take it anymore. She is never mean, she is never belittling just frank and firm. I liked that she waited for him to come to the conclusion that being a baby is not the best when you are already a big boy.

Off To Kindergarten by Tony Johnston is a book about a little boy who is cool about going to Kindergarten as long as he can take everything but the kitchen sink with him. I liked that this story deals with uncertainty and the unknown in such a gentle way. I like the rhymes and some of the words used were uncommon to see in a children’s book and I appreciate that immensely. I wouldn’t run out to buy this one but if I saw it at the library I would definitely pop it in my bag.

On the Way to Kindergarten by Virgina Kroll was so much better than I would have judged by the cover. It’s a cute look back at how children grow and develop ( well the character is a bear but you know what I mean), and how with each year of age they can do more. I love the focus on getting to go to kindergarten instead of having to go to kindergarten , with the emphasis on the positive the book really gets readers pumped to get on that bus! My son loved it and liked pointing out when he could or could not do something at the same age as the bear in the book. So as a secondary lesson we talked about how everyone does things at their own pace.

Follow the Line to School by Laura Ljungkvist is a really neat book and I hope I can explain it well because I really think it’s cool. Think of this book as a tour through an elementary school and on each page there are things for the readers to find. My son and I cuddled up and explored this book and discovered that there is so much on each page even beyond the three things you are prompted to find. The graphic design of this whole book is simply amazing. My son thought it was cool but I was telling him not to turn the page yet because I was trying to take it all in. The beauty of the book is great but it’s also so useful for a curious kid who gets reassured by knowing as much as they can about the unknown. This book covers so many things about a school and how you send your day when you go to one.  I am eager to read the author/illustrator’s other works.

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon is a really cute book. This is the story of Ginny who doesn’t know that the way she things is a little different than the other kids in her class. She is teased, her teacher reprimands her for squinting but it’s not until she has an eye screening that the nurse figures out she has double vision. I like this book because it really allows children to experience what Ginny goes through , how being different but not knowing it can be fixed feels.  Ginny is given a patch and that too could be a source of humiliation but she is proud to be a pirate! Great and unexpectedly tender look at being different at school.

Little School by Beth Norling makes me miss teaching. It’s a simply written but detailed look at preschool and all the things waiting to explore in the classroom. Readers follow a class of four year olds as they navigate their day learning, playing, creating and some crying. I like this book because like I mentioned above this can be used as a tool to compare to your child’s own experience. My son immediately looked for dress up clothes, and a fire truck ( which he found ) in the illustrations because those are his favorite things at his preschool. After reading it he wanted to look at it alone and examine each page’s detailed pictures carefully.

The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.

Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis is a cute look at the first month of kindergarten and how quickly something potentially scary and unknown becomes comfortable and familiar. I love the mix of funny and touching and how friendships get closer , and the challenges like crossing the monkey bars get easier as the month moves along. The illustrations are hilariously cute and it was such an enjoyable book to read and talk about with my son.

Zip, Zip…Homework by Nancy Poydar is a book about telling the truth at home and school. Violet is so eager to get homework because it makes her feel big and important, she even gets a special new bag for it. Things go haywire when she can’t remember which pocket she put her homework in, and she lies about having finished it.  I don’t know about you but as my son nears 4 years old telling the difference between the truth and lies become an important subject that is often discussed. This book is another good tool to help keep that topic going .

My Preschool by Anne Rockwell is another spot on book by an author we love. Simple and to the point but somehow the author manages to hit all the most important parts of preschool like separation anxiety, conflict resolution and taking turns. I loved that the author included a child making a painting and saying that his mom would love it. I love seeing that sort of pride in creating . My son related well to this book and was quite vocal about the little boy who knocked down another students blocks, which gave me a chance to talk about behavior like that.

Welcome to Kindergarten by Anne Rockwell is a great book for kids that have never been to school before and are heading to kindergarten. The book does a great job of explaining all the things learning centers , routines and basic activities that are common in a kindergarten class through the eyes of a little boy attending a kindergarten orientation. He goes from being unsure to much more at ease in his future environment. The reason I said I thought it would be a good book for kids unfamiliar with preschool is that while reading this to my son he said ” I already know all this !”  a handful of times before asking to grab another from our pile of books.

Helping Hand Books: Emily’s First Day of School by Sarah Duchess of York is a a timely book for the coming months when many children of varying ages will be entering school for the first time . Although the book doesn’t specifically tell us Emily’s age she seems to be entering kindergarten since there are older children at her school , but this book will work with any child entering school or even going to a new school. I liked the story but it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was very predictable and I was hoping it would be a fresh take on this theme. My son liked it but of the 4 books it’s the only one I have read only twice. My main issues with the book is that while Emily seems to be entering kindergarten the daily activities seem more like preschool. The tips at the back of the book are great , I especially like the one that suggests parents practice routines like independently going to the bathroom, washing hands , putting on their coat etc… However the story doesn’t reflect these practical and useful suggestions, and I wish it did.

Frankie Stein Starts Schoolby Lola M. Schaefer is a  Halloween themed look at school and being different . Frankie Stein is the son of Frankenstein and unlike all the other kids at his ( night) school he isn’t scary at all. They tease him and he stands up for himself but then he just goes about trying to fit in by being just like the other kids and not like himself. I was hoping for a story where his differences were celebrated instead Frankie shows the other kids who are downright mean to him that he can earn their friendship by acting just like them which disappointed me. Cute concept but the story didn’t do much for me.

David Goes To School by David Shannon is always a hit with kids. David is again up to no good even if his heart is in the right place. This time David is making poor choices at school from cutting in the cafeteria line to writing on a desk. David books are usually loved or hated and I am in the love camp because they are such awesome tools to use examples of bad behavior to talk about and teach good behavior. Kids love to live vicariously through naughty characters and David is also really funny so get ready for some giggles too.

I Love School! by Philemon Sturges is a great simple book. I am a fan of this author and his basic books that kids love. He manages to cover all the things that happen at school from the start to the end of the day in an easy rhyming text. What makes this book stand out for me is that the boys and girls were both playing with dolls, something that you see in classrooms every day but rarely in books, it was a nice touch.

Elizabeti’s Schoolby Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is a wonderful book for elementary aged kids . The story is about a little girl in Africa who is excited about  getting ready to go to school for the first time. What I adore about this book is that it teaches children that school may be seen as a burden to children in wealthy nations it’s a privilege to many in poorer places. Children are lucky to get a chance to go to school and without being preachy at all this book gets that message through to readers. The other thing that it gets through so beautifully is that while school systems are obviously different that family life and people are not all that different even on a far away continent. Both my son and I liked this book.

The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler is the original book in the very popular Black Lagoon series. The imaginative story is all about a boy’s worries that his teacher is going to be a terrible child eating monster. My son giggled through the whole book and loved the gore and dark humor. I do not suggest reading this to very sensitive kids or ones that really are very nervous about school. It’s humor may not be reassuring, but kids comfortable with school will find it hilarious.

Mr. President Goes to School by Rick Walton is such a cute book that we really enjoyed. The book is not so much about school as it is about how complicated adult problems can get and you can imagine how big they get for the President of The United States. First of all I have to say I loved that when we started reading it my son said ” The President should be African American .” I love that my son has no idea that there was a time when people didn’t think that could or should happen. Ok proud moment aside the story follows Mr. President as he escapes his duties trying to make peces between to Eastern European leaders and heads back to his old kindergarten class to remember what it’s all about. Of course he ends up going back and using all the things he learned in kindergarten to make peace between the two leaders , I mean who can start a war with someone they’ve done the hokey pokey with? I like the message and the book is cute and can be a great tool to show kids how lucky they are they get to go to kindergarten , even the President wishes he could go back!

I Hate School  by Jeanne Willis is a gross scary book that made me gasp more than a few times and my son loved it. The story is about Honor Brown who hates school and all her reasons for hating it which include such gross things as kids getting their heads cut off for speaking in class, getting thrown out the windows, and teachers going beserk pulling kids hair. Okay so obviously this is all in her imagination and kids like my son who can differentiate that think it’ just a character’s exaggerated imagination but for some this could be very terrifying. I know as a small child I would have been absolutely frightened by it and it would have made my school anxiety worse. So pre read this if you find it and decide if your child will laugh and know it’s not literal or if they will end up having nightmares.

It’s Time for School with Tallulah by Nancy Wolff is a bright and funny book that goes through a whole school day in detail. My almost 4 year old was interested but the book was quite long he was teetering near the end ( this was book #6 during quiet time though) . The illustrations are whimsical and we both loved them, and the humor was awesome too. There are a lot of asides in this book and reading them all is what made this book borderline too long for my son. If you skip these extras it will be fine. The problem is the asides are hilarious and even include things like a song, recipe and other tips. I still recommend this book, just read the asides first if your child is not eager to sit for too long.

Jake Starts Schoolby Micheal Wright is such a great book that has just the right amount of sarcasm for the adults reading it and a great message and humor for the kids too. Jake is a little scared about his first day at school so he decides to hold on to his parents and not let go. The day wears on and his parents patience is wearing thin as they do everything stuck together including recess… but a great teacher finally gets Jake to connect with a book and become her helper and finally he lets go of him poor aching parents. I really enjoy this author/illustrator because I relate so well to his characters, Jake who is anxious and his parents that love him and will support him but aren’t necessarily thrilled to be sitting at his desk in his kindergarten class. I thought it was touching  and my son thought it was funny so it was a win win for us.

How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? by Jane Yolen is a book about how children and dinosaurs should behave at school . This is part of the author’s wildly popular series that are cute and kids enjoy them but are very repetitive for parents. If you have read one in the series you can imagine what this one is like. That said kids love repetition, they love being able to predict what’s coming next so this book is worth a look especially if children are eager to figure out what they can and can’t do at school.