Guest Post by Kerry Aradhya

A Sampling of Picture Books that Sing

Ok. So the three picture books I’m about to tell you about don’t actually sing, but their splendid use of rhythm, rhyme, and pacing sure make me want to sing—and want to dance, too. Rhythm and rhyme are important tools for supporting early literacy, and these books are so fun and engaging that many emergent readers will want to hear them again and again.

1. Jazz Baby

Author: Lisa Wheeler

Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie

Publisher: Harcourt (2007)

So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM and they HIP-HIP-HOP and the bouncing baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP!

Itty-bitty Baby comes from a snazzy, jazzy family who sing and dance all the way through this rollicking good book. The rhyming text never misses a beat, and every line is as fun and fabulous as the one before it. The illustrations by R. Gregory Christie, who has also created covers for jazz records around the world, embody the lively spirit of this jazzy book perfectly.

2. Sleepyhead Bear

Author: Lisa Westberg Peters

Illustrator: Ian Schoenherr

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (2006)

He tries to look tall and growls, GRRRRRR! But the bugs aren’t afraid, and they buzzzzzz in her fur.

Poor little sleepyhead bear. All he wants to do is go to bed, but the bugs just won’t leave him alone! No matter where he goes—across a lake, up a tree, even into a log—the bugs are whirring and buzzing in his way. The pace of this energetic book speeds up when Bear gets into trouble and slows down when he can finally relax. The rhythm also changes from time to time, keeping readers on their toes, wondering what will happen next.

3. Rattletrap Car

Author: Phyllis Root

Illustrator: Jill Barton

Publisher: Candlewick Press (2001)

Poppa turned the key, brum, brum brum. Clinkety clankety bing bang pop! They were off to the lake in their rattletrap car. They didn’t go fast and they didn’t go far when…

Junie, Jakie, and the baby grab their water toys, pile into Poppa’s old rattletrap car, and head for the lake on a hot summer day. First a tire goes flat. Then the floor of the car falls out. The disasters keep coming, but this creative family finds more than a couple of entertaining ways to salvage the car. This humorous book is filled with repetition, great car sounds, and a rhythmic quality that should keep readers smiling—and wanting more.

Kerry Aradhya is a children’s poet, aspiring picture book author, and accomplished dancer. She writes about picture books related to dance and about other ways to integrate children’s literature and dance at her blog, Picture Books & Pirouettes (