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Archive for Picture Books

Shining Star Read-Aloud Books: Kid Tested and Mother Approved

Shining Star Read-Aloud Books pic

If you are like me, you are always on the look out for books that are just meant to be read aloud to children.  I compiled this list of books that have been no-fail, go to read-alouds for me both in the classroom and at home with my boys.  I hope you find something here that you, and the children in your life will love.

Infants (Birth- 1 year)

Hello Baby! by Mem Fox and Steve Jenkins

Oink, Moo, Meow (Say & Play) by Inc. Sterling Publishing Co.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw

If I Were a Cow… by Anne Wilkinson (Jul 28, 2013)

Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children (Jul 1, 2007)

Fiesta Babies by Carmen Tafolla and Amy Cordova (Mar 9, 2010)

Tabbed Board Books: My First Words: Let’s Get Talking! (TAB BOARD BOOKS) by DK Publishing (Mar 17, 2008)

Hip, Hop by Catherine Hnatov (Sep 15, 2010)

My First Taggies Book: I Love You by Kaori Watanabe and Kaori Wantanabe (Sep 1, 2004)

That’s Not My Kitten by Fiona Watt (2007)

“More More More,” Said the Baby Board Book (Caldecott Collection) by Vera B. Williams (Sep 22, 1997)

Fuzzy Bee and Friends (Cloth Books) by Roger Priddy (Sep 13, 2003)

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd (Jan 23, 2007)


Early Toddler – Ages 1-2

Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden (Feb 1, 2000)

Trains Go by Steve Light (Jan 25, 2012)

Cows Can’t Jump by Dave Reisman and Jason A. Maas (Oct 19, 2008)

Where is Baby’s Mommy? by Karen Katz (Apr 1, 2001)

Bunnies Near and Far by Sarah Jones (Apr 1, 2014)

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell (May 8, 2007)

Pooh (Giant Board Book) by A. A. Milne and Ernest H. Shepard (Jun 1, 1999)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (Sep 15, 1996)

Duck & Goose by Tad Hills (Jan 24, 2006)

One Pup’s Up by Marsha Wilson Chall and Henry Cole (Jun 15, 2010)

Joshua’s Night Whispers by Angela Johnson (Sep 1, 1994)


Older Toddler – Age 2-3

Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley (1992)

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You : Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises (Bright and Early Board Books) by Dr. Seuss

Little Blue Truck Board Book by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry (Oct 19, 2009)

Where Is the Green Sheep? / by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek

Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis (Mar 5, 2001)

The Busy Little Squirrel (Classic Board Books) by Nancy Tafuri

The Pigeon Loves Things That Go! by Mo Willems

Come Along, Daisy! by Jane Simmons

My Truck Is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk

I Dream of an Elephant (Abbeville Kids) by Ami Rubinger

Jamberry by Bruce Degen

Dancing Feet! by Lindsey Craig and Marc Brown

From Head to Toe Board Book by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth and Laura Huliska-Beith


Preschool (Ages 3-5)

The Magic Hat by Mem Fox and Tricia Tusa

Dinosaurumpus! by Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees

Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore and Nancy Carpenter

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino and Steven Kellogg

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina

The Pout-Pout Fish (A Pout-Pout Fish Adventure) by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna

Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton and Valeria Petrone

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London and Frank Remkiewicz

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin

Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood and Audrey Wood

Otis by Loren Long

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

Cows in the Kitchen by June Crebbin and Katharine McEwen

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman, David Clemesha and Dan Yaccarino

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas


Grades K-2

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street by Mark Lee and Kurt Cyrus

I Am So Strong by Mario Ramos


Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa by Gerald McDermott

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin (Aladdin Picture Books) by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman

Tops & Bottoms (Caldecott Honor Book) by Janet Stevens

The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra Barracca, Sal Barracca and Mark Buehner

Small Green Snake by Libba Moore Gray and Holly Meade

Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester Laminack and Henry Cole

Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric A. Kimmel and Janet Stevens

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems


Halloween Read-Aloud Treats!

Spooky Spooky Spooky! by Cathy MacLennan

Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino

Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’connell and Jennifer Barrett O’Connell

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Spooky Box by Mark Gonyea

Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams and Megan Lloyd

Happy Reading!

Tracy :-)

Great Picture Books and Activities for Celebrating the 4th of July!

Great books and activities for Celebrating the 4th of July at School4Boys

The 4th of July is just a week away, and I decided to put together a set of books to help us learn a bit more about the holiday, and the history behind it. Big A., is very interested in historical stories if they are told in an interesting way (a bit like his mom), so I wanted to find fun stories that were accessible for my little guys, but also show the meaning and history behind the celebrations.


I also did my best to look for stories that offered many different kinds of diversity. I tried to find stories that featured diversity of setting, ways of celebrating, and of race and ethnicity.


It took a little investigation, but I think I found some good ones…

4th of July Picture Book: The Story of America's Birthday

The Story of America’s Birthday – written by Patricia A. Pingry illustrated by Meredith Johnson

This is a short and simple book that makes the connection between the Declaration of Independence, The American Revolution, and Independence Day celebrations remarkably accessible to preschoolers.


4th of July picture book: Red White and Boom!Red, White, and Boom – written by Lee Wardlaw and illustrated by Huy Voun Lee

This fun and gentle text shows diverse and loving families enjoying themselves in all sorts of traditional 4th of July celebrations in sites all over the country.

 4th of July picture book : Betsy RossBetsy Ross – written by Becky White and illustrated by Megan Lloyd

This bright, colorful, and fun text tells the story of Betsy Ross, and the making of the American flag for young children. A “Betsy Ross” star cutting activity ends the book.


4th of July picture books : CelebrationCelebration – written by Jane Resh Thomas and illustrated by Raul Colon

This is the story of one extended family’s 4th of July house party. Full of and familiar family characters, situations, and ways of celebrating that any family can relate to. The illustrations add to family warmth of this book.


4th of July Picture Books: The 4th of July StoryThe 4th of July Story – written by Alice Dalgliesh and illustrated by Marie Nonnast

A work of historical fiction, with an emphasis on the history, this book brings the story of our county’s founding to life for kids.


4th of July books: Hats off for the Fourth of JulyHats off for the Fourth of July – written by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Gustaf Miller –

This book captures the excitement and fun of a 4th of July Parade in a small Northeastern town with rhyming text and humorous illustrations.


4th of July picture books: The One and Only Declaration of IndependenceThe Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence – written by Judith St. George and illustrated by Will Hellenbrand

This book is a gem, and it tells the true story of the great challenges and adventures of the historical document that paved the way for the freedoms in this country. As someone who has an interest in American history, there were many things in this book that I did not know, and it reads like an adventure story.


4th of July Picture Books : Hello America

Hello America! – written and illustrated by Martha Day Zschock and illustrated by

This colorful and playful board book for young children follows a baby eagle and his mother on a trip through America’s historic places. The cartoon eagles are fabulous and the Littles love it!!!


4th of July Picture BooksApple Pie 4th of July – written by Janet S. Wong and illustrated by Margaret Chodos Irvine

This is a very different kind of 4th of July story, and it features a first generation Chinese American child whose immigrant parents run a restaurant. This story beautifully captures the cultural difficulties that often face the children of immigrants, and demonstrates that the combining of different cultures is truly what creates American culture.


4th of July Picture Books: America The BeautifulAmerica the Beautiful – poem by Katherine Lee Bates and illustrated by Chriss Gall

America the Beautiful – poem by Katherine Lee Bates and illustrated by Wendell Minor

America the Beautiful – poem by Katherine Lee Bates and illustrated by Robert Sabuda

America the Beautiful – poem by Katherine Lee Bates and illustrated by Neil Waldman

Each of these four books contains the text of the beautiful poem written by Katherine Lee Bates, and which was first published for Independence Day in 1885. This poem, focusing on the beauty of the United States, is illustrated in four very different ways in these four picture books. I find them all beautiful, and all interesting. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I am a sucker for the elaborate paper engineering done in Sabuda’s book. To call it a pop-up seems demeaning, because it is truly amazing. Just one of these books, or the collection of all four together, could encourage a creative family to document their own America The Beautiful in an artistic way.


I’ve also found some really creative and fun holiday projects and activities that we are trying this week…


Here is a fun flag hand print art activity from b-inspired Mama! We are going to try this by cutting out paper hands and painting on them, rather than doing the painting directly on the kids’ hands because Big A. doesn’t want the paint on his hands, and hand painting is a little difficult for me to manage with all three right now.

4th of July crafts - handprint flag painting


Here is a collection of great flag inspired crafts from Kids Activities Blog …

4th of July - American flag crafts for kids


A super cute idea for making red, white and blue t-shirts at home from Cutesy Crafts…

4th of July - cute t-shirt craft


Here is another large collection of fun looking craft ideas from All Kids Network. We are going to try the star guy!

4th of July - crafts


I hope you find a book, or an activity that helps your family enjoy your 4th of July this year.

Happy Reading!


Tracy :-)






Our Top 11 Bunny Rabbit Picture Books

Great Picture Books about Bunny Rabbits - Just in Time for Spring and Easter

Spring is in the air, and with the spring temps come the “hop-hops” as my Littles lovingly call them.  My little boys are absolutely fascinated with bunny rabbits, and they LOVE reading about them in books!  I mean LOVE!  Here is an assortment of the bunny books we are reading and reading and reading at our house right now. 


1.  Tops and Bottoms – written and Illustrated by Janet Stevens

I can’t say enough about this book.  It is a clever, funny, and amazingly illustrated re-telling of a Trickster Tale.  It is a great read aloud for K-3.

Bunnies cover 2

2.  Bunnies – written and illustrated by Alex Kuskowski  ♥♥♥♥

Little Z. and Little B. absolutely love this book.  It is an early reader informational book, and is part of a series on baby animals.  Bunnies would work well as an introduction to the format of informational text, and because each page is short and and easy to read, it would be useful in teaching non-fiction comprehension skills as well.  The large and clear photographs of baby bunnies are a stand-out, and keep my boys happy for a long time!  This is a book that works on several levels.  (Baby-1)

 Zomo the rabbit cover

3.  Zomo the Rabbit – written and illustrated by Gerald McDermott

Another clever trickster tale (a favorite sub-genre of mine), that is funny, and so well illustrated.  This is another book that makes a great read aloud for K-2.

 Bunny Cake

4. Bunny Cakes – written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells

The boys love adventures with Max and Ruby!  The interaction between the siblings is priceless, and the gentle humor and preschool friendly illustrations make this a great toddler read aloud choice. (Baby-K)


5.  Knuffle Bunny – written and illustrated by Mo Willems

We are big Mo Willems fans, and this book is one of the tops.  It is fun for the grown-ups and kids alike.  The mixture of photographs and cartoon illustrations fascinates the kids, and we all love the humor. (K-3 + parents and caregivers)

so many bunnies

6. So Many Bunnies – written by Rich Walton and illustrated by Paige Miglio ♥♥♥♥

Walton and Miglio have collaborated on several wonderful books about bunnies with human characteristics, but right now the Littles love this one the best.  It is a rhyming and ABC book that works well as a bedtime read aloud.  My boys love seeing all of the places where the bunnies sleep! (Baby-pre-K)

  Bunnies Cover

7.  Richard Scarry’s Bunnies – written and illustrated by Richard Scarry

This is Little Z.’s personal favorite.  It is an old school Little Golden Book, but it definitely holds up for the toddler set.  It is very sweet and has subtle humor too.  It is a great lap book to read while snuggling a sweet toddler! (Baby)


8.  Too Many Bunnies – written and illustrated by Matt Novak

This book is funny and interactive and features a “fluffle” of bunnies who are trying to find larger quarters.  They hop from hole to hole only to fill each one to the brim.  The interactive features are much loved around here. (Baby-K)

 Bunnies Near and Far

9.  Bunnies Near and Far – written and illustrated by Sarah Jones

This is a wonderful concept book that features opposites and basic counting with a wonderful rhyming pattern.  Some rhyming books try too hard, but this one really works.  (Baby-K)

 The Bunnies' Picnic

10. The Bunnies Picnic – written by Leslie Jones and illustrated by Kay Chorao ♥♥♥

The Littles just had their first picnic a few days ago, and so this book about bunnies AND picnics is in heavy rotation.  The boys all love how the bunnies don’t give up when their delicious stew is ruined and they have to start over. (Pre-K – 1)

The bunnies are not in their beds 

11.  The Bunnies are Not in Their Beds – written and illustrated by Marisabina Russo ♥♥♥♥

 This book has a very inviting cover, the illustrations are fresh and fabulous, and features bunny kids who won’t go to bed no matter how exasperated their parents get.  It is a fun read aloud that features lots of fun sound words to spice up the engagement.  (Pre-K-1)

Pat the Bunny cover

+1 Bonus Bunny – Pat the Bunny written and illustrated by Dorothy Kunhardt ♥♥♥♥♥

A classic (written in 1940), Pat the Bunny is the original touch and feel book.  The interactive qualities and the simple illustrations and text make an absolute must have, and a real winner for babies and toddlers.  We are on our fifth copy right now because each one has been well loved by children who really want to pat the bunny over and over. (Baby-Toddler)

If you now have bunnies on the brain and want to keep the bunny magic going at your house…you could try this super cute bunny rabbit “jumping jack” craft.

Did you know that there were so many books about bunny rabbits???  Do you have any favorites that you would like to recommend???  I’d love to hear about them!

Happy Reading!

 Tracy ;-)












November is Picture Book Month

picture book of the month logo

I am a reader. I love to read just about anything. News-magazines? Yep! Celebrity mags? Yes (although I’m trying to work on this)! Non-fiction? Yes sir! Literary fiction? Absolutely! The owners manual from the cell phone? Um, yes.


I also am a passionate reader and advocate of children’s literature. Again, I love ALL genres of children’s books, but the one genre of literature that I love the absolute most, whether meant for children or adults, is without a doubt the picture book. Why picture books you might ask…? Well, they are a marvelous mixing of two different art forms. And when a well-told story, and beautiful artwork that tells its own story come together…watch out, you have something that is completely unique and genius! I have spent most of my life (as a university student, educator, and parent) reading picture books, learning about them, teaching with them and about them, and pushing the awesomeness of picture books down people’s throats.


That’s why I’m so pleased to share that today is the beginning of picture book month. Picture Book Month was conceived by a group of international authors, illustrators and storytellers to celebrate the print picture book all throughout the month of November. One of the highlights of the month is that each day in November there will be a post on the organization’s website ( ) that is written by a picture book “champion,” about why she/he thinks picture books are so important.


Here is a short and adorable trailer about Picture Book Month that you can watch.



We will be celebrating picture books this month at School4Boys, and I will be posting about picture books as much as is humanly possible (at least for this tired mommy/human anyway).  The Picture Book of the Day Group on Facebook, in which I participate, will also be incorporating Picture Book Month themes into the daily recommendations.


To get the party started, I encourage you to go to This site is your go-to source for all things Picture Book Month related. You will find so many fantastic resources there; the site has ideas, information, picture book love, and lots of ways to get involved in the celebration.


Happy Picture Book Month!  Happy Reading!

Tracy :-)