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Books That Engage Babies and Toddlers

Here is a sampling of some of our favorite books to use during the nursery rhyme programs. We like them because they have a simple story line, lots of rhythm, an element of surprise, and illustrations that can be seen from afar. (this material c. Youth Services, Franklin Township Library, 2011)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
Everyone chimes in on the repeating phrases in this classic picture book, while the suspense builds at each turn of the page.

Giddy-up! Let’s Ride! by Flora McDonnell
“This is the way the drummer rides. Bang! Bang! Boom! Boom!” is the way this rhythmic ride begins, with words that beg repeating, like the elephant’s “rumpetta trump” when the rajah rides (rolling the ‘r’ when you say that adds to the fun).

How Do You Make a Baby Smile? By Philemon Sturges
“How do you make a baby smile? Grin like Papa Crocodile.” The questions and internal rhymes in this book invite participation while the bold illustrations capture the child’s attention.

Jazzy in the Jungle by Lucy Cousins
“Where are you, Baby Jazzy?” calls Mama Jojo as they play hide-and-seek in the jungle. Listeners join in her repeated prhase, along with the, “Not here,” chanted by each animal revealed in this lift-the-flap book with colorful phrases like “fliff-fluff flowers” and “tum tum trees.”

Meeow and the Little Chairs by Sebastien Braun
Meeow is a little black cat whose friends Baa, Moo, Quack, and Woof have come over to play with chairs. What will they do with them? Watch the secret unfold, page by page, as they prepare a special game with the chairs.

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett
“Monkey and me, monkey and me, monkey and me, we went to see, we went to see ….” is the refrain that children and parents can chant with the librarian, with an element of surprise at every page turn.

Peek-a-Baby by Karen Katz
“Who’s under the umbrella?” Lift the flap to see in this peek-a-boo book that keeps little ones guessing.

Shout! Shout it out! By Denise Fleming
Everyone joins in as a little mouse leads listeners on a trip through colors, numbers, alphabet letters, and familiar objects.

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
“Here is the blue sheep, and here is the red sheep,” begins this fanciful look at sheep engaged in activities both unusual and familiar – but suspense builds at every page turn as children join in the refrain, “Where is the green sheep?”