In celebration of March being both Music Therapy Month here in Wisconsin AND National Reading Month, I have put together a list of my top 10 favorite singable books.
All of the books listed below are music based, fun, and educational. They will keep kids and adults engaged with bright and colorful pages, creative text and thought provoking themes. Books are one of my favorite teaching tools and the books listed below will help you teach your children things such as rhyming, sign language, color recognition, counting, and much more!
Keep reading to learn about each book. I also include links to the books plus some YouTube videos and extra resources that accompany each one.
10. Wendell the Narwhal by Emily Dove
This singable book is great for an ocean theme. I printed copies of the main characters and put them on a popsicle stick for small groups to hold while making the sound for each character when it was their turn in the book.
It includes a great message about each of us finding our voice and embracing our talents! Click here to purchase on Amazon.com.
9. Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
This is more of a rhythmic book than sung, but kids respond well to the structure and it is a very concrete way to teach rhyming.
Fun fact, it is also the book that I am pictured with in my YouTube profile picture.
Another fun fact: I have an actual dust bunny that I sometimes bring with me when I lead an intergenerational group, the grand-friends are always entertained by this!
Click here to get Rhyming Dust Bunnies and have fun teaching your kids how to rhyme!
8. Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley
There are lots of spin-offs from this book but the original is still the best. I'm lucky to own a "big book" version of it!
Each story supports instruction in phonics, incorporates high frequency words and has a predictable structure to help the youngest children "read" it themselves.
We love to put sand blocks with the story—jumping, paddling and rolling along with the animals. We follow this by rubbing the sand blocks together and saying "wishy washy, wishy washy" on the repetitive refrain. Click here to get the singable book!
7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This is a great stand alone book, but is also fun to adapt with the song version available here. The song structure includes a sung cue for functional phrases of "I'm hungry" "more" and "waiting."
It is also VERY fun and motivating to pair this song with story pack mini objects from Speech Tree Co. Last fall I purchased six of the story packs available at Speech Tree Co and posted an unboxing video on Instagram as well as an up close video of The Very Hungry Caterpillar objects. They are adorable and very fun to use with both the book and song.
6. My Color Book by Kathy Schumacher
Maybe it's cheating to include my own books on this list, but they truly are the ones I reach for on a consistent basis.
This singable book is great with sign language and incorporates a sentence structure that puts the color name at the end phrases, perfect for helping kids learn to label colors. The lyrics and music are carefully constructed to give your child the cues their brain needs to sing the name of each color. The pictures are clear and engaging without any visual clutter.
Here is a video that goes through the singable book and showcases the melody of the song, I also have a video that demonstrates the sign language cues used. You can click here to check out the book available on my website!
5. Wheels on the Bus (pop-up book) by Paul O. Zelinsky
This fun, pop-up version of a tried and true song has been in print for over twenty five years and was recently released with a fresh cover. "The Wheels on the Bus" is often one of the first songs that children learn to sing and children of all ages love the illustrations in this version.
The listing on Amazon says board book, but it is a full size book with pop-up action on almost every page. The crying baby and mama saying "sh" are extremely eye catching, but the page with windshield wipers is my favorite.
4. I Love You: A Rebus Poem by Jean Marzollo
"Every bird loves a tree, Every flower loves a bee, Every lock loves a key, And I love you."
Written in a rebus format, with pictures or symbols suggesting words, the book allows our youngest learners to be successful in "reading" a book all by themselves. It also is a great way to reinforce the skill of rhyming. Rebus pictures are repeated in a one page illustration on the right side, perfect for playing "I Spy."
This is a great rhyming book with a predictable structure and picture clues for the rhyming words at the end of each phrase. Click here to purchase on Amazon.
3. See Ya Later, Alligator by Kathy Schumacher
This engaging singable book includes lots of rhyming words and an opportunity for kids to respond in a call and response format. This downloadable version will become fast become a favorite way to end music class or a school day.
The download includes an instruction sheet, a notated lead sheet, a 21 page printable version AND a 51 page version for virtual learning that includes a “stop motion” hand wave. Practice rhyming in a fun and motivating way with this digital rhyming book! Available on my website here.
Click here to watch the video and see the book as well as hear the melody for the song!
2. Roly Poly Numbers by Child's Play
I hesitated to include this "box book" because I thought it was out of print, but then I found it online from Australia! I contacted Child's Play and they said they have hundreds in stock.
Click here for a video of me demonstrating the melody I use. Kids and adults LOVE it and it holds everyone's attention every single time. They have several different "box books" to choose from. Including an Old Macdonald Roly Poly, Ocean Roly Poly, and a Jungle Roly Poly.
1. What a Wonderful World by Tim Hopgood
This book stands out for extraordinary and colorful illustrations. The pictures are extremely detailed, but still easy to understand when taken as a whole or as a gestalt. The pages are rich in color and detail but surprisingly not too busy as is often the case with picture books.
It is a familiar song to most adults and a hauntingly beautiful melody that captures the attention of all ages. It would also be great to do some simple sign language while holding the book in your lap and drawing attention to the pictures that illustrate each sign — clouds, rainbow, baby, green, red.
I hope you find all of the singable books and linked resources educational and fun. In my opinion, you can never own too many books, especially picture books perfect for sharing with children. I'd love to hear which ones you add to your collection!