With a family like mine, you’ve gotta have a serious love for books. Let’s just say – out of my parents and siblings, I am the least educated person, with a four-year degree in philosophy.
Yeah. We’re that kinda family. A couple of PhD’s, an MDiv, a post-grad specialized diploma. Books are practically more important than air in my family.
Inevitably, I got bit badly by the reading bug growing up, and I still love books to this day.
In our house we are easing in to a Charlotte Mason homeschooling approach, and as such care very much about the quality of the books we choose. We prefer ‘twaddle-free’, and are beginning to refine our choices.
I’m not going to pretend to know if every book on this list passes the ‘CM-approved’ litmus test, since we are fairly new to the Mason method, but I do know one thing for sure: My kids LOVE these books. They all have a rhyme or rhythm to their words and they practically hum and dance themselves along the page as you are drawn in to the story. They are engaging and brilliantly written.
These are the family favourites that have enchanted and delighted my kids. Our oldest is five now, and the latest thing that has been totally cracking us up in when he talks about “when I was still four”. Indeed, he has done a fair bit in his few years on earth, not least of which has been to cultivate a love for a good book. I’m a proud mama.
Here are ten of our all-time family favourites, in no particular order. Highly recommended by Isaac, Aliza, and Canaan!
This book just enchants me. Yes, me, the mother. I love it. I’ve never felt so tender toward construction equipment, ha! “The sun has set, the work is done; it’s time for trucks to end their fun. So one by one they’ll go to bed, to yawn and rest their sleepy heads, then wake up to another day of rough-and-tough construction play.”
We LOVE this book as a gentle parenting approach to dealing with bedtime fears, and easing in to a feeling of security. Mama reassures baby llama that she’s always close by even if she’s not in the bedroom with him. This was invaluable to us when we gently transitioned our kids away from needing us in the room while they fell asleep. “Even when she’s not right here, mama llama’s always near.”
This one is just terribly cute. The rhythm of it makes me bob my head along as I read, and the kids love joining in with the repetitive parts. “I’m a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face. I spread the dreary-wearies all over the place. Blub, blub, blub.”
This one is super cute for little ones who are astonished that bear is oh-so-hungry. Another one that uses repetitive lines on each page. My kids just absolutely love joining in each time. “When springtime comes, in his warm winter den, a bear wakes up, very hungry and thin… But the BEAR WANTS MORE!”
This one’s a classic. I first heard borrowed it from the library, but loved it so much we had to buy our own copy. The rhythm and onomatopoeia (see, I did learn something in grade 8 after all) in this book is pure joy. “We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! We’re not scared. Oh-oh! Mud! Thick, oozy mud. We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh, no! We’ve got to go through it! Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch!”
6. No, No Noah
We had this one completely memorized for about 2 years straight. A Ricci family top fave. “‘Come down monkey!’ Noah cried, ‘There’s the ark! Now run inside!’ But I kept swinging in my tree. ‘No, no, Noah! Don’t take me!”
This is another top fave. We have Isaac on video reciting the whole thing form memory at two years old, which makes my heart so happy. This is my go-to for gifts – the prose is just brilliantly written and captivating. The follow up (the one in the city) is good, but not as good as this one. “Horn went beep! Engine purred. Friendliest sounds you ever heard. Little blue truck rolled down the road. ‘Beep!’ said Blue to a big green toad. Toad went ‘Croak!’ and winked an eye, as Little Blue Truck went rolling by.”
This is just pure fun. My kids just delight in the silliness of thinking of pigs singing. Boynton books bring out the joy, and they do it masterfully. “A cow says Moo, a sheep says Baa. Three singing pigs say ‘la la la’…”
So many Dr. Seuss books – most are rich with rhyme and rhythm. This one is one that I remember from my childhood, and I so enjoy reading it to my own kids! “Big B, little b. What begins with B? Barber baby bubbles on a bumblebee…”
This one is classically simple, yet brilliant. It’s engaging and rhythmic, and easy enough for the younger readers to get into. Each other volume in the series is also worth a read! “Brown bear, brown bear, What do you see? I see a red bird looking at me. Red bird, red bird, What do you see? I see a yellow duck looking at me…”
What’s your favourite rhyming & rhythm book for toddler/preschooler crowd?
(I am already planning on a part two. Leave your favourite titles in the comments for me to check out!)