Posts Tagged ‘rhyming picture books’

7 Special Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

Posted on July 6th, 2019 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts recommends 7 Classic Board Books for Babies and Toddlers


Start baby’s first book collection with these special classic board books! Award-winners and bestsellers, these are stories that every child should hear, see, touch and enjoy. Board books make perfect gifts for baby showers and first birthdays. These are stories that mommies and daddies will read again and again.

We began reading to our first son when he was six months old and I always recommend establishing a daily read-aloud routine while children are very young and happy to cuddle before bedtime. Don’t be shy about using silly voices or being dramatic. Make the read-aloud experience relaxed, fun and memorable.



For tips on reading aloud to infants and children, be sure to read our answers to 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Reading Aloud to Children

Goodnight Moon written by Margartet Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement HurdGoodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers published by Harper Festival a Division of Harper Collins Publishers

Ranked number 1 in School Library Journal’s poll of Top 100 Board Books, Goodnight Moon has a gentle, pleasing cadence that is soothing and relaxing.

In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of –

Young readers will watch as a young bunny tries to settle for sleep, adjusting the pillow and bedcovers, as the room darkens and eventually sleep comes.

Our first glimpse of the ‘Great Green Room’ does not reveal everything, colour illustrations alternate with black and white. New details are revealed over the course of an hour. Youngsters can watch as the clocks’ hands move and search the room for each of the details described in the text. A companion to The Runaway Bunny, children will make connections between the two books especially when they look carefully at the illustrations.

Goodnight Moon at Amazon.com

Goodnight Moon at Amazon.ca

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers published by Philomel Books

What more could you ask for? A beautiful die-cut concept book that includes rich vocabulary, counting from one to five, the days of the week, the transformation of a caterpillar to butterfly and beautiful, richly toned illustrations. This truly is a can’t miss story for babies and preschoolers.

Highly recommended as a gift for baby.

Click to visit our page about The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Amazon.com

The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Amazon.ca

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you See? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric CarleBrown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you See? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers

Simple but beautiful collage illustrations and repetitious, rhythmic text introduce 9 animals and colours. Also notable, the book illustrations include a racially diverse group of children. The simplicity of the story makes it ideal for very young children but also opens the doors for young writers and illustrators to tell their own stories, perhaps using a different sense – Jacob, Jacob, what do you see/hear/smell/touch/taste?

Click to visit our page about Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? at Amazon.com

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? at Amazon.ca

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra BoyntonMoo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers published by Little Simon

Twenty years after first reading Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La La La!, my guess is that you will still remember the gentle humor of the text and illustrations – even if you can’t quite recite the entire story from memory. There is something very special about Ms Boynton’s ability to write a book that children and adults enjoy equally. Her tales are neither sickly sweet nor predictable and that’s exactly what makes them fun to read aloud. Don’t be the least bit surprised if your child asks to hear her books again and again before ‘reading’ them himself or herself. Every animal oozes personality and Moo, Baa, La La La! is paced in such a way that encourages settling to sleep.

Moo Baa La La La! at Amazon.com

Moo, Baa, La La La! at Amazon.ca

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick BensonOwl Babies written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers published by Walker Books

Darker than the other stories described here, Owl Babies is set in a tree, at nighttime. When Mother Owl leaves the nest one night, her babies awaken alone and wonder where she has gone. Sarah and Percy are confident that mama has gone hunting for food. Bill is less confident and more frightened. Happily, Mother Owl does return and reassures all of her children that they needn’t have worried, “You knew I’d come back.”

A good story to share with a child who is experiencing separation anxiety and would benefit from the reassurance that sometimes parents have to go away but he or she will be safe and cared for.

Owl Babies at Amazon.com

Owl Babies at Amazon.ca

Everywhere Babies written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla FrazeeEverywhere Babies written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers Published by HMH Books for Young Readers

A wonderful celebration of babies and the amazing things they do. The gentle, repetitious and rhyming text introduces the seasons, body parts, clothing, sounds, modes of transportation, toys, games. There is just so much to notice and appreciate about the very detailed and inspiring illustrations including racial and family diversity, loving (but not always well-rested) parents, bottle feeding and breastfeeding and the special relationships that very young children often have with older adults and siblings.

Apart from being a great book to enjoy with very young children, Everywhere Babies has a positive message about babies that is great for preschoolers, especially those with a new brother or sister.

Horn Book Fanfare Book, 2001

Everywhere Babies at Amazon.com

Everywhere Babies at Amazon.ca

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita JeramGuess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

Visit the official Guess How Much I Love You website for printable activities and information about the book.

A beautiful, gentle exchange between Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare will reassure young readers that the love between someone small and someone big is impossible to quantify. The relationship between the two is not specified although we know that both characters are male. Perhaps it is a father and son or maybe an uncle and nephew, it does not matter at all.

“I love you as high as I can reach,” said Little Nutbrown Hare
“I love you as high as I can reach,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.
That is very high, thought Little Nutbrown Hart. I wish I had arms like that.”

Beautiful watercolor illustrations enhance the story and lovingly capture the personalities of the two hares.

Guess How Much I Love You at Amazon.com

Guess How Much I Love You at Amazon.ca


Do you have a favorite board book for baby?

The Wonky Donkey Children’s Book Phenomenon

Posted on October 18th, 2018 by Carolyn Hart


The Wonky Donkey has the world giggling this week

The Wonky Donkey written by Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley
Cumulative, Rhyming Picture Book published by Scholastic

In late August 2018, The Scottish Granny posted a Youtube video that has caught the world by storm. In the video, she is reading The Wonky Donkey aloud. Her wonderful Scottish accent and her infectious laugh are simply irresistible. We can’t imagine anyone watching the video without giggling. Sales of the book have shot up and a quick check of our local library shows that the book is “on order.”

The Wonky Donkey began as a song, performed by Craig Smith. It was the 2008 APRA AMCOS Children’s Song award winner.

In 2009 The Wonky Donkey was published as a book and it was the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Children’s Choice award winner and Children’s Choice Picture Book category winner in 2010.

Smith’s wonderful rhyming, repetitive and cumulative text is just so silly and fun!

He only had three legs, one eye and he liked to listen to country music and he was quite tall and slim and he smelt really bad and that morning he got up early and he hadn’t had any coffee
He was a cranky stinky dinky lanky honky tonky winky wonky donkey
Cranky stinky dinky lanky honky tonky winky wonky donkey

This is a simply fantastic book to share with children. The vocabulary is rich (lanky). The alliteration (winky wonky) and rhyming (stinky dinky) will support the development of phonemic awareness.

In the case of The Scottish Granny’s video, although her grandson doesn’t understand the humor of The Wondy Donkey, Granny does and her delivery has an unrehearsed feel to it. She is discovering the book for the very first time and her delight is simply thrilling. Who wouldn’t want to share The Wonky Donkey (or any great book) with a child? Here’s hoping this phenomenon inspires many moms, dads and grandparents to read aloud every single day!

The Wonky Donkey at Amazon.com

The Wonky Donkey at Amazon.ca

Wonky Donkey (Digital Music) at Amazon.com

Books for Bedtime! Special Stories to Share with Children

Posted on May 20th, 2017 by Carolyn Hart

Great bedtime-theme children's recommended by Storytime Standouts



Finding the perfect bedtime story can make all the difference as toddlers and preschoolers settle down for the night. In this post, we have a look at some delightful bedtime-theme children’s books that will set the tone for a good night’s sleep. In the comments, we hope you’ll let us know about your favorite books for bedtime!







A picture book about going to bed, 10 Minutes to Bedtime written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann10 Minutes till Bedtime written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann
Mostly wordless picture book about bedtime published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers an imprint of Penguin

In this classic, fun picture book, Dad cautions his son that it is 10 minutes till bedtime. Within a moment, a pet hamster has summoned other neighborhood hamsters to stop by for ten minutes of fun. Preschool-aged (and older) children will enjoy the detailed and engaging illustrations that tell most of the story. Of course, the joke is on Dad as he has no idea what is happening behind his back, as his son gets ready for bed. Good fun and a great opportunity for language and comprehension development. Carefully ‘reading’ the illustrations and talking about what is happening is a big part of this bedtime story.

10 Minutes till Bedtime at Amazon.com

10 Minutes till Bedtime at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts shares picture books about going to bed including Baby Bedtime Baby Bedtime written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Emma Quay
Rhyming toddler picture book about bedtime published by Simon and Schuster

Soft tones and sparse, rhyming text are hallmarks of this gentle picture book about a baby elephant’s bedtime. Cuddling and smiling, an adult elephant takes a baby elephant through a bedtime routine (including a story!) before finally saying goodnight.

One of the really lovely aspects of this picture book is that the gender and age of the adult elephant is not specific. This could be a mom, dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle putting the youngster to bed.

Baby Bedtime at Amazon.com

Baby Bedtime at Amazon.ca


Rhyming picture book about bedtime Steam Train, Dream TrainSteam Train, Dream Train written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Rhyming children’s book about bedtime published by Chronicle Books

Wonderful rich vocabulary and onomatopoeia make this a wonderful bedtime story for preschool-age and older children. Children who are interested in trains, will enjoy hearing the names of the various cars (hopper, tender, reefer, gondolas etc.) and will hear the rhythmic text that echoes the sounds we associate with steam trains.

Set in moonlight, Mr. Lichtenheld’s illustrations, created with wax oil pastel are beautifully atmospheric. We especially liked the train’s arrival and the child’s moonlit bedroom.

Steam Train, Dream Train at Amazon.com

Steam Train, Dream Train at Amazon.ca


A picture book about bedtime How to Put Your Parents to BedHow to Put Your Parents to Bed written by Mylisa Larsen and illustrated by Babette Cole
Fun picture book about bedtime published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers

Preschool-age and older children will enjoy the humor as a young girls tries to get her parents to go to bed. Chores, a computer, games, television and even cell phones are delaying mom and dad’s bedtime but, with determination, it is possible for her to get them settled and off to sleep.

Older children, especially those who resist shut-eye, will see themselves in this fun role-reversal tale.

How to Put Your Parents to Bed at Amazon.com

How to Put Your Parents to Bed at Amazon.ca


Princess Baby Night-Night written and illustrated by Karen KatzPrincess Baby Night-Night written and illustrated by Karen Katz
Picture book about getting ready for bed published by Schwartz and Wade, an imprint of Random House

Getting ready for bed can be an exhausting proposition. Princess Baby has lots to do. She not only puts her own pajamas on, she dresses her six special friends for bed too. She also helps with washing up, brushing teeth and selecting stories.

Bright, beautiful collage illustrations make this a great story to share in a group setting. Fans of Princess Baby will want to explore Princess Baby and Princess Baby on the Go.

Princess Baby, Night-Night at Amazon.com

Princess Baby, Night-Night at Amazon.ca



I wanted to love this book – The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

Posted on July 18th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade written by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian RobinsonThe Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade written by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian Robinson
Antibullying Picture Book published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons: An Imprint of Penguin Group (USA)

You’ve really got to love a recording artist who has a very popular kids’ CD titled, Meltdown! and another called Not Naptime. The album titles alone are enough to bring a smile to a weary parent’s face. So, I wanted to think that The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade was terrific.

And, I do think it is a good book but, there are ways it could have been better.

Sally McCabe is both young and small. She is in the lowest grade at her school and she is the smallest child in the class. Kudos to the illustrator for depicting a racially diverse group of children in the classroom and at the playground. It would have been excellent to see similar diversity in terms of mobility (perhaps one child in a wheelchair or using crutches, for example).Illustration from The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

Sally is unusually observant. She notices a kite that is tangled in a tree and she notices that the janitor’s ring has twenty-seven keys. Unfortunately, this is where my evaluation of the book begins to drop: one illustration of the janitor’s ring only shows seven keys and another shows five keys. I completely understand that twenty seven may have been essential to the rhyme BUT the illustrations should be true to the story. If the ring has twenty seven keys – the illustration of the ring should show us each one of them! Young children will pick up on this sort of disparity. They will want to know where the other twenty or twenty two keys are and the omission will detract from the important antibullying message the author is attempting to share.

When a bully pushes Sally’s classmate, the story tells us that he begins to cry but in the illustration, he is dry-eyed. These seemingly minor disparities really do make a difference and discerning young readers will notice them.

Adults may understand the (metaphorical) significance of wildflowers tipping toward light and cats meeting together in a parking lot but I doubt that, without guidance, young children will see any connection between the cats or the flowers and Sally’s story.

Essentially, Sally, observes bullying on the playground, in the hallway at school, in the classroom and in the school cafeteria. Eventually, she speaks up. She announces, “I’m tired of seeing this terrible stuff. Stop hurting each other! This is enough!”

This prompts all of Sally’s classmates and school staff members to point their fingers in the air in solidarity. Soon the school is a much more harmonious place. A somewhat “magical solution” to bullying? Yes, but, this is story that could be used to initiate discussions about bullying and social responsibility.

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade at Amazon.com

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade at Amazon.ca


One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray

Posted on January 17th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

One Two That's My Shoe by Alison Murray, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsOne Two That’s My Shoe written and illustrated by Alison Murray
Counting Picture Book published by Disney Hyperion Books

A delightful, cheery picture book, One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray will have tremendous appeal for toddlers, preschoolers and older children. Beautiful illustrations feature a lovely palette and direct readers to notice numbers and what is to be counted in each two-page spread. Very well-suited to a classroom or a library read aloud session, the illustrations are bold and large enough for a group to enjoy.

One Two That's My Shoe spread

Georgie Dog picks up one of Grace’s shoes and within minutes a chase ensues. Georgie jumps over three teddy bears and races past four wooden blocks. Soon after, he rushes outside and into the garden. Grace chases after him. This is a playful pup with a winning personality. He is clearly having fun until he encounters ten upset chickens.

One Two That’s My Shoe is a special delight and highly recommended.

Young readers may recognize Georgie Dog and Grace from Apple Pie ABC

Cut and Colour Georgie Dog from Ms. Murray’s website

One Two That’s My Shoe! at Amazon.com

One, Two, That’s My Shoe! at Amazon.ca


Learning Fun with Pumpkins! Picture Books and Free Printables

Posted on October 20th, 2015 by Carolyn Hart


Pumpkin patch theme picture books and printables for homeschool and kindergarten


We live very near to several pumpkin patches. At this time of year, the leaves have died away to reveal gorgeous orange fruit. If you and your family have an opportunity to trudge through muddy fields to select just the right pumpkin, be sure to extend your child’s learning with pumpkin theme picture books and printables.





The Biggest Pumpkin Ever written by Steven Kroll and illustrated by Jeni Bassett is recommended in Storytime Standouts Pumpkin Patch ThemeThe Biggest Pumpkin Ever written by Steven Kroll and illustrated by Jeni Bassett
Preschool picture book about growing pumpkins published by Cartwheel Books, a Division of Scholastic

Clayton and Desmond each fall in love with the same pumpkin and are soon working night and day to water and fertilize it. Before long, it is absolutely enormous! One night, as they work to protect the pumpkin from frost, the two young mice meet and discover that they have both been working on the same pumpkin project. Before long, it is time for a pumpkin contest and, together, the new friends enlist the help of dozens of field mice to transport the pumpkin into town.

With only a brief reference to carving a smiling jack-o-lantern face, this story is primarily about caring for the growing pumpkin, discovering a new friend and working cooperatively together. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever is a great opportunity to explore the life cycle of a pumpkin. It will be enjoyed by preschool, kindergarten and early primary age children.

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever at Amazon.com

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts shares a children's board book about a pumpkinDuck & Goose Find a Pumpkin written and illustrated by Tad Hills
Board Book published by schwartz & wade books and imprint of Penguin Random House

Gorgeous oil paint illustrations in rich Fall colors are a highlight of this book for very young children. Tad Hills (sometimes with Lauren Savage) has written and illustrated an engaging series of books about Duck and Goose. In this story, when Duck and Goose see their friend with a large pumpkin, they decide to find one for themselves. They look EVERYWHERE! It is only when their friend asks if they have looked in the pumpkin patch that they find what they are looking for.

This is a fun and appealing story that young children will especially enjoy before or after a trip to the pumpkin patch. There’s lots of opportunity for vocabulary development and co-‘reading.’

Duck & Goose, Find a Pumpkin (Oversized Board Book) at Amazon.com

Duck & Goose, Find a Pumpkin at Amazon.ca


Pumpkin Town written by Katie McKay and illustrated by Pablo BernasconiPumpkin Town written by Katie McKay and illustrated by Pablo Bernasconi
Preschool picture book about growing pumpkins published by HMH Books for Young Readers

José’s family grows pumpkins and usually they are very careful to only grow the best. One day José and his five brothers discard some ‘lesser’ seeds carelessly. The seeds are blown into town and land on straw roofs and in soil. When spring arrives, the seeds began to grow. Soon intrusive vines push through windows and heavy pumpkins threaten to drop out of trees and off rooftops. José and his family are blissfully unaware of the problem until the brothers venture into town.

Acknowledging their mistake, the boys set about harvesting the pumpkins and returning the town to normal. Observant readers will accurately predict the impact of rewarding the brothers’ hard work by giving them watermelons to eat.

Very good fun for preschool, kindergarten and early primary age children. No reference to Halloween.

Pumpkin Town! Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins at Amazon.com

Pumpkin Town! Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins at Amazon.ca


Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins written by Dianne Ochiltree and illustrated by Anne-Sophie LanquetinSixteen Runaway Pumpkins
Rhyming, counting picture book about harvesting pumpkins written by Dianne Ochiltree and illustrated by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin

Sam Raccoon is confident when she heads out to the pumpkin patch. She pulls a large blue wagon behind her and she is soon filling it with big, lumpy pumpkins. At last the wagon is stacked with sixteen bright orange pumpkins that wiggle and wobble as she pulls it down the bumpy road. Soon, the pumpkins tumble out of the wagon and roll and bounce down the hill to the farmhouse.

Sam runs after the tumbling pumpkins and is disappointed when some are cracked but Grandpa knows exactly what to do with cracked pumpkins. The family gets to work and soon enjoy a delicious dessert.

Engaging illustrations, rollicking rhymes and the chance to count along will have great appeal for preschool, kindergarten and early primary age children.

Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins at Amazon.com

Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins at Amazon.ca


Pumpkin Theme Free Printables

image of PDF icon  Five Little Pumpkins

Use as a action chant or a felt board story

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Pumpkin

Fall theme interlined paper with pumpkins for beginning writers.


Classic Picture Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Posted on August 19th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts shares classic picture book, Chicka Chicka Boom BoomChicka Chicka Boom Boom written by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Classic Picture Book published by Simon & Schuster





It sounds like fun when lowercase letters A, B, and C decide to meet at the top of a tall coconut tree but the message spreads like wildfire and they are not the only letters scrambling up the tree trunk and hiding among the palm fronds. Before long, the entire lowercase alphabet is weighing down the tree branches and trunk. Slowly the heavily laden tree bends until it cannot support another thing.

Still more – W
And X Y Z!
The whole alphabet up the – Oh, no!
Chicka chicka…
BOOM! BOOM!

Two coconuts crash to the ground and then all the lower case letters are thrown from the tree and land in a twisted heap. Moments later, adults (uppercase letters) rush to the scene, embracing their offspring and offering reassurance.

Bright, distinctive, bold illustrations nicely compliment the rhythmic, repetitious text. This is a alphabet book with many possible extension activities. It belongs on every child’s bookshelf.

Kentucky Bluegrass Award for K-3 (1991),
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Nominee for Picture Book – Honor Book (1990)
School Library Journal Top 100 Picture Book
New York Public Library 100 Great Children’s Books

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at Amazon.com

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at Amazon.ca

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Chicka Chicka Boom Boom written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by John Archambault on Pinterest.

Some related picture books that young readers will enjoy

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a Classic Picture Book

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Were Going on a Bear HuntWe’re Going on a Bear Hunt written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Classic Picture Book published by Walker Books





Dad and four children head out for adventure in this classic picture book for preschool-age children. Based on a traditional campers’ chant, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is simply wonderful. Ms. Oxenbury’s illustrations alternate between black and white drawings and gorgeous watercolor paintings. The effect is spectacular, highlighting the repetitive text and onomatopoeia.

Tension builds as the young explorers encounter a grassy field, a river, mud, a forest and snow before they arrive at a cave.We’re Going on a Bear Hunt spread

“Uh-oh! A cave!
A narrow gloomy cave.
We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
Oh no!
We’ve got to go through it!”

Winner of the 1989 Smarties Book Prize, this is a classic picture book that will be enjoyed by children aged three years and up. It is available in many formats including Board Book, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Big Book and Jigsaw Book.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at Amazon.com

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at Amazon.ca

Free Printable traditional campers’ chant

image of PDF icon  We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Predictable text, rhyming and opportunities for dramatic play make the We're Going on a Bear Hunt chant a favorite with children.




Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan from Scholastic

Lesson Plan from Teaching Ideas

Lesson plan from Walker Books


Follow Storytime Standouts’s board We’re Going on a Bear Hunt on Pinterest.

We have collected resources for many classic children’s books. Check out the entire list here

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Discover Wonderful Classic Picture Books - A Weekly Series by Storytime Standouts that includes teacher resources, videos and Pinterest boards







Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? A Classic Picture Book

Posted on June 10th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Our goal with this new ‘Tuesday’ series is to introduce wonderful, classic picture books that are readily available in community libraries, in classrooms and in school libraries. We hope this on-going series will help families to discover outstanding stories and illustrations that have stood the test of time. We also hope that, through this series, young children and their caregivers will discover the joys of the read aloud experience.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? A Classic Must-Read Picture BookBrown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin Jr and illustrated by Eric Carle
Classic, Must-Read Picture Book published by Henry Holt and Company





Gorgeous, bold tissue paper collage illustrations and simple rhyming text will have broad appeal for infants, toddlers and preschool-age children. It will not be long before youngsters will know the text from beginning to (satisfying) end. For some children, this will be the first book they ‘read.’

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a picture book that provides opportunities for young children to learn about colors and animal names while gaining phonemic awareness. The repetitive and predictable text includes some alliteration.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was named one of School Library Journal’s Top 100 Picture Books.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? at Amazon.com

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? at Amazon.ca

Some related picture books that young readers will enjoy

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – read by (author) Bill Martin Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – with musical accompaniament

– lyrics refer to “a mother looking at us.”

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? on Pinterest.

Celebrate the Holidays with a Christmas Picture Book

Posted on December 23rd, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Christmas is just a couple of days away. In this post we look at two Christmas picture books that feature characters from popular picture book series


Storytime Standouts recommends celebrating the holidays with Pete the Cat Saves Christmas picture bookPete the Cat Saves Christmas written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean
Christmas Picture Book published by Harper Collins Children’s Books

Pete the Cat website

The first Pete the Cat’s picture book was (self) published in 2008. Now, there are several best-selling picture books about Pete and more will be arriving in early 2014.

In Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Santa is sick and in bed. He doesn’t want to cancel Christmas so he calls Pete the Cat and asks him to take care of his Christmas Eve toy delivery. Pete decides that despite his small stature, he can take care of the monumental job. Pete climbs into his mini bus and heads for the North Pole. With the help of some very cat-like elves, Pete loads up his minibus, he hitches up Santa’s reindeer and takes off.

Fans of Pete the Cat will enjoy his can-do attitude, his signature song and his enthusiasm for getting an important job done right!

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas at Amazon.com

Pete The Cat Saves Christmas at Amazon.ca

Llama Llama Holiday Drama Christmas picture bookLlama Llama Holiday Drama written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney
Christmas Picture Book published by Viking a Division of Penguin Young Readers Group

Llama Llama website

Poor Llama Llama. December seems to be all about waiting. The days just don’t pass quickly enough. There is shopping to do and there are choices to make. There are cookies to bake and presents to wrap. It is just too much!

To much music, too much fluff
Too much making, too much stuff!
Too much everything for Llama…”

Thankfully Mama Llama stops everything and reminds LLama that the best gift of all is spending time with someone we love.

Readers will infer that Llama Llama is excited about Christmas given the references to a December calendar and gift giving along with a tree, Santa and a Christmas stocking in the illustrations but the story itself does not refer to Christmas. In addition to Christmas references, we see a Menorah and Challah bread and Llama plays with a dreidel.

Young children and their parents will recognize that any celebration can be stress-inducing for adults and children. Llama Llama Holiday Drama is a reminder to slow things down and make lots of time for snuggles.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama at Amazon.com

Llama Llama Holiday Drama at Amazon.ca

Bad Astrid – Antibullying Picture Book

Posted on December 10th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Bad Astrid antibullying picture book, a review by Storytime StandoutsBad Astrid written by Eileen Brennan and illustrated by Regan Dunnick
Antibullying picture book published by Random House


Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

She came into town like five tons of bad luck.
She came into town in a big moving truck.

From the moment Astrid and her family move into a new neighborhood, she is unpleasant. She chases, teases and is destructive. Ignoring her and keeping busy seems to be the best solution until one day Astrid has a bad accident while riding her bike. She needs help. Her victim hesitates to step forward. She asks, “Why are you mean to me?”. Astrid’s explanation surprises her remarkably forgiving neighbor and the two girls discover a way to be friends.

When reviewing antibullying picture books, we prefer stories that resolve the bullying problem realistically. Although Astrid’s bike crash and her victim’s willingness to forgive her past deeds provide a somewhat’magical’ solution to a serious bullying problem, we think there is lots to appreciate about Bad Astrid. Fun cartoon-like illustrations, playful word art and rhyming text will have special appeal for older readers and may make this an excellent discussion-starter about bullying for primary-grade classrooms.

Bad Astrid at Amazon.com

Bad Astrid at Amazon.ca

The Night Before Christmas by Barbara Reid – Just Wow

Posted on December 9th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

The Night Before Christmas by Barbara Reid, a review by Storytime StandoutsThe Night Before Christmas written by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Barbara Reid
Traditional Christmas poem published by North Winds Press an imprint of Scholastic Canada


Accomplished award-winning author-illustrator Barbara Reid rethinks Clement Moore’s traditional poem, imagining a large family of mice bedding down on Christmas Eve. Home is a snow-caovered hollow log, filled with small treasures including coins, buttons, wooden blocks, nails, popsicle sticks and spools. Youngsters will be captivated by the family’s repurposed home furnishings and the busy family. Poor Mama and Papa Mouse must be exhausted. As some their many children cavort in bunk beds, one reads a book under the covers and another hopes for a glass of water before going to sleep.

We like Ms. Reid’s choice to leave the traditional poem untouched but to replace an oft-seen illustration of Santa smoking a pipe with one of him enjoying yummy candy-cane.

Barbara Reid’s inventive take on The Night Before Christmas is one that will captivate children aged three and up. It will be enjoyed in a group read aloud setting but will be most appreciated by those who have a chance to carefully examine the wonderful illustrations created using Plasticine.

The Night Before Christmas at Amazon.com

The Night Before Christmas at Amazon.ca

A Non-Smoking Twas the Night Before Christmas Changes Things Up

Posted on December 4th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Non smoking Twas the Night Before Christmas reviewed by Storytime StandoutsTwas the Night Before Christmas written by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Elena Almazova and Vitaly Shvarov
Traditional Christmas poem (edited) [self] published by Grafton and Scratch Publishers

Wow – Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century may just be one of the most controversial picture books we’ve written about! Readers appear sharply divided on whether the famous poem by Clement C. Moore ought to be edited to remove references to smoking and a pipe.

In this recent adaptation of the classic poem, Pamela McColl has removed these stanzas from the poem we know so well.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

Is this censorship or is it a case of adapting a poem for 21st century sensibilities?

I am ‘mom’ to two boys and I share Ms. McColl’s aversion to smoking. Unlike her, I’ve never smoked a cigarette. In fact, despite reading Twas the Night Before Christmas dozens (if not hundreds) of times, I have never been tempted to try smoking tobacco or anything else. Smoking has never appealed to me and the fact that Clement Moore’s Santa Claus smokes a pipe has not influenced my opinion favorably or unfavorably about the habit.

For those who feel that Mr. Moore’s classic poem could sway an impressionable child, Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century may provide a solution. We suspect most children will not miss the lines from the poem, nor will they miss the pipe or the smoke – instead they will dream of sugar plums and a bounty of gifts delivered by an elf.

Disney-like illustrations will appeal to some children however others may ask why dozens of candles and a roaring fireplace are left burning while the family sleeps and a table lamp sits nearby. Those who look carefully will notice that some of the Christmas stockings change color.

This is a picture book that will appeal to some book buyers – simply because of the stance taken on smoking. Unfortunately, the illustrations are disappointing and lack artistry.

Visit the book’s website

Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century at Amazon.com

Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century at Amazon.ca

Gold Medal Winner 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Best Holiday Book (the best children’s books published each year for the North American market)

Benjamin Franklin Award – Independent Book Publishers Association

Santa quits smoking in edited version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ – transcript of The Current radio interview with Pamela McColl

Cozy Picture Book about Generosity and Gratitude – Bear Says Thanks

Posted on November 20th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Looking for a Thanksgiving-theme picture book?

Bear Says Thanks is a picture book about generosity and gratitude, perfect for ThanksgivingBear Says Thanks written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman
Picture book about generosity and gratitude published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster

Bear is bored. He misses his pals. He decides to hold a feast for his friends but when he looks in his cupboard, he finds that it is empty. When Mouse arrives with a delicious pie, Bear is happy to see his friend and he expresses thanks for the delicious treat. Moments later, Hare arrives with muffins and Badger brings fish. Soon all the forest friends are celebrating in Bear’s cozy den.
Thanksgiving theme picture book about generosity and gratitude, Bear Says Thanks
Bear mutters and he stutters and he wears a big frown. Bear sighs and he moans and he plops himself down.
“You have brought yummy treats! You are so nice to share. But me, I have nothing. My cupboards are bare!”

Bear’s many friends are not at all troubled by the fact he can’t contribute food to the meal, they know there are other ways he can share.

Part of a series of Bear books (Bear Feels Sick, Bear Stays Up for Christmas….) Bear Says Thanks is a lovely celebration of friendship, generosity and gratitude, well suited to preschool age children. Gorgeous illustrations beautifully depict Bear’s emotions and the animals’ sense of community.

Bear Says Thanks at Amazon.com

Bear Says Thanks at Amazon.ca

Free printable interlined writing paper for Thanksgiving

image of PDF icon  Today I am Thankful for...

"Today I am Thankful for..." interlined writing paper - great for Thanksgiving.


Take a Look at Bully 101 – Asking Some Tough Questions

Posted on July 11th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at Bully 101 - Asking Some Tough QuestionsBully 101 written and illustrated by Doretta Groenendyk
Anti bullying picture book published by Acorn Press


Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children.

Want to ensure you get your way?
Just mess up another kid’s day.
Push them and shove them and give them a scare.
Our bullies love fear and thrive on a dare.

Students who attend a class called Bully 101 learn that the best solution to feeling poorly about themselves is to make another child feel terrible. Bullies steal notebooks on the school bus, damage clothing, ostracize good students, spread rumors and make jokes. Sometimes they even resort to physical violence. For those who feel badly about their ‘course selection,’ there is an alternative class: Kindness 202.

Suited to primary and middle grade students, Bully 101 includes rich language: demoralize, humiliate, thrive and striking collage illustrations that will appeal to older readers.

Best at identifying bullying behaviors, Bully 101 implies that Kindness 202 is a happier, more inclusive choice. It does not problem-solve suggestions for victims or bystanders. Essentially the story suggests that choosing kindness will have a happier outcome for all – including those who are currently making poor choices.

Bully 101 takes a simplistic approach to the terrible problem of bullying that will not be appropriate in every circumstance but there are good reasons to use it as a discussion-starter in a primary or middle grade classroom. As well, Ms. Groenendyk’s fascinating illustrations could be used as a jumping off point for exploring this timely theme with young artists.

Bully 101 at Amazon.com

Bully 101 at Amazon.ca


Billy Bully Learns Consequences of Bullying

Posted on November 17th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts writes about how Billy Bully Learns Consequences of BullyingBilly Bully A school-yard counting tale – written by Alvaro and Ana Galan, illustrated by Steve Simpson
Counting book about bullying and friendship published by Scholastic

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

When Billy Bully arrives at the school playground, his animal friends are already there. Cow is enjoying a swing, horse is on the teeter totter and duck is on the slide. Within moments, Billy Bully has taken charge. He chases the others off the slide, grabs toys and he won’t wait his turn. One by one, he upsets each of his classmates and loses friends.

Eventually Billy Bully discovers that every one of his classmates has run away from him. There is no one to play with.

Now Billy Bully’s feeling blue,
Until – he figures out just what to do.

He says to Sheep, “It’s you who won.”
And now his friends are up to 1!

After counting down his friends, Billy sets to work repairing the harm he has done.

When Billy Bull learns how to play,
all his friends come back to stay.

Best suited to preschool or kindergarten age children, Billy Bully is a rhyming counting book with an important message about bullying and friendship. It includes an Afterword for parents and teachers by Ellen Jacobs, Ph.D., Clinical Social Work

Billy Bully at Amazon.com

Billy Bully at Amazon.ca


The Pirates of Captain McKee in a rollicking adventure story

Posted on October 11th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at The Pirates of Captain McKee, a favourite picture book written by Julie Lawson  and illustrated by Werner Zimmerman.The Pirates of Captain McKee! written by Julie Lawson and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann
Picture book published by Scholastic Canada



Originally published as Whatever You Do, Don’t Go Near that Canoe, The Pirates of Captain McKee is a rollicking adventure story that will have broad appeal to young children, especially those who love pirates.

A nominee for The 1996 Canada Council for the Arts Governor General’s Literacy Award for illustration, The Pirates of Captain McKee tells the story of two children, a brother and sister, who are warned not to go near a canoe. The warning, given by Captain Kelsey McKee, is accompanied by a wink so the children are undeterred. They don lifejackets and climb into the canoe. Before long they find themselves well away from the dock.

Through fast-running currents, through slow-rolling tides,
Far into the fading light,
Through sun flecks and sunset, through dusk’s purple haze,
The canoe sped into the night.

Although returning to the safety of home seems a great idea, the children are not in control. The magical canoe is deciding their course. Just before dawn, the canoe and the children approach a pirate ship at anchor and many, many intimidating pirates onshore. The pirates recognize the canoe and decide to teach the children a lesson. Frightened about their predicament, the children fear the worst until they notice a “marvellous smell… There’s marshmallows roasting round here!”

Gorgeous illustrations and delightful rhyming text make this a wonderful read aloud for children aged four and up.

To extend the read aloud experience –

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Pirate

Pirate theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Pirate Map

Pirate theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

The Pirates of Captain McKee at Amazon.com

The Pirates of Captain McKee at Amazon.ca


Can You See What I See? Toyland Express from Walter Wick

Posted on December 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts writes about Toyland Express by Walter WickCan You See What I See? Toyland Express written and illustrated by Walter Wick
Picture book published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic





I have written previously of my younger son’s fascination with picture puzzles. When he was four or five, he would spend countless hours searching for objects and noticing small differences between pictures. He loved to have a picture puzzle book as one of his bedtime stories. He is still a fan of puzzles and is very attentive to small details.

Picture puzzle book are wonderful for small children, they encourage kids and adults to slow down and take time to enjoy illustration. They demand that readers pause to examine and appreciate illustrations rather than turn the pages quickly. They also encourage concentration and attention to detail.

I am a big fan of Walter Wick’s work and have shared many of his books with children. Can You See What I See? Toyland Express takes this genre to a new level as it introduces a picture-narrative to the usual puzzle format.

We begin in a woodwork shop and can almost smell the woodshavings and sawdust. It is clear that a skilled craftsman is at work, creating train parts and other intriguing toys made from wood. Turning the page, the woodworker’s creations have been shifted to a large paint shop where bright colours are added to an amazing array of toys and toy parts.

Once painted, assembled and boxed, the Toyland Express – a cheery toy train – is prominently displayed in a toy store window, hoping to entice a buyer. Sure enough, the train, track, bits of scenery and characters become a treasured birthday gift for a young child. One can almost imagine the squeal of delight when the gift is opened.
Storytime Standouts shares an illustration from Toyland Express by Walter Wick
Gorgeous spreads take us from woodshop to paintshop; toy store to birthday party, soon the bright wooden train joins other toys in a child’s bedroom and undergoes transformations as the child changes the backdrop, accessories and scenery. Each scenes includes a rhyming list of hidden objects to find:

Can you see what I see?
A rocking horse,
a rolling hoop, a birthday candle,
an ice-cream scoop,

Eventually, the well-used train set is stored, with other discarded toys, to gather dust. All is not lost, however. A yard sale and refurbishment are just around the corner for the Toyland Express. Before long, the train is happily chugging through a new, modern world, consisting of blocks, paper, dominos, cars, boats and other toys.

Sure to captivate puzzle-solvers as they search for hidden and disguised objects, Toyland Express encourages imaginative play and delivers a “green” message. It may send readers scrambling to discover treasures at a neighbourhood yard sale or encourage children to consider the steps involved in creating toys.

Can You See What I See? Toyland Express from Amazon.com

Can You See What I See? Toyland Express at Amazon.ca



I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! A practically perfect book for preschoolers

Posted on August 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


When it comes to rhyming picture books, I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! is a masterpiece

Storytime Standouts looks at an all-time favorite rhyming picture book for preschool: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!



I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and I remember, with great fondness, listening to my dad play the piano. It was one of his favourite leisure activities and we’d often sing along. One of the tunes he played was It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More.

I suppose my nostalgia is part of my joy in discovering I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow. Without hesitation, it makes my Top Ten list for preschool-aged children. It might even make my Top Five list.

With delightful, exuberant illustrations and equally fun text, you and your child will thoroughly enjoy this irresistible romp. Watch and sing along as a young child paints himself (and much of his home) from top to bottom.

If you’re not familiar with the tune, follow the link (above).

So I take some red
and I paint my…
Head!
Now I ain’t gonna paint no more.

Aw, what the heck!
Gonna paint my…
Neck!
Now I ain’t gonna paint no more.

The bonus with this terrific rhyming picture book is the wordplay; your youngster will be thinking of rhymes and anticipating the next word with no effort at all – just do yourself a favor and hide the paints and brushes in case your child is “inspired” to do a little painting herself!

Helping your child to gain phonemic awareness and preparing for formal reading instruction has never been more fun!

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More at Amazon.com

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! at Amazon.ca



Family Diversity, Anticipating the Weekend – Monday is One Day

Posted on March 29th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Monday is One Day, a picture book about families and family diversityMonday is One Day – written by Arthur A. Levine and illustrated by Julian Hector
Picture book published by Scholastic Press





Monday through Sunday,
the whole week through,
each day I count the ways
I love to be with you!

Monday is One Day shows young readers that it is not easy to go to work especially when earning a living means spending time away from those we love. Illustrations depict family diversity including one parent, two parent, young parents and old, living in rural, city and suburban homes. The message of unconditional love flows beautifully throughout Monday is One Day and it is lovely to see all the families enjoy leisure time together on Saturday and Sunday.

Printable T Rex as seen in the story

Monday is One Day at Amazon.com

Monday is One Day at Amazon.ca

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.


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