Take some rhyme, mix in a scoop of rhythm, a pinch of repetition and then add childlike imaginations…!
In our house we love to mess about with words and it’s really good for our children’s developing minds and linguistic abilities. It’s usually books that provide the biggest inspiration - their cleverly crafted word play and engaging dynamics reveal a fun-filled, laughter-laced world of language that it’s impossible to resist. Here are my absolute favourite rhyming picture books.*
Each Peach Pear Plum, Janet and Allan Ahlberg
A modern classic. Simple text is paired with a clever picture where you can ‘spy’ the next character hiding in the illustration. I love how there’s so much more happening in the pictures than the words let on.
Funny Bunnies Up and Down, David Melling
Confession time - I have a very poor tolerance for toddler books. Colours, shapes, opposites…? No thanks. This book is the exception however. It’s a fun, original selection of opposites mixed with loveable comedic illustrations. Yes please.
Oi Frog, Kes Gray and Jim Field
A bossy cat imparts the definitive wisdom of who can sit where to an unsuspecting frog in this comical book full of rhymes. Who knew there were so many rules to follow?! Look out for the sequel ‘Oi Dog’ where the frog gets his own back.
Hairy Maclary, SIT, Lynley Dodd
How to pick just one of Lynley Dodd’s books?! This is my favourite one to read aloud though. The repetition gets everyone involved and builds up the pace alongside the rollicking, frolicking dogs. It’s a joyful escapade with a vocabulary-rich and mischievous ending.
Monkey Puzzle, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
This picture book by the ‘Gruffalo’ team might be less celebrated but is no less brilliant. The story takes the form of a conversation between a lost baby monkey and a well-meaning butterfly whose lack of ability to help provides one of the twists in this tale.
Where’s my Teddy? Jez Alborough
There was a point in my life where I could recite this whole book and my kids weren’t far behind! The text is tight and clever with the combination being some kind of irresistible pull into a wood where a boy has lost his teddy and finds more than he bargained for!
Cars galore, Peter Stein illustrated by Bob Staake
Ever seen a Scary Shark car, or a Noah’s Ark car?! ‘Cars Galore’ revs up and zooms along at a fun-filled pace. We all love how every type of car or driving scenario in the text is illustrated in the pictures – and there are a lot to spot!
Hop Along Boo, Mandy Sutcliffe
A stunningly beautiful bedtime story. Calm and sleepy, the text lulls us along towards our own beds as little Boo the rabbit is shown that everyone else is ready for sleeping too. One to treasure.
All Afloat on Noah’s boat, Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees
This bright and bouncy book has you hooked from the first rhyme. A few good puns keep things lively and the ending has a feel-good factor to make even the grumpiest grown up feel better!
What do you think? Are you enjoying some of these with children you know at the moment? Will you be getting hold of a copy to read together? Maybe you have a favourite that’s not on the list… share below and we’ll keep an eye out for it!
*poetry compilations not included in this selection – that’s a whole other post ;)