I am a preschool teacher and mom to a rising kindergartner. I have read a lot of Dr. Seuss books and I am officially Seussed out! I understand that The Cat in the Hat was groundbreaking when it was first published in 1957 and that it was a welcome relief from such books as the Dick and Jane series. Now that it is 2019, I cannot read about that cat, his hat, his things, or the rings he leaves in the bathtub anymore. Also, at 61 pages it is a long slog of a rhyming read, and most kids read it so much that they have it memorized.
In this post, I want to give you 20 fresh rhyming picture books that are the bees knees!
Why Are Rhyming Picture Books So Important for Young Readers?
Listening to books that rhyme is so important for early language and reading development. Rhyming books introduce young children to the ways in which words work. They also train little ears to listen for the similarities in words. Rhyming books help preschoolers make predictions about what rhyming word is coming next. Finally, they are simply fun to read and share together!
20 Fresh Rhyming Picture Books
How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle, Illustrated by Randy Cecil
“How do you wokka-wokka?” ask the kids in this book about dancing to your own beat. Some kids wokka-wokka like flamingos, some wokka-wokka like mariachi, and others wokka-wokka like a clock goes “ticka-tocka.” Onomatopoeia and a steady beat make this rhyming book a reading, dancing, and moving treat!
Little You By Richard Van Camp, Illustrated by Julie Flett
A couple welcomes a baby into their family with this heartwarming poem. “You are mighty, you are small. You are ours, after all.” Share this one at bedtime and remind your children how loved they are!
Dream Flights on Arctic Nights by Brooke Hartman, Illustrated by Evon Zerbetz
Before falling asleep, a child dreams that he or she can fly. A raven appears and beckons the child to venture out into the world of the snowy tundra, starlit streams, and mountains topped with snow. In a sing song rhyme, Hartman introduces young readers to different animals and sites from the arctic including otters, ptarmigan, and the northern lights. The bold and colorful linocut art illustrates this unique bedtime story.
Grump Groan Growl by Bell Hooks, Illustrated by Chris Raschka
In this book, Bell Hooks reassures little readers that it is okay to “grump, groan, and growl” and feel angry from time to time. Try not to hold those feelings in: instead, “Just let those feelings be. Just let them pass. Just go inside. Just let it slide.” Illustrations that are somehow both frenetic and calming show two boys learning how to overcome their bad moods. This is a great read for helping small children realize that they can feel some big feelings and let other slide away.
Squeak, Rumble, Whomp, Whomp, Whomp by Wynton Marsalis, Illustrated by Paul Rogers
Trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis writes a rhyming book that reads like a song. Throughout the neighborhood, “trucks rumble, tummies grumble, and the big bass drum goes bum brrrum brrrumble!!!” This book provides a joyous listen to the sounds that surround us. Children will love providing the soundtrack to this noisy and exuberant book.
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple
All little princesses wear gold crowns, but not all princesses wear pink. This book blows stereotypes out of the water and shows that some princesses roll around in the mud, some wear hand-me-down-shirts, and others dance in their overalls. This is a sparkling and bubbly book that shows all children that girls and boys can play, dress, and dance however they please.
Moo Hoo by Candace Ryan, Illustrated by Mike Lowery
This is a story about two friends, Cow and Owl, who do everything together. When a new friend, Kangaroo, wants to play, Cow and Owl don’t know what to do. Should they ignore Kangaroo, just wait until she goes away, or try to include her in their activities? This adorable book helps the youngest of readers navigate a world in which it is okay to have more than one best friend.
Underwear! by Jenn Harney
Warning: this book contains the word underwear on almost every page. Kids will laugh every time you read this word out loud. If they can make it through the book, they will delight in a hilarious story about a little bear taking a bath, getting ready for bed, and having a hard time figuring out how to wear his underwear.
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Play eye spy with your child as you read Each Peach Pear Plum. Each page in this classic book provides a riddle to help your child find a nursery rhyme or fairy tale character hidden in the picture. At the end of the story, all of the characters meet for a delightful picnic in the forest. Challenge your child to find and name them all!
Mira’s Curly Hair by Maryam al Serkal, Illustrated by Rebeca Luciani
Mira does not like her curly hair. She wants it to be straight like her mama’s. But her mama has a secret. When the two get caught in the rain, Mira and her mother learn to appreciate and love their beautiful, curly hair. This is a great read for children and adults who struggle with showcasing their own curls.
Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
Little Miss is about to be a big sis. This delightful little book shows a family adjusting to a new baby in the house. Little Miss is excited, but how can she help? Singing lullabies, building forts, and helping with messes are some of the ways a little miss grows into her roll as a big sis. This is a such a sweet story for any growing family.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
This colorful book depicts the day of a group of children at a school where everyone is welcome. Though they speak different languages, come from different countries, and eat different foods. All of the children love listening to stories, playing games at recess, and learning from each other. All are welcome in this book that is both a fun and very important read.
Hats Off to You! by Karen Beaumont, Illustrated by Leuyen Pham
Four girls play dress up in a friend’s attic. Dressed to the nines in dresses, bangles, and baubles, something is missing: hats! The girls visit Chez Chapeaux and then the real fun begins. Sombreros, berets, and sparkling crowns are some of the hats that adorn their brows. Which hat will each girl choose? Find out in this bright and glorious romp that is all about dressing up and feeling good!
1-2-3 Peas by Keith Baker
Join the little green peas as they count from 1 to 100. These busy peas plant, paint, travel, and build on pages bursting with colorful activity. Young readers will love counting with the peas on every page.
Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Illustrated by Dan Santat
A hungry wolf enrolls in ninja school in order to catch more prey. He learns all of the moves and then waits in the woods for Little Red Riding Hood. When he pretends to be her Granny, the wolf quickly learns that Red Hood has also been taking lessons at her local dojo. Who will win the ninja battle and where exactly is Granny? All of these questions are answered in this hilarious retelling of the classic fairy tale.
Bugs Galore by Peter Stein, Illustrated by Bob Staake
Little entomologists will love this rhyming book about all types of creepy crawlies. Spiders, bees, lightening bugs, and even stinkbugs make appearances in this funny, whimsical look at the world of insects and arachnids. Also check out Cars Galore by the same author for a book that is also a preschool favorite.
Follow Me by Ellie Sandall
A group of lemurs slumber high up in a tree. The king lemur appears and beckons them to follow him along the forest floor, through a grove of cacti, and onto a bridge of boulders. When they find an unwelcome friend, the lemurs chase and race all the way home. Whew!
Whose Knees are These? by Jabari Asim, illustrated by Leuyen Pham
This little rhyming book shows a pair of cute toddler knees doing all sorts of things. These knees can climb trees, walk up the stairs, and run down the street. But, whose knees are these? Your little one will love snuggling and watching all of the things these knees can do!
The Neighborhood Sing-Along By Nina Crews
Songs and poems are full of rhyming words. In this collection, Nina Crews gathers well known songs of childhood and illustrates them with vibrant photographs from her neighborhood. “Do Your Ears Hang Low?,” “Miss Mary Mack,” and “Hush Little Baby” are some of my favorites!
Rhyming Dust Bunnies By Jan Thomas
Preschoolers love this book! Ed, Ned, Ted, and Bob are dust bunnies. They rhyme all of the time. Except Bob. Bob does not join in the other dust bunnies’ rhymes. Little readers quickly realize that there is a reason Bob chooses not to rhyme. Will Ed, Ned, and Ted finally listen to Bob or continue rhyming? Find out in this colorful and hilarious book about those little balls of dust that can only be sucked up in a vacuum cleaner.
Need some more rhyming books? Check out this post about some diverse nursery rhyme books and collections.