Children's Literature (all forms)

Read Together, Aloud and Often

By Ann Crewdson


It’s hard to believe fall is here again and it’s the perfect time to pick up a book and read before the first winter frost! Patrons will start curling up with a book next to the library’s fake fireplace with their little ones by their side.  The library is always the place where there are plenty of great titles to choose from and our fondest wish is for our patrons to read together, aloud and often with their children.  And don’t forget to suggest that they point out words when they read, put on a play with puppets,  and sing the ABC.  Here are some tried and true companion books you can recommend without going wrong.



Books for Babies (birth to 12 months):



Begin Smart: What Does Baby Say? One of seven books in a series aimed at twelve to eighteen month old babies.  Baby eats cookies, drinks juice, pretends to bark, to looking inside mommy’s pocket book and waves bye-bye.  A lift-the flap book for baby, teaching object permanence–the knowledge that people, and objects continue to exist even when not in plain view.


Katz, Karen.  Ten Tiny Babies.  Karen Katz, best-selling author for her lift-the-flap books like “Where’s Baby’s Belly Button?”, puts ten tiny babies together.  Starting out with one baby running, another joins in spinning.  Soon we have babies bouncing, banging, shouting and wriggling their toes. One by one, more babies are added, making the group merrier–sipping, chewing and bathing.  Finally the ten tiny babies put on their PJs and crawl into bed, tuckered out after a raucous afternoon.


Michael Rex, Goodnight Goon. Margaret Wise Brown’s classic bedtime story has been transformed into a tale of mush gone wrong as a pot full of goo.  In this hilarious parody of “Goodnight Moon” we have “Goodnight tomb. Goodnight goon. Goodnight Martians taking over the moon.”  Charming pictures are replaced with goon paraphernelia: two slimy claws, a couple of jaws, a skull and a shoe.


Fox, Mem and Helen Oxenbury.  Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes.  Babies featured from all over the world are drawn to chubby sizes.  Every baby has ten little fingers and ten little toes, no matter how many miles away they live, whether they are born on different days, live in the cold climate or the hot climate.  Every couple pages, ten little fingers and ten little toes appear in illustration and refrain, to allow parents and caregivers to count along with their children to ten.

 Books for Toddlers (12 to 24 months):


Kulka, Joe. Wolf’s Coming.  Wolf is coming and all the animals in the forest scurry and run.  They’re desperate to do something–is it to hide or is it a big cover-up surprise? With each page, a balloon floats up in the air, foreshadowing the ultimate event.  But readers will be surprised to find that it isn’t what they’d expect. 


Gruelle, Karen Gray. Bark Park. Inspired by the Dog Run in New York City’s Tompkin’s Square Park, dogs of various shapes and sizes, groomed and unruly, yip-yapping, strolling, and rolling through the day until night. Dogs in full activity on each page–friendly, playful and exploring the world. They finally exhaust themselves like children and settle down to nighty night dreams.


Thomas, Patricia; Illustrated by Chris L. Demarest. The Red Sled. A shiny red sled is just the cure for a boy and his dad’s boredom.  Winter night sledding, a cup of hot cocoa accompanied by giggling and laughing makes everything well. The two-word sentences on each page along with charming pictures of father-son special moments, makes this book a treasure to behold. 

Books for Preschoolers (3 to 6 years old):


Soman, David, and Jacky Davis. Ladybug Girl. Lulu wants to play ball with her brother and friends but they claim she’s too little.  She morphs into Ladybug Girl with her pet basset hound, Bingo.  Her imagination takes her on a hunt for the letter L, saving the ants, facing a shark, and building a fort for the good of mankind.  Playing ball with her brother and friends suddenly seems boring, especially when they’re bickering.  Ladybug is highlighted red on pages where Lulu has independent fun. 


Lloyd, Sam.  Doctor Meow’s Big Emergency.  Doctor Meow gets an urgent call at the Kiss-It-Better Hospital, which sends her and her paramedic sidekick Woof down the streets.  They wee-oh, wee-oh, wee-oh to the rescue.  Tom Cat is found in a woeful mess.  He has to have a cast made at the Kiss-It-better Hospital.  He is visited by, Mr. Bird, the injured party, bearing flowers.  The friendship is on the mend as Mr. Bird signs his cast, “Cat’s are silly, Birds rule, Okay.”



Teckentrup, Britta. Grumpy Cat.  Is grumpy cat a grumpy cat or is he just a lonely cat? Maybe the other cats have it all wrong.  Maybe he doesn’t prefer to eat alone, sleep alone and play alone?  Along comes an orange tabby cat named Kitten to change his life.  Kitten is friendly, playful but vulnerable.  One night, grumpy cat comes to shelter Kitten from the storm; showing he really has a big heart.  They share food and cuddle up for a snooze–Cat and Kitten are never grumpy or hungry again.



Magoon, Scott Mystery Ride.  What’s “a few miles in happiness” riding in a family car? Something called a mystery ride or a mystery fun ride is a great way to get kids to go to the laundromat.  But kids are too clever these days and will tell you that a mystery ride usually means somewhere they don’t want to go like the grocery store, the junkyard, the hardware shop or clothing store.  It’s always good to change it up a bit by adding an element of surprise, such as ending the mystery ride right outside the ice-cream store. 


Senderak, Carol Hunt; Illustrated by Hiroe Nakata.  Mommy in My Pocket.  Mommy is shrunk to portable size, small enough to go to school.  A child imagines what it would be like to take mommy to school in a pocket, feed her soup and jump rope. With mommy by her side, she feels more secure and better able to socialize with her peers.  At the end of the day, she learns a lesson from mommy that security and comfort come from within.


For more information on early literacy at the King County Library System, please go to our Ready to Read website, sponsored by the KCLS Foundation.


Happy fall harvest!


Ann Crewdson

Children’s Section Supervisor

Issaquah Library-King County Library System

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