is the foundation of music and language, and the following
“books with a beat” help build a sense of rhythm with lots of
repetition and words, phrases, sounds, or sentences that invite
playful participation! Have fun by exaggerating or drawing out
the sounds, and using different voices (high, low, fast, slow,
nasal), Sometimes you can even add some finger-snapping,
clapping, or thigh-slapping. Babies love it when you tap the
pages making a sound that reinforces the beat. If you are using
these books as a teacher or librarian, be sure to practice
reading them a couple of times first, as they often have
tongue-twisting words and phrases. They are just plain fun, and
draw children into the rhythm of oral language as well as
written words and illustrations.
As always, I recommend you
check your local library for them first. Some are out of print,
but if you really love them and are persistent, you can usually
find them used or even new on the Internet.
Amazon.com is a good place to start.
Bee-Bim Bop, by Linda Sue Park "
Mix-mix rice" is a traditional Korean dish. In
bouncy rhyming text, a hungry child tells of helping her mother
make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the
table, and sitting down to enjoy a favorite meal. The enthusiasm
of the narrator is conveyed in the whimsical illustrations,
which bring details from the artist’s childhood in Korea to his
depiction of a modern Korean-American family. The book includes
Linda Sue’s own bee-bim bop recipe!
Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum, by Lisa E Wheeler
Cha Cha Chimps , by Julia Durango
Irresistible rhymes and lots of repetition make
it hard to not get up and dance as you read this very fun book!
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, by C Raschka
A favorite with children's librarians!
Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3, by Bill Marin Jr, Michael Sampson,
and Lois Ehlert
Chicka Chica Boom Boom, by Bill Martin
A classic story with letters of the alphabet as
Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo, by Kevin Lewis
Follow the toy train as it makes its way around
its young owner’s bedroom and into his bed at bedtime! Lots of
opportunities to use loud, soft, and exuberant voices as the
train moves along ( I repeat each chugga-chugga, choo-choo
because they’re so much fun to say!).
Dan the Taxi Man, by Eric Ode
Ride along with Dan as he picks up all the
members of a cool band to take them to a gig. Sooo much fun
making the sounds of all the jazzy instruments!
Dancing Feet, by Lindsey Craig and Marc Brown
Vibrant illustrations and simple repeated text
packed with rhythm! Be sure to use different voices for the
animals to add to the fun!
Down on the Farm, by Merrily Kutner
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, by Al Perkins
This book is so rhythmic that you feel like
you're playing the drums just reading it! Very fun!
Jackhammer Sam, by Peter Mandel, illustrated by David
This over-the-top book is a real hit with
construction-loving children, and you can just hear the LOUD
INSTRUSIVE destructive pounding of the jackhammer as the text
takes over your voice in the reading!
Jazzmatazz, by Stephanie Calmenson
Jazz Fly, by Matthew Gollub, illustrated by Karen Hanke
Although this book comes with a CD of the song,
it’s a pretty complex song and the book lends itself to simply
being read with all the wonderful rhythms and sounds!
Monkey and Me, by Emily Gravett
Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles - Think of That! (Coretta
Scott King Illustrator Honor Books), by Leo and Diane Dillon.
Try this with even the youngest children. You’ll be surprised at
how they are drawn to the repetition and rhythm.
Tanka Tanka Skunk! By Steve Web
This may be the most fun book with a beat ever! By the second
reading children will be loudly joining in with their voices and
their bodies! It’s all about fun with words, and the sounds that
Trashy Town, by Andrea Zimmerman
Although out of print, this has been popular with
children’s librarians and so can usually be found at the
library. Children love following the trash truck around the town
joining Mr. Gilly as he dumps and smashes the trash! Just plain