Monday, March 19, 2007

Reading List Recommendations Needed

When Oliver was very small I read book after book after book to him. He loved nothing better than curling up in my lap for a good book. Or seven. Or twelve. But then he sadly went through a period of time when I couldn't get him to sit for a book. I would try and he would slam it shut with a loud proclamation of "All Done!!!" But for whatever reason he has again begun to allow me to read to him. The trouble is I have a hard time finding the right books. I have been to the Library numerous times and to all the local bookstores but often come away, having looked through dozens of books, empty-handed. So I am seeking recommendations. Here are our specifications:

1) Good illustrations
2) Rhymes are good
3) Otherwise, not overly dependent on text -- although if the rhymes are good then his ability to listen longer increases.

Some of our favorite books are:

1) A Fly Went By
2) Green Eggs and Ham
3) Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore
4) Are You My Mother
5) Goldilocks and the Three Bears
6) Ten Hungry Monsters

I have tried other Dr. Seuss Books but find that the ones with actual story lines are the best. And a lot of them have funny, made up words that I try to avoid as I don't want to confuse him with the language too much.

So if there is (or was) anything on your 4 year-old's night table that you think Oliver would also enjoy please tell me! I'm in desperate need of updating our bedtime reading list!!!


  1. "Caps for Sale" by Esphyr Slobodkina
    We were introduced to this by our SLP a long time ago. Very simple and engaging.

    Rumpelstiltskin, The Three Little Pigs and Jack and The Beanstalk were also big with our guy.

    Some of the collections reproduce all sorts of favorite stories with the original illustration, but include 40 or 50 in a single volume. That can be useful with a picky reader, because you can flip around until you find something that pleases.

  2. Here are our favorites, although for my son it needs to be short, sweet, rhyme, and have lots of repition.

    Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see?

    Go Dog Go!

    The Dinosaur Stomp (all time fav.)

    How Does a Dinosaur Count to Ten.

    He is not much of a snuggle reader, so I read to him durring breakfast.(I know he will not be going anywhere:)

  3. Shoot. I read this yesterday and thought that I would go home and look through our books. Then I forgot!! Most of Henry's favorite books now are the ones that focus on his favorite themes (Disney, space, animals).

    But when he was younger we read a lot of the Boynton books.

    All the "How do Dinosaurs..." books are cute.

    I agree that I'm not crazy about the Dr. Suess books because they use all those weird made-up words. How the heck is a kid supposed to learn the english language from those books?

    If I remember I'll be back with more...

  4. JP has always been theme based. Thomas, Disney, Wiggles, Dora, Blues Clues. These tended to draw his attention because he was already familiar with the characters (even if the plot line was different). He needs that familiarity in order to process the rest.

    For awhile I had to give up the power struggle about him sitting down with the book. I created reading time where I read one new book and then a few favorites. I usually read the first "new" book while he gets settled in. (Often I read while he plays.) I've tried forcing him to sit beside me but he just can't do it. Atleast not for a new story. Even if he isn't sitting with me he is listening--at a "safe and comfortable" distance for him.

    After that first "new" story, I will select a book that he is familiar with. Because he knows what is coming he will join me. He has no problem attending to these stories and looking at the illustrations with me.

    Typically after one or two readings of a "new" book he will sit with me and look at it. He just seems to have to know what it is about before he can handle the rest of the "literary process".

    I make an effort to "prime" him with the books that they use at school. I give him that first exposure so that when he hears the book at school he is better able to sit with his class and pay attention.

    We still have rough patches but he is actually doing much better about new books. Most of the time he will sit with me for that first reading but he tends to do a lot of self stims during that first read. I figure it is still progress.

  5. Roo tends to like lots of bright colors. Some favorites have been Brown Bear Brown Bear, Good Night Moon, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Blues Clues, Seseme Street and Dora. He doesn't sit long for me to read, so I try to get in as much as I can. Usually I will read to Brother-roo and Roo will be running/climbing around the room. Although it seems he's not listening, he is. I figured this out when he was able to fill-in many of the story parts for me and the same was true with the prayer we say each night.

  6. Anonymous11:40 AM

    I am a big fan and frequent flier on your blog--my almost 5 year old son is so similar to Oliver and my almost 3 year old son seems similar to Sam! I am de-lurking because both myself and my little guys love books and we have a few suggestions:

    Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury--Great rhythm, great pictures, we find ourselves chanting it with different words all the time (e.g. we're going on aaaa....sock hunt!)

    Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper--beautifully illustrated, adorable story, great for describing feelings

    Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells--nice rhymes and pictures, good sibling story

    Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner--cute story, plus bonus hidden drawings in the pictures

    Bark, George by Jules Feiffer--simple expressive pictures, really funny

    Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson--nice rhyming story, sweet pictures, a great Aaaaaa-chooo near the end!

    Cows Can't Fly by David Milgrim--great rhymes and pictures, wonderful message. My son also loves Swing Otto Swing and can "read" it himself now

    The Little Engine That Could by Wally Piper--a classic that they just love

    Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins--great rhythm, cute pictures

    The Napping House and The Little Mouse, The Ripe Red Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood and Ten Little Fish. Napping House has a nice repetitive rhythm to it; Little Mouse is a cute story, expressive pictures and a nice twist involving the narrator; Ten Little Fish is a great counting story with nice rhymes and great illustrations.

    I'm sure there's many more, but these are some of our favorites!


  7. Thanks everyone for your ideas! Armed with a list of possibilities I can be a bit less random in my searching of the public library!

    And Jennifer: thanks for de-lurking!! It is fun for me to know that there are others out there who are reading. Nice to meet you!

  8. Have a look at 'Peepo' - available on, and possibly in the library. This is one I was brought up on, and could be quite good. Anyway, you're probably best getting it out of the library before comitting (it's ages since I last read it).

    It's basically poetry, from what I remember, and might be slightly too young for Oliver (although it might not), but should be perfect for Sam!

    Good luck with the book thing!