I needed to clean out the children's bookshelves again. We had gotten to the point where they were so overstuffed that we had taken to stuffing books across the tops of the other books, piling them up on the floor, and so on. Some books I donate. I find I don't like them as much as I thought I would when I bought them. Other books the children are too old for, but I'm attached to them, so I ferret them away in a storage box to read to my grandchildren some day. All the rest, we keep. As I was doing my recent cleaning, reducing, and organizing of the children's bookshelves I found several board books that still play well around here. I love to sing, and the children love to listen so it all works out. Here are five of our favorite board books that are songs. The children loved them as babies and toddlers and they still love them today at the ages of 4 and 5.
These are listed in no particular order of preference. They are all wonderful.
1. Snuggle Puppy! by Sandra Boynton. I'll be honest. I didn't like this book at all when I first bought it. I got it because I love Sandra Boynton as an author of baby board books. I got it home and didn't like reading it at all. And then I realized it was adaptation of a song from her Philadelphia Chickens album. I own both the board book and the album and they are great. As soon as I heard the song I fell in love and the children adore it too. If you just want to learn the tune to go to the song in the book, check out this YouTube video. The story/song is about a mama dog telling her puppy how she loves him.
2. Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton. This is another sweet book adapted from a Sandra Boynton song. It is about a penguin who wants to be friends with a hippo and tells the hippo all the wonderful things they can do together as friends. If you scroll about halfway down this page, you can listen to the song sung by Davy Jones of The Monkees. My children love this one too. Careful, it'll get stuck in your head.
3. The Itsy Bitsy Spider written and illustrated by Iza Trapani. You'll know this tune. It is the Itsy Bitsy Spider. What I like so much about this one is that although it begins with the traditional lyrics, there are five more as well, all beautifully illustrated. It tells the story of persistence. The spider continues to try to find a place to spin her web until finally, at the end of the book, she succeeds. You can have fun finding the spider on each page and cheering her on. I have read this story and sung this song hundreds of times at this point and I still actually enjoy it.
4. Baa Baa Black Sheep written and illustrated by Iza Trapani. (The link leads to the paperback version.) This is another expanded nursery rhyme by Isa Trapani. It begins with the traditional Baa Baa Black Sheep song and is expanded another nine stanzas. The story is about a cast of animal characters asking the sheep for various items she does not have. The animals wonder why she won't share only to find she's been knitting them gifts all along. The moral of the tale is that each person shares what they have to give. The illustrations are particularly rich and add much to the tale. Once you know to look, you can see the sheep working on her gifts all throughout the story.
5. How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? written and illustrated by Iza Trapani. (The link leads to the paperback version.) This may be my favorite of the Iza Trapani expanded nursery rhymes. It is expanded by an additional 12 stanzas. It tells the story of a boy who wants to buy a doggie from the pet store, but doesn't have enough money in his piggy bank. He works all week to earn money, but during the week he also spends money while being generous to his family members. At the end of the week he realizes he doesn't have enough money for the doggie and goes to the store just to say hi to the doggie. He discovers that the doggie has been sold. When he arrives at his house after sadly walking home he finds his parents have bought him the doggie to reward his generous spirit.
I found several other groups of books I want to share (cute, kitty-themed early picture books, halloween books, and gingerbread boy variations), but this is probably enough for a first installment. Have I mentioned that I LOVE children's books?