Best Toddler Read a Louds for Library Storytime

Last week I did a post on the best preschool read a louds.   Below is a companion post on what I consider to be the best books for toddler storytime.  I have always found storytime for the 2 year old crowd to be a bit more challenging.  At our library, toddler time is 10 minutes shorter than preschool, but it can feel much more challenging.  A toddler has a shorter attention span and what thrills a preschooler is completely lost on a younger child.  When doing a storytime for the 2’s, I typically keep it high energy and KEEP IT MOVING.  I incorporate puppets, music, my guitar, bubbles, and anything else that I think may capture their attention.  As such, I choose books that are shorter, have far less text, and big bold pictures.  Also, many of these books are in the question-and-answer format; toddlers seems to enjoy the surprise of turning a page and discovering the answer.


1)  Where’s Spot? by Hill.  This may be my favorite toddler read a loud of all time.  The simple search for Spot introduces us to lots of colorful friends.




2)  I Kissed the Baby by Murphy.  I love the ebullient mood of this book!  The animals seems so manic in their excitement over the baby.  I can’t help but smile when I read it.





3)  Where is the Green Sheep? by Fox.  A few months ago, I inquired of Mem Fox  as to where exactly the green sheep is.  She still hasn’t gotten back to me.






4)  I Went Walking by Sue Williams.  A great book for learning colors and the basic farm animals.





5) Flappy, Waggy, Wiggly by Leslie.  A whimsical question and answer book that shows part of the





6) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Carle and Martin.  This and it’s Polar Bear, Polar Bear companion book are children’s classics.





7)  I Dream of An Elephant by Rubinger.  Rubinger’s toddler books feature basic rhymes, simple text, and promotes color, letter, and number learning.



8)  Seals on the Bus by Hort.  This bus gets a little crazy and crowded as geese, vipers, and even skunks get on board.  It’s a great book if you’re feeling like making some animal sounds.





9)  It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Shaw.  A black/blue and white book that incorporates repetition and in which children can guess the shape.  You may have to shorten for toddlers.




10)  Under My Hood I Have A Hat by Kushkin.  A great, fun book for winter.  A little girl overdresses for the snow and finds that she can’t move.


Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Because_of_mr_teruptThe Plot in 5 Sentences Or Less:  Each of the fifth graders in Mr. Terupt’s class at Snow Hill School has a story.  Jessica, for instance, just moved across country with her mother to get away from her dad, while Alexia is intent upon spreading gossip throughout the class in order to start a war among the girls.  As the year progresses, tensions among the students rise.  But Mr. Terupt is an extraordinary teacher, capable of challenging his students with creative projects that point to deeper lessons.  When a tragic event unfolds, Mr. Terupt’s lessons of kindness and forgiveness will be put to the test.

My Take:   Because of Mr. Terupt reminded me of the book Wonder by Palacio because of the revolving first person narrator style and the emphasis on young people working out how to treat each other.  Much credit should be given to Buyea for revisiting the “inspiring teacher” trope and not writing a stale rehash from this familiar territory.  The choice to have the plot revolve around the tragic event in the middle of the book provides a great deal of momentum to the narrative.  I did find the ending a little too nicely wrapped up for my cynical tastes, but this is nonetheless a wonderful read about forgiveness and the power of a teacher to inspire.

One Interesting Note About the Author:  On his website, Rob Buyea confesses that he wasn’t much of reader growing up, but he did enjoy My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.

Best Preschool Read A Louds for Library Storytime

We all have our storytime favorites.  After 8 years as a children’s librarian, I have a selection that I return to again and again that always work in front of a preschool crowd.



1)  Let’s Play in the Forest While the Wolf is Not Around by Rueda The animals in the forest are scared of the wolf until they find out what he is really hungry for: pancakes!



2)  Bark, George by Jules Feiffer.  I can’t stand any of Feiffer’s other children’s books (Daddy Mountain is especially awful to me), but Bark, George may be the best preschool read a loud ever written.



3)  Rattletrap Car by Root.  This is a longer book than I typically use for storytime, but my interpretation of the sputtering and stuttering sounds of the broken down car trying to make it to the lake always makes people smile.  A perfect book for summer.






4)  Hi Pizza Man!  by Walter.  Ok, the lady dressed in furs is a little weird, but the downward spiraling ridiculousness of this book always makes an audience laugh.  Meow meow, pizza kitty!




5)  There’s A Shark In the Park! by Sharratt.   Featuring awesome rhymes, repetition, and a dad with 1950’s hair, this book works every time.





6)  Go Away Big Green Monster! by Emberley.  Message of the book:  you can defeat your monster.  I would read this every week for storytime if it wasn’t already so super popular among the parents.





7)  The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Wood.  Share the strawberry or you’ll get eaten by a bear!  A great message for kids!





8) Little Pea by Rosenthal.  About a pea that detests eating candy for dinner (“plech!”).  A very a-pea-ling book!




9)  What? Cried Granny by Lum.  This may be my favorite read a loud of all time.  The industrious, indefatigable, Granny is determined for Patrick to go to bed!   Really punch those “Whaaaaat?”s to put the book over the top.





10)  Whose Mouse Are You?  by Kraus.  Over 30 years later and this book is still kicking.  Every time I read it, the audience goes “Awwww” at the end.  Very sweet!


“How to Catch a Bogle” by Catherine Jinks

The Plot in 5 Sentences or Less:  Alfred Bunce and his apprentice Birdie work in Victorian era London as boglers, a kind of early ghostbusters that traps and kills nasty monsters and demons that haunt the dark places in cities and eat children.  Their boggling business runs smoothly enough until the high class folklorist Miss Eames begins following them on their appointments and makes the recommendation that Birdie, for her safety, should not be used as bogle bait.  Also, the local pick pocket madam Sarah Pickles importunes Alfred to investigate the cause of some of her boys going missing.  Helping Sarah will take Alfred, Birdie, and Miss Eames on the most dangerous bogling mission yet.

My Take:  This was an excellent read, not so much for the page turning action, but rather for the evocation of Victorian era England.  Jinks has a knack for picking up the dialect of high and low class society and bringing them all to life.  Readers will learn about lusherys, mudlarks, and a dozen other things that are foreign to 21st century America.  Any teen interested in reading about catching nasty beasties on the dark streets of bygone London should read this book.

One Interesting Note About the Author:  On her website, Catherine says that she became a writer because she like reading so much.  A sequel to “How To Catch A Bogle” is due out next year!