Why are rhyming books so great for babies and toddlers? A few reasons. First of all, young children really respond to rhythm. They're more likely to be engaged, involved and interested when there's a strong rhythm. Secondly, rhymes are fantastic in developing phonological awareness and language structures (a.k.a. it helps kids understand that syllables make up words, and words make up the English language). Third, rhyming/ rhythmic books are great for memorization, an intermediary step to reading. All in all, they're fantastic. And fun too!
But don't some rhyming books just drive you crazy? If the rhythm isn't great, or if you can tell it's a forced rhyme, it's hard to keep reading. And it's a law of nature that your child will fall in love with the one board book you hate the most, and request it millions of times per day.
Confession: The rhyming book I can't stand is Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? I get that it's a great book. It has rhyme, it has rhythm, it teaches colors, it teaches animals... But something that that book makes my eye start to twitch just thinking about that darn purple cat and blue horse and goldfish.
The solution? Get some of these rhyming books now and save them for your child's next birthday / holiday / potty training reward. They're short, they're fun, and they won't make you lose your mind when you have to read them 10 times in one morning. And if you have Amazon Prime like me you can stock up now (these are all under $6 currently) and get them at your door in two days. Here are our favorites:
Barnyard Dance and Pajama Time.
There's a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr Seuss
This one's on sale for only $3.50 right now. It's such a fun way to introduce rhyming with nonsense words. It's definitely a most-requested book at our house! (But did Dr Seuss have to pick a title that prompts so many inappropriate subtitle ideas? haha) We also love Mr Brown Can Moo. Can You?
Silly Sally by Audrey Wood
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Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden
This series is great for very young children because it's short, there are very few words, and the pictures and colors are eye-catching. Each page has a cut-out so you can guess what's next (shown is Peek a Moo with a cow on the next page). It's fun and engaging, and makes you wonder why you weren't the one who thought of the idea and is now making millions off this simple, easy and fun rhyming series. Love the mirror on the last page too.
5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
I almost left this one off the list because it's very repetitive and some may get sick of it. For me, the fun illustrations make up for the repetition. We had a play date last week at our house and both kids' moms said their children were obsessed with this book too. Also, it's one of the books my 2.5-year-old can read all by herself (meaning she has the whole thing memorized and will read it aloud to herself). Funny little last page too.
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw
The rhyming structure and words are fairly brilliant in this fun one. This book is requested allllll day long at my house. Sheep Out to Eat is fun too, and I've heard the other ones in this series are good, but this is the only one we own and between the relentlessly good rhyming and the fun illustrations, it's already a classic.
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What are your favorite rhyming board books?
I'm always in the market for new recommendations!
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