The best singing picture books

Margaret Read MacDonald Author Of Pickin' Peas
By Margaret Read MacDonald

The Books I Picked & Why

Dancin' in the Kitchen

By Wendy Gelsanliter, Frank Christian, Marjorie Priceman

Book cover of Dancin' in the Kitchen

Why this book?

A great Thanksgiving treat. “Dancin’ in the kitchen. The family’s packed in tight. I think we may be dancin’ in the kitchin’ all night!” The family cooks, sets the table, and eats…all while dancing and chanting along.  Get your beat going. Hand out spoons to beat on pans and rock along with this joyful picture book. All the way to the end, “Grandpa does the washin’. We all pitch in to dry. We’re still dancin’ in the kitchen, with the radio way up high!” 

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The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

By Peter Spier

Book cover of The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

Why this book?

This old classic still holds its charm. Sing along all the way and enjoy the autumn farmland illustrations as a fox runs through a tobacco barn and across the moonlit countryside bringing the farmer’s grey goose back to his young ones for dinner. Spoiler alert, they do pick the bones clean.  

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Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll

By Harve Zemach, Margot Zemach

Book cover of Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll

Why this book?

“Mommy, buy me a China Doll, Do, Mommy Do,” but, “What could I buy it with, Eliza Lou?” Eliza Lou has many suggestions…trade our Daddy’s feather bed…"Then where would Daddy sleep”…He could sleep in the horsey’s bed. “Then where would horsey sleep”…and on and on until Eliza ends up asleep herself…on Mommy’s lap. A soothing lullaby with or without the evocative illustrations by the Zemach team.   

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Bears Are Sleeping

By Yulya, Nonny Hogrogian

Book cover of Bears Are Sleeping

Why this book?

This is a perfect, soothing lullaby. “Bears are sleeping, deer are sleeping, snow is piling high. Even hungry wolves are sleeping…hush and bye you bye..” Soft, blurry illustrations of sleeping animals in a snowy Russian countryside. Notes for the lullaby run along the bottom of the pages. My daughters loved this gentle bedtime book, a last…quiet book before kissing them goodnight.  

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Big Black Bear

By Wong Herbert Yee

Book cover of Big Black Bear

Why this book?

This tale is one long, rousty chant. “Big Black Bear came out of the woods. Stuck his nose in the air and smelled something good!” Just keep that chanting going as Big Black Bear threatens Little Girl and creates havoc in her house, then is caught by Momma Bear and made to apologize. “I’m very sorry, please excuse me. I’m a little black bear, who just turned three.”  

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