Those of us who do storytimes for little kids know that we shouldn’t expect them to sit quietly, hands folded in laps, listening ears on – not at all! The best storytimes I’ve attended or led incorporate movement, singing, and plenty of wiggling. (Directed movement is better than chaotic movement: one of the best tips I got when I was new to leading storytimes was that if things got rowdy, to sing “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” – with motions – because it’s soothing and works as a good reset. You can also sing any short rhyme three times: first regular, then loud, and finally very softly.)
Here are some picture books about music and dance that work for storytime or sharing one-on-one. Most are just right for the preschool set, with some fine for toddlers (Punk Farm, Pokko and the Drum) and others (The Piano Recital, Jingle Dancer) best for early elementary. They range from silly to poetic but all show an appreciation for music and the various ways of making it.
88 Instruments by Chris Barton, illus. Louis Thomas
Because by Mo Willems, illus. Amber Ren
We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins (sequel to the deservedly popular We Don’t Eat Our Classmates)
Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! by Lloyd Moss, illus. Marjorie Priceman
The Orchestra Pit by Joanna Wright
Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (gives “Old MacDonald” a fresh treatment)
What A Wonderful World illustrated by Tim Hopgood (a picture book version of Bob Thiele and George Weiss’s song, popularized by Louis Armstrong; best for those confident in their singing voices, though of course you can read it without singing)
The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead
The Piano Recital by Akiko Miyakoshi (translated from Japanese)
How Do You Dance? by Thyra Heder
Let’s Dance! By Valerie Bolling, illus. Maine Diaz
Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illus. Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (this one has more text and would likely sail over toddlers’ heads and test preschoolers’ patience, but it would be a great read-aloud for early elementary)
This isn’t an exhaustive list and I’m sure I’ve missed some great ones. What are your favorite picture books having to do with music or dance?
One thought on “Moving and Grooving: Picture Books About Music and Dance”
My nephew used to love Zin Zin…and lo and behold, now he’s a violinist!