Favorite Rhyming Books for Little Poets

by Didi Engel
Oct 5, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Image: Amazon, Getty/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

My boys love reading, and I give much of the credit to the rhyming books we read together when they were preschoolers and kindergarteners. We started with the Sandra Boynton books — using The Going to Bed Book to soothe everyone into a dreamy state on many nights. The kids knew the words as well as I did, and it became like a shared lullaby. We all memorized Duck in the Truck quickly too, and the process of saying the catchy rhymes while I pointed to them on the page helped the kids recognize written words and begin to read on their own.  

Finally, books like The Snail and The Whale and The Circus Ship delighted all of us again and again as we imagined traveling the world on the tail of a whale and meeting circus animals walking down the street. We read the same stories over and over, but the giggles were fresh every time.

Ahead are some of the best rhyming books out there — for all the pint-size poets in your life. Bonus: These tales are filled with lessons of kindness, curiosity and compassion. What more could lyrical little ones ask for? 

See the whole playlist and save it to your free SmartFeed Library.  

1 /12: 'Room on the Broom'

1/12 :'Room on the Broom'

By Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

First, there’s a witch and a cat. Along comes a dog, a frog and a bird. Can they all fit on the witch’s broom? And what will they do when they meet a big red dragon? Kids will love the sweet illustrations and the twist at the end; parents will appreciate the themes of kindness, cooperation and creativity. (Amazon, $5.29)


2 /12: 'Giraffes Can't Dance'

2/12 :'Giraffes Can't Dance'

By Giles Andreae, Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

Gerald the giraffe wants to dance with all of his animal friends at the Jungle Dance, but the other animals aren’t so sure. Just when Gerald feels convinced he can’t dance, an encouraging cricket reminds him, “Sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.” Triumph ensues. A sweet story of perseverance and individuality. (Amazon, $10.59)

3 /12: 'Bear Snores On'

3/12 :'Bear Snores On'

By Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman

It’s winter, and all of Bear’s friends gather in his den for a party. They make snacks, brew tea and wait for Bear to wake up and join them, but… Bear snores on and on. How will he feel when he wakes up to a party? Witty language and satisfying rhymes make this a great choice to read aloud.  (Amazon, $13.10)

4 /12: 'Cars Galore'

4/12 :'Cars Galore'

By Peter Stein, Illustrate by Bob Staake

If Dr. Seuss wrote a book devoted to cars, it might read like Cars Galore. This book is chock-full of all sorts of cars, both real and imaginary, paired with fun and peppy rhyming text. The illustrations are vibrant and engaging. This is a sure winner, especially with the youngest auto buffs. (Amazon, $14.08)

5 /12: 'If I Built a Car'

5/12 :'If I Built a Car'

By Chris Van Dusen

Reality and fantasy collide in this engaging story of one child’s imagination. With colorful and pleasantly retro illustrations and fantastic car ideas galore (A snack bar? A pool?) this book celebrates imagination and creativity. It is a recipient of the E.B. White Read Aloud Award. (Amazon, $13.78)

6 /12: 'The Going to Bed Book'

6/12 :'The Going to Bed Book'

By Sandra Boynton

Some children’s books are joys to read, and The Going to Bed Book is just that. With a perfect balance of silly and sweet, great language and predictable rhymes, it is one of those delightful bedtime read-alouds for babies and toddlers. Plus, Boynton’s signature illustrations are adorable. (Amazon, $3.98)

7 /12: 'The Gruffalo'

7/12 :'The Gruffalo'

By Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

A clever mouse outwits several predators by making up a story of an imaginary creature called the Gruffalo — only to meet a real Gruffalo in the woods. By thinking fast and being brave, the mouse manages to scare the Gruffalo away. A great story of an underdog having the last laugh. (Amazon, $12.76)

8 /12: 'The Circus Ship'

8/12 :'The Circus Ship'

By Chris Van Dusen

In this gorgeously illustrated story, a shipful of circus animals and a kind community of villagers take on a mean and greedy circus boss. When their ship gets caught in a storm, the animals swim to a nearby island and surprise the inhabitants with their gentle ways. (Amazon, $9.39)

9 /12: 'The Snail and the Whale'

9/12 :'The Snail and the Whale'

By Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

This sweet story of friendship and adventure is a great reminder that you don’t have to be big to be helpful. In this book, a whale and a snail journey around the world together until the whale gets in trouble and the snail saves the day. (Amazon, $15.79)

10 /12: 'Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee'

Rhyming Books For Early Readers And Young Poets: Down To The Sea With Mr. Magee
Image: Amazon

10/12 :'Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee'

By Chris Van Dusen

What starts out as a regular boat ride turns into an extraordinary adventure when Mr. Magee and his dog, Dee, encounter a group of whales. Told from a variety of perspectives and with bright and inviting illustrations, this book presents themes of cooperation and friendship in a lighthearted and engaging way. (Amazon, $5.76)

11 /12: Pin It!

Favorite Rhyming Books for Little Poets: Best Books for early readers from SmartFeed
Image: Amazon, Getty/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

11/12 :Pin It!

Pin this for your little one's reading list.

12 /12: About SmartFeed

Rhyming Books for Little Poets: About the SmartFeed Service
Image: SmartFeed

12/12 :About SmartFeed

SmartFeed is a free family media resource to help parents find and organize books, movies, TV, podcasts, and apps that are just right for each member of the family through an easy-to-use app and website. Our mission is to help parents access inspiring educational media that their kids will love. 
We offer savable, shareable playlists for families and communities. Titles are easily sortable by provider (e.g. Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, etc.), age, and topic.