Best Rhyming Books – with Activities!
These fun books are an excellent way to teach reading with rhythm and rhyme. Preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders will love these wonderful rhyming stories and the fun activities that extend the learning after you read!
Here are 33 books with rhythm and rhyme that are great read-alouds for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
This funny story with simple rhymes will make kids laugh. All the dust bunnies call out words that rhyme – except Bob. It turns out he has a good reason, though! Make puppets on popsicle sticks of Ed, Ned, Ted, and Bob (just copy a page and cut them out, let your child draw them, or draw them yourself). Then, play a game with your child. Ed, Ned, or Ted calls out a word to begin each round. Three of the puppets will say rhyming words, but not Bob!
Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton
This one is so much fun! Active children will enjoy dancing with the farm animals. Read it with the rhythm of a square dance! You may have to practice first, but it’s even more fun when you play fiddle music like this in the background.
How Big is a Pig by Clare Beaton
A sweet, simple book with interesting illustrations created with felt and beads. Even very young listeners will enjoy this one. After reading, try making your own art with felt! Purchase a set with different colors and cut an assortment of shapes. Allow your child time to explore and see what the shapes can be combined to make. You could even take photos of their creations and then write a story to go with them! If you’d like some guidance on what shapes to cut out, try these.
I Know a Rhino by Charles Fuge
This is an adorable story that little ones with big imaginations will love! Vivid illustrations will captivate young readers, and just two sentences per page keeps the story moving along. For lots of ideas to keep the learning going, check out H4RL’s Enhanced Read-aloud unit for this book.
A Hippy Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer
This is a fantastic book! Filled with rhythm and rhyme, the story follows a toad as he meets other animals, takes a ride on a shoe, and ends up back where he started. Can your child retell the story, listing the toad’s adventures in the order they happen in the book? It may help to page through the book and peek at the illustrations again.
Dino-Soccer by Lisa Wheeler
If you have a sports fan, be sure to check out this wonderful rhyming series! Cheer on the herbivores and carnivores as they compete in hockey, football, swimming, and many other sports. Then, go out and try playing the sports the dinosaurs enjoy! If you can’t try it yourself, go to a game or watch one online. Learn some of the rules and techniques.
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
I love this book. We find sheep doing all sorts of things in the delightful rhymes and illustrations, but we just can’t spot that green sheep! Where could it be? Kids can join in as you repeatedly read, “but where is the green sheep?” Be sure to be very quiet and whisper the words when you read the ending so you don’t wake the sleepy sheep!
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archembault
In this fun book full of rhythm and rhyme, the letters of the alphabet climb a coconut tree and then all fall down. Encourage your children to clap along as you read this one. For letter practice, you could also have your child place magnetic letters onto a cookie sheet (the tree) as they are mentioned in the story. Then, when you read “boom boom,” your child can bang and shake the cookie sheet and make them all fall off!
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
If your child ever begins to feel impatient or worried when you take too long to come and say goodnight, they have something in common with the llama in this story. In wonderful rhyming verse, the suspense builds as we wait longer and longer for mama to come upstairs. Animated readers may be shouting along with Llama llama at the climax!
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
The lilting, rhyming lines of this book make it a great bedtime read. It isn’t a story with a lot of action, but rather a wonderful description of the barnyard and what the animals are doing throughout the day and as the sun goes down.
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrea and Guy Parker-Rees
This cute story about being yourself contains a lot of great rhymes, different than the simple standard words you often hear in rhyming books for children. After reading, put on some music, feel the beat, and do your own dance. If you want to practice more rhymes, put simple words on the floor (use painter’s tape) and dance on them! In order to step to a new word, you have to read it and call out a rhyming word.
Kermit the Hermit by Bill Peet
This book is a bit on the longer side, but it’s a wonderful story. In rhyming verse, readers hear the story of a greedy crab who looks for a way to repay a boy who saves his life.
Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough
In this fun story, Duck’s Truck is stuck and some other animals try to help him get it moving again. The lines about the sheep stepping through the muck are particularly fun due to the alliteration. Kids can jump in each time the truck is “still stuck.” Ask your child if they think the ending of the book should be changed. Shouldn’t Duck go back and help the animals who helped him? Work together to write rhyming lines that create a new ending for the story.
Mr. Scruff by Simon James
What a cute story! All the dogs and owners have names that rhyme. But what about Mr. Scruff? Find out who adopts him when you read the book together. Can you think of more pairs of rhyming names for pets and their owners? Pam and Sam. Patty and Hattie. Bob and Rob. Mavis and Davis. Draw, print, or cut out pictures of the pets and owners you think of and label them with their rhyming names (maybe Rob is a snail and Davis is a guinea pig).
Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins
While this may not be the best book for teaching rhyme, the rhythm is so much fun! Your kids can drum along as you read about these drumming monkeys.
Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks
Children who enjoy silly stories will giggle at all of the things Mrs. McNosh hangs on her clothesline. A fun extension with this book would be to put rhyming pairs of words and/or pictures on index cards. Put up a clothesline, and have children use clothespins to pin the rhymes on the line in pairs. If your child likes this book, check out the other stories about Mrs. McNosh!
I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua Prince
This lively book with rhythm and rhyme is a tongue-twister for sure! There isn’t much variation in the rhymes (“ack” words), but it’s a lot of fun. The suspense builds as the big train comes closer and closer to crushing the ant. Write “ack” on an index card, and make a list of the beginnings of all of the words that end with “ack” in the story. Move the index card down the list, reading each word as you go. Can you think of any more? Add to the list with your child. To make this activity fit the book’s theme, draw a train on the “ack” card and train tracks on the list of words! Practice reading in train-wheel rhythm – building fluency!
Rhymoceros by Janik Coat
With pairs of rhyming words and no other text, there isn’t a story to follow in this book. What makes it worth including is the variety of rhymes. While books that focus on the story may repeat simple rhymes through the text, this one focuses on the words. Can your child think of other rhymes for the rhymoceros? Trace the outline of the rhymoceros from the book and have your child illustrate pictures to go with their rhymes.
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
There’s a lot packed into this one! Farm animals, trucks, and a lesson about friendship and helping others. Unlike many books with so much rhythm and rhyme, this book also includes enriching vocabulary. Making animal sounds and beeping a horn brings this book to life.
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
This imaginative tale tells what snowmen do when we’re sleeping. It’s delightful, with wonderful rhymes. If you enjoy this story, read about some other snowy adventures by the same author.
Dog on a Frog? by Kes and Claire Gray and Jim Field
Frog uses rhymes to invent some crazy places for all different sorts of animals to sit. Enjoy giggling at this silly story. Then, go back and read the blue page again – the one that lists all the animals. If you read the first half of each rhyme, can your child remember the other part?
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
Short sentences filled with rhymes tell this silly story. Now we know why sheep don’t drive. Can you write a similar rhyming story? Perhaps it could be about pigs in a rig (semi-truck). Or maybe you could write about a horse on the course (is it driving a golf cart or a race car?). Could a goat drive a boat? Maybe a rooster goes for a ride in a rocket with a booster!
Harry Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
Meet Hairy Maclary and his other dog friends. If your child enjoys these characters, check out the other books in the series.
Stand Back! Said the Elephant. I’m Going to Sneeze. by Patricia Thomas
Oh, my! Hear about all the troubles it causes for the other animals when elephant sneezes. But what about when the elephant laughs? Detailed illustrations bring it all to life as the rhyming verse shares the animals’ woes.
The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet
A great many rhymes are included in this story about a caboose who doesn’t enjoy life as a train car. It’s too loud and scary. She envies the houses and cabins that sit quietly in one place. For a writing and art connection, ask your child to imagine that they could be a train car, a house, a cabin, a lighthouse, an airplane, or any other kind of vehicle or dwelling. Have them draw a picture of what and where they would be, and then write a paragraph describing what their life would be like and why that is what they would choose.
Chimpanzees for Tea by Jo Empson
This story is sure to make kids giggle. When he loses his list of items to get at the store, a boy tries to remember what his mother wrote down. Hilariously, the items are gradually replaced by animals with names that sound like the foods he was to purchase for tea. The rhyming practice is not as straightforward in this book as it is in others, but the story is so much fun. After reading the book, work with your child to come up with a list of items that could be on a grocery list for tea, breakfast, or dinner (just a few items). Then, make a matching list with silly, rhyming animals or other things to buy instead. Ask your child to draw a picture showing how it might turn out!
Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman
In this clever story, a thief replaces everything he steals with objects that rhyme, leading to some silly pictures! Kids are able to predict the rhyming word before you turn the page. At the end, they can use the pictures and rhymes to solve a mystery. After reading, discuss – were you able to predict all of the rhymes that would replace the stolen items? Were there any that you thought would be different? What other ideas can you think of (what other choices did the author have)? What would you have chosen?
Hip Hop Lollipop by Susan McElroy Montanari and Brian Pinkney
This book has excellent rhythm and rhymes. It’s a fun story about bedtime for a little girl who loves to dance to hip hop rhythms. Instead of using only small, simple words, the author has included vocabulary such as gyration, jubilation, rotation, relaxation. Can your child think of any other words that end with “tion?”
Moose, Goose, and Mouse by Mordecai Gerstein
Can Moose, Goose, and Mouse find a house they will all like? Find out in this short, silly adventure. The sentences are packed with rhyme, making them fun to read and hear. Three rhyming words are used to describe the house the friends want: funny, sunny, and with a bunny. What kind of house would you want? Can you use three rhyming words to describe a fun place to stay? What would it look like? Use words to tell about it or draw a picture!
See You Later, Alligator by Sally Hopgood
Tortoise says goodbye to all of his friends in rhyme before heading out on an adventure to see the world. The problem is, saying goodbye takes so much time that he never manages to get going! After enjoying the story, do some problem-solving. How could the tortoise say goodbye and have an adventure? Where would he go? What would happen? Write your own story!
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss
The best way to enjoy this book is to listen to the instruments while reading! Read it yourself first so that you don’t miss the wonderful rhyming words. Then, watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6qKFhyFVMo. This book is included in H4RL.com’s Enhanced Read-aloud activities for Ada’s Violin. Check it out for additional learning activities – writing, art, and more!
Dinosaur Roar! by Paul and Henrietta Stickland
With few words and lots of dinosaurs, this story will hold the interest of young readers and keep their focus on the rhymes. It’s a fun one to read over and over; kids will learn the words and join in.
The Story of Easter by Alice Joyce Davidson
This book is part of a wonderful series, all written in sweet, rhyming verse. A little girl named Alice magically enters into stories from the Bible to witness important moments in history. Then, she returns home and thinks about the impact those have on her life today. The whole series is a treasure that helps to store God’s word in our children’s hearts.
The Snowbelly Family of Chillyville Inn by Cheryl Hawkinson
If it happens to be the Christmas season when you’re exploring rhymes, this is an adorable story about a family of snowmen preparing to celebrate. Have some hot cocoa, snuggle under a blanket, and enjoy!
Looking for more rhymes and activities? The Poetry for the Primary Grades unit at H4RL.com is full of fun, educational ideas for using wonderful poems!
At H4RL, you’ll find educational resources to add wonder and delight to your homeschooling journey. Jill, a homeschool mom and licensed teacher, has created Enhanced Read-alouds that provide mini unit studies based on high-quality children’s books. Related activities for reading, writing, math, science, art, and more are woven into learning journeys that your family will love. Jill has also created a full math curriculum (kindergarten, first, and second grades are available as of Oct., 2022) that shows you how to teach your child all essential math concepts in fun, hands-on ways. Learn more at h4rl.com!