2018 Year in Review: Books with a Beat

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Looking back on books with some serious rhythm! 2018 was a good year for books to sing and move and groove to.

Did I miss a great book from 2018? Have you tried one of these titles yet? Was it a smashing success or a flop? Please share!

⭐️= favorite

👎= nope


⭐️Gator, Gator, Gator! by Daniel Bernstrom
Hop in a boat and head into the swamp! Can you help this brave young girl as she searches for a silent, sneaky alligator? Love the rhythm- the words really just roll of your tongue. Kids will love pretending to look through their binoculars for the big bad gator!

There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake by Loren Long
Fun take on the cumulative classic song! I just love the turtle’s sassy side commentary. I think this could work well in storytime, but you really get the most value (and catch turtle’s comments) if reading one-on-one.

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⭐️A Hippy Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer & Anne Wilsdorf
Speaking of the lake… Toad’s hopping around brings him face to face with a variety of creatures, some not so friendly. Will he ever find a safe spot to land? Great rhyme and rhythm in here, plus the typography presents some good opportunities for building print awareness.

The Wheels on the… Uh-Oh! by Sue Tarsky
The animals’ bus ride goes awry when a flat tire throws a wrench in their picnic plans! Full of repetition and fun noises to make – will definitely try this out during a storytime focused on phonological awareness!


⭐️Old MacDonald Had a Boat by Steve Goetz
It’s hard work for everyone on Old MacDonald’s farm as they race to make an old boat seaworthy! Fun take on the classic tune. The repetitious E-I-E-I-O is great for engagement and building letter knowledge!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Car by Kate Dopirak
A little red car swings round the neighborhood saying goodnight to all his friends. Great singalong title for toddler storytime!

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⭐️Hey, Ho to Mars We’ll Go by Susan Lendroth
Speaking of things that go… Take a musical mission to Mars and learn fun facts about outer space along the way! Love the everyday diversity of the astronauts and the additional information included with the verse on each page. This one is easy to adapt and read up or down!

Kat Writes a Song by Greg Foley
On a grey and rainy day, Kat writes a song… and to her surprise, she chases the clouds away! A neighborhood stroll convinces her that her song has special powers. But when she’s unable to fix every problem and wants to give up, Kat’s friends step in to prove music is always magical. Super cute story for todds or preschoolers.


⭐️Pretty Kitty by Karen Beaumont
This old man in the big city does not want a kitty cat. SCAT! But as the number of cute kitties on his doorstep grows and the temperature drops, will he find room in his apartment- and his heart? A sweet, rhyming, counting read aloud for preschool. Kids will love joining in the refrain!


⭐️A Bear Sat On My Porch Today by Jane Yolen
Speaking of unwanted animals… A young child tries to shoo away various forest friends taking over the porch, from big bears to silly squirrels and playful possums. Great repetition for storytime, and you can sing most of it to “Aiken Drum.” When I read this, one of my kiddos got fed up with saying “Boo! Shoo!” over and over again. “It’s not working!” she snapped. 😂

Zoogie Boogie Fever by Sujean Rim
Did you ever wonder what the animals do when the moon hangs high over the zoo? They get down and boogie, of course! If you promise not to tell, you can join in their nighttime dance. Very playful and bright! I would recommend for an older preschool crowd.

Monster Boogie by Laurie Berkner
Sing, stomp and wiggle along with this brightly illustrated adaptation of Laurie Berkner’s hit song! I do love what Clanton’s done with the bright and fun illustrations here. It’s a book that just begs you to move and groove!

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⭐️Hip-Hop Lollipop by Susan McElroy Montanari
It’s bedtime, but Lollipop just can’t stop dancing hip hop! A fun, rhythmic sashay through bedtime routines.

👎If You’re Groovy and You Know It by Eric Litwin
This song remake fell really flat to me. Skip.

The Petes Go Marching by James Dean
I’m pretty much over Pete, but I know the kiddos will love walking along singing this song.

⭐️Food Truck Fest by Alexandra Penfold
Get up and get moving – it’s the Food Truck Fest! This book has such an energetic, uplifting rhythm. Really captures the excitement of trying something new!

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