Category Archives: Books and Resources

Books that Sing – Examples

I learned the idea of “books that sing” from Nancy Stewart. These are books that can be sung instead of read. At my preschool this year, my music curriculum has featured a book that sings each week. At some point, I’ll share the full curriculum, but for now, here is a preview of the books we’ll be using in April.

I looked for books featuring a springtime theme. I considered Inch by Inch, the Garden Song, which is quite good. (I use it in my kids’ science class when we talk about plants.) I thought long and hard about Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig and Mark Brown (video) which would be so easy to make up a jazzy tune to sing it to. Or, since we’re in Seattle, there’s Singing in the Rain, the lyrics from the movie with illustrations by Hopgood. (video) But, I’ve been trying to choose books where the children know the tune so they can sing or hum along.

I decided to check for books of “Over in the Meadow” and “Five Little Ducks.” Turns out that there are at least five versions of each song! Let’s check them out:

Over in the Meadow

This is a classic counting song. If you’re not familiar with the tune, you can hear it in this video, which is from the Barefoot Books version of this book that sings. We didn’t have a copy of that one at my library but you can find it on Amazon. (Note: I am an Amazon associate, which means if you click on any of the linked book names in this post, it will take you to a description on Amazon. If you end up buying anything after clicking through, I get a small referral bonus at no cost to you.)

Over in the Meadow – Jane Cabrera. Each two-page spread has a verse and all the animals for that verse to count. In this book, at the end, it says “over in the meadow while the mothers are away, can you count the babies? they’ve all come to play.” You can then play an I-spy style to find and count all the animals in one scene. My library has the Wonderbook version where you can play the music to sing along to. But, the recording is a little bland and slow to my taste – I’d rather sing it myself.

Over in the Meadow illus by Rojankovsky. Copyright 1957, featuring lovely pastel sketches. At the end of the book, there is a nocturnal scene where many of the animals appear. It includes an owl chasing a frightened looking bunny which might trouble a few particularly sensitive children. Includes sheet music of the tune on the last page.

Over in the Meadow illustrated by Anna Vojtech. The illustrations are lovely. I like that in addition to the main illustration where you can count the animals “hiding” in the scene, and then below the verse, there’s a picture of just the baby animals. I’m dubious about verse 10 with the little beavers ten. “Beave said the mother, we beave said the ten…”

Over in the Meadow, illus by Paul Galdone. (c. 1986. not available on Amazon.) Although I don’t love the illustrations, an interesting aspect is that it has one page that shows the digit and the written out number, then a second page to finish the verse.

Over in the Meadow, illus by Ezra Jack Keats. Nice naturalistic illustrations. Only minor quibble is that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the parent and the babies, which makes it harder for the kids to count the babies accurately.

Also check out Over in the Ocean by Berkes – I LOVE this book. (Here’s a video. Not to be confused with Jack Hartman’s Over in the Ocean.) Berkes also has Over in a River: Flowing Out to the Sea and Going Around the Sun: Some Planetary Fun which are all to this same tune. Learn more about these books.

Five Little Ducks

Another counting rhyme. This one counts down from five to zero. And then rather than leaving poor mama duck bereft, all five little ducks come back at the end. Here’s the tune. Or another version. There is also a Raffi recording of it.

Five Little Ducks illus by Penny Ives. Nice illustrations, cut outs in the pages that preview things on the next page.

Five Little Ducks, by Denise Fleming. In this version, instead of Mama Duck calling the babies back, Papa Duck does. It also adds in days of the week and instead of just going over the hills and far away, they go other places. Monday – through the woods, Wednesday past the paddock, Thursday – across the fields, Friday – down the road. Saturday they come back. Then, Mama Duck discourages them from leaving the nest, because on Sunday “we all rest.” At the end of the book, there’s a paragraph of information on each of the animal types depicted.

Five Little Ducks illus by Pamela Paparone. Shows Mother duck doing all sorts of work around the farm: gardening, hanging laundry, ironing, picking apples, but also painting a picture. A nice feature is the pages that show the correct number of little ducks either walking away up the hill or coming back down the hill, plus they’re seen in another scene, so there’s lots of opportunities to count the same number to get a good grasp that three is three, no matter how they’re arranged on the page.

Five Little Ducks illus by Aruego and Dewey. Part of the Raffi Songs to Read series. My least favorite illustrations. But the end is unique. After all the ducks are gone, and none of the little ducks come back, we see Mama in Autumn, Mama in winter, and going out in spring to find all five little ducks who have all had babies of their own! One has five babies, one has four, one has three, one has two, and one has just one baby. Also has the sheet music at the end.

Five Little Ducks illus by Ivan Bates. A pretty straightforward edition with nice drawings and the sheet music in the back.

And that’s not all! There are more versions available – see them on Amazon.

How I Use Books that Sing

Sometimes I introduce the song first, teaching it and helping the kids get the hang of it first before introducing the book. This is helpful if either I think the song is brand new to everyone OR if the words in the books have a lot of variations from the typical words. (For example, I would want them familiar with the Over in the Meadow tune before introducing Over in the Ocean. When I read Over in the Ocean, since the words are so different than they know, I would have them hum the tune along with me as I sing the words in the book. It turns out three year olds are great at humming tunes!)

With these books, since most of them align really closely with the traditional words and since I have SO MANY books to choose from this month, I’m just going to teach the songs by reading the books, saving the ones with the most word variations (like the Papa Duck version) for last.

Books about New Babies

collage of images from the book covers of the books listed in this post

If your family will be adding a new baby, there are many ways to prepare your children for their sibling’s arrival. One effective way is through books about pregnancy, birth, and babies.

When to read

I like mixing these in with other books you’re reading to your child so they’re just part of the rotation. But don’t force them on your child. If there’s a day they only want to read the truck books or the butterfly books, that’s totally fine. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to chat about the baby without it being something that blocks your child from what they want to read about in any given moment.

What not to read

There are a lot of books about sibling rivalry and how awful it is to live with a new baby. I would not read those before the baby is born. We don’t want to set things up with the assumption that it will be bad! If it is hard for your child once the baby is there, then definitely check out those books with them, but let’s not start there.

While it can be helpful to read books that talk about some of the challenges of life with a baby, you don’t want that to be the full focus of what you read as you prepare.

What to read:

Books about Pregnancy and Birth

  • Waiting for Baby / Esperando Al Bebé by Rachel Fuller (2009). For ages 1 to 4. Tells of a sibling’s trip with mom to the doctor, helping prepare for the baby, and meeting the baby at the hospital.
  • Mama’s Belly by Kate Hosford (2018). For ages 3 to 5. A girl asks her mother questions about the pregnancy and what it will be like when baby arrives.
  • Hello Baby by Lizzy Rockwell (2000). For ages 4 to 7. Touches on all aspects of the baby-to-come, from prenatal development and doctor appointments to meeting baby at the hospital.
  • We’re Having a Homebirth!! by Kelly Mochel (2012). For ages 4 to 7. Simple illustrations and brief details about home birth.
  • When you were Inside Mommy by Joanna Cole (2001). For ages 5 – 8. Discusses fetal development, explaining the umbilical word, using the word uterus, etc.
  • Babies Don’t Eat Pizza by Danzig. Ages 5 -8. Covers prenatal development and how baby is born “through an opening between mom’s legs”. Compares what the baby can do to what they can do.

Books for Children about Babies and Siblings

My New Baby / Mi Nuevo Bebe by Rachel Fuller (2009) or My New Baby by Annie Kubler (2000). For ages 1 to 4. Tell the stories of new families. In each, the mother breastfeeds, and the father participates in all activities.

Tenemos un bebé / We Have a Baby by Cathryn Falwell (2008). For ages 2 to 4. A simple bilingual board book about loving a new baby. Multiracial family.

I’m a New Big Brother/Sister by Nora Gaydos (2010). For ages 3 to 4. A positive story about what it’s like to be a big brother or sister.

How to Welcome a New Baby by Jean Reagan (2022). For ages 3 to 6. How to prepare for and welcome a baby. Multiracial family.

I’m a Big Sister / Brother by Joanna Cole. Age 3 – 4. This story talks about what babies are capable of and what they need.

I Used to Be the Baby by Robin Ballard (2002). For ages 3 to 6. This book positively portrays sibling relationships and how a sibling can help the baby.

I like these month-by-month tips in the back of Gaydos’ books:

page from a book addressing developmental milestones that older siblings can look for


There’s a Baby (DVD) by Penny Simkin (2013). For ages 3 to 8. A children’s film about a baby coming to Maia’s family. At

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for more children’s books about sexuality, pregnancy, and how babies are made, check out Books for Children about Sexuality.

About the Links:

Each book includes an Amazon affiliate link to make it easy for you to learn more about each book. If you click through on this link and then purchase anything, I do receive a small referral bonus at no extra cost to you. These books may also be available at your local library. If you would like to preview the content try searching YouTube for “[title of book] read aloud” and there are videos of many of the books in this list. I do encourage you to then go on to purchase the book itself to support the books’ creators.

Note: a similar post also appears on PCNGuide, a blog about pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn written by Janelle Durham, author of this blog.

Books for Shy Kids

Recently I wrote a post on the Slow to Warm Up child. I looked for some books that might help them to feel seen and also feel inspired to try new things.

Lots of books and videos are about the bold, brave extroverts. But, there are some great stories about slow to warm up kids who overcome their caution and go on big adventures or take on challenges that scare them. Look for stories where a shy or quiet or cautious or worried child tries something new or finds their voice but doesn’t have to change who they are. These stories can help these kids know they’re not alone and give them more confidence about trying new things.

When No One is Watching by Spinelli. (Read-Aloud.) The narrator talks about all the bold, brave, fun things she does when no one is watching. But then she hides all that when any one is looking at her. Until she finds a special friend who she feels comfortable with, and can do everything with.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Lovell, illus Catrow. (Read-Aloud.) Molly Lou is short, and has buck teeth, and an unusual voice – all things that might make people judge her but her grandmother teaches her to love all the unique things about herself. When she starts at a new school, she stands up for herself and finds her place.

Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster by Nelson-Schmidt. (Read-aloud.) Jonathan is scared to try lots of things as he imagines “what if” a whole list of bad things happens. Then he turns it around and imagines “what it” good things happened. That gives him the courage to try. Other good books for worriers are: Ruby Finds a Worry (Read-Aloud) and The Worrysaurus. (Read-Aloud.)

Too Shy for Show-and-Tell by Bracken, illus Bell. (Read-aloud) Sam is a quiet boy who feels like no one knows anything about him. But he’s afraid to do show and tell. In the end, he does and makes friends. I would not read this to a child who wasn’t scared of doing show and tell (we don’t want to create a fear!) but it would be great for one who was.

The Invisible Boy by Ludwig, illus Barton. (Read-aloud.) This tells about a boy who feels invisible until a new friend notices his drawing skills. Good for an elementary school child who is feeling left out.

Willow’s Whispers by Button, illus Howell. (Read-aloud.) Willow’s voice always comes out in whispers – her teacher can’t hear when she asks for apple juice and gives her orange; a student can’t hear when she says “I’m playing with that” and takes the toy. Willow’s dad supports her, and she finds her voice. Good for 4 – 7 year olds who can’t find their voice.

Mary Wrightly, So Politely by Bridges, illus Monescillo. (read-aloud.) Mary is always polite. But she’s also so very quiet that many people don’t hear her. She learns to speak up loudly (but still politely) when she needs to in order to get a special present for her brother. For 4 – 7 year olds who need to learn to speak up.

What do you recommend?

These books are specifically written for kids who are challenged by their shyness, their worries, or their tendency to make themselves small. There are also quiet kids who like to observe before jumping in – not because they’re shy or worried, just because that’s how they like to do things… I’d love recommendations for books about those kinds of kids – please add comments!

Note: this post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on those links, then purchase an item on Amazon, I do receive a small referral bonus.

Online Resources Available through KCLS

If you live in King County, Washington, you have access to several amazing online resources for free through the King County Library System. (Here’s my basic tutorial on how to use KCLS. And here is KCLS’ info about their ebook options and streaming video services.)

There is so much content available that it’s hard to even preview it all, so I’m just including a snapshot of just two pages of search results from each service to give you a sense of what they offer.

  • Libby – ebooks and downloadable audiobooks
Libby – kids’ picture books
Libby kids science books
  • Hoopla – movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to stream or download
Hoopla PBS shows
Hoopla comics
  • Tumble Book Library Video storybooks and read-alongs for readers in grades K-6, including some in Spanish and French
Tumble picture books
Tumble science books
  • BookFlix Classic video storybooks paired with non-fiction eBooks. Preschool to 3rd grade.
Bookflix Imagination books
Bookflix Nature and Animals
  • Kanopy – Watch thousands of films from independent filmmakers and popular producers. Titles include The Criterion Collection, The Great Courses, and PBS.
Kanopy Kids
Kanopy Science Documentaries

Learn more about these, and other services at

Using the King County Library

If you live in King County, Washington, you have access to one of the best public library systems in the entire country! And it’s all FREE of charge. Here’s an overview of the services they offer for parents with young children, both in person and online.

Going In Person

There are LOTS of library locations. (Click on that link for directions AND hours.) You may choose a favorite one to go to over and over, or you go on a grand tour to see them all! (When my kids were little, I did a weekly field trip that would include a different library and park each week.)

When you arrive, you can go to the children’s section – if you don’t see it right away, just ask someone to point you there. You can choose any book on the shelf and read it to your child then and there, or you can choose to take it home. If you want to check it out, you’ll need a library card. Just go to the information desk and they’ll help you set up an account. You can check out up to 100 books at a time! You can keep videos for up to 7 days and books for 28. You can often renew for longer. (More details on borrowing.) When you’re done with materials, return them to any branch of the KCLS library.

When my children were little, ee went to the library once a week. I allowed them each to have ten library books out at a time. We kept them on a special shelf at home. Before we went, they could choose which books they were ready to return, and which they wanted to keep a while longer. If they brought 3 back, they could get three new ones. If they brought all 10 back, they could get 10 new books that week.

Accessing KCLS Online

To get started: If you don’t already have a library card, go to to set up an account.

On their website at, you can search for any book you want. The results will look something like this:

You can choose a physical book (and sometimes a book with a CD of the book read aloud); an ebook that you can read on a browser or download to a device; or a downloadable audiobook.

If you choose an ebook or audiobook, and a copy is available now, you can download it right away. (Learn more about downloading e-books.) If a copy is not currently available, put it on hold, and you’ll get an email notification as soon as one is available to borrow.

If you want a physical book, then place a hold. You’ll then choose a library branch to have it delivered to for pick-up. There are lots of locations all over King County.

If no one else has requested it, you’ll typically have it within a week. If you see that there are something like 83 holds on 12 copies, you know it will be longer. When your book arrives, you’ll get an email. You can go to your library to pick up the book during business hours any time in the next week.

Once you’ve checked out a book, you have it for 28 days (21 days for e-books). You’ll get an email when it’s due. If you want it for longer, you can renew online, unless someone else has placed a hold on that book.

KCLS has books available in over 20 languages. You can do an advanced search that limits your results to books in that language. Learn more at:

Online Resources available through KCLS

There are several libraries of online children’s e-books. We can access, for free:

  • Libby – ebooks and downloadable audiobooks
  • Hoopla – movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to stream or download
  • Tumble Book Library Video storybooks and read-alongs for readers in grades K-6, including some in Spanish and French
  • BookFlix Classic video storybooks paired with non-fiction eBooks. Preschool to 3rd grade.
  • Kanopy – Watch thousands of films from independent filmmakers and popular producers. Titles include The Criterion Collection, The Great Courses, and PBS.

Learn more about these, and other services at You can see samples of what kinds of books and videos they have at:

For more information on where to find book recommendations and how to preview books on YouTube and through online reviews, check out


Story-times are one of the best things to do with your toddler or preschooler to prepare them for kindergarten. They are free and fun, and a good learning experience for your child that will help get them excited about reading. Read more about them in my post on Story-Time: Cheap Dates with Toddlers.

If your family speaks a language other than English at home, they do have storytimes in some other languages, or the English storytimes offer a great opportunity for children (and parents!) to get more familiar with English.

In winter 2023, King County libraries are offering several story-times every single day at various branches across the county. For example, on Wednesdays you could attend story-time in Burien, Issaquah, Kirkland, Maple Valley, North Bend, Redmond or online. There are 8 online story-times every week, including ones in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Tigrigna, and one that focuses on LGBTQ pride themes. Find the current schedule at