Category Archives: rhyming

My Favorite Book Tradition


by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator
Family Reading Partnership


As the leaves start to fall and the nights set in ever earlier, with signs of Jack Frost’s midnight escapades when we wake, thoughts in my home start wandering toward ‘the books’. Even my anticipation rises as I look forward to the joy of a few quiet hours, so precious in themselves as a parent, spent pouring over the books, reliving heart-warming memories as I wrap the books with newspaper or the remnants of last year’s holiday paper. When the time comes, these books will be unwrapped, more carefully than any gift, in reverence of what they mean to our family- togetherness and love during the holiday season.

These books are a collection of both old and some new holiday and winter-themed tales, collected overtime from many places- my childhood, from loved ones, from Bright Red Bookshelves in the community, yard sales, thrift stores, school book fairs, and local booksellers- all selected to be part of this elite group of books because they are meaningful to our family in some way. Lovingly wrapped and cradled in their own festive crate, these books have a designated place of honor amidst our holiday décor.

Each night, starting the day after Thanksgiving and ending on our big winter holiday, our family chooses two wrapped books from the crate. Before the books are unwrapped, the children love to try to guess which book is under the paper, in hopes of getting their favorites but never disappointed if it isn’t because they are all so special to us. Then, we pile onto the couch, with our cat, inevitably, budging his way on to someone’s lap, not willing to miss this family holiday book tradition, and we snuggle under the quilt meticulously hand-stitched so long ago by my beloved great-grandmother to lose ourselves in the spirit-lifting winter wonderlands of these stories.

This nightly ritual gathers us together and gives us pause during the bustling holiday season. We crave these quiet moments of reading and reminiscing together, all heading to bed with sweet words and memories to keep us cozy during the long winter nights. These books, gifts in themselves to be sure, become a focal point of our holiday celebrations, with reading together the most treasured piece of this seasonal ritual.

After the holidays, when all the books have been read and re-read countless times, the crate of holiday joy is quietly tucked away in the back of a dark closet. There they will await their time of glory next holiday season.

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Silly Sounds are Perfect for Your One-Year-Old

It is an exciting time when your growing baby starts communicating more intentionally around his first birthday. He may know how to shake his head no, respond to questions by pointing, and even saying a few easy words. At 12 months your child is becoming much more social and she can interact with others by imitating noises and learning new words.

Children at this age enjoy books with rhyming text and silly sounds. As you read aloud, repeat the rhymes or noises and see if your child says them along with you. Ask questions about the book. When you see a picture of a cow ask, “What does the cow say?” You can also pause before saying the last word on each page and see if your child fills in with a sound or word.

Here are some books with text just right for your one-year old. They all come in a sturdy board book format so there are no paper pages to rip or crumple and your baby can even teethe on them without too much damage. See which books your child likes best.

“Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?” by Dr. Seuss. The board book version of the original is an abbreviated story still filled with buzzing, banging, and mooing sounds and asks the child to make the sound on each page. When your child gets older, you can graduate to the longer version of the book.

Flip-Flap-Fly-Root-Phyllis“Flip, Flap, Fly!” by Phyllis Root, illustrated by David Walker. A baby bird leaves his nest and sees many other animals on his first adventure in flying. He sees a baby snake that ziggle, zaggle, wiggles, and a baby otter that sloop, slop, slides, along with many other baby animals with fun-loving words to say on each page.

“Itsy, Bitsy Spider,” a Child’s Play book illustrated by Annie Kubler. There are many books that retell traditional nursery rhymes, but the Child’s Play series are all board books that include motions to do while reading and joyful illustrations of smiling children. They lend themselves to snuggling and giggling with your baby.

“Moo, Moo, Brown Cow! Have You Any Milk?” by Phillis Gershator, illustrated by Giselle Potter. This story is based on the cadence of the traditional nursery rhyme, “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” but has many new verses that fit together to make a farmyard frolic. Your baby will love the rhythm and rhyme. You can try to just read this book aloud, but you may end up singing it!

“I Went Walking” by Sue Williams, illustrated by Julie Vivas. Each page starts with “I went walking,” with an illustration of child. And then asks, “What did you see?” We see a girl discovering animals, one by one, on her walk. When you read this book with your child, make the noises of each animal as they appear in the story and soon your child will be making the animal noises with you.


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Anna Dewdney Writes Great Read-Aloud Books!

LlamLlamaThere are some books that really come alive when read aloud. Anna Dewdey’s “Llama Llama” books beg to “said,” not just silently read. Each story about a young llama and his mama is rhyming and rhythmical with a lot of action words. You’ll find yourself pausing, shouting, whispering, speeding up, and dragging out words because the story is so packed with emotion.

The two main characters are furry, long necked, lovable llamas. Young Llama Llama has a distinct personality that is quickly revealed in each of Dewdney’s six books about him. This little llama gets mad when things don’t go his way, such as when he has to share or take a long trip through a boring store. He has serious separation anxiety when he starts school. He is scared and lonely when he is tucked in at night to go to sleep. Llama, Llama is a typical young child!

But in each book Llama Llama’s problems are acknowledged by his mama and then resolved when she suggests a new way to look at things. Suffering through a shopping trip is made better when mama says, “Please stop fussing, little llama. No more of this llama drama. I think shopping’s boring, too–but at least I’m here with you.”

Going to bed isn’t so lonely when you know your mama is close by if you need her. Going to school isn’t so scary when you are assured that mama will be there to pick you up at the end of the day. In the most recently published book, Llama Llama doesn’t even need his mama’s help to learn how to share and makes a new friend along the way. Maybe this little guy is growing up!

Anna Dewdney, the author and illustrator of these huggable llamas, lives in southern Vermont and spends her time writing, illustrating, and visiting schools and libraries. She has also written a handful of other children’s books and last year Dolly Parton made two of Dewdney’s llama books into a musical!

When reading these llama books aloud with your young child play with the words and ham it up! Besides having fun, in each story you’ll learn about mama llama’s humble solutions to real-life family dramas.

“Llama Llama Red Pajama”  is the original llama book and has been a New York Times best seller. Young llama goes through a range of emotions when he is tucked into bed–scared, lonely, sad, mad, and worried! Mama reassures her son that she is always close by and then he is finally able to go to sleep.

“Llama Llama Mad at Mama” When little llama has to suffer through shopping at the “Shop-O-Rama” he has a melt-down, starts screaming and flailing, and the groceries end up everywhere! Mama comforts her son and they clean up the mess and together look forward to the end of shopping.

“Llama Llama Misses Mama” Llama Llama goes to school for the first time and feels lonely and teary-eyed. Playing with his new friends at school keeps him busy until mama comes to pick him up and he shows her around his new school.

“Llama Llama Home with Mama” Both mother and son have to stay home for a sick day.

“Llama Llama Time to Share” When a new friend comes to visit, Llama Llama isn’t so sure he wants to share all his toys.

Also check out “Llama Llama Holiday Drama” and to be released this year, the 7th in the series, “Llama Llama and the Bully Goat.” For more information visit Dewdney’s website:

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