William Steig's "Which Would You Rather Be?" is a crowd-pleasing question poser that can be used to enlivening effect with one child or one hundred. Henry Bliss' illustrations show a young boy and girl poised in front of a magician's hat. The simple formula involves posing the titular question involving two opposing people or things as they appear from the hat, and then letting this book work its magic. Children love being asked questions and given choices and will excitedly opine whether they'd rather be day or night, an elbow or knee, a mouse or an elephant. In fact, you might learn quite a bit by listening to the reasons behind each choice, which your audience will be all too eager to share.
Get Moving!: Exercise in Disguise
"It's a Tiger!" by David LaRochelle
Being chased by a tiger is enormous fun, if only in this stomp-y story time romp. A crafty tiger disguises himself in a variety of scenes, and just when you think you've lost him, he reappears. Running, climbing invisible ladders, and swimming strokes are a few of the moves required of young listeners. Delightfully and implausibly madcap, pair this with Open Very Carefully (summarized below) for a dyanamic duo of dangerous animal stories.
"The Animal Boogie" by Debbie Harter
"The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree" by Jan & Stan Berenstain
"Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin, Jr
"Bounce/Stretch/Wiggle" by Doreen Cronin
"Can You Make a Scary Face?" by Jan Thomas
"Duck Sock Hop" by Jane Kohuth
"Fly Blanky, Fly!" By Ann Lewis
"From Head to Toe" by Eric Carle
"Hop, Hop, Jump!" by Lauren Thompson
"How Do You Wokka-Wokka?" by Elizabeth Bluemle
"I am a Backhoe" by Anna Grossnickle Hines
"Is Everybody Ready for Fun?" by Jan Thomas
"Move!" By Steve Jenkins
"We're Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen
"We're Going on a Ghost Hunt" by Susan Pearson
"You are a Lion!: And Other Fun Yoga Poses" by Taeeun Yoo
Make a Guess!: Books that Ask Questions
"First the Egg" by Laura Vacarro Seeger
A simple but smart book about sequencing, an important skill for young children. Using many examples from the natural world, such as a tadpole and seed, as well as more conceptual items, such as a single word or stroke of paint, this book asks children to deduce what comes next. The folksy illustrations combine with more sophisticated die-cuts which provide a window to each answer. A vivid summertime scene leads to a ponderous question: which came first, chicken or egg?
"Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?" by Susan Shea
"Duck! Rabbit!" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
"Guess What is Growing Inside this Egg" by Mia Posada
"Lily and Milo" (series) by Pauline Oud
"Q is for Duck" by Mary Elting
"Rhyming Dust Bunnies" by Jan Thomas
"Where's Walrus?" by Stephen Savage
"Which Would You Rather Be?" by William Steig
"Who is Driving?" by Leo Timmers
"Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?" by Bonnie Lass
Touch This Book!: Flaps, Die-Cuts, and other Interactive Features
"Beautiful Oops!" by Barney Saltzberg
"The Game of Light" by Herve Tullet
This elegant little board book is not just for babies. By turning off the lights and shining a flashlight through the die-cuts, a "game of light" appears on your wall or ceiling. The shimmery transmissions, from a swirl of faces to a celestial sea, may inspire stories and even sweet dreams.
"The Monster at the End of This Book" by Jon Stone
"Open this Little Book" by Jesse Klausmeier
"Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite" by Nick Bromley
An ill-tempered alligator is trapped in the tale of "The Ugly Duckling." The traditional tale fades to the background as the duckling - who is actually quite adorable - advises the audience on how to deal with the scaly nemesis. This entails rocking the book back and forth to lull the beast into slumber, and then drawing a ballerina ensemble on the snoring beast with pink crayon - the duckling can't resist. Children will delight in the abounding mischief of this interactive fable-gone-amok.
"Press Here" by Herve Tullet
"We Are in a Book!" by Mo Willems
Use Your Voice!: Chants, Refrains, and Music
"The Baby Beebee Bird" by Diane Redfield Massie
"Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" by Mo Willems
"Don't Squish the Sasquatch" by Kent Redeker
"Exclamation Mark" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Rosenthal, known for personifying unusual objects, from peas to chopsticks, personifies punctuation with the same clever charm. An exclamation mark wants to blend in, when, of course, he was born to stand out. Primary grade English teachers will love the built-in lesson on when to use periods versus exclamations. Yet, the dazzling array of exclamatory statements, truly excitement personified, will win over even the grammatically hesitant. Of course, the concurrent lesson on being yourself is another lesson that can't be emphasized!!! enough.
"Little Bunny Foo Foo: Told and Sung by the Good Fairy" by Paul Brett Johnson
"More Bears!" by Ken Nesbitt
"No Laughing, No Smiling, No Giggling" by James Stevenson
"Mr. Brown Can Moo!" Can You? by Dr. Seuss
"Pete the Cat" (series) by Eric Litwin
"Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?" by Bill Martin, Jr.
"The Seals on the Bus" by Lenny Holt
"What? Said Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story" by Kate Lum