Books by Theme

Play with Your Words

Play is the way kids learn, so why not play with language! Young children delight in rhymes, hidden letters, and tongue twisters. Older kids love plays on meaning and the silly things that can happen when punctuation is missing. Use one or more of these recommended books for kids ages 0-9 to introduce children to word play fun.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Busy Buzzing Bumblebees & Other Tongue Twisters

By: Alvin Schwartz, Paul Meisel
Illustrated by: Paul Meisel
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Tongues will twist and tumble and mouths will turn to smiles as this collection of silly sayings and sentences is read aloud. Full color illustrations further open up an inviting format, ideal for newly independent readers.

Gooney Bird Greene

By: Lois Lowry
Illustrated by: Middy Thomas
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Gooney Bird is a memorable character whose outrageous tales are all true! Children may see their world differently through Gooney Bird’s storytelling and consider writing themselves just like the kids in Ms. Pidgeon’s class at Watertower Elementary School. This is first of Lowry’s Gooney Bird books, all of which are relatable.

Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives

By: Ruth Heller
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Readers explore adjectives through this book's absorbing, rhyming text and handsome, full-page illustrations. The author/illustrator introduces other parts of speech in equally appealing books such as Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns and Fantastic! Wow! And Unreal! A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions.

My Very First Mother Goose

By: Iona Opie, Rosemary Wells
Illustrated by: Rosemary Wells
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

This spritely collection of both familiar and less well known rhymes is presented in an oversized format just right for sharing. Young children will likely examine lighthearted, detailed illustrations as they extend the rhymes' action with verve and humor.

On Beyond Zebra

By: Dr. Seuss
Illustrated by: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Readers will delight in the playfulness of this word romp as they venture beyond the letter Z. Inventive letters and creatures are introduced in this funny, rhyming, alphabetic adventure in typical Seussian style.

Punctuation Takes a Vacation

By: Robin Pulver, Lynn Rowe Reed
Illustrated by: Lynn Rowe Reed
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Mr. Wright’s students soon discover that the meaning of written words is much more difficult to figure out when punctuation takes a vacation from their class. Lighthearted illustrations and a lively text combine for a playful presentation of words and their meaning.


By: Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by: Peter Sís
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

On Scranimal Island, there are many curious creatures that may seem familiar, but are really the product of the imagination. Are the critters animal, vegetable, or mineral? Only those who play with words will know for sure!

The Hidden Alphabet

By: Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Children will expand their vocabulary and play with hidden images in this unusual and elegantly illustrated alphabet book. A solid black frame with a one word descriptor focuses on an object. Lift the flap, and the image becomes the letter in full color, thus inviting readers to play with both words and images.

The Wonderful O

By: James Thurber
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What would life be like without benefit of the vowel 'O'? That's just what the people of Ooroo must cope with when despotic, O-hating pirates take over their island. Wordplay makes the humorous, original tale even funnier in this classic tale by James Thurber.

There's a Frog in My Throat: 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me

By: Loreen Leedy, Pat Street
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This inviting book is truly the cat’s pajamas! Familiar adages are organized by animal and explained through text and lively illustrations that jump around and over each large page.

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Gene Luen Yang
Gene Luen Yang
October 18, 2016

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943