Picture Books That Are Just Plain Fun to Read Aloud

Jennie Nash

Author of Raising a Reader: A Mother’s Tale of Desperation and Delight


Also see Jennie’s suggestions for
Picture Book Authors You Can Always Count On

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman

Rhymes that take on a life of their own, a hilarious story, a satisfying ending, and incredibly detailed illustrations combine to make this a book I never tire of reading. It always cracks me up.

Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith

This is a brand-new favorite, with illustrations by Marla Frazee, who also did the pictures for The Seven Silly Eaters. (She’s clearly a genius.) I ran across this book in a little book shop near my house and laughed so hard at the witchy main character and the funk she was in that I just had to bring it home. Mrs. Biddlebox gets up on the wrong side of the bunk and there’s a danger she’ll be cranky all day, but she finds a way to make something good of the day–quite literally. Within fifteen minutes of this book coming into our house, Mrs. Biddlebox became part of our shared language, as in "You’re crankier than Mrs. Biddlebox!"

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Not all great picture books rhyme! The ideas about kids and how they behave are so dead-on accurate and the illustrations are so funny that this book can change my mood from dark to bright in five minutes. It’s always a pleasure to turn the page and see Olivia trying on outfits or splattering paint on her wall.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Are there any words in the English language more fun to say than these? Every December I’m convinced anew.

Tuesday by David Wiesner

A wordless picture book that’s fun to read aloud? Well, it’s impossible not to make commentaries — and croaks — as frogs take flight in this book.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Well, yes, it’s a timeless classic and has been praised up and down for everything from the evocative illustrations of monsters to the economy of words, but the thing is, it’s just so much fun to read. Sendak seems to tell you exactly where to pause and breathe and emphasize certain words. I always feel like I’m singing a duet with the pictures — I talk and then they talk, and it all works out beautifully every time.

About Raising a Reader by Jennie Nash

Raising a Reader gives an inside look at what it’s really like in a home where kids are learning to read — and it’s not always pretty. If you’re in the business of passing on a love of books, this is the book for you! Read a chapter at www.jennienash.com.

Raising a Reader is Jennie’s third book. She’s also written articles and essays for scores of national magazines. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, their two girls and lots and lots of books!

From Raising a Reader © Jennie Nash 2003. Reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press and available wherever books are sold.