Baby & Toddler
Screech! Moo! Boom! Chirp! Books That Convey Sound
by Lindsay Barrett
Besides being a doozy of a spelling word, onomatopoeia — words that represent sounds — is ideally suited for kids’ books. Whether it’s the “wee-ooh! wee-ooh!” of a fire engine or the “cheep! cheep!” of a little chick, sound words can bring books to life for children. There’s an educational benefit, too: Noticing and imitating sound words helps children build phonological awareness, a key aspect of early literacy development. Here are nine sound-filled favorites for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Can You Say It Too? Brrr! Brrr!
This lift-the-flap question book has readers guess inhabitants of a chilly Arctic landscape and offers a sound to go along with each one. From young foxes yipping to silly walruses snorting, it adds some variety to standard barnyard-animal sound books. The entire Can You Say It Too? series offers babies and toddlers plenty of fun sounds to enjoy and try out.
Sound words on each page bring the construction of a new roadway to life in this toddler bookshelf staple. From the “Screech! Boom! Woosh!” of heavy vehicles moving the earth to the “Squelch! Spluck! Splat!” of spreading tar, each step of the roadbuilding process is covered — even the “Gulp! Slurp! Crunch!” of the crew eating their lunch, much to toddlers’ delight. The companion titles Demolition and Construction have just as much noisy appeal.
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Oh, the wonderful things Dr. Seuss can do with sound words in children’s books! Mr. Brown demonstrates how simple sounds can be infinitely fun. This ode to “wonderful noises” will have everyone giggling as they heed the invitations to babble, slurp, whisper, and give fish kisses.
The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds
Both kids and parents will relate to this collection of noises: the kinds youngsters make when they get back up after bedtime. From the “Chugga-chugga-chugga” of train play to the “Boom, boom, boom! Honk, squonk, honk! Clash, clash, smash!” of an impromptu marching band on parade, each page offers the chance to guess what the little bunnies are doing upstairs in their room — rather than sleeping.
Tap Tap Boom Boom
A thunder and lightning storm is one of nature’s most immersive sound experiences. This story regales readers with the sounds of a summer storm in the city that sends pedestrians running to the subway platform for cover. This book is equally perfect for snuggling up to read while a storm booms outside, or as a raucous participatory read aloud with a group.
When Farmer Joe heads to bed, the barnyard animals warm up for an all-night punk rock concert. With a “Boom! Crash!” here and a “Ba dum!” there, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” has never sounded quite like this. This fun translation of musical sounds into words will inspire kids to create their own vocal and instrumental riffs. In the equally energetic sequel, Punk Farm on Tour, the barnyard musicians take their show on the road with a swishing, clanking, popping punk version of “The Wheels on the Van.”
Froggy Gets Dressed
Froggy eagerly wakes up to play outside on a snow day with noisy, boisterous sound effects punctuating his exaggerated actions: “Zoop! Zup! Zat! Zwit! Zum!” as he pulls on his socks, boots, hat, scarf, and mittens. “Flop, flop, flop” as he heads for the door. Of course, no account of Froggy’s antics would be complete without a silly twist and a big “Oops!” Enjoy many more of Froggy’s adventures in the entire series.
In the Quiet, Noisy Woods
This story is a delightful romp through the forest, a place that seems quiet — until you really listen to the concert of “chirps and clicks and chits,” “yip-yap-yowling,” and more. The cumulative repetition of sounds encourages children to chime in as the book goes on. Playful captioning suggests what the sounds could mean (“Who’s there? Stay away! Feed me!”). After reading, head outdoors and listen to your own surroundings.