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MORE Books for Beginning Readers:
A Bibliography of Trade Books for Young Children

© 2011 Margaret Jensen

A child beginning to read brings a unique set of skills, a personal understanding of what reading is, and a level of confidence that may differ from day to day. Rhythm, rhyme, repetition, a controlled vocabulary, and a text with a clear context and picture clues are each characteristic of trade books appropriate for beginning readers. Relatively few trade books contain all of the above characteristics, although more than one of these characteristics can be identified in many books.

The books selected for this bibliography are categorized according to the dominant characteristic even though many of the books listed here could possibly be listed in more than one category. Within each category the titles are listed in order of difficulty. Each section begins with those books that are easier to read and ends with titles more difficult for beginning readers.

The books listed were chosen with the interests of primary-aged children in mind. Almost all of these books can be found in most elementary school libraries or public libraries. The list is not comprehensive. Adults using this bibliography will want to identify other trade books with one or more of these characteristics and make their own additions to each section of the bibliography.

The books are listed alphabetically by author within each category. Click here for a version of the list that lists books in order of difficulty within each category.

This online version of the list includes CCBC annotations for many of the titles.


1. Rhythm and Rhyme
2. Repetition
3. Picture Clues
4. Sight Vocabulary
5. Clear Context and Sight Vocabulary
6. Putting It All Together

Margaret Jensen was a teacher of first and second graders for the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) in Wisconsin for thirty-eight years. Believing in the power of a great story, in 1973 Margaret began seeking literature to use to teach young children how to read. She continues to find and share new titles with beginning readers. A former president of the Madison Area Reading Council, Margaret was the first recipient of the Celebrate Literacy Award given by that organization in 1982.

Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
Complete list of CCBC bibliographies

Rhythm and Rhyme

    Axtell, David. We're Going on a Lion Hunt. Henry Holt, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Beaumont, Karen. Mover Over, Rover!. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. Harcourt, 2006. 40 pages. Ages 3-7

    Buck, Nola . Hey, Little Baby!. Illustrated by R.W. Alley. (Harper Growing Tree) HarperCollins, 1999. 22 pages. Ages 2-4

    Dillon, Leo and Diane Dillon . Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles - Think of That! . Blue Sky Press / Scholastic, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

    Ehrhardt, Karen. This Jazz Man. Illustrated by R.G. Roth. Harcourt, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 4-10

    La Prise, Larry and Charles P. Macak and Taftt Baker . The Hokey Pokey. Illustrated by Sheila Hamanaka. Simon & Schuster, 1997. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 6

    Martin, Jr., Bill. Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?. Illustrated by Eric Carle. Henry Holt, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 2-6

    O'Connell, Rebecca. The Baby Goes Beep. Illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max. Deborah Brodie Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2003. 24 pages. Ages 6 months and older

    Webb, Steve. Tanka, Tanka Skunk. Scholastic, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 3-8

    Wheeler, Lisa. Jazz Baby. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Harcourt, 2007. 32 pages. Ages birth-3


    Arquette, Kerry. What Did You Do Today?. Illustrated by Nancy Hayashi. Harcourt, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 4

    Aylesworth, Jim. The Mitten. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic Press, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 5

    Bloom, Suzanne. The Bus for Us. Boyds Mills Press, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Carle, Eric. "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth. Philomel, 2002. 24 pages. Ages 3 - 6

    Cousins, Lucy. I'm the Best. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Gore, Leonid. When I Grow Up. Scholastic, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Hacohen, Dean. Tuck Me In!. Illustrated by Sherry Scharschmidt. Candlewick Press, 2011. 26 pages. Ages 1-5

    Litwin, Eric. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Illustrated by James Dean. HarperCollins, 2010. 40 pages. Ages 3-7

    Martin, David . All for Pie, Pie for All. Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. Candlewick Press, 2006. 24 pages. Ages 3-6

    McDonald, Megan. Hen Hears Gossip. Illustrated by Joung Un Kim. Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

    Portis, Antoinette. Not a Box. HarperCollins, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

    Rueda, Claudia. Let's Play in the Forest While the Wolf Is Not Around. Scholastic Press, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Tafuri, Nancy. The Busy Little Squirrel. Simon & Schuster, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 2-6

    Thomas, Jan. The Doghouse. Harcourt, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Willans, Tom. Wait! I Want to Tell You a Story. Simon & Schuster, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

Picture Clues

    Brown, Ruth . Snail Trail. Crown, 2000. 20 pages. Ages 2-4

    Browne, Anthony. My Dad. U.S. edition: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001. 24 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Collicutt, Paul. This Train. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999. 24 pages. Ages 2-6

    Demarest, Chris L. Firefighters A to Z. Margaret K. McElderry, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 5

    Feiffer, Jules. Bark, George. HarperCollins, 1998. 24 pages. Ages 3 - 8

    Fleming, Denise. Mama Cat Has Three Kittens. Holt, 1998. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 6

    Gal, Susan. Please Take Me for a Walk. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    George, Lindsay Barrett. Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

    Harris, Robie H.. Maybe a Bear Ate It!. Illustrated by Michael Emberley. Scholastic, 2008. 40 pages. Ages 3-6

    Henkes, Kevin. Little White Rabbit. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2011. 40 pages. Ages 2-5

    Mazer, Norma Fox. Has Anyone Seen My Emily Greene?. Illustrated by Christine Davenier. Candlewick Press, 2007. 24 pages. Ages 1-4

    Nikola-Lisa, W. . Can You Top That?. Illustrated by Hector Viveros Lee. Lee & Low, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 3-5

    Reiser, Lynn. Play Ball with Me!. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 24 pages. Ages 3-7

    Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. First the Egg. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2007. 28 pages. Age 4-9

    Shannon, George. White Is for Blueberry. Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 2-7

    Spanyol, Jessica. Carlo Likes Reading. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Sturges, Philemon. I Love Bugs!. Illustrated by Shari Halpern. HarperCollins, 2005. 24 pages. Ages 2-5

Sight Vocabulary

    Bloom, Suzanne. A Splendid Friend, Indeed. Boyds Mills Press, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Falwell, Cathryn. David's Drawings. Lee & Low, 2001. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    George, Kristine O'Connell. Book!. Illustrated by Maggie Smith. Clarion, 2001. 31 pages. Ages 18 months - 3 years

    Gershator, Phillis. When It Starts to Snow. Illustrated by Martin Matje. Henry Holt, 1998. 32 pages. Ages 2-4

    Lunde, Darrin. Hello, Bumblebee Bat. Illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne. Charlesbridge, 2007. 28 pages. Ages 3-7

    Mallat, Kathy. Brave Bear. Walker, 1999. 24 pages. Ages 3-6

    Milgrim, David. See Pip Point. Atheneum, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 6

    Mo, Willems. Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book). Hyperion, 2010. 57 pages. Ages 3-7

    Pilkey, Dav. The Complete Adventures of Big Dog and Little Dog. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 88 pages. Ages 3-6

    Rodrigue, George and Bruce Goldstone . Why Is Blue Dog Blue?. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2002. 40 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Schwartz, Amy. What James Likes Best. A Richard Jackson Book / Atheneum, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 5

Clear Context and Sight Vocabulary

    Arnold, Tedd. I Spy Fly Guy. Scholastic, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

    Ayres, Katherine. Up, Down and Around. Illustrated by Nadine Bernard. Candlewick Press, 2007. 28 pages. Ages 2-4

    Banks, Kate. Close Your Eyes. Illustrated by Georg Hallensleban. Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 4

    Cocca-Leffler, Maryann. Jack's Talent. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-7

    Coffelt, Nancy. Fred Stays with Me!. Illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Little, Brown, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

    Eaton, III, Maxwell. The Adventures of Max and Pinky: Best Buds. Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

    Foley, Greg. Don't Worry Bear. Viking, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Henkes, Kevin. Kitten's First Full Moon. Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 5

    Hillenbrand, Jane. What a Treasure!. Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Holiday House, 2007. 24 pages. Ages 3-6

    Mockford, Caroline. Cleo and Caspar. Barefoot Books, 2001. 24 pages. Ages 18 months - 3 years

    Rueda, Claudia. No. Translated by Elisa Amado. Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press, 2010. 36 pages. Ages 2-5

    Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. Dog and Bear: Two's Company. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Shannon, George. Tippy-Toe Chick, Go!. Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 5

    Smith, Jeff. Little Mouse Gets Ready (A Toon Book). Candlewick Press, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

    Stein, David Ezra. Pouch!. Putnam, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 4

    Swope, Sam. Gotta Go! Gotta Go!. Illustrated by Sue Riddle. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 10

    Yee, Wong Herbert. Who Likes Rain?. Henry Holt, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 2-4

Putting It All Together

    Berger, Barbara Helen. All the Way to Lhasa: A Tale from Tibet. Philomel, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    Chaconas, Dori. Cork & Fuzz: Good Sports. Illustrated by Lisa McCue. Viking, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

    Ehlert, Lois. Pie in the Sky. Harcourt, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 8

    Ellis, Sarah. Next Stop!. Illustrated by Ruth Ohi. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 6

    French, Simon. Guess the Baby. Illustrated by Donna Rawlins. Clarion, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 5

    George, Jean Craighead. Goose and Duck. Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Laura Geringer Books / HarperCollins, 2008. 48 pages. Ages 4-6

    Harris, Robie H.. The Day Leo Said "I Hate You". Illustrated by Molly Bang. Little, Brown, 2008. 40 pages. Ages 3-7

    Hines, Anna Grossnickle. I Am a Backhoe. Tricycle Press, 2010. 40 pages. Ages 2-5

    Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald . When Will Sarah Come?. Illustrated by Nina Crews. Greenwillow, 1999. 24 pages. Ages 2 - 5

    Kasza, Keiko. Dorothy and Mikey. Putnam, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Livingstone, Star. Harley. Illustrated by Molly Bang. SeaStar Books, 2001. 64 pages. Ages 5 - 7

    Paye, Won-Ldy and Margaret H. Lippert . Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile. Illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Henry Holt, 2003. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

    Ries, Lori. Aggie the Brave. Illustrated by Frank W. Dormer. Charlesbridge, 2010. 48 pages. Ages 4-7

    Schaefer, Carole Lexa. Snow Pumpkin. Illustrated by Pierr Morgan. Crown, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Seabrooke, Brenda. Wolf Pie. Illustrated by Liz Callen. Clarion / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 46 pages. Ages 5-9

    Shannon, David. Duck on a Bike. Blue Sky Press / Scholastic, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Shannon, George. Rabbit's Gift: A Fable from China. Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Harcourt, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Silverman, Erica. Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin. Harcourt, 2006. 42 pages. Ages 4-7

    Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Jingle Dancer. Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Van Laan, Nancy. Busy Busy Moose. Illustrated by Amy Rusch. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 48 pages. Ages 4 - 6

    Van Laan, Nancy. When Winter Comes. Illustrated by Susan Gaber. Atheneum, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 6

    Weeks, Sarah. Drip Drop. Illustrated by Jane K. Manning. HarperCollins, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

    Willems, Mo. City Dog, Country Frog. Illustrated by Jon J Muth. Hyperion, 2010. 56 pages. Ages 3-7

    Williams, Karen Lynn. A Beach Tail. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Boyds Mills Press, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Wilson-Max, Ken. Max's Starry Night. Jump at the Sun / Hyperion, 2001. 24 pages. Ages 2 - 4

    Yee, Wong Herbert. Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends. Houghton Mifflin, 2009. 48 pages. Ages 4-7

This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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