Best rhyming books for children
It's likely that your child will be able to remember the words to their favourite rhyming stories too – the repetition of sounds and the strong rhythm, created by the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables, make the language easy to engage with and remember.
Learning to break words down into syllables and identify the similarities between sounds is an important part of learning to read, and reading rhyming text allows you to emphasise individual sounds and your child to practise listening.
The following rhyming picture books are some of our favourites to read out loud as a family (and the illustrations are wonderful). Enjoy!
Oi Frog! by Kes Gray
(£6.99, Hodder Children's Books)
Extremely funny, seriously silly and paired with comical illustrations, this best-selling series will prompt numerous family discussions about the best sitting places for frogs, hares, mules and more.
Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
A classic picture book which introduces characters from well-known nursery stories and encourages kids to find them hidden in the pictures. The text's strong rhyme and rhythm makes it perfect to read aloud to very young children.
Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
(£7.99, Corgi Childrens)
Glowing with autumn colours, the words' rhythm acts as the story's heartbeat, introducing three wonderful chracters (Cat, Squirrel and Duck) and a warm but witty story about friendship and sharing.
Aliens Love Underpants! by Claire Freedman
(£6.99, Simon & Schuster)
"When aliens fly down to Earth / They don’t come to meet YOU… / They simply want your underpants – / I’ll bet you never knew!" The mad and brilliant rhyming text is accompanied by vibrant illustrations. Fresh and funny (and kids love it!).
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Dr. Seuss classic was first published in 1960 and was written using only fifty words. A brilliant combination of rhyme, rhythm and repetition make this the perfect book to introduce children to the joy of words.
Pass The Jam, Jim by Kaye Umansky
(£7.99, Red Fox)
A great favourite with many families, this is the perfect title to read aloud (you'll find that children soon joining in with the rhyming text!). The wonderful pictures of the delicious food at a children's party are packed with funny details to spot, too.
Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough
(£7.99, Walker Books)
"Eddy’s off to find his teddy. / Eddy’s teddy’s name is Freddy. / He lost him in the woods somewhere, / It’s dark and horrible in there..." This phenomenal best-seller is about a case of mistaken identity among teddy bears and features a gigantic surprise. The rhyming text is catchy and clever and the book is wonderful to return to again and again.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat by Edward Lear
"The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea / In a beautiful pea-green boat..." Edward Lear's classic poem has delighted readers of all ages for generations. Charlotte Voake's illustrations in this new edition are beautiful, and a companion sequel by Introduced by Julia Donaldson, The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat, is also available.
Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman
(£7.99, Bloomsbury Children's Books)
Madly silly and magnificently entertaining, this tale of pirates, flying ships, donut feasts and some rather magical stew is perfect for all pirates, both young and old. Glorious illustrations from Chris Riddell make Neil Gaiman's tale of the unlikeliest babysitters – Long John McRon and his ships's crew – burst off the page.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
(£6.99, Macmillan Children's Books)
"A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. / A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good." Discover what happens in the award-winning rhyming story of a quick-witted mouse and a hungry Gruffalo. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's modern classic has sold over 13.5 million copies across the world and it's a delight to read and recite.
Who's in the Loo? by Jeanne Willis
(£6.99, Andersen Press)
"Who's in the loo? There's a very long queue. Is it an elephant having a poo?" A charming, cheeky rhyming story about one of kids' favourite topics of conversation: what happens in the bathroom! Irreverent toilet humour at its rhyming best.
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae
(£6.99, Orchard Books)
Gerald the tall giraffe would love to join in with the other animals at the Jungle Dance, but everyone knows that giraffes can't dance... or can they? Children love to hear how Gerald finds his feet and his confidence in this rhyming picture classic.
Tiddler by Julia Donaldson
(£6.99, Alison Green Books)
A fabulously funny story about a small fish with a big imagination and the tall tales he tells. Will anyone believe him when he gets caught in a net? As always, Julia Donaldson's rhyming text is a pleasure to read and reread and Axel Scheffler's illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the witty and wonderful story.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd
Packed with brilliant rhymes, this simple story is a firm family favourite which kids love to "read" to themselves once they've learned the words. Hairy Maclary goes for a walk and meets plenty of doggy friends along the way. Then they run into Scarface Claw, the toughest cat in the city...
Grill Pan Eddy by Jeanne Willis
(£5.99, Andersen Press)
"I'm Grill Pan Eddy! Everybody ready? Catch me if you can!" Eddy the mouse's exploits will be a highlight of bedtime story time, but you'll be happy to read this rhyming tale again and again – it's charming and eminently quotable! Tony Ross's wonderful illustrations capture cheeky Eddy (and the family who come to love him) perfectly.