A few weeks ago, we hosted Kiwi’s homeschool preschool, and we explored one of the 5 senses: sound. Although the highlight of the day was having a dance party on bubble wrap (see my post about a sounds theme and activities for details!), the kids got a chance to listen during story time. I read aloud a few of these children’s books about sounds during the preschool lesson, and I gathered recommendations for even more picture books here.
My friends told me that after our homeschool preschool lesson about sounds, their kids practiced their listening and observation at home! “I hear vacuum,” “I hear plane,” “I hear doggie,” one preschooler told her mom in the days that followed our lesson about sounds.
I love these books about sounds because they offer a chance to learn about the 5 senses every day. They encourage kids to pay attention to noise, an often-overlooked sense, and gives them the language to describe sounds. What’s more, they’re fun! Kids crack up at their parents imitating everyday noises like a tea kettle, a jackhammer or even falling leaves.
If you need to up your noise-making game, there’s lots of practice in these children’s books about sounds. Or you can make your kids make all the noises! They’ll love that, too. So put a few of these children’s books about sounds in your cart, or request them from your library, and read on!
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8 great books about sounds
Homer the Library Cat, by Reeve Lindbergh. It makes sense that a children’s book about sound would have a pleasing, lilting rhythm in its text, and Homer the Library Cat pulls through on this front. This poetic story follows the quiet-loving cat Homer on a noisy adventure, when he discovers the world outside his home is not nearly as peaceful as he’d like. Thankfully, this children’s book has a happy ending—one my kids couldn’t wait to get to. And as soon as we reached the last page, both my girls would chorus, “Again!” For a children’s literacy nut, that was music to my ears.
The Sounds around Town, by Maria Carluccio. When you start listening, you notice our days are filled with sounds—and this book points them out in fun rhymes. My girls point all over each page, laughing as I imitate cats purring, tea kettles hissing, taxis rumbling and dishes clattering. After a few reads, they don’t even let me try before making the noises themselves! Carluccio’s illustrations, a colorful collage of painting and papers she finds on the street, make our world seem colorful and lively as well as noisy!
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr. This Brown Bear, Brown Bear spinoff is just what you’d expect: the classic rhythm (which BTW you can sing to “Twinkle Twinkle!”) and exploration of all different animals. This one, of course, has the twist of adding animal sounds. I like that the book uses verbs your kids may not be familiar with (bray, flute, bellow), which is a fantastic way to teach vocabulary in context. Word to the wise: All the animals may not say what you think they say. Read my post about animal noises you’ve been messing up to learn the real sounds from a zebra, an owl and more.
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss. The inimitable Dr. Seuss doesn’t disappoint in this less known classic children’s book about sounds. One thing I love: Although the book starts out exploring animal noises, it quickly veers into Seussian silliness as Mr. Brown imitates the noise of a butterfly fluttering, an egg frying and even a hippo chewing gum! This book is interactive, too, inviting readers to imitate all sorts of noises. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll love the refrain: “Mr. Brown can do it. How about you?”
The Loud Book and The Quiet Book, by Deborah Underwood. Reading these two books about sounds together is an excellent opportunity to explore opposites. Each of them explores all different kids of loud and quiet—like “others telling secrets quiet” and “thinking of a good reason you were drawing on the wall quiet,” or “last slurp loud” and “fire truck day at school loud.” The understated text is perfectly complemented by the expressive illustrations, which bring in humor—like to the page “unexpected entrance loud,” which shows the chaos of a school play when one youngster arrives onstage unexpectedly.
The Sound of Silence, by Katrina Goldsaito. There are many beautiful sounds in the world—the pitter patter of raindrops, the laughter of a child, the harmony of music—so young Yoshio is surprised when a musician tells him his favorite sound is ma, or silence. So begins Yoshio’s quest to find silence, but in his busy city—and even in a still park—other sounds always seem to get in the way. Yoshio’s hunt for silence finishes when he least expects it, and he learns something surprising. It’s a good lesson for us all to seek tiny moments of peace in the everyday—even with horns blaring and garbage trucks rumbling.
The Listening Walk, by Paul Showers. “I listen to sounds I never listened to before,” says the little girl in this book as she walks the neighborhood with her dad and dog. Instead of talking, she pays attention to the noises around her—from the loud lawn mower to the twick twick twick of her dog’s toenails on the sidewalk. Showers’ choice of onomatopoeia for all the different sounds are perfect and are fun to imitate—my girls loved my sounds for a car screeching and a basketball bouncing. I also like that this book shows you can explore sounds anywhere you are, even in the city, which just goes to show you can learn about the 5 senses anywhere you go!
For ideas on a full preschool lesson about sounds, check out my post—complete with activities and instructions for a bubble wrap dance party!