Music is a part of life. You can enjoy it while working, cooking or cleaning the house. To enjoy it even more, you might read some music-inspired books to your children so that they can start developing an appreciation for music at an early age.
Here is a sample of some of the best children’s books that feature music.
1. Imagine by John Lennon, with illustrations by Jean Jullien
This is a fun adaptation of one of John Lennon’s most famous and enduring songs into an illustrated children’s book. Designed for children between the ages of four and seven, the book follows a hopeful pigeon that is determined to spread tolerance across the globe.
2. We’re Going on a Hunt
This is actually a two-fer because it covers both We’re Going on a Lion Hunt by David Axtell and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.
The “We’re going on a ______ hunt” is a popular children’s chant that’s stood the test of time. With We’re Going on a Lion Hunt, readers travel along with two sisters on the African savanna who are hunting for a lion. Their journey takes them through a Big Dark Cave, a splishy-splashy lake and swishy-swashy long grass. As you can imagine, this is a fun one for kids between the ages of two and six.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has been delighting children for more than three decades. Along the way, readers wade through some swampy mud and a deep, cold river. There’s a narrow, gloomy cave, a whirling snowstorm and more.
Parents and teachers can keep the fun going by adapting the we’re going on a ______ hunt chant to real-life situations. Think about using it when you are looking for a missing shoe or going to buy the groceries. It’s a fun way to bring rhythm and music into everyday life.
3. The 39 Apartments of Ludwig van Beethoven by Jonah Winter
This one is a favorite in many families. It works on several levels because it introduces some history but does so in a humorous and entertaining manner.
It is accurate that Beethoven lived in no fewer than 39 apartments in Vienna. No one knows exactly why Beethoven moved so much, and it’s even more mystifying how he was able to transport five pianos into and out of those apartments.
Fortunately, author Johan Winter is here with many funny explanations. Throughout, Winter manages to examine the nature of human suffering as kids are encouraged to contemplate what it would be like to be one of the best composers in the world and to know that you were going deaf.
4. Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown by Eric Litwin with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld
This Scholastic publication combines numerous academic subjects to arrive at a fun-filled finished product.
If your child loves music, dogs and math, then this is the perfect book. It’s written for kids between the ages of three and five. Groovy Joe, the laid-back, guitar-playing dog is hosting a dance party, and everyone is invited. Unfortunately, Joe gets too many dogs coming to his party, and he has to use some creative problem solving.
On each of the 40 pages, kids will find plenty of rhyme and repetition, two things that they instinctively love.
5. Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin, with illustrations by Betsy Lewin
Your kids will want to read this one again and again. It’s geared toward kids between the ages of three and seven. All of the animals on the farm are excited about winning a local talent show. First prize is a trampoline, and everyone from the cows to the duck wants it.
The cows and sheep want to sing, the pigs want to dance and Duck’s only goal is to get that trampoline. Of course, the animals have to keep all of their efforts a secret from Farmer Brown.
Combining a love of music and animals, this one is a winner for little kids.
6. Those Amazing Musical Instruments!: Your Guide to the Orchestra Through Sounds and Stories by Genevieve Helsby
Although this one is much more expensive than most children’s books, it is definitely worth the cost. It’s comprehensive enough that it could be used in formal music instruction. Nonetheless, the information is presented in such a fun way that kids will think that they’re just having fun.
Those Amazing Musical Instruments is geared toward children between nine and 12. It includes an interactive CD-ROM to enhance the reading. The text takes readers on a tour of the musical instruments that are found in any orchestra including cellos, trumpets and drums.
This book covers all of the bases as it has fantastic illustrations that show, for example, how violins work. Meanwhile, the CD-ROM introduces the unique sounds of each instrument and reveals how the different instruments blend together in the full orchestra.
7. Footloose by Kenny Loggins, with illustrations by Tim Bowers
Here is another fun and colorful adaptation of a popular song. This one is just for fun with a whole zoo full of animals and a zookeeper enjoying an all-night dance party. Many of the names that Loggins refers to in the lyrics are given to the animals on the pages, which makes the whole thing more fun.
As a bonus, this book comes with an audio CD that features new works by Kenny Loggins. Among them are Footloose with new lyrics and a three-song medley. With the included CD, this can be a great way to combine reading with singing and dancing.
8. Jazz Baby by Carole Boston Weatherford, with illustrations by Laura Freeman
This verse-based story is a wonderful means for reinforcing the basics of rhythm for children between the ages of four and seven years. In fact, the publisher describes this book as “a celebration of music and movement,” which means that you and your kids just might be inspired to get up and dance.
Little kids will love the full-color illustrations showing kids just like them playing musical instruments. The text is highly rhythmic, and the repetition is particularly appealing to little ones. It’s a fantastic introduction to the instruments that make jazz music.
9. Froggy Plays in the Band by Jonathan London, with illustrations by Frank Remkiewicz
Geared toward kids between three and five years of age, this tale follows Froggy as he sets a goal to win a big prize in the local marching band contest. Kids from all of the schools will be competing in the Apple Blossom Parade, but Froggy is absolutely determined to win. He finds his dad’s old saxophone in the attic, and the hilarity begins.
Kids will love the cute illustrations while also enjoying the message of learning new things and working together. Be ready to read this one over and over.
10. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, with illustrations by Guy Parker-Rees
Follow along as Gerald the giraffe follows his dream to dance despite having a neck that’s too long and legs that are too skinny. Fortunately, Gerald gets some encouragement from a supportive cricket who tells him that “Everything makes music.”
This inspires Gerald to start dancing in his own way, and the result is inspiration for every child who wants to learn something new.
11. Can You Heart It? by William Lach
Published in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, this book is a fantastic introduction to music and great works of art. Creatively using these works of art to illustrate musical works like The Flight of the Bumblebee and The Four Seasons, kids will have a great time reading this book again and again.
Making it even better is the included CD. Kids will be asked to listen for the sound of car horns honking as produced by clarinets or the clopping of horse’s hooves as they are recreated by castanets. With the playing of each CD track, kids will enjoy a multi-sensory experience that will have them listening and learning like never before.
12. What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, Bob Thiele, and George David Weiss with illustrations by Tim Hopgood
Here’s another adaptation of a famous and uplifting song. With a positive and sweet message, this is a wonderful book for kids between the ages of two and six. The colorful, engaging illustrations are filled with trees, birds, butterflies and flowers as well as a whimsical hot air balloon. Be sure to get a recording of the song so that kids can sing along.
13. Crash Bank Boom by Peter Spier
This 1979 classic has been delighting children and their parents for decades. Little kids frequently are fascinated by sounds, and the louder they are, the better. This book is a celebration of that love. It never fails to make children giggle, and it’s fun to think about how everyday objects can become musical instruments.
Bring Music Home with Prodigies Music
Many children’s books are inspired by music, and this is just one of the best ways to introduce your kids to a lifelong love of music. Another way to help your kids to understand and appreciate music is to get them involved with the programs at Prodigies Music at an early age.
Prodigies Music specializes in making music approachable to absolutely everyone because we believe that everyone deserves to be introduced to the life-changing aspects of music. Just like the books described above, we know how to make music fun, which means that kids are learning even as they are having a wonderful time. Browse the offerings at Prodigies today to learn more.