Tag Archives: picture storybooks

15 Dance Picture Books

Katie Merkel

Hello everyone!

I love to dance! There is something deeply satisfying about moving in time to the music and expressing the emotion of a song through movement.

These fifteen dance picture books celebrate the joy of dancing, and I hope they inspire you and your young readers to get up and dance. At the end of the post are dance-themed coloring pages, crafts, and YouTube dance tutorials. The dance video sections for ballet, hip-hop, and tap have lessons and/or dances for every age from toddlers through 5th graders. The miscellaneous dance video section contains individual dances or dance routines that are appropriate for specific age groups.

No matter what style of dance you love, free style it and explore a new form. Break it down, hip and hop, tap your feet, clap your hands, and let the books move you to express yourself through dance!

Book Recommendations

Barnyard Dance

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton has a rhyming text that is reminiscent of square-dance calling but with animal dancers and some animal movements.

Rap A Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles - Think of That!

Rap A Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles – Think of That! by Leo and Diane Dillon tells about a man who is always tap dancing. It shows him dancing through the streets, past people, and on stage. At the end of the book, the man’s name, Bojangles, is revealed. The final page has an afterward with historical information about Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, who was one of, if not the greatest, tap dancers of all time.

Clap Your Hands

Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley has a rhyming text that tells the characters in the book to move different ways and make different types of faces and sounds. For added fun, you can have kids follow the directions along with the book’s characters.

Hip-Hop Lollipop

Hip-Hop Lollipop by Susan Montanari is about a girl named Lollie who loves to dance hip-hop. Her parents tell her to stop dancing and go to bed, but Lollie keeps dancing. She dances with her sister; she dances while brushing her teeth; and when she’s finally in bed, Lollie dreams of dancing hip-hop.

I Got the Rhythm

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison, illustrated by Frank Morrison is about having the rhythm. The book starts with the protagonist thinking the rhythm. Then she experiences the rhythm with her senses and starts to express it with different parts of her body. Finally, she is expressing the rhythm with her entire body and full-out dancing. The final line of the book (“I got the rhythm and you can too.”) encourages the reader to move and dance as well.

Kitchen Dance

Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning is about a young girl who hears noises coming from the kitchen and together with her brother discovers that their parents are dancing and singing while cleaning up from dinner. When their parents catch them spying in the doorway, they bring their children into the kitchen, and the entire family sings and dances together. This book is a beautiful reminder that even the most mundane tasks can be used to bond as a family.

How Do You Dance?

How Do You Dance? by Thyra Heder is more or less the dance version of Green Eggs and Ham. The text is a conversation between an unseen voice and the protagonist, who claims that he doesn’t dance. As the unseen voice lists many of the ways that people dance, the illustrations show those movements, and the protagonist’s reaction to a lot of the dancing. The book ends with the protagonist finally revealing how he dances.

Zoogie Boogie Fever!: An Animal Dance Book

Zoogie Boogie Fever!: An Animal Dance Book by Sujean Rim reveals the secret as to why zoo animals always seem to be tired during zoo visiting hours: they spend the whole night dancing! A little red bird is the reader’s guide through a typical night of dancing at the zoo. Enjoy the book, but as the little bird reminds the reader, the dancing is a secret, so “Don’t. Tell. Anyone.”

Hilda Must Be Dancing

Hilda Must Be Dancing? by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Suzanne Watts is about a hippopotamus named Hilda who loves to dance, but whose friends dislike her dancing because it is very loud and creates a mess in the jungle. Her friends suggest different hobbies for her to try instead of dancing, but Hilda doesn’t like any of them and keeps dancing. At last, they suggest a hobby that Hilda loves and is able to combine with dancing. The result is a quiet form of dance that does not create a mess, and that both Hilda and her friends can enjoy.

Giraffes Can't Dance

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees is about a clumsy giraffe named Gerald. At the annual Jungle Dance, when Gerald steps onto the dance floor, the other animals make fun of him and tell him he can’t dance. When Gerald leaves, a cricket tells him that different people need different types of music and encourages Gerald to listen to the music in nature. Gerald does and finds that he can dance. He learns that everyone can dance if they find the right music.

Rupert Can Dance

Rupert Can Dance by Jules Feiffer is about a girl named Mandy and her cat, Rupert. Mandy loves to dance for Rupert during the day, and Rupert loves to dance at night when Mandy is asleep. One night, Mandy wakes up and sees Rupert dancing. She is excited and tries to teach Rupert some of the moves she knows, but Rupert doesn’t want to take lessons and loses all interest in dancing. Mandy comes up with a plan to get Rupert to dance again, and the two of them start dancing together.


Dino-Dancing by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Barry Gott is about a dance competition between different dinosaur dance groups. Many different styles of dance are featured, and while some acts go smoothly, others don’t go as planned.

Dance With Me

Dance With Me by Penny Harrison, illustrated by Gwynneth Jones is about a music box ballerina who loves to dance with the little girl who comes and dances with her every day. But when the little girl gets older and stops dancing with the ballerina, the ballerina leaves her music box in search of a new dance partner. Everyone the ballerina invites to dance with her says no, and the ballerina returns to her music box. For years, the music box is packed away, but one day, a new little girl opens the lid and invites the ballerina to dance with her.

Diana Dances

Diana Dances by Luciano Lozano is about a girl named Diana who does not do well in school and who will fail her grade if she does not learn her multiplication tables. When hiring a tutor doesn’t help, Diana’s mother takes her to the doctor, who recommends that Diana see a psychologist. The psychologist determines that Diana is a dancer and tells her mother to enroll her in a dance class. Diana loves dancing and discovers that it is easier for her to focus when she is moving. Through finding her creative outlet in dance, Diana also unlocks her ability to master her multiplication tables.

PAR-TAY!: Dance of the Veggies (And Their Friends)

PAR-TAY!: Dance of the Veggies (And Their Friends) by Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Don Tate is about a dance party that the vegetables in the refrigerator throw while their humans are out of the house. Different vegetables, fruits, and dance styles are featured. At the back of the book is a section that explains what a vegetable is and that lists the vegetables and fruits that participate in the dance party.

Coloring Pages


Dance Videos


Hip Hop


*You can wear sneakers, dress shoes, or create your own penny tap shoes as an inexpensive way to try out this style of dance.

Miscellaneous Dances

Happy reading and dancing!



For more themed book recommendations and activities, visit my post library.


12 Best Easter Picture Books

Hello everyone!

Katie Merkel

Happy Easter! Below are a dozen eggcellent Easter picture books. Some tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection and others feature the Easter bunny or Easter egg hunts.

After looking at the book recommendations, don’t forget to check out the Easter-themed crafts (some make cute Easter decorations), math activities, and snacks at the end of the post.

Picture Book Recommendations

The Easter Bunny's Assistant

The Easter Bunny’s Assistant by Jan Thomas is a lesson in how to color Easter eggs given by the Easter Bunny and his assistant, Skunk. Unfortunately, Skunk gets excited easily, which makes the process a smelly affair. Kids will enjoy this humorous lesson in egg dying.

A Very Happy Easter

A Very Happy Easter by Tim Thornborough tells the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection while paying special emphasis on how different people felt. In addition to sharing the Good News about Jesus, the book teaches empathy by asking kids to mimic the characters’ facial expressions and to think about how they felt.

The Parable of the Lily

The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs, illustrated by Nancy Munger is about a girl named Maggie who receives a box of dirt from her father with a mysterious plant’s bulb in it. She is disappointed with the gift, forgets about it for a while, and then throws the bulb outside. On Easter morning, she discovers that the bulb has grown into a beautiful lily. On most of the pages a Bible verse shows how Maggie’s story mirrors Jesus’ life on Earth and how God the Father must have felt that the precious gift of His Son was undervalued and unappreciated. And just as God forgives us for our sins, the books ends with Maggie’s father forgiving her for not appreciating his gift sooner.

The Story of the Easter Bunny

The Story of the Easter Bunny by Katherine Tegen, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert tells how the Easter Bunny got his start making eggs and delivering Easter baskets on Easter morning.

Happy Easter, God

Happy Easter, God by Elspeth Campbell Murphy, illustrated by Jim Lewis is a series of poems that celebrate what children love about Easter. Each poem is paired with an illustration and a Bible verse.

That’s My Colt: An Easter Tale by Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by Chris Ellison tells the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His death, and His resurrection from the point of view of Matthias, the boy who owned the colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem.

Turkey's Eggcellent Easter

Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter by Wendi Silvano, illustrated by Lee Harper is about a group of farm animals who want to win an Easter egg hunt prize by finding one of the special eggs, but they can’t participate in the hunt because it is only for children. The animals disguise Turkey different ways so he can find a special Easter egg, but each attempt to get an egg is foiled. The animals’ shenanigans are sure to delight readers of all ages!

God Gave Us Easter

God Gave Us Easter by Lisa Tawn Bergren, illustrated by Laura J. Bryant is about a father bear telling his daughter about the meaning of Easter and how God gave us Easter so that we could be with Him forever.

Benjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs

Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson, illustrated by Jack Stockman tells the story of Jesus from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem through His resurrection from the point of view of a boy named Benjamin, who has an empty treasure box that he fills up with meaningful objects that he finds or is given during key events. Although this book can stand alone, it is designed to be read while children open resurrection eggs.

Last One in Is a Rotten Egg!

Last One in Is a Rotten Egg! by Diane deGroat is about Gilbert, Lola, and their older cousin Wally, who is very competitive. At the Easter egg hunt there are two prizes: one for finding the golden egg and one for finding the most eggs. Wally is so determined to win that he steals the golden egg from Lola despite already having the most eggs. Using Wally’s competitiveness against him, Gilbert tricks Wally into dropping all of his eggs. Gilbert returns the golden egg to Lola and wins the prize for finding the most eggs. When Gilbert gives his prize to Wally because it rightfully belongs to him, Wally learns that how you treat people is more important than winning.

Easter Eggs for Anya: A Ukrainian Celebration of New Life in Christ

Easter Eggs for Anya: A Ukrainian Celebration of New Life in Christ by Virginia Kroll, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport is about a girl named Anya who is sad because her father is fighting in a war and they do not have any eggs to turn into pysanky eggs for Easter. When a fox kills a wild goose that was defending its nest, Anya takes the eggs home, thankful that God has given her eggs for Easter. On Easter morning, the eggs hatch, and Anya finds that God has given her a better gift than pysanky eggs.

The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross

The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross by Carl Laferton, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri tells why Jesus died and rose again. An abridged version of the Garden of Eden, the curtain in the Temple, and Jesus’ life on Earth are given. The book’s focus is that it is good to be with God, but that we are separated from Him by our sin. The book ends with the Good News that because Jesus took our sin away when He died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can be with God again.


  1. DIY Resurrection Eggs (Preschool through Elementary)
  2. Popsicle Stick Cross (Preschool)
  3. Tape Resist Easter Cross (Preschool through Elementary)
  4. Easy Cross Bird Feeder (Elementary)
  5. He is Risen! Empty Tomb Craft (Preschool)
  6. He is Risen! Empty Tomb Craft (Elementary)
  7. Handprints Easter Lily Bouquet (Preschool through Elementary depending on amount of adult prep)
  8. Tin Foil Easter Egg (Preschool through Elementary)
  9. Paper Eggs (Elementary)(The English instructions are below the Swedish instructions.)
  10. Easter Bunny Headband (Preschool through Elementary depending on amount of adult prep)
  11. Foam Cup Bunny (Preschool through Elementary depending on amount of adult prep)
  12. Paper Plate Sheep Mask (Preschool)
  13. Bubble Wrap Sheep Craft (Preschool through Elementary)
  14. Mini Popsicle Stick Chicks (Preschool through Elementary)
  15. Spring Chicks Egg Carton Craft (Elementary)

Math Activities

  1. How To Make Learning Fun With Jelly Beans (Pre-K through Elementary)
  2. Hands On Easter Math (Pre-K through Elementary)
  3. Easter Egg Math Activities for Kindergarten {Freebies Included!} (Kindergarten through 1st grade)
  4. 16 Spring and Easter Math Ideas (Kindergarten through Elementary)
  5. Easter Basket Math Challenge w/ FREE Printables (Elementary)


  1. Easter Resurrection Rolls
  2. Rice Krispies Easter Egg Treats
  3. Easter Cross Rice Crispy Treats
  4. Peeps Easter Bunny Dirt Cups
  5. Decorated Easter Sheep Cookies with Gift Tags to Print
  6. M&M Easter Egg Marshmallow Fudge Brownies
  7. Empty Tomb Cupcakes with He Is Risen Printable Flags
  8. Easter Basket Cookies
  9. Empty Tomb Cake
  10. Easter Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Happy reading!



For more themed book recommendations and activities, visit my post library.

The 10 Best Books Read in 2021

Hello everyone!

In 2021, I read 685 books. At the beginning of 2022, I thought back over all the books I’d read the previous year and realized that there were a few that stood out.

In the video below, I share my top ten books that I read in 2021 and why I loved them.

Top Ten Books

  1. Planet Earth Is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos
  2. The Remember Balloons by Jessie Oliveros, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
  3. Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley
  4. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi
  5. While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat by Amy Reichert, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
  6. Mama Seeton’s Whistle by Jerry Spinelli, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  7. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  9. The Very Last Leaf by Stef Wade, illustrated by Jennifer Davison
  10. If Picasso Painted a Snowman by Amy Newbold, illustrated by Greg Newbold

Happy reading!



For more themed book recommendations and activities, visit my post library.

Childhood Favorites

Hello everyone!

Ernie Gets LostReading was a huge part of my childhood.  Some of my best memories are of my parents reading to me.  When I was six and got lost at Disney Land, I knew what to do because of a Sesame Street picture book that my mom had read to me.

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to create a new story based off of your favorite picture book from childhood.  Do one of the following:

  1. Re-write the picture book as a story for adults.
  2. Take the moral or theme of the picture book, and write a different children’s story with the same moral or theme.
  3. Why was that picture book your favorite?  Identify element that made the book special for you.  Then, write a story that contains that element, but otherwise is unrelated to that picture book.

Happy writing!


Children’s Books’ Formats

Hello everyone!

While preparing my post New Jersey SCBWI 2017 Annual Conference submissions, I came across Summer Edward’s blog post “Types of Books for Children and Teens- Formats Explained.” It contains word count, page length, and format advice for the main genres of children’s books. I highly recommend her post.

Happy writing!