10 Favorite Read Alouds for Children: Skippyjon Jones GIVEAWAY

July 25, 2011

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Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: Skippyjon Jones AND THE BIG BONES by Judy Schachner

Bonus CD Included

Why we love Skippyjon Jones:

We love his IMAGINATION! When Skippyjon Jones heads into his closet you know he’s about to take you on a one-of-a-kind adventure. Think, Zorro meets a Siamese kitten, who thinks he’s a chihuahua! For this read aloud, you’ll need to channel Antonio Banderas and read through the rhymes and chants of Skippyjon Jones with your best Spanish accent. Skippyjon Jones is one of my children’s absolute favorite read alouds. Recently, MacGyver said, “Mommy I think you are really good at reading Skippyjon Jones.” That kid knows the way to my heart!

Trust me, picking just 10 read alouds was extremely difficult! When you find yourself screaming at me, “Are you kidding, I can’t believe you didn’t list ____________!” Remember I already had that fight with myself. But I can assure you, all of these books have been kid-tested. Most of the books in these photos are well worn!

Some Things to Consider When Reading Aloud to Children

1. Have FUN!

2. Read with EXPRESSION!

  • When reading to children, it’s time to go for an Oscar! You don’t have to go over the top, but remember you’re competing with electronic forms of entertainment. Children need to know that books are filled with fun, adventure, excitement and emotions.
  • Children need to hear many examples of what “Fluent Reading” sounds like. MacGyver has struggled with his reading; however, he’s always read with great expression.

3. Be SILLY!

  • Go ahead, try-out voices. Kids love adults being silly and they don’t judge our abilities!
  • Go ahead, sing! Children don’t judge our singing voices.


  • Many children’s books are tear-jerkers. Go ahead cry. Children don’t judge our tears.


  • It’s okay to tell your little ones no when they bring you the same book for the 100th time! Of course we want to read these favorites, but we also want to broaden their experiences.

Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer: This has been a favorite read aloud of mine since just about forever. To put it simply, this is a book of silly talk. Each illustration and text weaves together a story of fanciful thoughts, ending with the phrase “and rain makes applesauce.” I don’t even know how it happened, but I read this song to a made-up tune. Children love it and sing-along.

I also write the two repetivite sentences from the book on sentence strips:

  • Rain Makes applesauce.
  • Oh, you’re just talking silly talk!

Two children hold these sentence strips in front of the class and when the sentences pop-up in the book, they hold them out as a cue for everyone to join in the fun. We always whisper, “Oh, you’re just talking silly talk!” I also do this with my own two kiddos during homeschool.

The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian and Ann Seidler: This book will have everyone guessing what The Hungry Thing wants to eat. He comes to town and points to a sign that says “Feed Me.” He says he wants “Shmancakes.” Let the guessing and rhyming begin. Is it fancakes? Only one little boy in town knows how to solve the rhyming word puzzles. But I bet your children will join in on the guessing without any prompting! Again this book is just plain old silly fun. What more could you want from a read aloud?

This book may be hard to find, so if you find one snatch it right up! You can probably check it out from the library.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes: It is no secret that I adore Chrysanthemum and the other characters in this series. Chrysanthemum loves her name! When reading this book aloud, I say Chrysanthemum’s name with the great love and expression she feels. I say “Chrysanthemum” like it’s a precious gem. Any children who hear her name read aloud know that it is beautiful. When Chrysanthemum starts school her classmates make her feel like her name is dreadful. Everyone learns an important lesson about self-esteem and how to treat others from Chrysanthemum.

Counting on Frank by Rod Clement: This book about a boy and his dog Frank is my favorite math read loud. The boy’s dad says, “You have a brain. Use it!” So he does. The boy poses and investigates questions like, “How many Franks could fit into my bedroom?” This book leads to a great brainstorming session on posing mathematical questions. In the back of the book it has more math food for thought. I always use this book to introduce the “Mathematics Process.”

The Ghost-Eye Tree by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault: When I had the opportunity to meet Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, this is the book I choose for them to autograph. It is incredibly fun to read aloud, in a dreadfully spooky kind of way. Now don’t worry, nothing dreadful actually happens in this story about a young brother and sister who are sent to get a bucket of milk at the end of town. But . . . ” when the night is dark . . . the mind runs free!” I think I could possibly win an Oscar for reading this book aloud. If you want to have a go at voices, this is the book for you-ooooooooooo!

The Cow That Went OINK by Bernard Most: On the surface this book is great fun because it features a cow that went  “OINK” and a pig that went “MOO.” The other animals, “Neigh-ha, Hee-haw-ha, Baa-ha, Cheep-ha . . .” at the Cow that went “Oink” and the pig that went “Moo.” Then the cow and the pig work together and become the only animals on the farm to both oink and moo. Another important message about self-esteem and accepting others’ differences.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR by Don and Audry Wood: The treat in this book is that the reader is actually talking to the little mouse. The little mouse will do anything to save his strawberry from the big, hungry bear even if it means sharing with the reader.

Don and Audry Wood are an excellent pair to look-up. I also love reading aloud The Napping House and The Deep Blue Sea (by Audry Wood and Bruce Wood).

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault: No one knows how to engage children in language like Bill Martin, Jr. He is a children’s literature genius! When I read this book aloud, I actually let the children shout-out in a loud voice, “Chicka chicka . . . BOOM! BOOM!” Then when it’s nighttime we whisper. I’m sure this is one book that is on most people’s read aloud list.

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman: Can you tell that this book has seen better days? This is one of my very, very, very favorite books from my childhood. I read this book over and over and over again at Aunt Leatrice’s house. That little bird and the Snort were the best! By the age of two, MacGyver had this book memorized word for word, from cover to cover.

I also like reading chapter books to young children. Around age 5 or 6 most children are ready to sit and listen to a little of a chapter book each day. It develops both their imagination and their vocabulary. Frog and Toad or almost anything by Beverly Cleary are good choices. Young children like the character Ramona because she is so much like them. Many of these books have been made into movies. Please don’t skip the books. If you’re a reader, you know the movie is never as good as the book!

Life with Jeannine

We’re GIVING AWAY one hardcover copy and CD of  Skippyjon Jones AND THE BIG BONES by Judy Schachner

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

Okay, here’s your chance! What is your favorite read aloud? (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, July 28, 2011

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, July 29, 2011. Check back it might be you!

Giveaway Day

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin July 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm

My truck is stuck.

Amber Lindemann July 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I just love books. Right now my daughter is obsessed with Skippy Jon Jones and my son loves Elephant and Piggie books. I am partial to the Mercy Watkins series.


Aileen July 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I absolutely adored this book as a child and was so happy to find it still available so that I could share it with my kids. As a foreign transplant, learning English as a second language was HARD, but this was indeed the first book I could read through and enjoy. I finally loved reading!!! It’s so dear to my heart. The illustrations and the whimsical descriptions along the way are enchanting, This book never fails in its power to change a grey day or mood, to one of hilarity and joy. For a “so-called” children’s book, it is as powerful as it is entertaining.

Julie July 26, 2011 at 7:51 am

We love Lynley Dodd books (like Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack). They have a lilting rhyming text and fun illustrations. We also love Peek-A-Boo for the younger crowd (by Allan ALhberg) and Each Peach Pear Plum. We’ve never read the Skippy Jones series and would love to try it.

Tara July 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

My little ones like Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?. We’ve never seen or read any Skippyjon Jones…only heard about them through y’all!

Melissa @imaginationsoup July 26, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I love your choices – a few are new to me, thanks!

My favorite read aloud? I don’t know if I can pick. I’ll tell you my 6 year old’s favorite book right now for me to read to her, it’s Chickens to the Rescue.

Natalie July 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Those are all great choices! I love to read the books that rhyme well. My latest favorite read-aloud was A Whale and a Snail by Julia Donaldson.

Tiffany July 26, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I cannot pick one favorite so I will tell you my children’s monthly favorites. The two year old is obsessed with the Brown Bear, Brown Bear book series. The animals all must answer in different voices or he throws a fit. The nine year old has me reading Gary Paulsen’s The River as a follow up to Hatchet, which we read a while back.

Cindy Shepherd July 26, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Right now our favorite is “What a Wonderful World”- words by the Great Satchmo!!

Alice July 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm

We love Once Upon a Banana because there are basically no words. You get to make the story up as you go and it’s different every time. And a non-reader can tell the story too. So fun!

Stasia July 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

Splat the Cat and Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. Oh so many to choose from. My boys and I can never get through a Skippyjon Jones book with out laughing.

Melissa July 28, 2011 at 11:13 am

Love all of these! Some of my favorites through all 3 of mine have been The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Harold and the Purple Crayon (great for my daughter who is a purple lover) & The Cricket in Times Square. So many more come to mind but these are just a few of my favs!

Erin July 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Hi! I love reading The Belly Button Book (one of my daughter’s favorites)!

Patricia July 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is our all-time favorite book to read! It never gets old and the giggles from my kids is absolutely priceless.

Heather Bessman July 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I would love to get this, especially the Skippity Jones book. We’ve never read those but I bought tickets to a play based on that book in Feburary for my kids and myself!

Dusty July 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

We adore Skippyjon Jones around here! In fact, just this week, we checked out the new one: Skippyjon Jones: Class Action. LOVE it. It had ME giggling. We also love the Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant.

Adriana July 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Our favortie read aloud book is Holler Loudly. I am not sure who it is by, but is the CUTEST little book!

Kelli July 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I love anything by Eric Carle….but The Grouchy Ladybug is a favorite….as is Brown Bear, etc. I also love Muncha Muncha Muncha, and the series of books that follow If You Give a Mouse a Cookie….wow …it is sooo hard to pick a favorite!!!!
My daughter is currently crazy about the Pinkalicious series and my son loves anything to do with tractos, animals, work vehicles (dump trucks, garbage trucks, fire trucks, etc).
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win!!!!

Michelle Willow July 29, 2011 at 12:10 am

Finding Nemo :)

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