Best Musical Books for Children
I love reading to my children. I love singing to my children. Books that allow me to do both? These are my favorite! I love when we can read and sing together – and my kids love it too. I’ve shared our favorite rhyming books and now it’s time to share our favorite musical books for children.
Noticing how much my children enjoyed musical books had me searching for more. I’ll be honest that the search has taken me longer than I anticipated! It is actually a challenge to find musical books that are written with the exact lyrics we sing.
Thanks to Amazon and our local library, I am slowly but surely building a collection of musical books that our children love to sing and read. Our collection is growing even as my book wish list continues to grow!
My criteria for choosing musical books is simple.
First and foremost, the lyrics must be accurate. It is harder than you think to find books where the musical lyrics are the story. I want to sing musical books that are exactly the same as the traditional song. Books that change the words to fit a theme are okay sometimes – but for the purpose of my musical book collection, I want musical books that are true to the song.
Second, I want musical books with illustrations that my children enjoy. The purpose of reading musical books is to give children visual images to associate with the song. Singing musical books allows children to learn songs quicker because they see the images as we sing.
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After lots of research, library trips and book holds, singing and reading, I am pleased to share this list of some of the best musical books for children that are currently out there! Of course, if you have other favorite musical books, please let me know so I can add to this list!
Here are 30 of the best musical books I have found so far.
Musical Books for Babies – Musical Board Books
These musical books for babies can certainly be read with children of all ages! However, if you are looking for a place to start – start here. Board books make the perfect first book for baby and will last through lots of repeated singing. You’ll notice a lot of Raffi books in this list because he has a great song series that is perfect for little children to sing.
The Ants Go Marching by Dan Crisp
You are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Caroline Jayne Church
Rain, Rain, Go Away by Caroline Jayne Church
The More We Get Together by Caroline Jayne Church
Five Green and Speckled Frogs by Priscilla Burris
Down by the Bay by Raffi & Nadine Bernott Westcott
Five Little Ducks by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey
Wheels on the Bus by Raffi & Sylvie Wickstrom
Musical Books for Toddlers – Children’s Song Books
As your children grow older, you can sing more advanced musical books with them. There are several versions of some of these classic songs but these are our favorites…along with one cute spin off!
Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Little Golden Books
Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz
Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand
Miss Mary Mack by Mary Ann Hoberman
Over the River and Through the Wood by L. Maria Child
What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele
Musical Books from Musicals
If you love musicals as much as I do, it’s only natural you want to share that love of musicals with your children! The Broadway Baby series is one of my absolute favorites and I sincerely hope they add more books to it in the future. When they do, you can be sure I will add them to our book shelf!
I Love You! A Bushel and a Peck by Frank Loesser
Singing in the Rain by Tim Hopgood
My Favorite Things by Rodgers & Hammerstein
Broadway Baby: My Favorite Things by Rodgers & Hammerstein
Broadway Baby: Do, Re, Mi by Rodgers & Hammerstein
The Surrey with the Fringe on the Top by Rodgers & Hammerstein
Christmas Musical Books
Christmas carols and hymns are natural choices for musical books. Once again, it can be a challenge to track down copies of Christmas songs told in book form. I have book versions of Silent Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem, but they are no longer in print. Watch for books like these (and any of the above) when you shop at Half Price Books or a similar used book store. Here are some wonderful Christmas music books to get you started. Good King Wenceslas is one of my children’s favorite song books – year round!
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Laurel Long
Away in a Manger by Thomas Kinkade
Away in a Manger by Concordia Publishing House
Good King Wenceslas by John M. Neale
We Three Kings by Gennady Spirin
The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
The Friendly Beasts by Tomie dePaola
These are some of the best musical books for babies, toddlers and children of all ages that I have found so far. Do you have any favorite musical books to add to this list?
Have you seen the picture/board books by Kloria Publishing? They are picture books with hymns as the text! “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It” is my favorite (https://smile.amazon.com/Gods-Own-Child-Gladly-Say/dp/1933737018/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1539867971&sr=8-5&keywords=kloria+publishing), but my kids, especially my 23 month old, loves all of them.
I have seen it and it is on Lily’s Christmas list! I absolutely love that song! Thanks for reminding me of that one!
I might be influenced a bit by the fact that I am from West Virginia, but one of my favorites is _John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads_ Adapted & Illustrated by Christopher Canyon. It comes with a cd, and there’s a score in the back of the book. But the PICTURES. . . .they are beautiful. The best part is that they look quilted. The song and the illustrations fit together so beautifully. If you’ve ever grown up and left home and family behind to move somewhere else, this one will resonate with you. . . even if that home isn’t WV.
I recently saw that one on Amazon but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I will have to add it to my library request list. Pictures truly make the story and I appreciate children’s books that understand that. Thanks, Jody, for the recommendation!
I miss my kids being small enough to enjoy these. I’ve always loved reading to them. They’re 9 and 7 now so these aren’t the books I read, but I still love the experience of reading to them all the same.