Preschool and Picture Books

Theme: The World of Music and the Arts

Baby Brains Superstar - (ISBN: 978-0763628949 )

by Simon James James

A baby, groomed from the time he was in his mother’s womb to be musical, emerges at birth as a rock star. After mastering the toy piano, he goes on to graduate from music school at an absurdly young age, and starts to perform at concerts attended by thousands. Read about how this genius baby is still a baby, and how his most widely acclaimed hit came when he was missing his mother!

Dog's Night - (ISBN: 978-1845076887 )

by Meredith Hooper

What is dog’s night but the night when the dogs from paintings in a famous museum in London escape from their still existence and party at the institution! Even crazier is the next day when viewers discover the dogs have replaced themselves into the wrong paintings! A wonderful introduction to the museum scene, this book satirizes the humans who visit such places and adds humor to the entire atmosphere.

John Coltrane's Giant Steps - (ISBN: 978-0689845987 )

by Chris Raschka

Raschka uses a box, snowflake, and raindrop to introduce the parts of the Coltrane favorite, “Giant Steps.” The book effectively combines the effects of the art shapes and their changing placements on the pages to visually create and enhance the sound of the musical piece.

Mouse Paint - (ISBN: 978-0152002657 )

by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Children learn their colors and the possibilities of color combinations as they follow mice and through their misadventures with paint pots.

The Dot - (ISBN: 978-1844281695 )

by Peter Reynolds

Readers who follow Vashti’s progress as she attempts to make a mark, then a drawing, then a colored illustration under the guidance of an understanding art teacher will develop the confidence to try drawing themselves!

The Sweet and Sour Animal Book - (ISBN: 978-0195120301 )

by Langston Hughes and George Cunningham

Read some of Langston Hughes’ previously unpublished poems arranged as an alphabet book and view the accompanying illustrations done by the children of the Harlem School of Arts! The children used every conceivable media (painting, drawing, sculpture, and collage) to add to the humorous and succinct messages of this master African American poet.

You Can't Take a Balloon into the National Gallery - (ISBN: 978-0142301319 )

by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman

In this nearly wordless picture book, a granddaughter has to leave her balloon outside the museum. As she and her siblings and grandmother view the paintings of famous scenes of the capital city, the balloon glides through the sky over the actual buildings, sites, and colors seen in the works of art.

Zin, Zin, Zin: A Violin - (ISBN: 978-1416908388 )

by Lloyd Moss

In this book, readers are introduced to the instruments in the orchestra with rhymes that mimic the sounds of the instruments themselves. The graphics display the odd characters that musicians sometimes are. Children can count too in this book, the number of instruments, the additions to the group of musicians as more and more players come on board!

Celebrity Cat - (ISBN: 978-1845072902 )

by Meredith Hooper

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop - (ISBN: 978-0531059999 )

by Christopher Raschka

Little Blue and Little Yellow - (ISBN: 978-0688132859 )

by Leo Lionni

My Family Plays Music - (ISBN: 978-0823415915 )

by Judy Cox

Olivia Forms a Band - (ISBN: 978-1416924548 )

by Ian Falconer

You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum - (ISBN: 978-0140568165 )

by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman

Activities for this Theme

Listen to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” as you read the book about his composition and look at the pictures which mimic the composition’s organization. 

Recreate the pages of Mouse Paint with your children with white paper and inexpensive finger paints. You can also try using the "Paint" program on your computer.

Help your child make a symmetrical design with this easy activity.

Use everyday objects to make music.