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Listening: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about listening?

Listening. It’s one of those skills that pays dividends over a life-time. When you’re little being a listener brings safety, extra privileges and greater sanity for parents. When you’re older it brings lasting friendships, balance and helps meet the requirements of school, jobs and other responsibilities. It’s kind of a big deal. But it’s hard to listen. These are some of our favorite books showing the benefits of listening (and the pitfalls when you don’t)—we hope you enjoy them!

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Top 10 Books About Listening

#1
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The Rabbit Listened
Written & illustrated by Cori Doerffeld
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is a beautifully simple but powerful story about coping with failure, empathizing and being a friend who is willing to listen without insisting that people deal with things the way YOU would choose to deal with them. The illustrations are simple on each white background, and the animal comparisons to feelings help bring it to a level where these complex issues and emotions can be better understood by children. In the end, Taylor needs to go through many stages to be able to cope with the trauma of his block tower falling over, and that's ok. In the end, we can start again!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling

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#2
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Little Red Riding Hood
Written by Brothers Grimm and Trina Schart Hyman & illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

On her way to deliver a basket of food to her sick grandmother, Elisabeth encounters a sly wolf.

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#3
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Listen, Listen
Written by Phillis Gershator & illustrated by Alison Jay
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
The beautiful, crackly illustrations are whimsical and fun, and I love all the different tableaus. This book takes you through all four seasons and the sounds you may hear out and about, encouraging to stop, listen, and be in the moment!
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Introduce young readers to the sights and sounds of the year - from summer’s sizzling sun to winter’s crackling snow. Featuring breathtaking illustrations by internationally renowned illustrator, Alison Jay, this book will open your child’s eyes and ears to the world around them!

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#4
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Listen, Buddy
Written by Helen Lester & illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This little bunny has big ears but doesn't learn to listen until he has some less-than-desired natural consequences from failing to do so. I quite enjoyed seeing what Buddy "heard" instead of what was really said. You (and your toddler) might relate to this story if you've ever talked to someone who doesn't always listen well, but hopefully any little ones can learn from Buddy's mistake through reading rather than meeting the Scruffy Varmint! ;)
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A lop-eared rabbit named Buddy finds himself in trouble with the Scruffy Varmint because he never listens.

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#5
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Telephone
Written by Mac Barnett & illustrated by Jen Corace
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn’t as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama’s message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favorite children’s game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.

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#6
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Ella WHO?
Written by Linda Ashman & illustrated by Sara Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Mom . . . there’s an elephant in the living room. It’s moving day–and look who slipped in the door: an elephant! But when a little girl tries to tell her family about their unusual guest, the distracted grown-ups just say, “Ella WHO?” Even as children giggle at the girl’s adventures with the smallish pachyderm, and at the fun, recurring refrain, they’ll relate to the poignant theme about making–and sometimes letting go of–new friends.

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#7
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Little Elephant Listens
Written by Michael Dahl & illustrated by Oriol Vidal
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
A cute, simple book about listening. Little Elephant is quick to be obedient throughout the book, which is excellent (if a little bland), and there's just a touch of humor at the end. The illustrations are very brightly colored and it's a very fast read.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Little Elephant uses his big ears to listen to his parents. He listens to them at playtime, bathtime and bedtime. Vibrant photos and short text make this sturdy board book perfect for 6 months and up!

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#8
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What Can I Hear?
Written & illustrated by Annie Kubler
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A group of babies have fun making noises and listening to things. On board pages.

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#9
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Why Should I Listen?
Written by Claire Llewellyn & illustrated by Mike Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When children are caught up by the excitement of the moment, they sometimes forget to listen—and the result might be an accident or an avoidable mistake. This book helps them understand the importance of listening to parents and teachers. Titles in the enlightening and entertaining Why Should I? series of picture storybooks answer questions that younger boys and girls are likely to ask about a wide range of topics. Part of every child’s development consists of asking questions about themselves, their friends and neighbors, and their surroundings. Why Should I? books help them discover good answers. Kids will be attracted by the amusing color illustrations on every page, and parents and teachers will appreciate the note at the back of each book offering further suggestions on answering children’s questions.

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#10
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Quiet Please, Owen McPhee
Written by Trudy Ludwig & illustrated by Patrice Barton
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
Gorgeously illustrated, this is a wonderful little story about a little boy who talks too much and learns the consequences the hard way. It's not until he gets some first-hand understanding of what can happen when he listens and gives other people a chance to talk, though, that he realizes that there must be a balance. The mix of actual story and speech bubbles is a fun combination!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Owen McPhee doesn’t just like to talk, he LOVES to talk. He spends every waking minute chattering away at his teachers, his classmates, his parents, his dog, and even himself. But all that talking can get in the way of listening. And when Owen wakes up with a bad case of laryngitis, it gives him a much-needed opportunity to hear what others have to say.

From the author-illustrator team behind The Invisible Boy comes a bright and lively picture book that captures the social dynamics of a busy classroom while delivering a gentle message about the importance of listening.

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Listening and...

Books About Listening and Social Themes

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The Rabbit Listened
Written & illustrated by Cori Doerffeld
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is a beautifully simple but powerful story about coping with failure, empathizing and being a friend who is willing to listen without insisting that people deal with things the way YOU would choose to deal with them. The illustrations are simple on each white background, and the animal comparisons to feelings help bring it to a level where these complex issues and emotions can be better understood by children. In the end, Taylor needs to go through many stages to be able to cope with the trauma of his block tower falling over, and that's ok. In the end, we can start again!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$14.62
Used $12.43
Prices as of Feb 25
Add to list
Listen, Buddy
Written by Helen Lester & illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This little bunny has big ears but doesn't learn to listen until he has some less-than-desired natural consequences from failing to do so. I quite enjoyed seeing what Buddy "heard" instead of what was really said. You (and your toddler) might relate to this story if you've ever talked to someone who doesn't always listen well, but hopefully any little ones can learn from Buddy's mistake through reading rather than meeting the Scruffy Varmint! ;)
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A lop-eared rabbit named Buddy finds himself in trouble with the Scruffy Varmint because he never listens.

Buy book
$8.99
Bookshop
$7.64
Amazon
$8.99
Used $8.99
Prices as of Feb 25
Add to list
Little Elephant Listens
Written by Michael Dahl & illustrated by Oriol Vidal
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
A cute, simple book about listening. Little Elephant is quick to be obedient throughout the book, which is excellent (if a little bland), and there's just a touch of humor at the end. The illustrations are very brightly colored and it's a very fast read.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Little Elephant uses his big ears to listen to his parents. He listens to them at playtime, bathtime and bedtime. Vibrant photos and short text make this sturdy board book perfect for 6 months and up!

Buy book
$7.99
Bookshop
$6.79
Amazon
$7.99
Used $7.99
Prices as of Feb 25
Honorable Mentions
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  1. Why Should I Listen? - When children are caught up by the excitement of the moment, they sometimes forget to listen—and the result might be an accident or an avoidable mistake. This book helps them understand the importance of listening to parents and teachers. Titles in the enlightening and entertaining Why Should I? series of picture storybooks answer questions that younger boys and girls are likely to ask about a wide range of topics. Part of every child’s development consists of asking questions about themselves, their friends and neighbors, and their surroundings. Why Should I? books help them discover good answers. Kids will be attracted by the amusing color illustrations on every page, and parents and teachers will appreciate the note at the back of each book offering further suggestions on answering children’s questions.

  2. Quiet Please, Owen McPhee - The Book Snob Mom -

    Gorgeously illustrated, this is a wonderful little story about a little boy who talks too much and learns the consequences the hard way. It's not until he gets some first-hand understanding of what can happen when he listens and gives other people a chance to talk, though, that he realizes that there must be a balance. The mix of actual story and speech bubbles is a fun combination!

  3. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - A timeless tale by the incomparable Kate DiCamillo, complete with stunning full-color plates by Bagram Ibatoulline, honors the enduring power of love. “Someone will come for you, but first you must open your heart. . . .” Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely. And then, one day, he was lost. Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes’ camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

  4. Hannah Sparkles: Hooray for the First Day of School! - Cheer along with Hannah Sparkles on her first day of school! Hannah Sparkles and her best friend, Sunny Everbright, are ready for first grade. Their day starts as perfect as pom-poms…until Hannah and Sunny are seated far apart in the classroom. Even worse, Hannah is having trouble making new friends. It’s going to take some extra thinking for Hannah to learn that sometimes being a good listener is the best way to be a good friend. Perfect for fans of Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious, Hannah Sparkles’s second story is sure to bring sparkly smiles to new readers who are just starting school too.

Books About Listening and Friendship

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Ella WHO?
Written by Linda Ashman & illustrated by Sara Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Mom . . . there’s an elephant in the living room. It’s moving day–and look who slipped in the door: an elephant! But when a little girl tries to tell her family about their unusual guest, the distracted grown-ups just say, “Ella WHO?” Even as children giggle at the girl’s adventures with the smallish pachyderm, and at the fun, recurring refrain, they’ll relate to the poignant theme about making–and sometimes letting go of–new friends.

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El Deafo
Written by Cece Bell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her “superpower.”

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My Puppy Patch
Written by Theo Heras & illustrated by Alice Carter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

It’s a big day for Patch the puppy as her girl decides to take her for her first walk outside of the yard. Patch needs to learn her manners, but the playful pup is sometimes too excited to listen! With patience and perseverance, Patch’s girl guides her new canine companion through basic commands including “sit,” “stay,” and “down,” making sure to dole out plenty of treats and belly rubs for a job well done along the way. This delightful story from author, performer, and children’s librarian Theo Heras is a great introduction for young children about caring for and training a puppy, complemented by Alice Carter’s warm, inviting illustrations and a sturdy format complete with padded cover.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Bear Has a Story to Tell - It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy. But first, Bear had a story to tell… Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?

  2. Wordy Birdy - Wordy Birdy LOVES to talk. “Hello, sunrise. Hello, pink sky. Hello, orange sky!” But does she love to listen? NOPE. One day, while she’s walking through the forest, her gift of the gab gets her into hot water: “That’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty danger sign and that’s a pretty tree… .” Will this inattentive bird walk right into danger? Will her faraway thoughts lead her along a path of doom? It’s up to her long-suffering, heard-it-all-before pals Squirrel, Raccoon, and Rabbit to save their distracted friend. Author Tammi Sauer will have kids and their parents in stitches with this funny, fast-paced, lovable caper about the importance of paying attention—and the importance of standing by your friends through thick and thin.

  3. Social Butterfly - Charlotte loves playing and talking with her friends, but very often she plays and talks too much, and at school she has to learn that sometimes it is necessary to listen and let her friends and teacher do the talking.

  4. Let's Have a Dog Party - A sparkling debut that celebrates friendship and encourages empathy, starring a lovable dog. Kate and Frank are best friends. To celebrate Frank’s birthday, Kate throws him a party with all her favorite things: lots of friends, dancing in circles, loud singing, and sparkly confetti everywhere. But best friends don’t always have the same taste in parties. Frank prefers quiet, sun-drenched naps on his favorite rug. So he hides. Kate must find a way to bring Frank back to the party–on his terms. This tender debut picture book by Mikela Prevost is a fresh take on the classic birthday-party story and one that encourages empathy and the art of listening.

Want to see books about friendship?

Books About Listening and Sounds Or Noises

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Listen, Listen
Written by Phillis Gershator & illustrated by Alison Jay
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
The beautiful, crackly illustrations are whimsical and fun, and I love all the different tableaus. This book takes you through all four seasons and the sounds you may hear out and about, encouraging to stop, listen, and be in the moment!
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Introduce young readers to the sights and sounds of the year - from summer’s sizzling sun to winter’s crackling snow. Featuring breathtaking illustrations by internationally renowned illustrator, Alison Jay, this book will open your child’s eyes and ears to the world around them!

Buy book
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$12.74
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$12.79
Used $2.13
Prices as of Feb 25
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Quiet!
Written & illustrated by Kate Alizadeh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

Sssh! Listen, what’s that noise? Each room in a house has different noises and in this book the text and visual clues help a child experience the home through sound, which will be familiar to those children who are blind or partially sighted.

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What's That Noise? Choo! Choo!
Written & illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

What’s that noise? Lift the flap to find out! Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of the Baskervilles - Delight your little one with the sounds and sights of a mysterious night in Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of Baskervilles: A BabyLit Sounds Primer. Alison Oliver’s bold illustrations correspond with Jennifer Adams’ clever, simple text to create pairings little bibliophiles will love to have read to them, such as “hounds howl,” “gates screech,” and “stairs creak.”

  2. Listening Walk - With art by home and classroom favorite Aliki, The Listening Walk will remind both adults and kids of the wonders all around them...if they slow down and listen. This picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 4 to 6. It's a fun way to learn to read and as a supplement for activity books for children.

Books About Listening and School

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Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
This was a very cute story. Lilly was infatuated with her teacher. She thought he was the greatest. She wanted to be a teacher like him when she grew up. She pretended to be him at home, and she even bought a chain for her glasses just like his. Then the unthinkable happened. She had brought something very special to school and wanted to show everyone. Her teacher asked her to wait. She could not. She finally could not handle it and did not listen to her teacher. This caused some trouble and tension between the two of them. She was very very sad because she had really liked her teacher before. The best part is how her family helps her overcome this difficulty and she learns to apologize and to listen.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her cool teacher, Mr. Slinger. But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse and its treasures to school and can’t wait until sharing time, Mr. Slinger confiscates her prized possessions. Lilly’s fury leads to revenge and then to remorse and she sets out to make amends. Lilly, the star of Chester’s Way and Julius, the Baby of the World, is back. And this time she has her name in the title - something she’s wanted all along. If you thought Lilly was funny before, you are in for a treat. So hurry up and start reading. Lilly can’t wait for you to find out more about her.

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Staying Safe at School
Written by Thomas Kingsley Troupe & illustrated by Kat Uno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

How do I stay safe at school? Fire drills, tornado drills, lockdowns … School bus safety, playground rules, lunchroom do’s and don’ts … Staying Safe at School defines the many ways school communities keep their members safe, using bright, full-color illustrations and kid-friendly text delivered by a 1st-person student narrator with whom young readers can easily identify.

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Just My Luck
Written by Jeff Anderson & illustrated by Tad Carpenter
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Zack Delacruz is back—and this time he has a crush! Zack really wants to meet Abhi, the new girl at school. But things get off to a rough start when he accidentally knocks her to the ground during a game of dodgeball. And whenever he tries to make amends, she just ignores him. Nothing works—not his friends’ advice or his “lucky” cologne. In fact, he just seems more and more cursed! Then, at the Fall Fiesta-val, Zack finally learns the real reason behind Abhi’s cold shoulder . . . but not before total chaos erupts. With a runaway train, exploding confetti-filled eggs, and Abhi’s terrifying older brother, will Zack ever get a chance to talk to his crush? In the end, Zack learns what it means to to listen and to be a good friend. This dynamite sequel captures the middle-school experience—and will keep readers laughing from beginning to end.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Did You Hear What I Heard? -

  2. Freddie Ramos Hears It All - Freddie Ramos loves his new Zapato Power—super hearing! He can listen in on conversations and find hero jobs. But soon Freddie realizes the temptation to eavesdrop on everyone is too great. Can Freddie find a way to use his super hearing without snooping?

Want to see books about school?

Books About Listening and Animals

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Chimpanzees for Tea!
Written & illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A silly, fun version of the game “telephone”—in which a grocery list committed to memory goes playfully awry.

One day, Vincent’s mother asks him to go to the store to pick up a few items: “a bunch of carrots, a box of rice, some China tea, a big, firm pear, and a tin of peas” to be precise. “And hurry home in time for tea!” she says. Sounds easy enough.

Yet distractions are at every turn, causing havoc with Vincent’s memory. All of a sudden, a tin of peas is replaced by a trapeze; a big, firm pear becomes a big furry bear; and a box of rice transforms into a box of mice!

Needless to say, Vincent’s mother is in for quite a surprise.

Told with a playful rhythm for reading aloud and illustrated with exuberance and great child appeal, this humorous picture book will have kids laughing and asking for repeated readings.

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The Loud Book!
Written by Deborah Underwood & illustrated by Renata Liwska
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

From the blare of an alarm clock in the morning to snores and crickets in the evening, simple text explores the many loud noises one might hear during the course of a day.

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Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night
Written by Kallie George & illustrated by Oriol Vidal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Feather, Flap, and Spike are spending their first night in their very own nest. They tell stories and snuggle up to get a good night’s sleep, until . . . GRRORE! What’s that scary-sounding noise? Young readers will find both humor and comfort in this cozy bedtime story, perfect for anybody who’s ever been nervous about a mysterious noise at night.

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  1. The House That Jack Built - This classic children’s rhyme gathers pace and complexity as it tumbles across the pages. Children will delight in repeating the rhymes and following antics of animals and characters of every size and shape.

  2. Blobfish Throws a Party - Introducing Blobfish Throws a Party, a wild and hilarious story from award-winning author Miranda Paul! Blobfish lives at the bottom of the ocean with no lights, no friends, and no delicious treats. The only two ways he can think to change this would be to 1) throw a party, or 2) save the world in true hero style. He decides to do the first one. However, when he announces, “Deep sea party! Bring a treat to share!”, the mermaids hear “Cheap, free party! Sling on a sheet to wear!”, and the shorebirds hear “Cheep-peep party! Sing a tweet with flair!”, and so on. Soon the whole world is partying in strange ways based on what they think they heard, and Blobfish is still sad and alone at the bottom of the sea. Will Blobfish ever get his lights, friends, and delicious treats?

  3. Snakes on a Train - An adorable board book full of sibilant sounds and other word play, Snakes on a Train is as fun for parents as it is for children, and sure to be a read-aloud hit. The conductor takes the tickets as the snakes start crawling on. The tracks are checked, the whistle blows. It’s time to move along. Hissssssssssss goes the sound of the train.

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