10 Rhyming Picture Books That Babies Will Love… Now, and Later!

Newborn babies are not too young to enjoy story time!

In fact, this is the perfect age to establish good reading habits. Soon your baby will start spending a bit more time awake and all he or she wants to do is snuggle in your arms and listen to your voice. As I said in my post The Best Stories for Bedtime with your New Baby, it’s easy to run out of things to say to your new baby, but reading a book is a great way to bond with them when you can’t think of anything else to tell them on your own- let the authors do the work for you! Since babies don’t move around much at this stage, you can actually get away with reading some relatively long books. Once they start grabbing, you’ll need to switch board books for a while, but for now the paper pages are safe!

Babies especially love books that rhyme.

The gentle cadence of the words is soothing to them, and holds their attention much better than prose. However, you don’t want to spend your money on anything they’ll only enjoy for a few months, so I’ve been hunting for great rhyming picture books that newborn babies will enjoy but will also be exciting when they get older!

Good books are able to appeal to a variety of ages!

From the words to the content to the illustration, all of the books on this list were chosen because they are well suited to newborns and to older kids (in my opinion as a mom of infant twins with 5+ years experience as a kindergarten teacher!)

*All of the book titles and covers are affiliate links for your convenience.  That means if you click on a link and choose to make a purchase, I get a small percentage of the profit at no additional cost to you. For more information about how affiliate links work, click Here*

1. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss;

Why they’ll love it now;

This is actually a great age for any of the longer Dr. Seuss books. They have great rhythm! The black and white illustrations are pretty eye catching and my little guys enjoyed looking at them. We also loved “Yertle the Turtle,” “The Sneetches,” and “The Bippolo Seed,” but this one has a special place in my heart. Horton’s such a stand-up guy, it’s about him working hard to take care of a baby (so new parents might relate!) and the ending gives me happy goosebumps every time. 

Why they’ll love it later;

This is a classic story of good things coming to those who wait. The ending will be highly satisfying to preschool-first grade kids who believe firmly that things should be “fair”. Horton is a great role model! There’s also a lot of drama and suspense to keep them interested.

2. I Can Read with My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss;

Why they’ll love it now;

Although this book is intended for older kids, the illustrations are colorful and exciting and the text is short enough and catchy enough that it totally works for babies! We read this one every morning and the boys love it! I also like the great messages about how awesome reading is- it’s never too early to start instilling those values, am I right?

Why they’ll love it later;

The premise is totally silly, and the lists of things you can read about will have kids giggling (and probably trying to read with their eyes shut themselves!). You’ll love it later because the message about reading being awesome is even more important as they grow!

3. Firefighters A-Z by Chris Demarest;

Why they’ll love it now;

This might seem like an interesting choice for babies but I can’t help recommending it.  It manages to be an alphabet book that rhymes and tells a story- not an easy feat! Babies like it because the rhyming couplets are catchy, the illustrations are bold and colorful, and it moves quick.

Why they’ll love it later;

Um, because firefighters are awesome! Since I used to be a volunteer firefighter as well as a teacher, firefighter books are definitely my thing, and this one is the best. It was written by an actual firefighter so it’s completely correct and the illustrations are incredibly realistic.(To find out about more firefighter books, check out The Ultimate Guide to Children’s Books about Firefighters!) Kids will love this glimpse into the real world of firefighters, and they’ll be so excited to learn from it, they won’t even notice that they’re practicing their letters!

4. Heedley Pecked me in the Eye by Wendy Ann Gardener;

Why they’ll love it now;

Okay, this one is kind of a wild card but I found it at a tag sale or something years ago and it turned out to be a really fun baby book. The illustrations have big bold blocks of color, so they’re great for newborn eyes. The rhyming words are super catchy and the story moves along at a nice pace.

Why they’ll love it later;

Because it’s weird and hilarious! Seriously! This book is about the narrator getting pecked in the eye by his/her pet chicken. The illustrations are so funky and the details and wording are great (“it’s not his fault he can’t discern/an eyeball from a juicy worm”). You’ll be the only kids on the block with this one, and just think of how cool that’ll make you!

5. How are you Peeling? by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

Why they’ll love it now;

The book centers around fruits and vegetables that have been expertly carved to look like faces with different expressions. Since babies recognize human faces before anything else, they’re actually very interested in the pictures. Each page is a different, super-bright color, so that’s very eye catching as well.

Why they’ll love it later;

This is actually a great book for teaching about emotions. The pictures lend themselves to some great discussion, and it covers lots of emotions, like “jealous” and “frustrated”, not just the basic few. The whole idea of the carved fruits and vegetables is a hit with kids too. (Although this is probably my favorite, the authors have a bunch of great books with the same style of illustration! I highly recommend their book “Food for Thought,” which teaches shapes, colors, numbers and the alphabet with more fun, carved fruit and vegetable illustrations)

6. Is Your Mama a Llama? by Steven Kellogg

Why they’ll love it now;

The watercolor illustrations are really beautiful and soothing. This won’t be as exciting to babies as a book with really bold illustrations, but it’s a good one for calmer times. If you really get into reading the words, they’ll catch the excitement with your inflection and the predictable pattern that repeats throughout the book.

Why they’ll love it later;

Each page has a rhyming clue about an animal, with the answer on the next page. Preschoolers and kindergarteners will love yelling out their guesses! It lists the characteristics of each animal, so you can use this book to talk about describing words. They’re also likely to be very satisfied with the happy ending.

7. The Hound from the Pound by Jessican Swaim

Why they’ll love it now;

It’s a fast-paced rhyming story with lots of text per page (more time to snuggle!) As a mom of newborns, I actually prefer a little more text per page, since I’m often holding the book with one hand (and a baby with the other) so I have to put it down for page turns. Also, they’ll love when the dogs howl “arooooo!”

Why they’ll love it later; 

It’s a funny story, and naughty dogs are always a hit with kids. They’ll like all the silly things the different breeds are doing. There’s a pretty shocking twist at the end (I don’t want to give it away!) that adds to the fun. Also, they’ll love when the dogs how “aroooo!” (because some things never change!).

8. The Way the Storm Stops by Michelle Meadows

Why they’ll love it now;

The repetitive, rhyming text is about 2/3 sound effects. Babies love sound effects! The rhythm it creates is awesome, and definitely holds their attention. “Pitter pitter plam plam on my windowpane. Hiss hiss tatter tatter falls the pounding rain”. The illustrations are colorful, but use muted pastel shades that feel very soothing. The plot is really about the little girl being scared and the mom making her feel safe again, and although babies aren’t really listening for comprehension yet, they’ll understand the feeling of love and coziness when you read it to them.

Why they’ll love it later;

Being scared of thunderstorms is a universal feeling that kids can relate to! They’ll still think the sound effects are really fun when they’re older, as well. I’d say this book is really best for preschoolers, and you could even use it to help them learn about weather.

9. Into the A, B, Sea by Deborah Lee Rose

Why they’ll love it now;

The illustrations a beautiful, soothing colors, and the ocean animals are large, contrasting shapes that newborns will find visually appealing. There’s only about two lines of text per page so the book will move fast and hold their attention.

Why they’ll love it later;

As with “Firefighters A-Z”, any time an author manages to make an alphabet book rhyme, they deserve extra kudos! (also, that title is seriously clever). This is a really exciting way to reinforce learning the alphabet, and sea animals are a topic that kids tend to be really interested in.

10. Wild about Books by Judy Sierra

Why they’ll love it now;

The illustrations are really busy, with bright cheerful colors, and the text is fast-paced and fun. It’s funny enough that you’ll enjoy it, and they’ll enjoy the fact that you’re happy. It’s a win-win! And again, it’s never too early to start encouraging a love of reading!

Why they’ll love it later;

This is another book full of animals doing goofy things. There are some pretty good jokes in it (I especially like the page where the scorpion is critiquing the insects’ haikus). The busy, colorful illustrations will appeal to older kids as well, and they’ll like looking for the funny little details the illustrator included.

What books did you enjoy reading with your babies at this age?

Leave a comment and let me know! Any great rhyming books I’ve missed?

The only thing better than a rhyming book is a song book! Check out this list of our favorites; Song Books that Babies will Love! Tere over at Preemie Mom Tips has a fun list of books for babies and toddlers that includes some of my favorites as well!

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16 thoughts on “10 Rhyming Picture Books That Babies Will Love… Now, and Later!

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  1. My daughter loves books but we have never read any of these. We will definitely have to put them on our list especially “how are you peeling” !

    1. Awesome! I tried to find some that were a little less well known! It’s easy to find the classics, I’m always looking for interesting new books too!

  2. This is great! Rhyming words are great for any age. Dr. Seuss books especially are good for any age. I will be saving this one for later!

  3. Such a great list! I love that you share what they will love about each book now and later! I feel like so many baby items have such a short lifespan, I want to invest in things we will get use out of!

  4. My toddler loves rhyming books! I’ve added a couple of these to his Christmas wishlist and pinned the list to reference later. Definitely going to get “Into The A, B, Sea”!

    1. Isn’t it? Apparently, once a kindergarten teacher, always a kindergarten teacher! I look at all sorts of parenting decisions with kindergarten success in mind! 🙂

  5. Saving these for future gifts! Rhyming books are always my go-to as a busy mom because they are so much fun to breeze through with my kiddos when I’m in a time crunch. Entertaining and a win all around 🙂

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