If you have young kids you probably have read Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy buttons more times than you can count. The reason these books are so popular are:
The illustrations are simple and fun
The text is repetitive making it easy for kids to join in
The story is predictable…in a good way. The kids can anticipate what will happen next giving them confidence and sequencing skills
There are songs that go along with them!
In case you have been living under a rock, I present to you Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons… and I’m sorry, you’ll sing it the rest of the day.
Kids not only love hearing the same story over and over again, but they need to hear the same stories to build vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency. I know it can be hard to read the same book every night, finding read alongs on Youtube or audiobooks will help your kids get what they need, while you take a much needed break from your child’s most loved book.
Don’t forget to connect the book with some fun games. Take all those spare buttons that have popped off clothes that you intend, but never end up sewing back on. Arrange them on a tray. Talk about them with your child. The color, shape and size. Then have them turn around and take one button away. See if they know which one is missing. This helps build working memory, an important reading skill!
Don’ Forget These Pete the Cat books (Like you could!)
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Go out for a walk and pretend to be Pete the Cat stepping in puddles, mud, or whatever else you find. Talk about the sounds your boots make, or the sound of the water or mud. Use fun onomatopoeia words like squelch, squish, plop and more. See what fun words you can come up with together.
It isn’t often that the kids and I agree on the same books. What they like about one book annoys me and what I like in a book they just don’t get. But there are a few authors we all agree on. And I thought I would highlight those authors starting with a family favorite-
I have been reading Mo Willems since my oldest was in diapers. We started with Knuffle Bunny. A fun story about a girl, her favorite snuggly and its disappearance. Mo Willems has simple graphics along with engaging text. Knuffle Bunny is a story all kids and parents can relate to; how do we feel when we lose something we love.
The Pigeon stories were never on the shelves of the library when my middle was little because they were always at our house. He loved the admonitions about not letting the pigeon drive a bus or not letting the pigeon stay up late. I think he related to all the things he wasn’t allowed to do! And even though we read the story a million and one times we never grew bored searching the end pages for the the picture on the pigeon.
My youngest lives off of Elephant and Piggie’s adventures. Now she reads them to me as we devour the shelf of books at the library chronicling this special friendship. You know books are special when a book stops each of my kids in their tracks for an impromptu story time.
Mo Willems has a great website you can explore on your own or with your kids. You can find it here.
I believe Mo Willems will go down as the Dr. Seuss of our time. He has many Caldecott honor awards as well as Geisal awards His books are simple, silly and fun. He knows his audience well and keeps producing books that tie children to a love of reading all while providing words that help them grow as readers. His books are perfect for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, emergent readers and independent readers. I love that my children and I all enjoy picking up a Mo Willems book even if it is one we have read and enjoyed over and over and over again.
So if you are a Mo Willem’s fan tell us what you love to read in the comments and if you haven’t discovered his books you can find them everywhere! At bookstores, online and libraries.
(I am not paid to review books. The opinions I share are mine and mine alone. I am an Amazon Affiliate so if you click on the pictures below and make a purchase from Amazon I do receive a portion of the sale.)