Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Books about Words & Word Play

The other day, I was in a book store in the children’s section (I hang out there a lot!) and noticed a great display of books celebrating words and word play. Now, I am a lover of words so immediately started looking through the collection. Many I KNEW, but some were NEW!

Below is a list of great anchor books celebrating WORDS! Enjoy! (For the record, I completely lost my ability to count to 10 in this post!)

I Scream Ice Cream – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Some words sound the same, but have very different meanings! In this silly and smart book, one of my favorite authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, (sadly, no longer with us) gathers together an intriguing and giggle-inducing collection of these homophones. (love princess cape; prince escape) Kids who enjoy wordplay and puns will have fun predicting the wacky wordles. Lively, creative and original with fun, wacky illustrations!

You Love Ewe! – Cece Bell

Great first book on homonyms! In this follow up to “I Yam A Donkey”, silly donkey and cranky yam are back to introduce younger students to this sometimes confusing aspect of proper grammar. Great read-aloud will have your kids laughing out loud!

C D B ! – William Steig

Decades before text messaging was even invented, William Steig gave us this clever book! Reading it, I made MAJOR connections to vivid childhood memories of trying to decipher personalized license plates! This book is old but the creativity doesn’t “get old”! The delight in figuring out what the letters are saying still puts a smile on my face. Talk about invented spelling! Some of the puzzles are fairly simple but others require a bit more time. Would make a engaging read-aloud and thankfully, there’s a key to the letter-sentences in the back of the book!

Look – Fiona Woodcock

A brother and sister have an exciting outing to the zoo, and see ooh, so many words that contain double OOs. The illustrations tell the story as there are only one or two words per page. Early readers will enjoy finding the double o’s on each page; some are hidden in the pictures. Colorful, unique artwork.

Hello – Fiona Woodcock

Another fun book by Fiona Woodcock, this one is composed almost entirely of words with double L’s (hello, spill, marshmallow). A whimsical book featuring a brother and sister spending a day at the beach. It’s a fun story that will appeal to readers who like to play with language and a great anchor book for teaching double consonants. (Older students could try to write their own “Double Consonant” book?) Colorful, lively illustrations.

Stegathesaurus – Bridget Heos

Stegothesaurus is such a fun book for many reasons but mostly because learning new words is fun! This is a perfect anchor book to introduce synonyms to students and the use of a thesaurus to enrich our vocabularies as readers and writers. Clever, simple text and an adorable character!

The Word Collector – Peter H. Reynolds

Some people collect stamps.
Some people collect coins.
Some people collect art.
And Jerome?
Jerome collected words

And when he has collected and organized thousands of words, magical things start to happen because Jerome begins to string his words together. And words he had not imagined side by side become poems and songs and fill hearts and put smiles on people’s faces. I LOVE this book and have used it to introduce students to triple scoop words since it was released in 2018.

Alpha Better – Linda Ragsdale

This delightful book is about making new and fun combinations of mish-mash words that spread kindness, love and encouragement! What a great book to share and then invite students to see what great new words they can come up with! A great book about the power of words and their impact on others. Brilliant and beautiful!

Orange Pear Apple Bear Emily Gravett

Ingenious word juggling and brilliant illustrations! Only five words are used throughout this book, and what’s fun to see is how the meanings change depending on how the words are arranged. Younger children will enjoy seeing the silly way the meanings change, and it’s a good way to introduce them to words and word order. Such a cute book!

Word Play – Ivan Brunetti

A wonderful anchor book to use to introduce compound words. (Pre-covid release but I only just discovered it) Hilarious, clever and so much fun! Love the silly cartoon illustrations. Your primary students will be eager to “play with words” after you share this one!

Take Away The A – Michael Escoffier

A fun, imaginative romp through the alphabet! The idea behind the book is that with a simple subtraction of a single letter, a word changes into a completely different word: without the A – the “beast is best”; without the H, the “chair has hair”. This may be suited for slightly older readers, and would be fun to have them try to make up some of their own “missing letter” pairs.

My Pet Feet – Josh Funk

A hilarious look at what happens when the letter R goes missing from the alphabet. This picture book is funny and creative and will have every reader in stitches! There are a slew of mishaps that a missing letter R might cause… such as a galloping hose instead of a horse, a flock of cows instead of crows, and a babbling book instead of brook. SO fun!

E-mergency! – Tom Lichtenheld

I laughed when I read this book! It s an E-mergency! The letter E has fallen down the stairs and ended up in the hospital. Now, the only way to get her back on her feet is for everyone to stop using her. After searching for a substitute, “O” steps in to replace E and things go quickly sideways – ie “a spolling tost today”! This book is chocker-block full of silly puns, word play, and lots of side-jokes! Wonderful read-aloud for upper primary students.

Betty Burgled Bakery An Alliteration Adventure – Travis Nichols

This is a perfect anchor book to introduce younger students to alliteration. Written in graphic novel form, it tells a story about a team of detectives trying to solve the case of the burglary of Betty’s bakery: “A bread bandit burgled my bakery before breakfast”. Excellent vocabulary incuded! Back matter includes information about alliteration and a bonus “Hungry Animals” section on the eating habits of five animals.

Lexie The Word Wrangler – Rebecca Van Slyke

For anyone teaching early readers, this book is for you! Lexie, the word wrangler, shows readers how she “ropes” two words to create something new, like a stick of butter and a fly to make “butterfly”. She also watches over baby letters like “a” and watch the grow into bigger words like “at”, then “cat” and then “cattle”. This book explores so many types of words and use of words, not to mention it’s just plain fun. Don’t forget to read it with your best cowgirl accent!

P Is For Pterodactyl *The Worst Alphabet Book Ever – Rajhalder & Chris Carpenter

This is a clever book about how the English language can sometimes be confusing, especially when it comes to those “silent” letters! This book is structured like a regular alphabet book, except each word includes silent letters. I appreciated that the authors tried to fit as many outlaw words into each letter’s description. I also appreciated the glossary at the back, which provides pronunciation guides and defines these sometimes obscure words.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you were able to find one or two new “word play” books to add to your collection.


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