Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices



Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

by Paul Fleischman

illustrated by Eric Beddows

Ages: 8 +

Interests: insects, poetry, performance, nature



Frog Went a-Courtin’


Frog Went a-Courtin’

retold by John Langstaff

illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky

New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1955

30 pp.

Ages: 3+

Interests: folktales, folk songs, insects, animals


Top 5: Insect Books for Preschoolers

Whether they fear them or love them, what kid isn’t fascinated by insects?


Top 5 Insect Books for Preschoolers:

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle – Age: infants +

The classic book is available as a board book for the very young. Everyone knows this one (or should). The caterpillar eats his way through a ton of food before making his dramatic transformation.

2. Frog Went A-Courtin’, by John Langstaff – Age: 3 +

Old folk song wonderfully illustrated for children. Ostensibly about Froggie and Miss Mouse but there are an awful lot of insects invited to the shindig.

3. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, by Verna Aardema – Age: 4 +

A traditional African tale about events spiralling out of control as a result of a simple lie.

4. Grasshopper on the Road, by Arnold Lobel – Age: 5 +

Grasshopper hits the open road and meets many interesting insects along the way.

5. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl – Age: 5 +

James adventures across the ocean on a giant peach, accompanied by several larger-than-life insect friends. A chapter book, perhaps about 9-yr-old reading level, but eminently suitable to read aloud to a five-year-old. Very short chapters, lots of action and humour.

Peter in Blueberry Land

Peter in Blueberry Land

by Elsa Beskow

first published in Swedish in 1901

English translation by Alison Sage, 1982

Edinburgh: Floris Books, 2001

32 pp.

Age: 2 +

Interests: magic, forest, little people

Also by this author: Tale of the Little Old Woman, Children of the Forest, Aunt Green Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender More

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears


Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

by Verna Aardema

illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon

New York: Dial Books, 1975

28 pp.

Age: 4+

Interests: jungle animals, African folktales, mosquitoes

Also by this author: Who’s in Rabbit’s House?, Oh Kojo! How could you!

Also by these illustrators: Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions


Grasshopper On the Road

Grasshopper on the Road

by Arnold Lobel

New York: Harper & Row, 1978

57 pp. – 6 stories

Age: 5+

Interests: insects, differing viewpoints, philosophy

Also by this author: Frog and Toad books, Fables


The Little Island


The Little Island

Margaret Wise Brown, author

Leonard Weisgard, illustrator

New York: Doubleday, 1946

40 pp.

Age: 3 +

Interests: nature, animals, birds, boats, islands

By the same author: Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny


Pinocchio (1940)

Rated: G
Length:  88 min.
Age: 5 and up      Commonsense Media sez:    6 +

Scary Factor: Stromboli character waving an axe and threatening; young Lampwick’s terror as he turns into a donkey; Coachman herding the donkey-boys with a whip; enormous whale Monstro chasing them at the end

Also: scenes with alcohol and smoking are too numerous to mention; some leering and mild sexual innuendo from lady’s man Jiminy; character playing with fire; wanton destruction

Intense: some children may have trouble with Pinocchio’s ‘death’ near the end, but keep them watching because he isn’t dead for long!

Language: “Give a bad boy enough rope and he’ll soon make a jackass of himself!”

Interests: fairy tales, fairies, magic, puppets, insects, ocean, whales

Next: Dumbo (also astonishingly not-politically-correct)


All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.