Cumulative tales make fun engaging read-alouds because there is so much repetition. Young listeners love predictability. Plus, they are great for teaching sequencing. Here are my top 10 plus a few more books for children full of repetition.
18 Cumulative Tales
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#1: Around the Table That Grandad Built
This is my newest favorite cumulative tale. Around the Table That Grandad Built by Melanie Heuiser Hill is a story of family and friendship that develops and is enriched around that table Granddad built. Children and families will be inspired to set the table and enjoy a good meal with families and friends. This is a good pick for a unit on families.
#2: The Apple Pie That Papa Baked
Gather the apples and get ready for a warm sweet apple pie in The Apple Pie That Papa Bakedby Lauren Thompson. Serving apple pie after reading is optional. Of course, if you are doing an apple theme, you’ll want to add this to the read-aloud list.
#3 There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
This is perhaps the first title that comes to mind when you think of a cumulative tale. And, there are oodles of variations of the classic book from There Was an Old Astronaut Who Swallowed the Moon to There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Pam Adams is my favorite version of the classic to read aloud to whole groups. It has bright bold die-cut pages.
#4: The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything
Speaking of little old ladies… the fall classic The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams is another classic that is fun to act out with the students. It also makes a good book to do a felt retelling with too.
#5: Jack’s House
#6: The Pinata That the Farm Maiden Hung
The Pinata That the Farm Maiden Hung by Samantha R. Vamos sprinkles in lots of Spanish words as a pinata is prepared for a surprise birthday party. You just might want to make your own pinata with the students after reading it.
#7: Move Over, Rover!
Karen Beaumont’s books make good read-alouds in general and Move Over, Rover! lives up to that statement. It is cumulative, fun & playful, loaded with animals, and full of rhythm. It’s a great pick for your youngest listeners.
#8: The Sandcastle That Lola Built
Head to the beach for some fun in the sand in The Sandcastle That Lola Built by Megan Maynor. It’s spin on [easyazon_link identifier="037583530X" locale="US" tag="groboobyboo-20"]The House That Jack Built.
#9: There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake
There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake by Loren Long is also great for a circle time read-along for its call and response format. Plus, you can sing the story. Lyrics are included.
#10: One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree
Last but not least is one more of my favorites on the list- One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom. It is full of rhythm making it a great read-aloud to preschoolers. A hungry snake develops an ever-growing body until he gets quite the tummy ache.
#11: By the Light of the Moon
By the Light of the Moon by Frann Preston-Gannon is the story of a frog who invites other animals to join him in song. His song just doesn’t feel right until the very last animal friend joins.
#12 Here We Come!
Here We Come! by Janna Matthies is full of rhythm and rhyme. A child heads outside for a nighttime walk and along the way gathers lots of creatures to tag along. Come, drum, rum-pum! This one begs to be read aloud.
#13 This is The Boat that Ben Built
This is the Boat That Ben Built by Jen Lynn Bailey takes place on the river in a boat that Ben has built. Ben sets out in the boat with net in hand. Will he catch a fish?
#14 The Blanket Where Violet Sits
The Blanket Where Violet Sits by Allan Wolf is a fun bedtime read. Violet and her family take a trip to the park for some evening stargazing. They have a space book and telescope ready to explore.
#15 This Story is Not About a Kitten
A kitten is in need of rescuing and the community is there to help in this cumulative tale. Check out This Story is a Not About a Kitten by Randall de Sève.
#16 City Beet
City Beet by Tziporah Cohen is the story of a community potluck. Victoria and her neighbor are wanting to bring a beet salad. Can they harvest a beet? Well, it’s going to take some help.
#17 Creep, Leap, Crunch! A Food Chain Story
Creep, Leap, Crunch! A Food Chain Story by Jody Jensen Shaffer introduces kids to the fascinating food chain cycle. A cumulative book is a perfect format for teaching about this repetitive cycle.
#18 The Princess and the (Greedy) Pea
In The Princess and the (Greedy) Pea by Leigh Hodgkinson we meet a very hungry pea that devours food to the table before heading to bed. But, then the Princess struggles with sleep because she is hungry. Can she find something to eat?
Hopefully, you found some new books to add to your list. These are all great additions to some of the more well-known cumulative tales such as The Napping House, The Jacket I Wear in the Snow, and This is the House That Jack Built.
Get the Printable Cumulative Book List
I’ve been working to get all the Growing Book by Book lists in printable form for you. Grab this printable list below. Just click “Get Your Printable” button.
More Circle Time Read Alouds
I have even more circle time or whole group read-alouds for you. Check out these lists.
*This post first appeared on August 10, 2019.