There is something so comfortable about things that are familiar. A comfy worn chair that fits you just right, those peanut butter rice crispy bars with chocolate on top that mom used to make, or hearing “Momma” called the minute you walk in the door. Another very familiar item in our house is the countless renditions of The Wheels on the Bus over the years. It’s an all-time favorite song and book for kids.
There’s also great value in taking the familiar and using it to stretch our imagination and learning. If you have kids who love The Wheels on the Bus, I have some fun variations on the original song that you can read to help your kids learn and grow.
The Wheels on the Bus Books
Let’s start with a few classic versions of the book. The first two are board books which were perfect when my kids were toddlers.
This version of the Wheels on the Bus by Jerry Smath is the one we read the most. It’s a pudgy little book perfect for little hands. We will be keeping this one in our treasure box.
Another durable board book version is the one by Raffi. We also had this one and it was well loved.
Then there is the version by Paul O. Zelinski. When I worked at a children’s bookstore in college, we sold this one A LOT. It’s super fun because it has movable parts. My kids loved to make the wipers go swish swish. Warning….lots of movable parts = easy to tear.
Ok, on to the super fun variations of the classic. We have cultural variations, seasonal variations and more! Several on this list are out of print. I’ve tried to note which ones are out of print. You might try to find them used or from your local library.
The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Shegal takes to India to travel in a taxi. “Rupees on the tuk tuk go ching ching ching…” There is also an author’s note and glossary in the back of the book. It’s a fun book to introduce children to a different culture. Double bonus that the illustrations are great too.
The Wheels on the…Uh-Oh! by Sue Tarksy takes us along and shows us what happens when the bus gets a flat tire.
Here is a Latin-inspired version of the story by Barefoot Books. The illustrations are beautiful and it even includes a cd of the song so you can listen along.
The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort is a silly animal version. Each time the bus stops, another animal boards and the kids get to make the animal sounds. Watch out for the stinky skunks.
The Wheels on the Bus: A Read-along Sing-along Trip to Zoo by Jeanne Willis is another animal adventure on the bus. My boys especially liked the part where the bus gets a flat tire and the elephant uses his trunk to inflate it. This one isn’t in print so you will have to find a used copy.
The Wheels on the Race Carby Alex Zane literally fell apart on us because we read it so much. I picked it up used at a thrift shop and we more than got our .50 cents for it. Take a few spins around the race track and have fun observing all the animal drivers. This is another one that you will have to find used or at the library.
The Wheels on the School Bus by Mary-Alice Moore is also out of print. But, it’s a fun one to hunt down especially for kids who will be taking the school bus to school. It’s super silly and introduces kids to different people they will meet at school.
The Wheels on the Fire Truck by Jeffrey Burton combines a favorite song and a favorite moving vehicle- a firetruck.
There is even a Halloween version of the book. The Spooky Wheels on the Busby J. Elizabeth Mills doubles as a counting book up to ten too.
So, have fun exploring all the different Wheels on the Bus books and most importantly keep reading and singing with your child.
Favorite Books for 2-3 Year-Olds
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