5 Senses Storytime

Five Senses Books

Five For A Little One by Chris Raschka (ages 1-5)

“Smell is 1. / Noble nose, / sniff and smell. / You do it well. Contrast, compare. / Sample scents of flowers and foods, oceans and woods. / Breathe the air! / Hearing is 2.” Illustrations and text are minimalist gems: the “little one” is a bunny created from a few strokes of india-ink brushwork.  Small, brightly colored potato stamp representations of objects and rich drops of watercolor or ink bled into wet paper grace otherwise white pages, creating an extraordinarily clean page design. Let yourself revel in the words and images, and even the littlest ones will sit still for this story.  At the end, the rabbit joins his parents, and the senses are wordlessly counted down.  1 [sniff] 2 [cup a hand to your ear] 3 [shade your eyes and look around] 4 [nibble and smack your lips] 5 [rub your arms] “Five senses--just enough—to know the love we have for you.”

Senses at the Seashore by Chris Raschka (ages 1-5)

“At the seashore… / See the blue water / Hear the waves crash.” Photographs saturated with colors show children playing


A Closer Look by Mary McCarthy (ages 2-6)

“Look!”  A huge black dot on a red field fills the first two-page spread.  “What do you…” The next page shows a black dot on red with a tan stripe diagonally across the lower right corner.  On the following page, the stripe nearly halves the red field, and there is one black dot on either side of the stripe. “see?” A gigantic closeup of a ladybug overflows the borders of the next two page spread.  On the following two pages, a ladybug reposes on a green leaf.  “A bug.”  The pattern is followed again for a flower and a hummingbird, then all of these elements are integrated into one two-page illustration of hummingbirds hovering near flowers on which ladybugs crawl.  The final spread is an even broader view of a garden landscape abloom with life and detail.  McCarthy’s handmade paper collages are exquisitely textured and vividly colorful.  This is a glorious and simple way to encourage young children and artists to look closer at the world around them.


Chimp And Zee’s Noisy Book by Catherine and Laurence Anholt (ages 1-3)

“Ha, ha, ha!  Hee, hee, hee!  Make a noise with Chimp and Zee.  Woof woof woof! / Clap clap clap!/ Roar roar RO-OO-AR!...”  Follow along with the noisy monkeys in this lively board book.

Dog’s Noisy Day: A Story to Read Aloud  by Emma Dodd (ages 1-3)

Dog goes out in search of adventure and finds much noise.  “Cat MEOWS to Dog on his way out the door.  Dog is too hungry to play chase.  GRRR! Says his stomach.”Simple, cartoon-like block-color illustrations make the book accessible to very young listeners.

Bow-Wow Hears Things by Mark Newgarden & Megan Montague Cash (Babies-age 2)

In this board book, Bow-wow the dog is staring at a tiny yellow dog.  On the next page, the bird says “Honk.”  Bow-wow frowns. “No.” “Splash?” the bird tries again. “No.”  At last, the correct sound is emphasized when the yellow birdie is shown in hot-pink against a green background, with yellow rings radiating out from him as he rises in the air with the force of a loud “PEEP!”  The yellow bird and Bow-wow stare at each other again.  On the last page, Bow-wow responds with an approving “Woof!”

Quiet LOUD by Leslie Patricelli, (babies/toddlers)

“Whispering is quiet. / Screaming is LOUD. / Crayons are quiet. / Pots and pans are LOUD.  Boom Bam.  / Fishies are quiet. / Doggies are LOUD.  Woof Woof.”  On each page, a diapered baby is engaged with something or someone quiet.  On the facing page is the loud counterpart.  The acrylic-on-canvas illustrations reinforce the quiet/LOUD idea, with cool colored backdrops for all the “quiet” illustrations and vivid, warm backdrops to all the “LOUD” illustrations in this simple and effective board book.


I Like a Snack on an Iceberg by Iris Hiskey Arno, pictures by John Sandford (ages 1-4)

“I like a snack on an iceberg. / I like a snack in a tree. / Pecking our corn in the barnyard is perfect for Mama and me.”  Beginning with a polar bear, a woodpecker and a chick, each page shows a different animal eating and identifies where it finds its food..  “Snacks can be crunchy or chewy. / Snacks can be messy or neat. / I think my tummy is rumbling. Let’s go have something to eat!”

I Will Never NOT EVER Eat A Tomato by Lauren Child (ages 4-8)

“I have this little sister, Lola,” Charlie tells readers.  “She is small and very funny... Sometimes Mom and Dad ask me to give Lola her dinner.  This is difficult because she is a very fussy eater.”  Carrots are for rabbits, peas are “too small and too green,” she would never eat a fish stick, and Lola “absolutely will never not ever eat a tomato.”  So, when Charlie is in charge of getting Lola to eat her dinner of peas, carrots, potato and fish sticks, he uses his imagination: “Oh, you think these are carrots.  These are not carrots, these are orange twiglets from Jupiter.”  Lola won’t eat peas, but “green drops from Greenland” made out of green that falls from the sky are different.  Cloud fluff from Mount Fuji is much better than mashed potatoes, and “ocean nibbles from the supermarket under the sea” are wonderful; “mermaids eat them all the time.”  For a special storytime treat, try the superb pop-up version of this story.

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Marcellus Hall (ages 2-8)

“Whenever Farmer feeds the horse, / He feeds the horsey hay, of course.  The horse just loves to nibble hay. / He eats it every single day. / But the cow loves cookies.”  A two-page spread shows the mischievous cow leaning in through the kitchen window and scooping up chocolate chip cookies with her large, red tongue, while a baby in a high chair gleefully waves his own cookie.  The rhyming text shows a portly, overalls-clad farmer feeding all the other animals their proper feed, while the cow seeks cookies: “She and Farmer made a deal, and every day they share a meal.  Farmer packs a picnic lunch, and when the two sit down to munch, / he takes cookies from a tin / and Cow gives milk to dunk them in.”  Hall’s playful watercolor illustrations are reminiscent of Betsy Lewin’s mischievous farm scenes, for a slightly younger crowd.


Nosy Rosie by Holly Keller (ages 2-4)

Whenever anyone loses something, they ask Rose to find it.  Rose can find almost anything because she can smell almost everything. Then, “one day Meadow called Rose Nosy Rosie. The name stuck and everyone started calling her Nosy Rosie. Rose hated it. ‘Don’t call me that,’ she said, but nobody listened. So Rose stopped finding things.”  Rose went into the forest to be alone and fell asleep.  When she woke up, she smelled her baby brother, who had gotten caught in a thorny bush.  Meanwhile, everyone has been frantically been looking for the baby, and Rose arrives home a hero.

The Adventures of a Nose by Viviane Schwartz (ages 3-7)

“This is the Nose, thinking, ‘Somewhere in the world must be a place just for me. A place where I can fit in, and stick out. I could be really happy there!” The nose is a huge fleshy proboscis with trouser-clad legs, and each illustration forms a face with Nose at the center and lamps for eyes or a man’s hat for lips.  At last, “The Nose goes to see a doctor. ‘I just don’t fit in anywhere,’ the Nose sniffles. ‘Oh, I think you do!’ the doctor says. ‘Don’t you see? The whole world fits perfectly around YOU. Your place is always in the middle sticking out—because you are a Nose!’ / This is the Nose who has smelled the whole world and has found his place in it—he fits in by sticking out, always.’”


Tickly Prickly by Bonny Becker, Illustrated by Shari Halpern (ages 2-4)

“Did you ever have a ladybug crawl across your finger?  How did it feel?  Tickly, prickly.  Fly away quickly.”  A moth’s wings, a lamb’s wool, chicks’ feathers and cats’ paws among other animal encounters are described in poetic tactile terms.

I Can Tell By Touching by Carolyn Otto, Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott (ages 4-7)

What do you know about the world around you when you close your eyes?  What can you tell about things by touching?

Sensual Bibliography

Anholt, Catherine and Anholt, Laurence. Chimp and Zee’s Noisy Book.  London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2002.

Arno, Iris Hiskey. I Like a Snack on an Iceberg. illustrated by John Sandford.  HarperFestival-HarperCollinsPublishers, 1999.

Becker, Bonny. Tickly Prickly. illustrated by Shari Halpern. HarperFestival-HarperCollinsPublishers, 1999.

Child, Lauren. I Will Never NOT EVER Eat A Tomato. Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2000.

Dodd, Emma.  Dog’s Noisy Day: A Story to Read Aloud.  New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 2002.

Keller, Holly. Nosy Rosie. Greenwillow Books-HarperCollinsPublishers, 2006.

McCarthy, Mary. A Closer Look. Greenwillow Books-HarperCollinsPublishers, 2007.

Newgarden, Mark and Cash, Megan Montague. Bow-Wow Hears Things. Orlando : Harcourt, Inc., 2008.

Otto, Carolyn. I Can Tell By Touching. illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. New York : HarperCollinsPublishers, 1994.

Patricelli, Leslie. Quiet LOUD. Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2003.

Raschka, Chris.  Five for a Little One. New York : A Richard Jackson Book-Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006.

Schwartz, Viviane. The Adventures of a Nose. illustrated by Joel Stewart. Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2002.

Wilson, Karma.  The Cow Loves Cookies.  illustrated by Marcellus Hall.  New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010.