Resources for Home

Story time in the Book Nook.
Photo by Claudia Dricot.

Book List

The following books explore topics related to exhibits you will find at the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine. These books are ideal for children and families to read together before and after they visit the Museum or anytime they wish to explore the wonderful world of reading!

Read and Share with Me!

(Books to Read Aloud and Explore Together)
Cat Up a Tree, John and Ann Hassett
This clever tale will make you laugh as Nana Quimby tries to contain the number of cats that make themselves at home in the tree outside her window. Nana calls around the neighborhood (including the fire house, library and city hall) for assistance and ends up with quite a surprise by the end of the story. (Ages 3-8)

Cousin Ruth's Tooth, Amy MacDonald and Marjorie A. Priceman
Join the Fister family as they embark on a wild goose chase to track down Ruth's missing tooth. A silly, fun book full of catchy rhymes and movement-filled watercolors that is sure to be read over and over again! (Ages 4-8)

Wicked Big Toddlah, Kevin Hawkes
The engaging pictures of this story set in Maine present the adventures of a gigantic toddler born to a family quite surprised (and delighted) to have him join their home. Kids will enjoy looking at the bright, colorful images that display all the exciting activities that make up "Toddie's" days, from taking a bottle from multiple helpers to using real lobster boats as toys. (Ages 3-8)

First the Egg, Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Recognized as a Caldecott Honor Book and Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book, this concept book uses page-turning and die-cuts to introduce readers to thinking about change and growth...first an egg, then a chicken; a seed becomes a flower; a tadpole turns to a frog. As you turn the page to see the transformation of the featured object on the right-hand side, you will find what came "first" on the left-hand side. Children will enjoy flipping the pages back and forth as they discover this colorful book just right for beginning explorers. (Ages 2-6)

Ranger Station and Discovery Woods

The Very Best Bed, Rebekah Raye
Follow the gray squirrel as he searches for a place to sleep, exploring various dens, caves and nests that belong to all kinds of forest creatures and their young. A wonderful introduction to animal habitats, this book leaves readers with a thought-provoking question. (Ages 4-8)

Looking for a Moose, Phyllis Root
Join four children and a dog as they search for a "long-leggy" moose. Lots of fun words that appeal to the senses and lend a sing-song quality to the text make this a fun read aloud. Be an animal detective and spot the animal hidden on each page. (Ages 4-7)

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, Chris Van Dusen
Mr. Magee and his faithful dog, Dee, are on quite an adventure as they find themselves rolling down a road in their runaway camper, heading straight for a waterfall! Find out how they cope with a marshmallow-eating bear who (unintentionally) becomes their rescuer as you follow this duo through a colorful book filled with rhyming text and vivid, detailed illustrations. (Ages 4-8)

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? Robin Page and Steve Jenkins
This interactive picture book (awarded the Caldecott Honor in 2004) is filled with interesting facts that will have kids' mouths hanging open as they learn about all the amazing things animals can do with their eyes, noses, ears, tails, etc. (Ages 4-8)

Wheels to Go!

Fire Truck and Car Repair Shop
Fire Engines Up Close, Andra Serlin Abramson
This value-priced hardcover book gives kids a close-up view of everything they can find on a fire truck. From hoses to control panels and ladder lines to gauges, this book is a great choice for independent readers (or for younger children as a read-aloud or shared book) curious to find out even more about fire trucks, firefighters and firefighting around the world. (Ages 8-12)

My Big Truck Book, Roger Priddy
This board book is ideal for those with little hands who will be captivated by the large, colorful photographs featuring images of everything from big rigs to construction vehicles. The questions in the text make it a great book to share and encourage your little one to identify which truck carries out which job/task (for example, the garbage truck takes away the trash). (Ages 0-4)

If I Built a Car, Chris Van Dusen
Not particularly impressed with his family's station wagon, a young boy decides to build his own car, complete with the abilities to drive underwater and fly while offering passengers snacks and a swimming pool to enjoy on long trips. Those familiar with Van Dusen's brilliant illustrations will not be disappointed with the appealing, crisp pictures that accompany the text. (Ages 4-8)

Fire Truck! Ivan Ulz
Part of the Scholastic Sing and Read Storybooks series, this book comes with a CD to accompany the story of a typical day for a fireman. The upbeat music makes a perfect pairing to the colorful illustrations and easy-to-relate to story for any girl or boy who has ever wanted to ride a fire truck! Make up motions with your child(ren) to go with the actions as you read and listen. A great choice for one child or an entire classroom. (Ages 3-7).

You've Got Mail!

Mailman/Post Office
The Jolly Postman, Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Join in the fun as the Jolly Postman travels from house to house in a fairy tale kingdom to deliver letters to classic characters such as The Three Bears and the witch from Hansel and Gretel. Every other page features an actual letter tucked in an envelope for your child to pull out and read - a magical little book! (Ages 3-8)

The Post Office Book: Mail and How It Moves, Gail Gibbons
A great introduction into how a post office works and the process of getting mail from one person to another. Includes a glossary and bold pictures. (Ages 4-8)

Seven Little Postmen, Margaret Wise Brown
This Little Golden Book follows the trail of a little boy's letter to his grandmother's house. See how the Seven Little Postmen get the mail delivered, come rain or shine. This book might even encourage your little one to write a letter to a loved one to brighten his or her day! (Ages 0-6)

Millie Waits for the Mail, Alexander Steffensmeier
Watch as Millie the mischievous bovine gets a kick out of frightening the unsuspecting mailman. Will the mailman's clever plan to outsmart Millie be a success? Or will Millie have the last laugh? Read this humorous story and find out! (Ages 4-8).


Have you Seen My Duckling? Nancy Tafuri
While her eighth little duck is cleverly concealed in each picture, the mother duck in this story sets out on a search for the "lost" little one, asking the other pond creatures for help. Repetitive words encourage emerging readers to practice "reading" the text while beautiful pictures compliment the simple tale. A Caldecott Honor book. (Ages 3-8)

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, D. Cronin
In this charming and funny story, the cows in Farmer Brown's farm find a typewriter and use it to communicate with Brown, making requests for items such as electric blankets to keep them warm at night. Farmer Brown's refusal to comply leads to the cows' protests and the other barn animals' standing up for their rights. A Caldecott Honor Book. (Ages 3-7)

Big Red Barn, Margaret Wise Brown
The rhythm in this quiet, simple text makes it just right for beginning readers who will learn about a typical day in the life of the animals (both young and old) on the farm. (Ages 3-8)

Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm, Alice and Martin Provenson
Detailed drawings and simple text introduce children to all the animals on Maple Hill Farm and their various personalities, as well as to the cyclical nature of life. The rhythmic text makes it a great choice to read aloud, and children have the option of skipping around in the story if they choose to hear about a specific animal rather than listening to the story from beginning to end. (Ages 3-8)

Coco's Diner

Toddler Cafe: Fast, Healthy and Fun Ways to Feed Even the Pickiest Eater, Jennifer and Matthew Carden
Find out how to make meal time more fun and interactive for the whole family in this collection of over 50 recipes. By offering ideas on how to help children identify with food, this book encourages everyone to look forward to the preparation, enjoyment and clean up of each meal.

Kitchen for Kids: 100 Amazing Recipes Your Kids Can Really Make, Jennifer Low All 100 recipes in this book feature kid-friendly choices that are safe for kids to make with the help of an adult. Children will be encouraged to learn how to cook and create delicious dishes to share with their families and friends. Bold photographs accompany each recipe. (Ages 8-12)

Kids' Fun and Healthy Cookbook, DK Publishing
Featuring over 100 step-by-step recipes, this cookbook features classic recipes with a healthy twist, as well as some new ideas for yummy meals that are good for you, too! (Ages 7-12)

Real Food For Healthy Kids: 200+ Easy, Wholesome Recipes, Tanya Wenman Steel and Tracey Seaman
Great for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and parties, this cookbook features kid taste-tested recipes that have also been analyzed by a nutritionist. Try the Peachy Keen Chicken or Happy Apple Toddies!

Water, Water Everywhere!

Tide Pool Touch Tank, Lobster Boat, Down to the Sea
Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee Chris Van Dusen
Join Mr. Magee and his little dog, Dee on their very first adventure. Travel with them past the old shipwreck, out into the bay, and to the very top of a fifty foot tree! Find out how they get back to sea level through this colorful book filled with rhyming text and vivid, detailed illustrations, which served as the inspiration for our backyard exhibit. (Ages 4-8)

What's in the Tide Pool? Anne Hunter
Bring the wonder of the tide pool exhibit home! This little book features ten animals from the tide pool (including the sea urchin and blue mussel), depicted in watercolor, ink and colored pencil illustrations. The pictures, paired with informative text, make a great little book perfect for small hands to share with a grown-up for a read aloud. (Ages 3-8)

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean, Kevin Sherry
What is the biggest thing in the ocean? Children will enjoy listening to the story of the friendly, bright blue giant squid that travels through the ocean, declaring that he is the largest creature in the water! A surprise ending makes this a charming tale. (Ages 3-8)

How I Became a Pirate, Melinda Long and David Shannon
While building a sand castle on the beach, Jeremy is whisked off to adventure with a band of pirates. He loves the life of a pirate at first, but when he discovers no one will tuck him in at night or read him a bedtime story, he devises a plan to help the pirates bury their treasure chest so he can get home before soccer practice. (Ages 4-8)

Lobsterman, Dahlov Ipcar
This classic book follows a young boy and his father on a typical day together on the father's lobster boat. Although it does not feature the dangers of lobster boating, the story details how the father and son prepare the boat (take care of the equipment) and then go out on the water to catch lobsters. (Ages 4-8)

Focus Room and Camera Obscura

Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book, Rufus Butler Seder
Using sliding paper and stripes to form black and white pictures of different animals in motion, the author has created a book in which the images appear to "move" across the page (thanks to the technique known as "Scanimation," an invention influenced by the Muybridge photo series, as featured in the Focus Room at the Museum & Theatre). This magical book encourages readers to move like the animals featured on each page - fun for children and adults alike!

Swing!: A Scanimation Picture Book, Rufus Butler Seder
A follow-up to Gallop, this book features athletes throwing basketballs, swinging bats and riding bikes, encouraging the reader to try out the motions as he reads and marvels at the incredible scanimation technology that makes the images appear to "move" across the page.

Camera Obscura, Abelardo Morell and Luc Sante
Full of amazing images created by Morell's use of the camera obscura and a large-format view camera. By turning a room into the virtual interior of a camera, Morell captures images that will fascinate adults and older children taken by the wonders of light and photography.

Space Shuttle

If You Decide to Go to the Moon, Faith McNulty and Steven Kellogg
Calling all astronauts! This award-winning book will whisk you away into outer space as readers follow a boy on the adventure of a lifetime - a trip to the moon! Brilliant pictures and informative text make this book a great choice for those wishing to learn more about space. An environmental message about the gifts of earth at the end reminds readers of the importance of taking care of our home. (Ages 4-9)

Little Space Explorers, Anthony Lewis
A double-sided figure of a little girl and a little boy (one character on each side) is attached to this book so readers can put the characters in the various space outfits and environments in the book. This book helps to promote motor skills and spark interest in space for emerging readers. You can even add a photograph of your child's face to the figure to put your own little one into the story! (Ages 3-6).

There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library), Tish Rabe and Aristides Ruiz
Rhyming couplets present fun trivia and useful information in this book for young readers who want to learn more about space! If you are looking to introduce science concepts to young learners, this is a good place to start. (Ages 4-8)

I Want to Be an Astronaut, Byron Barton
The simple text and cartoon-like illustrations make this book a good choice for young ones with an interest in Outer Space. From learning what astronauts eat to what it's like to fix a satellite, children will enjoy this award-winning title. (Ages 2-6)

Explore Some More

Arts and Crafts
First Art: Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos, MaryAnn F. Kohl, Renee F. Ramsey and Dana Bowman
This book is an introduction to art with little ones that encourages parents and caregivers to dive right into a world of exploration, creativity and discovery. The projects are safe, easy and fun. Why not try making feelie goop or playclay with your little art maker this afternoon?

Preschoolers' Busy Book: 365 Creative Games and Activities to Occupy 3-6 Year Olds, Trish Kuffner
Packed with ideas for games and projects to encourage creativity and growth for young children, this book features reading, math and science activities as well as those that focus on dance, drama and outdoor play.

The Little Hands Art Book (Little Hands!), Judy Press
Ideal for children ages two to six, this introductory art book features more than 80 projects that incorporate paint, glue, clay, dough, markers and crayons. There is a section on using recycled materials for art projects, as well as guidelines for parents, teachers and caregivers to help them make the most of a child's first experiences making art.

Kids Art Works!: Creating with Color, Design, Texture & More, Sandi Henry More than 60 art projects are included in this book, divided into four major categories that include "Playing with Patterns," "Prints Charming," "The Sculpture Gallery," and "A Touch of Texture." Try stamping, weaving, sponge painting or making a shadowbox with this creative collection of wonderful ideas for art making. (Ages 5-12)

Toddler Park

Board Books and Exciting Stories for our Youngest Visitors
Off We Go! Jane Yolen
Follow all the baby animals as they get ready to go to their grandmothers' houses! The creatures move in all kinds of ways, from digging to tip-toeing to reach their destination - an engaging journey that's not to be missed! (Ages 0-5)

Ready, Set, Go! Nina Laden
Die-cut windows make this board book a great find for curious minds who must guess what lies behind each peek-a-boo hole that gives a hint as to what might lie ahead on the next page. Rhyming text and bright pictures capture the attention of toddlers. (Ages 0-4)

Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings, Matthew Van Fleet
Shapes, colors, textures and counting animals are all presented in this interactive board book, which encourages children to lift a flap on each page and discover various bumpy, fuzzy and sticky animals, just waiting to be touched by little hands! (Ages 0-3)

Whose Baby Am I? John Butler
The soft pictures in this board book make it a good choice for a bedtime story. Baby animals and their mothers/fathers are paired together as each baby asks "Whose baby am I?" Readers are asked to match the babies on the left with the adult animals on the right of a double-page spread at the end of the book. (Ages 0-3)

The Show Must Go On!

Dress Up Theatre and Theatre performances
Show Time: Music, Dance and Drama Activities for Kids, Lisa Bany-Winters A guide to help kids develop their skills in acting, dancing and singing, this book includes more than 80 activities to encourage development in young performers with an interest in musical theater. (Ages 8-12)

On Stage: Theater Games and Activities for Kids, Lisa Bany-Winters From mask-making to improvisation, this book offers a variety of theater games and tips for costumes, sets and props for any child (and parent!) interested in learning more about acting on stage. (Ages 8-12)

Break a Leg!: The Kids' Guide to Acting and Stagecraft, Lise Friedman and Mary Dowdle
With this book, kids can learn how to improve their acting techniques and discover theatre games to help develop their craft. There is even information on auditioning and getting jobs in theater, television, film, etc. for those who wish to make acting a career! (Ages 8-12)

Kids Take the Stage: Helping Young People Discover the Creative Outlet of Theater, Lenka Peterson, Dan O'Connor and Paul Newman
Not just for actors, this book is for directors, producers, teachers, parents and crew - anyone who wants to learn how to start a production on their own! Includes theater games, inspirational quotes from famous actors and a Leader's Guide.

Have a Ball!

Round Like a Ball, Lisa Campbell Ernst
Kids will have fun trying to figure out the answer to the riddle behind this book, reading clues such as what is "round like a ball" "hot and cold" and "always moving" throughout the pages until the book's end when at last the mystery is solved (the Earth!). An informative fold-out about our planet is included in the back. (Ages 4-8)

What Bounces? Kate Duke
This board book features a lively little guinea pig that helps toddlers learn that balls bounce, and ice cream melts. A silly story full of engaging illustrations bring the guinea pig character to life. (Ages 0-3)

The Story of Red Rubber Ball, Constance Kling Levy
The rhythm of this text makes it a great book to read to toddlers. Children will enjoy discovering what the different outdoor creatures that encounter the red rubber ball do (or don't do!) when they come in contact with this mysterious object. A cheerful dog's quick decision makes for a happy ending. (Ages 0-4)

The Market

Eating the Alphabet, Lois Ehlert
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables fill the pages of this yummy-looking book which will teach you the names of all kinds of delicious, healthy treats that you and your child can enjoy. An informative glossary is a helpful addition for grown-ups who wish to learn more about everything from the jicama to the zucchini. (Ages 1-6)

Growing Vegetable Soup, Lois Ehlert
Discover the process of growing a plant from its seed, harvesting the vegetables and cooking up a delectable soup! A great choice for the beginning (and seasoned) gardener, this book contains a recipe for vegetable soup for you and your family to make and enjoy before (and after) you read the story! (Ages 0-4)

Walter the Baker, Eric Carle
Ever wonder how the pretzel came to be? From the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar comes the story of Walter (the Baker from the title) who strives to create a delicious pastry "through which the sun could shine three times" for the demanding duke and duchess. An enjoyable and informative tale that will have you craving this popular snack! (Ages 3-8)

Food For Thought, Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann
You and your child will delight in this imaginative book which gives a whole new meaning to playing with food! Elffers and Freymann have used a variety of actual produce to create "characters" (food sculptures) to teach readers about opposites, numbers, letters, shapes and colors. From banana "giraffes" to penguins made out of eggplants, you'll never look at a fruit or a vegetable in the same light!

back to top