Picture Books that Teach Grammar
From nouns to adverbs, there is a picture book that can help. Use the books to teach or review parts of speech.
A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Jenya Prosmitsky
The author wants to show (not tell) you about nouns. Cute rhymes and playful illustrations illustrate his point. “Gown is a noun. Crown is a noun. // In fact, our whole hometown is a noun.“
Nouns and Verbs Have a Field Day by Robin Pulver, illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed
Outside at field day, the nouns stick with the nouns and the verbs stick with the verbs. That is until they realize that if they partner up, things will go better.
Verbs Say Go! by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Maira Chiodi
Dahl is well known for his grammar books. In this picture book, he explains verbs using cute little green people doing, being, and feeling. Matching the cartoon characters, the verbs are written in green. Read this with your students and allow time to pause, question, and reflect.
If You Were a Pronoun by Nancy Loewen, illustrated by Sasra Gray
If you were a pronoun, what would you do? You’d take the place of a noun. “YOU could throw a party. YOU would invite HIM and HER and THEM and US.” The book emphasizes the pronouns with all capital letters.
Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What Is an Adverb by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Brian Gable
Learn about adverbs quickly and clearly. (See what I did there?) “Adverbs tell us when and how. Like quickly do your homework now.” Super cute illustrations.
Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives by Ruth Heller
Adjectives identify things by color, number, and size, among other things. Read playful examples of mysterious, gorgeous adjectives. . .
Over Bear, Under Where? by Julie Hedlund, illustrated by Michael Slack
You will laugh your way through this darling story about two friends, a bird named Under and a mole friend named Over. It’s a silly “Whose on First?” preposition-filled story about these two friends, Over and Under, who stand, cook, and play with each other. When they see Bear (who is between and behind) he and Dog join Over and Under at the park.
If You Were an Adjective by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Sara Gray
This book reminds you that the elephant is a noun. Adjectives tell us about the elephant. (Gray, gigantic, wet.) If you were an adjective, this book tells you what you would do… Colorful illustrations and text make this visually appealing.
Adjectives Say Incredible! by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Lauren Lowen
A cheerful book with adorable blue-circle characters who speak in dialogue bubbles with the adjectives written in blue.
Under, Over, by the Clover: What is a Preposition? by Brian P. Cleary
Goofy, cute cartoon cats act out how prepositions show where, time, and place. (I also like the book In, Over, and On the Farm by Ethan Long which isn’t specifically about prepositions but demonstrates their use perfectly.)
Bonus Parts of Speech Activity IdeaApply your knowledge to parts of speech with a grammar sort. Use your cut-out words and make your own parts of speech books.
If you’re wanting to teach your students to play with words and learn about figurative language, try these picture books.
The King Who RainedDear Deer: A Book of HomophonesThe Great Dictionary CaperCat Says Meow: And Other AnimalopoeiaSkin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What Are Similes and Metaphors? (Words are Categorical)Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile StoryAnn and Nan Are Anagrams: A Mixed-Up Word DilemmaMom and Dad are Palindromes
HOMOPHONES & HOMONYMS
I love this classic picture book. The illustrations say it all about the confusion of homophones and homonyms. The girl imagines what her daddy says about forks in the road with literal forks and the king who reigned. Super funny!
Aunt Ant writes her dear deer about the zoo animal’s behavior. Like the Horse who is hoarse from humming a hymn.
GRAMMAR / WORD PLAY
How do I describe this unique typographic picture book of animal sounds and shapes? Well, prepare to be dazzled as you find the word in the animal image. Hear onomatopoeia and see animalopoeia! I LOVE this picture book!
Rhythmic, repetitive, delicious words with alliteration and onomatopoeia make this an excellent book to read aloud to your children. Toad’s having quite a busy day; a day where he encounters may other creatures. He begins as he ends, on a twig in the middle of the puddle… Highly recommended as a mentor text.
SIMILIES / METAPHORS
Simple, funny explanations and examples teach kids about similes and metaphors. Adorable cartoon-like illustrations decorate this picture book mentor text.
Follow Rudy as he pokes Babette which turns into a fun chase across town. These smilies are cliches but their use makes the point for kids just how similes can work in a story.
Anagrams are words that when mixed up spell different words or phrases using all the letters. The authors make it easy to tell by putting the anagrams in similar fonts and tell the story of a mixed-up word world. Use this wordplay picture book in the elementary classroom. “Bring me to your AUNT. She’s A NUT.” “Poor Grandma! What a VILE, EVIL way to LIVE.”
Bob’s teacher, Mis Sim, shows him that there are palindromes everywhere. Palindromes are words that are the same forwards and backward. Find the 101 palindromes in this silly picture book!
I absolutely adore these punctuation picture books, so do kids. You’ll love how these picture books make punctuation playful.
Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers by Steve Newberry
These four punctuation mark friends want to play together but what should they do? They all have different ideas that will crack you up. Believe it or not, this is a totally hilarious picture book about… punctuation!! Teachers and homeschoolers, you’ll want this in your repertoire of picture books. (My favorite punctuation mark is the butterfly-loving, slightly confused Question Mark.)
PUNCTUATION, CAPITAL LETTERS
Teachers, this will make a fun read-aloud and mentor text! Little i travels to find his missing dot and discovers punctuation: commas and a period as well as a delightful surprise at the end. He’s grown into a word: I.
PUNCTUATION – APOSTROPHES
Where DO you put an apostrophe anyway? Silly examples and illustrations show you how meanings will change. “The dogs like my dad.” or “The dog’s like my dad.” Ha, ha.
Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
PUNCTUATION – EXCLAMATION MARK
I love this book so much. It’s the journey of the exclamation mark. He stands out. But he wants to fit in. Until he realizes his purpose. You’ll love this wonderful message which is also a great book for teaching about punctuation marks.
Exclamation Points Say Wow by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Chris Garbutt
In this picture book about punctuation, the exclamation points are backstage at the theater. Learn what they do and read the examples of exclamation points making their…uh, point.
Commas Say Take a Break by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Chris Garbutt
Commas are never in a hurry to explain the commas who narrate this story and share tips in dialogue bubbles. While some text explains what commas can do, the rest is a story about a whale and his friends, the jellyfish and the seagulls, who write letters to the whale when she’s on a trip. I’m so impressed by how skillfully the story and the instruction are woven together.
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