The Musical Books of Iza Trapani

The Musical Books of Iza Trapani

Anne Marie is with us today to share some inspiring insights and book recommendations from the great author, Iza Trapani.


We have all been told that you should start reading to your child at an early age and as often as you can. Sometimes, though, that is much easier said than done. Keeping that toddler or preschooler in your lap long enough to complete even the shortest story can sometimes be quite a task!


About two months ago I stumbled upon an author that stopped my little ones in their tracks and had them coming back for more. We first discovered books by Iza Trapani at the library in a collection of “rhyme time” stories that we checked out. After reading the titles: Row Row Row Your Boat, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider, I grabbed the stack figuring that these would play into my kids’ love of music perfectly. Boy was I right.

The Musical Books of Iza Trapani

Both girls were entranced by the words on the page and the melody by which they flowed as I sang them songs that made the stories illustrated on the pages spring to life. I have read (or sang) these books, and many of Trapani’s others, so often that I could recite them for you now if you asked me to. I even have four favorites wrapped and ready to go for my oldest child’s birthday next month.

What drew my girls (and me) to this particular author? Trapani not only illustrates well-known nursery rhymes and children’s songs, but she adds her own twist to these wonderfully playful tunes. The melodies, combined with creative language and silly circumstances, make it easy to draw young kids in. While we’re reading Little Miss Muffet, we love to pick out some of the descriptive verbs and act them out. It’s a wonderful opportunity to make reading come alive while enhancing a growing vocabulary.


Many of her stories have morals as well, which are a great way to start introducing ideas like sharing and being kind to others.  At the end of How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? my oldest loves talking about how the little boy’s thoughtfulness pays off in the end. Baa Baa Black Sheep is a perfect story to talk about special talents; we may not all be amazing at everything, but we each have special gifts we can share with the world.

The Musical Books of Iza Trapani

For a little extra music integration, bring out some instruments and encourage your children to play along with the beat. Shakers, wooden sticks, drums, tambourines, and jingle bells are all great instruments for younger hands. Don’t have any? Put some beans or rice in a small Tupperware container and watch your children delight in the music they can create!


Since reading these books, I notice my oldest making up her own songs while engaged in imaginative play. As many of you with toddlers or preschoolers know, they love rhyming at this age. They are just tickled when they come up with their own rhymes, and are even more thrilled when you join in the fun. Authors like Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein and Bill Martin Jr. draw in young, budding readers with the rhythm and rhyme of their stories. Iza Trapani adds an extra element of music into her books, making them that much more enchanting for children.


Worried about getting the melody right? Trapani has that covered! Most of the stories that she retells are common nursery rhymes that you are probably already familiar with. If not, at the back of her books Trapani has included the music and verses to help her readers sing the words with confidence.

The Musical Books of Iza Trapani


Reading at home with your children is not only a wonderful way to bond together, but as Nicole Clevenger mentioned in her post “8 Ways To Fit Reading Into Your Busy Schedule,” it is also an important predictor in creating and supporting lifelong readers. Don’t give up on that extra wiggly preschooler of yours, there’s still hope! Try one of the many engaging, sing-song books by Iza Trapani listed below:


·         The Itsy Bitsy Spider

·         Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

·         Brilla Brilla Linda Estrella (Spanish version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

·         Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?

·         I’m a Little Tea Pot

·         How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?

·         Mary Had a Little Lamb

·         Row Row Row Your Boat

·         Little Miss Muffet

·         The Bear Went Over the Mountain

·         Shoo Fly!

·         Baa Baa Black Sheep

·         Froggie Went A-Courtin’

·         Jingle Bells

·         Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

·         Haunted Party

·         Rufus and Friends – School Days

·         Rufus and Friends – Rhyme Time


For further information on her books and more about Iza Trapani, visit her website.


For all of you Language Arts teachers out there I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mention that these books would be a wonderful springboard for a creative writing piece for young or older authors as well! Many of her books are teaming with rhyming, alliterative language and a plethora of rhyming schemes that are sure to inspire.