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Interactive music books for toddlers are a fantastic way for kids to hear stories while actively engaging through buttons and music. Using the melody buttons to start songs can be part of a meaningful learning experience, as the activity gives toddlers a chance to practice matching visuals with noise and motor skills fine. Additionally, the music featured in some of these interactive music books for toddlers is lively and energetic, while others on this list feature soothing and soulful classical pieces. By exposing toddlers to a variety of tempos, their sense of rhythm begins to develop.
Reading all sorts of interactive books with your child is a great boon for their brain, but this list will focus on interactive music books for toddlers. However, if you’re interested in other ways to interact with what they’re reading, you should explore soft books for babies and read-alouds for toddlers.
But I think this mini-genre needs some changes. In particular, I was surprised by the number of classic-focused tracks, even featuring the same songs or artists. I would love to see more music styles included! Last but not least, at Book Riot, we do our best to actively promote diversity in books and publishing. This list features very few authors and illustrators of color because, well, I just didn’t find many! I would love to see that change too as various authors could lead to more varieties of music.
The Story Orchestra: The Magic Flute by Katy Flint and Jessica Courtney Tickle
I was impressed with the quality of the music in the Story Orchestra series – the music videos are brief but they sound so good! Plus, the illustrations are vibrant and detailed, and the storytelling is solid. At the end of the book there is a short glossary as well as information on each piece.
The Story Orchestra: Swan Lake by Katy Flint and Jessica Courtney Tickle
This addition to the Story Orchestra series is another win. Detailed visuals and solid sound quality make this series hard to ignore. However, these are not hardback books and the buttons require a strong push, so adults should be prepared to read this with their little ones.
Welcome to Jazz: A Celebration of American Music, with “When the Saints Go Marching In” by Carolyn Sloan and Jessica Gibson
Using a sideboard that showcases 12 concepts, styles, and various jazzy instruments, this title delivers fun tunes while teaching kids a lesson in music history. In fact, the book comes with crucial historical background, an introduction to key terms, and a suggested reading list.
Welcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using “Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5” by Carolyn Sloan and James Williamson
Three mice attend the symphony and learn all about the orchestral music, the roles of the musicians, and even the themes and dynamics.
Poppy and Vivaldi by Magali Le Huche
Poppy the dog and his friends star in this series of interactive musical adventures. In it, readers are taken through the streets of Venice as they witness a glorious carnival. It comes with 16 buttons that play lively classical music by composer Vivaldi. It’s a great way to introduce children to the excitement of combining music and stories.
Poppy and the Magali Le Huche brass band
Another book in the Poppy series – this one follows Poppy and her friends to the circus where they discover the sounds of brass and percussion. The other two books in this series include Poppy and the orchestra and Poppy and Mozart.
Allegro: A Musical Journey Through 11 Musical Masterpieces by David W. Miles and Anita Barghigiani
Allegro is tired of practicing the boring old piano. He has a small fit of growling, then is magically taken on an adventure that introduces him to music he’s never heard before, including “Claire de Lune” and “New World Symphony.” Overall, the musical snippets are decently long, and the message that music helps us understand and express ourselves is lovely.
ABC and 123 Learning Songs by Scarlett Wing and Beatrice Costamagna
This soundbook features instrumental versions of popular children’s songs like “Ants Go Marching”, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, and many more. The art is brilliant and super cute, and everything has been packaged in a sturdy hardback book format.
Happy ! ¡Féliz! by Susie Jaramillo
This hardback book features eight bilingual songs featured by Nick Jr.’s Canticos characters. Each page is divided with one side of English lyrics and the other side written in Spanish. Includes eight popular children’s songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider/La Araña Chiquitita” and “Little Chickies/Los Pollitos”.
All About Music by IglooBooks and Yoss Sanchez
This simple board book includes ten instrument sounds, allowing kids to control guitar, harp, flute, drums, piano, and more.
Sleep Songs by Scarlett Wing and Sanja Rescek
Are you trying to put your little ones to sleep in bed? These instrumental versions of sleepy lullabies are paired with uplifting and cozy imagery, and they’ll likely make bedtime a whole lot easier. Songs include “Day Is Done”, “Twinkle, Twinkle”, “Hush Little Baby”, “I See the Moon” and six others.
Happy Birthday to You: A Musical Instrument Song Book by Nosy Crow and Nicola Slater
Adorable musical animals head to their favorite cafe for a friend’s surprise birthday. In short, it includes flute, guitar, violin and piano in an exciting celebration of what makes birthdays so fun.
Laugh & Sing: Silly Animal Songs by Scarlett Wing and Yi-Hsuan Wu
This slightly altered versions of popular children’s songs. “Hairy Had a Little Llama” for “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, for example. Hilarious but be warned – “Baby Shark” is included and you know it will be played on repeat.
Noisy Orchestra by Sam Taplin
Kids will love the fun and simple art of penguins, elephants, hippos, turtles and more. An introduction to the concept of the orchestra, the text covers instruments like the violin, tuba and drums. The speaker on the side means that the buttons can be easily pressed individually and together, allowing children to bring the music into a lively and unanimous concert.
Campfire Songs by Scarlett Wing and Chie Y. Boyd (1xAOC)
This includes ten instrumental versions of songs such as ‘The Grand Ol’ Duke of York’, ‘Oh! Susanna’ and ‘The Bear Went Over the Mountain’.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Stories from the Music Box) by Clement C. Moore and Raquel Martin Peinado
It could be Christmas all day with this seasonal audiobook. Unlike the others and their traditional sound buttons, this one has a nice wind-up music mechanism that will remind you of a music box.
Carnival of the Animals by Fiona Watt and Katie Melrose
Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” accompanies delightfully vibrant and expressive illustrations of stomping elephants, swimming fish, and even fossils dancing in the ground. As a bonus, the board book comes with a QR code so kids can listen to the music online.
Listen to the Dance Music of Nosy Crow and Marion Billet
This book presents a variety of music types, featuring styles like waltz, tango, hi-hat, salsa, rock ‘n’ roll, and hip-hop.
So here are my top 18 picks for interactive music books for toddlers. I hope you enjoy reading and listening.