Cause and Effect in Picture Books

Check out my top ten favorite picture books for teaching kids about cause and effect.

Don’t Slam the Door!Dori Chaconas.  Candlewick, 2010.A slamming door sets off a chain of chaotic events.  This rhyming, cumulative tale has great illustrations.  You could use this for teaching about predictions and cause and effect, or just for fun!  Picture Book.

All in One Hour.  Susan Stevens Crummel.  Marshall Cavendish, 2003.
This rhyming, cumulative story takes place in one hour, between 6:00 am and 7:00 am.  A mouse awakens a cat and so begins the chase which crashes into a fruit and vegetable stand.  Picture Book.

Aunt Pitty Patty’s Piggy.  Jim Aylesworth.  Scholastic, 1999.
In this retelling of “The Old Woman and her Pig,” Aunt Pitty brings home a fat pig that refuses to go through the gate.  Her niece tries to get some help from a dog, a stick, fire, water, etc. causing the predictably funny chain reaction.  Picture Book.

Comet’s Nine Lives.  Jan Brett.  G.P. Putnam’s, 1996.
A cat uses up eight of his nine lives trying to find a home.  Picture Book.

The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash.  Trinka Hakes Noble.  Dial Press, 1980.
A girl tells her mom about the class field trip to a farm, beginning at the end.  Eventually, her mother gets the whole story of the havoc that started with Jimmy bringing his pet boa along.  Picture Book.

If You Take a Mouse to School.  Laura Numeroff.  Laura Geringer Books, 2002.
A curious mouse sets off a chain of events when a boy gives him his lunchbox.
Also, see all of Numeroff’s other “If You” books.  Picture Book.

Slop Goes the Soup : A Noisy Warthog Book.  Pamela Duncan Edwards.  Hyperion, 2001.
Two warthogs preparing a dinner party have a humorous chain reaction of accidents, beginning with a sneeze.  Back page defines onomatopoeia and makes suggestions for creating your own.  Picture Book.

The Stray Dog.  Marc Simont.  HarperCollins, 2001.
A scruffy dog shows up at a family picnic.  They didn’t take him home, but thought about him all week.  They return to the country just in time to save him from the dogcatcher.  Picture Book.

Tomorrow’s Alphabet. George Shannon.  Greenwillow, 1996.
A cause and effect alphabet about where things come from.  “A is for seed….tomorrow’s apple.”  “D is for puppy…tomorrow’s dog.”  Clever picture book.

Tops and Bottoms.  Janet Stevens.  Harcourt Brace, 1995.
Hare has nothing but bad luck, so he forms a gardening partnership with a rich and lazy bear.  A great trickster story.  Picture Book.

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