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Here are some of our favorite books to introduce make-believe play themes. To see more titles for specific play themes, choose the theme below.

Family Theme Grocery Theme
Restaurant Theme Doctor/Hospital Theme
Pets Theme Other Themes


Join Nellie and Gus and their family — plus all manner of other families — for a day at the zoo, where they see animal families galore! To top off their day, Nellie and Gus invite friends and relatives for a fun dinner at home. Accessible, humorous, and full of charming illustrations depicting families of many configurations, this engaging story interweaves conversations between the siblings and a matter-of-fact text, making it clear to every child that whoever makes up your family, it is perfectly normal — and totally wonderful.


What Happens at a Supermarket? (Where People Work)


The I Want to Be… series gives young children a realistic insight into the working day of adults. Easy-to-read captions and color photographs of men and women from different cultures help children understand what’s involved in each occupation. Young readers learn all about what it takes to do an interesting job well. Along the way, they appreciate the contributions these workers make to our lives and the world around us. Popular cooking shows on television are capturing the imagination of youngsters as well as adults, and children are keen to know what it takes to become a professional chef. In I Want to Be a Chef, young readers will learn about what goes on behind the scenes of a restaurant. They’ll observe chefs mixing, chopping, baking — and working as a team. They’ll find out about training, assisting, different types of chefs, and safe food-handling practices. They’ll also learn about chefs who write cookbooks and host television shows. The book ends with a checklist that summarizes the qualities of a good chef. I Want to Be a Chef is packed with real-life photos and includes interesting and easy-to-read captions — plus a recipe or two. It’s a book in which the whole family can become involved.



On Career Day the children in Mrs. Madoff’s class take turns introducing special visitors. Every visitor has something interesting to share, and together the class learns all about the different work people do. In the fourth Mrs. Madoff book, Anne and Lizzy Rockwell revisit Mrs. Madoff’s class as they help young readers explore the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”


The I Want to Be… series gives young children a realistic insight into the working day of adults. Easy-to-read captions and color photographs of women and men from different cultures help children understand what’s involved in each occupation. Young readers learn to respect the importance of doing a job well and appreciate the contributions these workers make to our life and the world around us. These books are perfect for reading alone or in group story times. They are certain to spark questions and encourage dialogue and prompt children to learn more about these occupations.