What a Wonderful World – a dreamlike sing-along for storytime

thWhat a Wonderful World is a feel good picture book that makes you more aware of our planet.


Bibliographic Info:  Hopgood, Tim (illustrator) What a Wonderful World Henry Holt and Company (2014) 32pp  Formats:  Hardcover, Paperback, iBook ISBN 978-1-62779-255-4, Kindle  Interest Level: 9 months-9 years  Reading Level (Grade Equivalent): NA  Genre: Sing-along/Music  Themes: Music, Humanitarianism, Earth

StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1What a Wonderful World was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on March 15th, 2015 and has been selected for the PictureBookWOW and Picture eBookWOW collections at storytimeWOW.com.  Read the Storytime section below for details on why it was selected.


Summary:  A picture book depicting the lyrics of an American standard by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss as sung by Louis Armstrong.

th-1Review:  What a Wonderful World is a visually lush picture book that depicts the lyrics of the classic song What a Wonderful World as sung by Louis Armstrong in his gravelly-voiced trademark style.  StorytimeWOW highly recommends taking this beautiful and touching journey.  Experiencing the book reminds us how lucky we are to exist on such a beautiful and colorful planet.

Storytime:  What a Wonderful World (in both print and eBook formats) meets the following StorytimeWOW Standards:

  • The song is a popular American standard. Combine its built-in popularity with Hopgood’s beautiful artwork and the result is universally appealling.
  • A strong writing/illustrating relationship is evident.  The song existed well before the book, however its lyrics make a wonderful picture book.  Plus, the illustrations strongly compliment the lyrics.
  • Combining the book and song to create a sing-along during storytime will bring the “WOW” factor (which means it’s enjoyable for kids).
  • What a Wonderful World is very well-suited for repetition.  It could make an awesome weekly goodbye/closing sing-along.
  • This book’s illustrations work well for group storytimes.
  • The takeaway is that the sing-along makes both reader and listener feel good.  You close the book with an elevated spirit and greater awareness of this beautiful world we live in.
  • Using both the song and book will result in a sing-along activity that is free of squirmy moments.
  • The interest level of this story includes the storytime target of toddlers and preKs.
  • The book includes the lyrics and encourages singing participation. 

th-2Storytime Tips:  What a Wonderful World is a welcome addition to children’s storytime.  Unfortunately, the book does not come with the song itself (so you need to buy it separately).  Buy it!  StoytimeWOW highly recommends using the iBook (on a large screen monitor or with a projector) and playing the song as you turn the pages.  The result is a breathtaking sing-along experience for your audience that will elevate your storytime.


Early Childhood Education and Development:  The following lists the stand-out benefits of What a Wonderful World across various early childhood education (ECE) and child development checklists.

1. What a Wonderful World is a picture book/eBook that cultivates the following Pre-Reading Skills (see full list of pre-reading skills here):

  • Noticing print and following words on a page or screen (print awareness).
  • Cultivates interest and enjoyment in books (print motivation).
  • Being able to describe things (narrative skills)

2. This picture book/eBook provides opportunities to utilize the Early Literacy-building Parent Practices (see full list of parent practices here):

  • Talking with children builds their early literacy.
  • Reading together is “the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers” (source:  Every Child Ready to Read).
  • Singing helps children learn new words and vocalize.

3. This picture book/eBook builds children’s Kindergarten Readiness (see full checklist here).  Children well-prepared for kindergarten are able to:

  • Listen to stories without interrupting
  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Speak understandably
  • Talk in complete sentences of five to six words
  • Look at pictures and then tell stories

4. This picture book/eBook follows Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Integrate more new media materials and technology.  Cultivate media literacy by modeling media literacy behaviors.
  • Increase focus on children’s comprehension through dialogic reading.  Ask questions before, during and after telling stories.
  • Create a more participatory culture in group programs and classroom settings.  Use materials that invite participation and keep learners engaged.

Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  During storytime, What a Wonderful World (the book and song combination) has a wonderful elevating effect across all storytime situations.  If you want to have a “feel good” experience with children (or if you want to comfort a single child) use this book and song.

Read-alikesOver the Rainbow by Judy Collins, One Love by Cedella Marley, and My Favorite Things by Richard Rogers are sing-along picture books.

Links:  author’s website   Amazon  

Other Review:  Goodreads  Wondrous Reads

I came across this picture book on the shelf of a bookstore and grabbed it.  The song’s lyrics work wonderfully as text for a children’s picture book.  Tim Hopgood’s illustrations are beautiful and dreamlike.

3Make Reading More Fun


Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!