From Head to Toe By Eric Carle

  Contributed By Stories Of Us  , , , ,     , , , , , ,

March 27, 2017

Can you do it? ‘I can do it!’ is the confidence-building message of this fun-filled interactive picture book. A variety of familiar animals invite young children to copy their antics, and as they play, they will learn such important skills as careful listening, focusing attention, and following instructions. Just as alphabet books introduce the very young child to letters and simple words, From Head to Toe introduces the basic body parts and simple body movements. And in the same way that children progress from understanding simple words to reading and writing sentences and stories, so they will progress from simple body movements to dancing, gymnastics, and other sports and activities, with confidence and pleasure.

  • Minimum Reading Time: 10 mins
  • Est. Time for All Activities: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Yields: Read, Talk, Sing, Play


Get the Book

Hong Kong Public Libraries


SING - Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

TALK - Transition to Book

READ - Story Time 15 Minutes

TALK - Discuss the Story

PLAY - Activities

Ingredients can be used in any order for any duration of time. Set aside at least 1 hour for the play activities.


Preview the book before reading it with your child. Flip through the pages. Notice the pictures.

Select a designated read-aloud area. This area should be inviting and comfortable. Try to use the same area every time to build a routine.

Story Seasoning: From Head To Toe is a great book to read during the day or morning when your child is full of energy. This book is perfect for children who don't like to sit still.

Add Reading Sweeteners: Because this book calls for active movement, you may want to sit next to the child or across from the child as you all engage in the story. Participate in the actions with your child and make sure they can see the pictures as you read-aloud.

Avoid Problem Peppercorns: For the 15 mins you are engaged in the storytelling recipe remove any distractions that might compromise your time with your child.




1#Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (speeding-up version) Lyrics can be found in the video description box.

2Point out the different animals you see in the song. Name each animal. “Oh looks there’s an __________, and a __________, and a __________." Let the child say the animals with you if they decide to join in. If not, you are directing their attention to the animals in the video.

3Before starting the song, review the words to the songs with your child without singing. Here'a slower paced version of the song.


1Cover: Point to the title “I’m going to read a book, called From Head to…"(point to your toe) invite your child to say the word for you. If they say “foot”, shake your head and let them try again. If you’re able to wiggle your toes as you point, do so. If the child responds with “toe” give them a high five or some form of praise. If the child doesn’t answer correctly the second time, use the SAME tone of voice you would use for the correct answer and say “Toe”.

2Ask them: Where are your toes? Let them point to their toes.

3Introduce the language that will be in the book: “I can wiggle my toes (wiggle your toes as you say this). Can you do it?"
Invite the child to wiggle their toes with you.

4Where is your head? Let them point to their head. Say “I can nod my head. Can you do it?" Invite the child to nod their head, and then give them a high five (or other form of affirmation) once done.

5Redirect their attention back to the book cover. Point to the Gorilla – and tell them what the animal is. Then say “I wonder what this story is about?” Make up a silly answer to your question, then ask the child in a casual tone, similar to what you would use in a conversation – “what do you think its about?” Wait for their answer.

6*If your child is too young to answer, then speak for them, and model a response. If they join in with gibberish, acknowledge their language attempt and agree with them as though they said the same words you did.

7Transition into reading the story by saying “Well let’s find out.”

READ 10 Minutes

1Add a generous amount of Story Seasoning. Read in a lively, engaging way, using voices, gestures, and expressions can enhance understanding. Change your voice for each animal.

2As the story opens with the penguin, you can stand up and waddle across the room as you read his line. Turn your head from side to side as you speak. When you read the last line, point to your child and ask “Can you do it?”.

3As you read the next page, change your voice to sound like a child and say “I can do it” then turn your head.

4Before turning to the next page, ask your child if they can help you “read” the story. Explain to them that each time you ask them “Can you do it?” you'd like them to say* (or shout) “I can do it!”. Invite them to use a silly voice or any type of voice they want. You can lead the way based on the voices you apply within the story.

5*If your child is too young to answer, then speak for them, and model a response. If they join in with gibberish, acknowledge their language attempt and agree with them as though they said the same words you did.

6After the third animal in the book, before turning to the next page say aloud “hmm I wonder what animal we will see on the next page?” Then give a suggestion.
“Maybe we will see a lion, or a hippo, or a _________?" Let your child contribute a suggestion. As you all are guessing, slowly turn to the next page of the book. So that you all are trying to guess the animal as it is gradually revealed

7Story Seasoning: Use a piece something to cover the page before your show the next animal to your child, and then guess with them on what the next animal will be. Use a dramatic motion to cover the animal picture so the child knows it's a game, and guess with them, so they are not engaging in the activity alone. When you are ready to show the animal, pull the covering down slowly and build suspense.
Express great surprise when you see the next picture, and if they guessed correctly, give them an affirmation.

8Story Seasoning: With each new animal comes a different body movement. Remember to first model the behavior you want your child to recreate, then invite them to do the same by asking “Can you do it?” You can move as much as you want during the reading.

9Parent Sugar: Each time your child completes a prompt give them a high five or some sort of positive affirmation for participating with you. Show them you’re having a great time with them.

10At the end of the story announce “The End” as you close the book.


1Discuss the story with your child. Open the book up again, and show them which page was your favorite and what you liked most about your story time with them. Share a moment that just happened during the story time you spent together. Then ask them which page was their favorite, and what they liked most about the story.

2*If your child is too young to talk, you can add your own animals to the story, and make up new actions and let the child continue to mimic you and try to say “I can do it!” As you march around the room. Think of an adult child conga line.

3Compliment your child on something they did well during the read aloud. How they participated, how they laughed, how they listened. Pick anything, and celebrate them for it.


1Pick from any of the 35 activities listed here.

2The play activities for this section are specially selected for active kids who may get bored easily. You now have a wealth of options at your disposal.


Harper Collins



Star Rating

4.8 (Amazon); 4 (Goodreads)


0 Reviews

All fields and a star-rating are required to submit a review.