Skip to main content

Cumulative Tales


Cumulative tales are types of folktales in which the actions or characters build and repeat; they also often include rhyming and rhythm. Familiar favorites include The Gingerbread Man and The House That Jack Built. Cumulative tales are fun for everyone, and many are especially helpful for beginning readers! Here's a list of tales that can be found at the Allen County Public Library.






Aardema, Verna
JE AARDE

A cumulative tale from the Nandi people of Kenya.
Thomson, Pat
JE THOMS

A fat cat in search of food eats up everything he meets until he swallows a bee.
Hillenbrand, Will
JE HILLE

In this cumulative nursery rhyme, a farmer and his wife prepare for a new baby as their animals secretly meet at night to plan a surprise of their own.
Fox, Mem
JE FOX

Hattie, a big black hen, discovers a fox in the bushes, which creates varying reactions in the other barnyard animals.
Norman, Kim
JE NORMA

A cumulative, rhyming tale of an ordinary pig who leaps out of his boy's arms at a state fair and wallows in color after color, turning himself into a work of art.
Bowen, Anne
JE BOWEN

In this take on the well-known cumulative rhyme, a teacher inadvertently swallows a flea, then follows it with an assortment of classroom pets while her students look on in surprise.
Polacco, Patricia
JE POLAC

A cumulative rhyme describes the uproarious chain of events that ensue when a waiter trips over a book dropped by a boy watching a bee.
Capucilli, Alyssa
JE CAPUC

A cumulative rhyme featuring rebuses, in which a parrot, a tiger, a lion, a peacock, and other inhabitants of a city zoo wake up and startle each other.
Levy, Janice
JE LEVY

After seeing a mariachi band, Antonio wants a guitar of his own but his father cannot afford one and gives Antonio a stick, instead, which leads Antonio to perform a series of good deeds, each of which provides a seemingly useless reward. Includes glossary of Spanish terms.
Plourde, Lynn
JE PLOUR

A feisty grandmother and her family struggle to get an assortment of farm animals out of the road so the family can pass in their Model-T Ford.
Gelman, Rita Golden
JER GELMA

A cumulative rhyme describes the choppy cheese, sloppy sausages, gloppy tomatoes, and floppy dough that are cooked into a pizza and enjoyed by dozens of mice.
Stojic, Manya
JE STOJI

The animals of the African savanna use their senses to predict and then enjoy the rain.
Walton, Rick
JE WALTO

A big red happy muddy smart bouncy slobbery sneaky stinky dog is praised by his proud owner.
Thompson, Lauren
JE THOMP

Bell, Babs
JE BELL

In this cumulative story, a traffic jam is created when everyone has to wait for the bridge to come down.
Vamos, Samantha R.
JE VAMOS

A cumulative tale of a farm maiden who, aided by a group of animals, prepares "Arroz con Leche," or rice pudding. Includes recipe and glossary of the Spanish words that are woven throughout the text.
Wood, Audrey
JE WOOD

Introduces various colors by presenting a colorful scene on a rock in the deep blue sea.
Aylesworth, Jim
J398.21 AYLES

A freshly bake gingerbread man escapes when he is taken out of the oven and eludes a number of pursuers until he meets a clever fox.
Winter, Jeanette
J398.8 WINTE

Simple rebus illustrations are used to present the familiar cumulative nursery rhyme about the antics that go on in the house built by an unsuspecting Jack.
Neitzel, Shirley
JE NEITZ

A young girl names all the clothes that she must wear to play in the snow.
Williams, Linda
JE WILLI

A little old lady who is not afraid of anything must deal with a pumpkin head, a tall black hat, and other spooky objects that follow her through the dark woods trying to scare her.
Lewis, Kevin
JE LEWIS

A cumulative story about the construction of a building, beginning with an empty lot at the end of the block and ending with a new house and neighbors.
Wood, Audrey
JE WOOD

In this cumulative tale, a wakeful flea atop a number of sleeping creatures causes a commotion, with just one bite.
Lobel, Arnold
JE LOBEL

MacDonald, Margaret Read
JE MACDO

When Little Boy is frightened by a squeaky bedroom door, his grandmother brings in various animals to help him feel secure enough to sleep. Includes notes on the story's origins.
Klostermann, Penny Parker
JE KLOST

In this variation on the traditional cumulative rhyme, a greedy, hungry dragon eventually learns moderation.
Taback, Simms
JE TABAC

Presents the traditional version of a famous American folk poem first heard in the U.S. in the 1940's with the book showing illustrations on die-cut pages that reveal all that the old lady swallows.
Taback, Simms
JE TABAC

A cumulative nursery rhyme about the chain of events that started when Jack built a house.
Schaefer, Lola
JE SCHAE

A cumulative verse describing how a sunflower in a garden blossoms and, with the help of the birds, spreads its seeds to create an entire patch of sunflowers.
Carle, Eric
J782.42 CARLE

Each day of the week brings a new food, until on Sunday all the world's children can come and eat it up.
McGovern, Ann
JE MCGOV

Peter complains his house is too noisy so the wise man advises him to obtain some rather unusual house guests.