If you’re interested in best books for toddlers, you are in the right place. Each year on April 2nd we celebrate Children’s Books Day. Well, at least we should celebrate it. Reading is extremely important for young children.
Falling on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, Children’s Book Day celebrates toddler books and encourages children (but also their parents) to read.
In our house, we love to read, but sometimes I am not sure which books are suitable for toddlers. I decided to ask other parents on Reddit to share their best books for toddlers. And Reddit community once again prove they are the best and shared with us 55 amazing toddler books..
Best Books For Toddlers
1. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble. The award-winning team behind Those Darn Squirrels! has created an unforgettable, laugh-until-salsa-comes-out-of-your-nose tale of new friends and the perfect snack. One of the best books for toddlers.
2. An Elephant and Piggie Book series by Mo Willems
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
In Waiting Is Not Easy!, Piggie has a surprise for Gerald, but he is going to have to wait for it. And Wait. And wait some more…
These masterful mini-dramas will delight and amuse early-reader and picture-book audiences, alike. This is one of our favorite toddler books so it’s not strange that it ended up on the best books for toddlers list.
3. Agate: What Good Is a Moose? by Joy Morgan Dey
Agate is a moose with low self-esteem. He feels inadequate and plain, like an ugly brown rock, especially when he compares himself to his beautiful friends who are named after birthstones.
These friend help Agate to see that just like his namesake, true beauty lies within. Stunning original watercolors, a witty, positive message about self image plus bonus pages with birthstone and agate facts.
Perfect toddler book for reading aloud.
4. The Adventures of Mini Monster Truck by Cliff Fictor
The first four books in a series on “The Adventures of Mini Monster Truck” are available just in time for the holidays. Volume 1 A Monster Truck for Johnny (Ages 2-5) tells the story of how a father created a child sized monster truck for his son. This work contains 34 real life photos that tell the story of a little boy’s dream coming true. Along the way, children learn valuable lessons while reading about a real live monster truck. Volume 1 is targeted towards those who wish to read to younger audiences.
Volume 2 A Monster Truck for Johnny (Ages 6-8) targets first time readers with more detail and information than Volume 1.
In volume 3, Johnny’s Mini Monster Truck Tows a Train Ride, mini monster truck emerges to tow a train ride at birthday parties, fairs, and on location for children to enjoy. This book provides the Segway for a book tour with live appearances.
Volume 4 Johnny’s Mini Monster Truck Rides on a Trailer appeals to children’s interest in vehicles and towing while showing a new adventure of being loaded on and riding on a trailer.”
5. But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
Serious silliness for all ages. Artist Sandra Boynton is back and better than ever with completely redrawn versions of her multi-million selling board books. These whimsical and hilarious books, featuring nontraditional texts and her famous animal characters, have been printed on thick board pages, and are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages.
6. Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Bear has come up with the perfect way to say thanks—a nice big dinner! When Bear decides to throw a feast, his friends show up one by one with different platters of delicious food to share. There’s just one problem: Bear’s cupboards are bare! What is he to do?
Karma Wilson’s playful text and Jane Chapman’s charming illustrations bring to life this celebration of family and friendship. Young readers will delight in discovering the special gift Bear has to share. This is one of our favorite toddler books.
7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin
A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck–all parade across the pages of this delightful book. Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle’s flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin’s singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.
On a train ride in 1966, the title phrase Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? popped into Bill Martin Jr.’s head. Later, he spotted an illustration of a red lobster in a magazine and contacted the creator, Eric Carle, to ask if he would illustrate his poem. So began Eric Carle’s career as a children’s book illustrator–along with a life-long collaborative friendship with Bill Martin Jr. Since then, Brown Bear and the three companion titles, Polar Bear, Panda Bear, and Baby Bear, have gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide.
8. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins
It has a great beat and repetion that encourage learning in younger children. It’s a great way to get children involved in reading and making it fun.
This is a fun book to read and watch. The rhythm is easy for adults to say and children to hear.
9. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
THE all-time classic picture toddlers book, from generation to generation, sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds! Have you shared it with a child or grandchild in your life?
“The very hungry caterpillar literally eats his way through the pages of the book—and right into your child’s heart…”
“Gorgeously illustrated, brilliantly innovative…”
—The New York Times Book Review
10. Five Little Monkeys Series by Eileen Christelow
This treasury features a special introduction and five full-length picture books—Five Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed, Five Little Monkeys Bake a Cake, Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree, Five Little Monkeys with Nothing to Do, and Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car—as well as a lesson on how to draw your own fabulous monkeys.
Sheets of colorful stickers and musical notation round out this amazing collection. It’s the perfect addition to any child’s classic library. This is one of the best toddler books.
11. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.
12. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue
In this magical bedtime story, the lyrical narrative echoes a Runaway Bunny – like cadence: “Does everything in the world go to sleep?” the little girl asks. In sincere and imaginative dialogue between a not-at-all sleepy child and understanding parents, the little girl decides “in a cocoon of sheets, a nest of blankets,” she is ready to sleep, warm and strong, just like a tiger. The Caldecott Honor artist Pamela Zagarenski’s rich, luminous mixed-media paintings effervesce with odd, charming details that nonsleepy children could examine for hours. A rare gem.
13. The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo
Poor Rhodopis! She has nothing – no mother or father, and no friends. She is a slave, from the far-off country of Greece. Only the beautiful rose-red slippers her master gives her can make Rhodopis smile. So when a falcon swoops down and snatches one of the slippers away, Rhodipis is heartbroken.
For how is she to know that the slipper will land in the lap of the great Pharoah himself? And who would ever guess that the Pharoah has promised to find the slipper’s owner and make her queen of all Egypt?
14. Welcome to the Zoo! – picture book by Alison Jay
In this fanciful visit, Alison Jay summons her unique perspective and sense of humor to create a zoo like no other?where more than just the animals are on display. Children will delight in discovering small details and tracking narratives that play out bit by bit. Before the tour is over, kids will meet hippos, giraffes, penguins pursuing a platter of fish, exotic birds, bears, mischievous monkeys, and much more.
There’s a search-and-find element too: The last spread invites readers to go back and discover a number of amusing details throughout this cool toddlers book.
15. Gossie and Friends Board Book Set by Olivier Dunrea
When Gossie says “Follow me!” little ones are happy to comply! Here is a boxed set of four best books for toddlers about everyone’s favorite goslings.
Includes Gossie, Gossie and Gertie, Ollie, and Peedie.
Olivier Dunrea is the creator of beautiful and well-loved children’s books. A painter and a sculptor, his work centers around farms, animals, architecture, and folklore. He lives in the tiny village of Narrowsburg, New York, in the Catskill Mountains. This is one of the best toddler books.
A perfect gift for new parents, birthday celebrations, and happy occasions of all kinds, this collection of five beloved Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss—The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, and Fox in Socks—will be cherished by young and old alike. The best books for toddlers
Ideal for reading aloud or reading alone, they will begin a child on the adventure of a lifetime!
THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL—aka Dr. Seuss—is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. From The Cat in the Hat to Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, his iconic characters, stories, and art style have been a lasting influence on generations of children and adults.
17. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room–to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one–he says goodnight.
In this classic of modern children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.
18. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they’ll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.
19. Pete the Cat series by James Dean
Pete the Cat is back in New York Times bestselling artist James Dean’s picture book Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, written by Kimberly Dean.
Pete the Cat wakes up feeling grumpy—nothing seems to be going his way. But with the help of some magic sunglasses, Pete learns that a good mood has been inside him all along. Fans of Pete the Cat will love watching him take his positive outlook and transform a grumpy day into an awesome day!
Pete the Cat feels blue until Toad shares his “Cool, Blue, Magic sunglasses” that make birds sing, skies brighten, and the sun shine. He rides his skateboard down the sidewalk and encounters animal friends along the way who are also feeling unhappy or grumpy.
20. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Bear’s cave fills with animal friends as he sleeps in this classic book from New York Times bestselling team of Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.
One by one, a whole host of different animals and birds find their way out of the cold and into Bear’s cave to warm up. But even after the tea has been brewed and the corn has been popped, Bear just snores on!
See what happens when he finally wakes up and finds his cave full of uninvited guests—all of them having a party without him!
21. Clifford Collection by Norman Bridwell
Celebrate Clifford’s 50th anniversary with this collection of classic stories! The eye-catching cover design will have red foil and matte and spot gloss.
This book includes: Clifford the Big Red Dog, Clifford at the Circus, Clifford Gets a Job, Clifford Takes a Trip, Clifford’s Good Deeds, and Clifford’s Trick.
Also included in the book is an original letter from Norman Bridwell to the reader, information about the creation of Clifford–including an image of Norman’s 1962 painting that inspired the Clifford series, the story behind the real Emily Elizabeth, and more!
22. Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
Spot believes he deserves to be in the zoo with the other amazing animals. In this Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss, Spot shows two young friends all the exciting things he can do with his spots. From changing their color and juggling them to moving them onto everything around him, you won’t believe what Spot can do. Beginning readers will be delighted by Robert Lopshire’s lively tale that proves there is a special spot for everyone.
Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.
23. Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato
Amid the hustle and bustle of the big city, the big crowds and bigger buildings, Little Elliot leads a quiet life. In spite of the challenges he faces, Elliot finds many wonderful things to enjoy–like cupcakes! And when his problems seem insurmountable, Elliot discovers something even sweeter–a friend. Best books for toddlers!
“Little Elliot, with his upswept trunk and his angel-wing ears, is a cuddly-looking elephant with pastel polka dots all over his body, all the more amusingly incongruous living in a 1930s-esque version of New York City . . . Children will relate to Elliot’s experiences.” – The Horn Book
24. How Do Dinosaurs Series by Jane Yolen
In a few simple lines of verse on each spread, fathers and mothers are ready to put their youngsters to bed. But in this book, the youngsters are a wide variety of dinosaurs. And how do dinosaurs say good night?
Filled with wonderful detail and humor, children and their parents will love the expressions and antics of the eleven different dinosaur children depicted here, and each species is spelled out somewhere in the young dinosaur’s bedroom. In the end, young dinosaurs behave a lot like people do: They give a big kiss, turn out the light, tuck in their tails, and whisper “good night.”
25. The Big Hungry Bear by Rozanne Williams
Research has proven that children need to read aloud new material four times to achieve maximum benefit, and as many of those readings as possible should be accompanied by immediate feedback from an adult. As young readers become more fluent, they vastly improve their comprehension. To accomplish this, children need books that are captivating and inspire a positive reading experience. All books in this series include a refrain that provides students with the built-in opportunity to reread the same text. The rhythm, rhyme, repetition, and dialogue provide opportunities for students to use voice inflection and expression. The motivating content provides a fun, interactive reading experience that will inspire young readers to want to read and reread these books over and over.
26. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
The bestselling Giraffes Can’t Dance is now a board book!
Giraffes Can’t Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.
With light-footed rhymes and high-stepping illustrations, this tale is gentle inspiration for every child with dreams of greatness.
27. 10 Minutes till Bedtime by Peggy Rathman
It’s almost bedtime! At 1 Hoppin Place the fun begins when a family of hamsters-with ten offspring wearing jerseys numbered from one to ten-arrives at the door. There are only ten minutes left, and there’s still so much to do! But with the help of the Hamsters’ 10-Minute Bedtime Tour (guided by his own pet hamster), the little boy is able to get his toys put away, his pajamas on, his teeth brushed, and his bedtime story read-all in the nick of time. This lively introduction to bedtime rituals and the concept of counting backwards will have young readers eagerly awaiting their own countdown to bedtime.
28. If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul
In a cozy bedtime chat with her mom, a young girl wonders how animal families might say good night. Would Wolf and his pup “kiss and then HOWL”? Would Bear and her cub “kiss and then GROWL”? But what about Sloth and her baby? They move soooo slooowwwww . . . they’re sure to be kissing from early evening until long after everyone else is fast asleep!
With whimsical art and playful rhyming verse, this picture book is now in board book format for the first time, perfect for bedtime snuggles.
29. I Love You Through And Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak
A rhyming story of unconditional love and adorable illustrations of a toddler and a teddy bear who declare “I love you through and through!”
A toddler and his teddy bear illustrate a young child’s happy side, sad side, silly side, mad side, and more! Babies and toddlers will feel loved all over when they hear this declaration of adoration and affection!
The book has sturdy cardstock pages and a padded cover with rounded corners for safe handling by little ones.
30. On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Here is the best book for toddlers that celebrates the one and only ever you! Now available in its entirety in board book format, Nancy Tillman’s masterpiece is perfect for acknowledging the special people in our lives that they are loved.
The birth of a baby—”the one and only ever you”—causes jubilation throughout creation in this quietly celebratory picture book from newcomer Tillman.
31. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
“There was one little baby / who was born far away. / And another who was born / on the very next day. / And both of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes.” No matter which part of the world a baby comes from—born on the ice or in a tent—that baby has “ten little fingers / and ten little toes,” the pleasing refrain of this wonderful, rhyming tribute to the chubby, sweet universality of babies of all colors. Helen Oxenbury’s soft, rounded babies are captured perfectly in soft, rounded watercolors.
32. Doodle Bites by Polly Dunbar
When Doodle the alligator is feeling bitey, the backside of Tumpty the elephant looks very tempting. But now Tumpty is sore — in more ways than one — and promptly stamps on Doodle’s tail. No wonder everyone’s upset! Luckily, the friends agree to apologize, and all is well — at least until Doodle starts to feel bitey again.
33. The Day Louis Got Eaten by John Fardell
Another gem from the award-winning creator of Manfred the Baddie and Jeremiah Jellyfish Flies High!
Louis has been eaten by a Gulper and it’s up to his sister, Sarah, to rescue him! But, pulling a boy out of a gulper’s tummy isn’t all that simple. Especially when there are many other strange and scary creatures hungry for their dinner, too.
Louis and his sister find themselves deep inside the stomach of a Saber-toothed Yumper when a leisurely bike ride through the woods turns into a monstrous chase into prehistoric lands. After Louis is swallowed by a Gulper, Sarah sets off to rescue him, but each creature that consumes him is set upon by a larger one, and the chase is on.
34. Dinosaur Roar by Paul Stickland
Dinosaurs of every shape and size race, roar, and stomp through this colorful book of opposites. And where are all these silly-looking creatures off to?
A dinosaur picnic, of course!
These prehistoric pranksters and the simple, playful rhymes that accompany them will delight children everywhere. Dinosaur Roar! is an entertaining way to introduce preschoolers to the concept of opposites.
Ages 3-5. Dinosaurs are the gimmick here, not really the subject. The subjects are, first, antonyms–such as above/below and weak/strong–and then lunch.
35. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Dear Zoo is twenty-five years old — and still as popular as ever!
And with an updated look, this classic children’s storybook about a youngster loooking for a perfect pet is sure to delight a new generation of readers!
Rod Campbell makes books for babies and toddlers, the best known being Dear Zoo, which has sold over two million copies worldwide. All his books have simple text, often with repeating phrases, ideal for the pre-reader. He uses flaps and touch-and-feel elements when appropriate.
36. Spot the Dog Series by Eric Hill
It’s time to celebrate Spot?s thirtieth birthday! For three decades children have been looking everywhere for Spot in this classic, first-ever lift-the-flap book. Is he in the piano? Is he under the stairs? After finding other familiar animals, there he is in his basket!
The original “Spot” book is now offered with a Signed English translation. The text and illustrations are identical to the original, with the addition of line drawings showing the American Signed English hand move ments. Signing is simply and accurately illustrated. It is easy to distinguish the placement of the hands in each sign. Dotted lines show the beginning place ment of the hands, arrows point the direction to follow, and a solid black line indicates the final position of the hands.
37. How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
Once there was a boy, and that boy loved stars very much. So much so that he decided to catch one of his very own. But how? Waiting for them to grow tired from being up in the sky all night doesn’t work. Climbing to the top of the tallest tree? No, not tall enough. The boy has a rocket ship . . . but it is made of paper and doesn’t fly well at all. Finally, just when the boy is ready to give up, he learns that sometimes things aren’t where, or what, we expect them to be.
Oliver Jeffers offers a simple, childlike tale of reaching for the stars, and emerging with a friend.
38. Tabby McTat, the Musical Cat by Julia Donaldson
A purr-fectly rollicking adventure from superstars Donaldson & Scheffler!
Tabby McTat loves his life on the streets with his owner, Fred, singing (and caterwauling) for coins that people throw in Fred’s hat. But one day, Fred is in an accident, and the two are separated! Will Tabby and Fred find their way back to each other?
From the creators of A Gold Star for Zog and Stick Man, Tabby McTat is a touching story of friendship, loyalty, singing – and kittens!
39. The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland
Four animal friends cheer up a very cranky bear.
Nick Bland’s expressive, adorable illustrations complement delightful, rhyming, read-aloud text in this lesson about the importance of sharing with others in one of the best books for toddlers.
Moose, Lion, Zebra, and Sheep take shelter in a cave on a cold and rainy day, only to realize that a bear is there. The bear roars loudly and says that he is trying to sleep. Not understanding why the bear is so cranky, the other animals come up with ways to cheer up the bear. Moose finds antlers for him, Lion gives him a mane, and Zebra paints on stripes. Is there anything the four well-meaning friends can do to help the bear sleep?
First published in 1984, a picture book in which the Little Mouse will do all he can to save his strawberry from the Big, Hungry Bear, even if it means sharing it with the reader.
The Little Mouse and the Big Hungry Bear are known and loved by millions of children around the world and it’s one of the best books for toddlers. Little Mouse loves strawberries, but so does the bear…How will Little Mouse stop the bear from eating his freshly picked, red, ripe strawberry.
If you have some good books for toddlers you would like to add to the list of best books for toddlers, feel free to leave it in the comments.
“It’s not so much about what book you look at, it is how you interact with the toddler. Toddlers don’t read but love looking at pictures, so books with lots of pictures are great. The thing to do is to ask questions – “Where’s the mouse?”, “What color is the house?”, “Shall we count the trees together?” etc.
So you could use the Encyclopedia Britannica if you want, the book isn’t really that important as long as it’s got lots of nice pictures.
Also do funny voices, kids love funny voices.” by James Johnson about Best books for toddlers.
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