Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- 1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- 2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?
- 3. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
- 4. Winnie the Pooh Collection
- 5. Love Monster
- 6. Don't Push the Button
- 7. The Wonderful Things You Will Be
- 8. The Little Engine That Could
- 9. Dr. Seuss's ABC
- 10. All the Love in the World
- 11. The Cat in the Hat
- 12. Hop on Pop
- 13. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
- 14. First 100 Board Book Set
- 15. The Gruffalo
- 16. Curious George Book Set
- 17. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
- 18. The Going to Bed Book
- 19. Where the Sidewalk Ends
- 20. I Knew You Could Do It
- 21. Little Blue Truck
- 22. Where The Wild Things Are
- 23. Potty
- 24. In My Heart
- 25. The Rainbow Fish
- 26. The Outdoor Activity Book
- 27. Wherever You Go
- 28. Blueberries for Sal
- 29. Poke-a-Dot
- 30. Solar System
- 31. T is for Tiger
- 32. How to Catch a Unicorn
- 33. If Animals Kissed Goodnight
- 34. Barnyard Dance
- 35. Dear Zoo
- 36. Stuart Little
- 37. Brush, Brush, Brush!
- 38. Ten Magic Butterflies
- 39. Moo, Baa, La La La!
- 40. First 100 Numbers
- 41. I'd Know You Anywhere
- 42. Dinosaur Dance
- 43. I Will Love You Forever
- 44. Guess How Much I Love You
- 45. Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain
- 46. Charlotte's Web
- 47. The Story of Ferdinand
- 48. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
- 49. A Treasury of Curious George
- 50. Madeline
- 51. Five Little Ducks
- 52. Miles and Miles of Reptiles
- Happy Reading!
Ready to stock your toddler’s library? Here are the best books for toddlers and little readers!
Reading helps toddlers make sense of the big world around them. And, while a big part of toddlerhood is being active on the playground, busy toddlers should take time to rest and read for at least thirty minutes per day.
There is nothing quite like cuddling up with a good book, and it’s a great way to bond with your child. The key is to find the best, most engaging books for your growing toddler’s library.
Books for toddlers should be engaging and have the ability to grow with them. They should be able to read the same book at age two and age three in vastly different, but meaningful ways. So, you do want to put some thought into the books you choose to invest in. There are some wonderful classics and many new reads on the market full of bold pictures, funny phrases, and key learning elements like letters, colors, shapes, and emotions (among many others).
50+ Best Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
I’ve compiled a list of some of the best books for toddlers and preschoolers that will surely be favorites in your household! Each of these books is appropriate for toddlers and even young readers, and should give you a variety of interests and concepts to choose from.
Enjoy and happy reading!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a classic book that tells the story of the little caterpillar on his journey to becoming a butterfly. He eats and eats until he is a big, fat caterpillar and ready to build a cocoon, eventually emerging as a big, beautiful butterfly. With tactile holes in the story, children love to feel exactly where the caterpillar ate through each of the foods. It’s certainly an engaging story that children will return to time and time again.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear is another classic children’s book. With fun illustrations, this story reviews colors, animals, and even reviews some great sight words. With repetition and rhythm, kids love to recite this book on their own!
This is a newer book and one of my family’s favorites! Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is a wonderful read for all the construction-loving toddlers out there. One by one, each truck finishes its work and says goodnight. The illustrations feature subtle colors that won’t overstimulate a tired child. So, it’s the perfect bedtime read!
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This fantastic collection features 30 books of adventures with Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin. With their charming friends, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Rabbit, toddlers will love each of the characters and storylines. This is definitely a classic collection and will be read again and again!
5. Love Monster
This story is about a funny-looking monster looking for a friend that will love him despite his differences. It’s an adorable book that toddlers love. The artwork is great, too.
Don’t Push the Button is a fun, engaging book. As you might guess, it’s all about not pushing the big red button in the book. Larry, the interactive monster in the book, gets kids laughing every time. It’s a fun read that kids like to return to often!
Parents will enjoy this one just as much as children. It has a very whimsical and classic feel with beautiful illustrations and a very sweet message of the unconditional love that exists between parents and their children. Its narrative follows the path of wonderment, making you think of all the things a child will grow to be. You honestly might need a tissue!
This classic story has been loved by many generations and continues to earn its place in every child’s library. The Little Engine is on his way to deliver toys to boys and girls when his engine stops working. The story is all about overcoming challenges to learn the famous phrase: I think I can, I think I can.
This is one of the best ABC books around. It is written by Dr. Seuss, so if your child likes any of his other books, they’ll likely like this one as well! With fun rhymes and illustrations, this book will be a favorite way to learn all the letters in the alphabet.
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The story’s sweet message of unconditional love is perfect for this age group. With colorful illustrations and easy rhymes, this is a heartwarming book and one that my boys get excited to read.
Another classic book by Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat is full of rhyme, rhythm, and bold illustrations. The Cat in the Hat is sure to liven up every rainy day. Children will laugh and enjoy every page of this book. You can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss!
12. Hop on Pop
Hop on Pop, also by Dr. Seuss, is a book full of imagination and inspiration. Also, this one is great for beginning phonemic awareness when your little reader is ready!
Dancing monkeys lead the way through this rhyming and rhythmic book, great for beginner readers. It’s engaging and will have everyone laughing by the end. This is a must-have book for toddlers!
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Although you might think of these as baby books, this makes a great set for toddlers, too. This book set includes First 100 Words, First 100 Animals, and Numbers, Colors, and Shapes. Each of these books is great for learning new vocabulary and important concepts in an engaging way. Toddlers will love to point to pictures and say all the new words they are learning!
15. The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo is a fantastical loving monster that a mouse invents to scare off any creatures he encounters on his walk. Toddlers love the illustrations and funny rhymes throughout! Definitely a fun read.
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Curious George is one of the most funny and innocent characters. With a childlike demeanor, Curious George always manages to get into mischief. In this collection, you will receive 6 stories full of all the adventures this little monkey goes on!
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie goes through a series of funny actions and consequences that every child will laugh at and enjoy. And if your toddler loves that one, try other Laura Numeroff stories like If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Dog a Donut, and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. Sweet, wholesome fun and silliness.
Speaking of silly, Sandra Boynton is a fun author that has published countless favorites. Known for its fun rhymes, rhythms, and short and sweet storyline, The Going to Bed Book features bold illustrations of animals going through their pre-bedtime routine while on a boat.
Probably one of the most famous children’s books, Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends gives children an opportunity to delve into the world of poetry. With so many rhymes and imaginative lyrical narratives, *some but not all* of the poems in this anthology are an excellent option for any age.
Just a little word of caution: there are some poems and sentences I skip just because they aren’t fully appropriate for little ears. BUT this is a classic and for that reason, I think it represents a great opportunity to introduce your child to Shel Silverstein’s work.
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I Knew You Could Do It by Nancy Tillman focuses on the challenges we all face and shows how to overcome obstacles with encouragement. It’s a sweet, heartfelt book, and a great excuse to cuddle up and read together!
The Little Blue Truck and toad help duck, cow, goat, and other friends seek shelter as a storm blows by making all kinds of scary noises. You’ll love the beautiful illustrations, too!
This is an imaginative story of a boy named Max who sails to the mystical land of Wild Things. In addition to a fantastic narrative, the illustrations are whimsical and vivid. The book is definitely a cherished classic.
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Everyone needs a favorite potty book, and this is perfect for those just starting to potty train. It’s short, simple, and even has a touch of humor as all Leslie Patricelli books do.
24. In My Heart
This book teaches toddlers about the full range of feelings. It’s a great book that will help your toddler begin to identify their big emotions, which is an important developmental milestone!
25. The Rainbow Fish
With stunning illustrations, The Rainbow Fish introduces an array of deep-sea creatures as he ventures to find his lost shiny scale. Through his adventures, it teaches young readers that they shouldn’t be afraid to meet new friends that look different.
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This is a great book to take outside. With one-hundred activities to do, you can explore and enjoy some fresh air. This is a great way to incorporate reading time with active play– a nice, unique addition that will keep your toddler energized.
27. Wherever You Go
This book describes the adventures of a rabbit and his animal friends through the mountains and busy cities. It teaches children that there is always something interesting and new right up the road.
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Blueberries for Sal is a well-loved story! Sal and her mother go blueberry picking when they meet a mama bear and her cub. With black and white illustrations, this is a great bedtime read.
Poke-a-Dot books are lots of fun! And this one in particular is a really fun, engaging animal book. Your child will love to visit the farm animals as they turn the pages and count animals. One of the fun things about this book is that there are raised dots throughout the book that a child can push and pop! By popping each dot, it helps your child learn to count all the animals and provides the fun ‘pop’ as she learns.
30. Solar System
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Every child loves to look up at the moon! This book outlines the solar system with interesting facts on each page. The colorful pictures make it a hit for most toddlers, and it can easily grow with them as they learn more about space.
31. T is for Tiger
This is a great alphabet book that will teach your toddler his ABCs through a series of interesting animals. It features detailed illustrations of animals in their natural habitats. Eventually, as your toddler moves beyond the alphabet, this book can still be used to learn additional facts about different animal environments.
What toddler doesn’t want to catch a unicorn? This magical book is full of color, glitter, and adventure. Kids will love to set traps in an attempt to catch this mystical creature. You’ll also find that this book might set the stage for some exciting pretend play as well.
With the sweetest illustrations, If Animals Kissed Goodnight is a story featuring an array of animals who all want to say goodnight. From animal sounds to baby animal names, children love to play along. The lyrical writing offers an easy rhythm to send your little one off to dreamland.
34. Barnyard Dance
This Sandra Boynton book features dancing pigs and fiddling cows doing the barnyard dance. With amazing rhythm, you can feel the words waltz with the animals as you read through the story! Kids love to dance in tandem with the animals on the page, too!
35. Dear Zoo
This classic lift-a-flap book is a favorite among toddlers. A child writes a letter to the zoo asking for a pet. He is sent a variety of zoo animals one-by-one, but they are all sent back for one reason or another– except for the last one! This is the perfect book to teach toddlers about the difference between zoo animals and pet animals.
36. Stuart Little
Stuart Little is a classic story by E.B White. While this is a chapter book, it makes for a great read-aloud for older toddlers who enjoy following a longer narrative. This is about a little mouse who lives in New York City with a family of humans. The mouse loves a good adventure!
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With engaging illustrations and an easy-to-learn narrative, this book makes brushing teeth a fun activity. Great for toddlers who resist brushing. They might just learn to enjoy it a little bit more!
This book tells a sweet story while also introducing a few early math concepts. With beautiful illustrations and a fun cadence, this book will be a hit among toddlers.
Sandra Boynton strikes again with Moo, Baa, La La La. This book is all about the sounds animals make. It’s an exciting read-aloud and great for during playtime!
It’s easy to confuse this for a baby book, but it’s actually a terrific book for toddlers and preschoolers as they start to learn their numbers. This is a board book that is full of bright engaging pictures to help your little one learn to identify numbers 0 through 100 and how to count them. As your toddler goes through each picture, the book will help your toddler build his vocabulary, too!
I’d Know You Anywhere depicts the important message that you are always loved. This book has beautiful illustrations and a very sweet narrative that is a great addition to the bedtime routine.
42. Dinosaur Dance
Another popular book by Sandra Boynton. With high energy and rhythm, dinosaurs and dancing? You can’t get much better than that. This will easily become a toddler favorite!
This short board book is sweet and suitable for younger toddlers. With vivid illustrations, this book portrays the love between parents and baby. It’s a short and sweet read – perfect for bedtime!
Little Nutbrown Hare is determined to show just how much he loves his daddy. They go back and forth showing each other just how much they love each other, a little bit more each time! It’s a classic book with a sweet message and beautiful illustrations, and most children adore it. Definitely one of the best books for toddlers in my opinion.
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A beautiful nursery book with diverse artwork, this story, set in Kenya, is about Ki-pat who needs to bring rain to the drought-ridden land of Kapiti plain.
46. Charlotte’s Web
For older toddlers, Charlotte’s Web is a great read-aloud book. While this is a classic chapter book, children can typically follow the narrative pretty well. And believe me, they will read it again beyond the toddler years.
An old tale about a bull who would rather smell the flowers than participate in bullfighting, the story depicts just how important it is to be yourself. This book is a timeless classic that children will continue to read for generations to come!
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is a story of friendship and determination between a man named Mike and his shovel, Mary Anne. It’s a great read for kids who love machinery and tools!
This full collection of eight Curious George stories is an excellent option for toddlers who already love the mischievous Curious George, as well as those who are just being introduced. Follow Curious George, adventure after adventure!
Madeline is a classic. With lyrical rhymes and wonderful illustrations, this book is definitely a must-have. Set in Paris, it’s the story of a school girl named Madeline. I love that while the illustrations are more minimal than other storybooks, your toddler can see a few famous sites in Paris. For example, the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
What toddler doesn’t love the five little ducks song? This story is based around that familiar counting song, perfect for younger toddlers. It uses simple language and a catchy rhythm so that toddlers might even begin to recite the story on their own!
This book uses characters from the Dr. Seuss books as they travel the globe to meet a variety of reptiles. As you might guess, children will learn a variety of facts and characteristics all about reptiles. It’s a great book that both educates and entertains– the perfect read!
I hope you find some wonderful books that both you and your toddler love to read together! Enjoy reading time — I know it’s a special time that will always be cherished.
FAQs About Choosing Books for your Toddler
What do toddlers learn from reading books?
In general, reading is simply a great opportunity to spend time with your toddler. It offers a special time to cozy up and read, laugh, and talk together. You will also notice that reading aloud to your toddler will really lay the foundation for independent reading later on. Right away, you’ll see that toddlers learn about books themselves: how to hold a book, how to turn the pages, and how the pictures and words work together. Over time, you will see that they begin to learn how the arch of a narrative works (beginning, middle, and end).
As your toddler becomes more interested in the words themselves, they will learn about language, including letters and sounds. Reading a variety of stories will also allow your child to explore both imaginative and real-world concepts that help spark both curiosity and imagination, as well as help them learn social and emotional skills.
How many books should I read to my toddler each day?
Try to read to your child at least once per day. This can be one book or five books. It really comes down to the mood of the day and if your child is interested in reading. Sometimes you’ll find your toddler might want to read for 30 minutes or more and other days, your toddler might be a wiggle worm and prefer a quick 5-minute story. Either way, making a point to read once per day every day is a good measure of success. The number of books isn’t particularly important– it’s more about creating the space for quality reading time each day. You might include it in your bedtime or nap time routine – or any other time that works with your family schedule.
At what age should my toddler learn to read?
Children typically learn to read in Kindergarten and into the first grade (age 6-7 years old). Sometimes younger children will show interest and begin reading early, around ages 4-5.
What ages are board books for?
Board books are typically used for ages newborn through age 3. They are typically short and easy-to-understand stories. Their pages are stiff and easy to turn, perfect for this age group. Beyond this age, board books are useful for when your child starts learning to read.
What’s the difference between board books and picture books?
Board books are usually meant for the earliest little readers, from infancy through age 3. Since board books are made of thick, hard paperboard, their pages won’t rip easily and are perfect for little hands learning to turn pages. Picture books are typically longer stories (20+ pages or so) and generally have more complex narratives and artwork. Children age 4 and beyond are best suited for picture books.
What are some tips for reading to toddlers?
- Read slowly so that your child can take time to absorb the story and look at the pictures.
- Talk about the pictures as you read through the story. You can pause and point to different things in the pictures that relate to the story.
- Use fun voices! Try to change your voice for the different characters, particularly if there is a lot of dialogue so they can follow along. It also just makes for an entertaining read!
- Allow your child to turn the pages. This keeps them engaged.
- Allow your child to choose the book they want to read.
- Ask questions that give your toddler a chance to react to the story. For example, “why do you think he did that?” or “what do you think will happen next?”