When kids are toddlers they tend to like the same books read to them over and over and over again. But that's great for their brains. Nevertheless, we parents may not exactly enjoy reading them repeatedly. Now that my kids are past the toddler stage, I can look back on some of the best toddler books which I didn't mind reading again and again!
In fact, I'm going to miss reading these toddler board books and can recommend them heartily to any new parents who want to raise readers and are looking to stock their bookshelf with quality books for their kids. I loved reading these toddler books, and I know you will, too.
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Ten Nine Eight by Molly Bang. Of all the books on the list, this gentle, rhyming bedtime story is my favorite. Even all these years later, I can recite the entire book from memory. And perhaps brush a tear or two from my eye!
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. This book can be found on many lists of the best toddler books and for good reason! This light-on-text board book offers humor, whimsy, a chance for kids to be “in the know” as they watch the gorilla sneak behind the zookeeper’s back. There is not a lot of text, but there is a lot of fun.
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton. I found it nearly impossible to choose a single Sandra Boynton book. In fact, go ahead and purchase her entire oeuvre! All of her classic toddler books speak so well to a little one’s need for rhyme and enchanting sounds.
Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli. By the time your child has been hanging out at the playground on the baby swings he or she will know the joys of flying, which are well replicated in this charming book.
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett. I love that Gravett created an engaging tale for toddlers with only four (and a surprise fifth!) words. Delight your child further by bringing out a few props — some fruit and a teddy bear and give them a hands-on reading experience.
Freight Train by Donald Crews. Boys and girls will adore the simple and bold illustrations and the spare but engaging text of this classic toddler board book. One of the absolute best toddler books out there!
Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins. This wordless book may not appear to be a first choice for toddlers, but studies show that “reading” wordless books to children increases their vocabulary and builds reading comprehension. As a bonus, the slapstick of this simple tale is hilarious.
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. For toddlers who are just starting to have fun with animal noises, this giggle-inducing classic is just the ticket. The dog George isn’t making the right noises, so his mother takes him to the vet where they encounter quite the surprise!
Time for Bed by Mem Fox. Fox has written a gazillion books (that’s the official count) and this one is perfect for bedtime
The danger of making a list of “best” toddler books is that inevitably some gems will be left off. But that’s what the library is for! Be sure to keep your kids bookshelves stocked at their level so they have unfettered access to the books they love. Providing sturdy board books will keep you from stressing about all those ripped pages, and toddlers who love books grow up to be adults who love to read!