I have always been a reader and am trying to instill the love of reading in my children. I am proud to say that I have been successful with my older son who is a voracious reader. So much so that I have compiled a list of books for teens and pre-teens as well.
My toddler who just turned three also loves books. He is at the point where he looks at books for a good part of the day and wants us to read to him often.
The world of books is so vast that we may miss out on a lot of great titles. Because of this I have compiled a list of books for toddlers and preschoolers based on what both of my kids have enjoyed and recommendations from friends.
I have intentionally left out some of the perennial favorites since I think most of us know and love Good Night Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, etc. If you have any books to share that didn’t make this list I would love to hear about them!
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For more great titles check out my Pinterest board!
Alice and Greta by Steven J. Simmons and Cyd Moore
I discovered this book kind of at random when Red was little. It is a story of two young witches; one uses her magic for good and the other uses her magic for mischief. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is a great lesson in teaching children how their actions have consequences, both good and bad.
Cars and Trucks and Things that Go by Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry is an author from my childhood. I loved looking at the fun illustrations in his books, especially funny cars like pickles and hot dogs. This book isn’t so much a bedtime story as it is just a fun book for kids to look at.
Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin Jr
A great book for learning numbers and how to count. My son loves this book and counting along.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Mo Willems is a favorite in our house. I love the modern vintage look of his illustrations and his witty storytelling. This is a good book for older toddlers to “read” along to and is easy for them to memorize so they can read it to you.
Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss
Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? This book is a fun twist on learning the alphabet with typical Seuss silliness.
The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
Yet another fun title by Dr. Seuss. One could write an entire post on just Dr. Seuss books alone. This is was a favorite of both of my children.
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
This book. Where do I start with this book? Since we love Mo Willems’ pigeon books so much we checked this one out from the library. I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to read. This book is so funny that I had a hard time getting through it the first time. I literally laughed until I cried. My husband laughed, my teenager laughed. It took three times reading it before I could finish it without cracking up. This one is better for older toddlers since it’s on the longer side but definitely worth a read.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Very cute bedtime book for boys and I think girls would love it too. It’s perfect for the child who loves vehicles like mine does.
Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
There aren’t many words in this book so it’s perfect for younger toddlers with a shorter attention span who love to look at pictures. With great illustrations and cute, funny story this is a great addition to your child’s collection.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (etc.) by Laura Numeroff
We love the If You Give a _____ a _____ books. I was introduced to them when my older son was little and my second son loves them just as a much. Humorous and rhythmic storytelling makes them a favorite.
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are gets a lot of attention, as it should, In the Night Kitchen is another one that should be in your collection. This was one of my very favorite books when I was a child so when I had kids of my own I had to make sure they had it, too. They both love it just as much as I did. The illustrations are amazing and Mickey invites you into his dream about the Night Kitchen.
It’s Too Noisy! by Joanna Cole
We inherited this book when my oldest son was little and I’m glad we did. It is a story about a farmer and his very large noisy family. To get some relief from the noise he visits a wise man to ask him what to do. The solution ends up being pretty creative.
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry
This beautifully illustrated rhyming book is sure to be a favorite. This story teaches children how to be respectful and thoughtful of others by helping out when you can.
The Maisy books by Lucy Cousins
We love Maisy. The pictures are mostly in primary colors with short text that makes these books very easy for little ones to memorize. I no longer read these books to my toddler, he” reads” them to me.
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
As a young toddler I had to read this book to my son several times a day. It’s a fun story that makes young children giggle.
Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean
Right now my son is obsessed with Pete the Cat. This was another library discovery that we ended up adding to our collection. Pete is a groovy cat who likes to sing his silly songs because it’s all good. As I write this my son is singing this story with his father.
Snow by Uri Shulevitz
A very nice winter story without many words but it doesn’t need them. The illustrations tell the story beautifully.
There’s a Cow in the Road! by Reeve Lindbergh
Rhyming stories seem to be a favorite of children and this is another one. When we read this book my son and his older brother before him love to read along. “…and the cow said moo” on every other page is their part and they say it loud and proud.
Another book from my childhood that I had to make sure was in my children’s’ collection. Who doesn’t love Grover? Grover hears that there is a monster at the end of the book and he does everything he can to keep the reader from getting to the end of the book. There is also a sequel with Elmo but it isn’t nearly as good as the original. This is another great read along book for young children.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Another classic. The illustrations are arts and craftsy and the story goes through the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly in a very cute way.
What is/was your toddler’s favorite book?