10 Great Books For Toddlers That Every Little Library Needs!

Finding the best books for toddlers is a journey full of funny characters, beautiful stories, morals, lessons and lots of bright colours. Of course, firm favourites from their early years will still remain, but now is the perfect time to expand your toddler’s imagination and vocabulary with new books.

Why Do Toddlers Need Books?

The Best Books For Toddlers

Out of the thousands of books for toddlers on the market, here are the 10 absolute favourites that I believe every little library should include:

1. Silver (Four Seasons of Walter de la Mare)

I love this whole series of books for toddlers that encapsulate Walter de la Mare’s beautiful poems.

They are a wonderful way to introduce your toddler to poetry enhanced by Carolina Rabel’s lovely illustrations and Silver is a stunning example to add to your toddler’s library.

Silver (Four Seasons of Walter de la Mare)
One spring evening, the fairies gather in the woods. Two sleepy children join in the parade to a wonderful, dream-like fairy party. The perfect quiet-time reading companion.
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2. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr Seuss

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr Seuss is a classic book that your older toddler will absolutely love.

For generations, this book has helped children learn their colours and count while keeping them fascinated with quirky rhyming and cute illustrations.

Dr Seuss: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
From one of the most beloved children's authors of all time, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish will become a firm favourite in your young one's library!
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3. Each Peach, Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Each Peach Pear Plum By Janet and Allan Ahlberg is one of my all-time favourite books for toddlers and one that my son loved too!

It has repeating text and beautifully detailed illustrations that encourage your little one to find well-known nursery characters, which is guaranteed to keep your toddler engaged over and over again!

Each Peach Pear Plum By Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Each Peach Pear Plum is a timeless picture book classic from the bestselling team Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Each beautifully illustrated page encourages young children to interact with the picture to find the next fairy tale and nursery rhyme character making it lovely to read at bedtime.
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4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Another classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar with its clever cutouts, teaches little ones counting and the days of the week in charming fashion. From babyhood, through the toddler years and beyond… this book will be a favourite for life!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle
The all-time classic picture book, from generation to generation, The Hungry Caterpillar is sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds! This sturdy and beautiful book is an incredible addition to any little reader's library.
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5. Press Here by Herve Tullet

Press Here by Herve Tullet is a surprisingly simple touch book for toddlers that gives instructions on the page to jiggle, turn and mix up the dots to the guaranteed delight of both reader and young listener. 

Toddlers will love the simplicity of this book and it will help with the learning of colours and how to follow instructions.

Press Here By Herve Tullet
Herve Tullet is an innovative and talented author whose unique approach to books for toddlers will certainly stand the test of time as this unique interactive picture book with it's power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all!
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6. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is an award-winning simple book with few words that is ideal for toddlers.

It makes a lovely bedtime story that allows both parent and child to tell this hilarious story together as they watch the zoo animals follow the zookeeper home to bed.

Good Night, Gorilla By Peggy Rathmann
It's bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who's that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin?
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7. Richard Scarry’s Best Collection Ever

Richard Scarry’s collection of books for toddlers is full of detailed illustrations that help toddlers learn the words of common objects in the world around them.

They are guaranteed to provide hours of reading fun for your little one and inspire lots of conversation too.

8. No More Diapers by Campbell Books and Marion Cocklico (Big Steps)

Potty training is a huge event in your toddler’s life and No More Diapers has proved to be a huge favourite with parents when helping their little one through this process.

Reading about a current situation that is going on in your toddler’s life will make overcoming an issue or addressing concerns so much easier to do!

No More Diapers By Big Steps
Every day your child is taking BIG STEPS forward—and potty training is one of them. This colorful board book, with vibrant art, cool novelty features like flaps and pull-tabs, and valuable tips for parents, helps them adjust in a safe and manageable way.
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9. The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas 

Toddlers experience intense emotions and are often frustrated by not being able to express them properly…

However, The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas helps your toddler explore these new emotions through the medium of colour and allows you and your toddler to tell each other how you are feeling in a way that they can easily relate to. 

The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions By Anna Llenas
Llenas' The Color Monster finds an approachable way for young children to identify their feelings, and allows for the understanding that they can have many emotions at once... It really is a great guide and conversation starter for families all over the world.
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10. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton is a brilliantly wacky rhyming book that tackles the issue of your toddler’s natural reluctance to go to bed.

Sandra Boynton understands how to capture a young child’s attention with humour and fun whilst keeping the story short and to the point, making it a fantastic book for toddlers.

The Going-To-Bed Book By Sandra Boynton
This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals 'scrub scrub scrub' in the tub, 'brush and brush and brush' their teeth, and finally 'rock and rock and rock' to sleep!
  • Funny and joyful language and illustrations
  • Will encourage little ones to embrace the bedtime routine.
  • Ideal for slightly older babies as they will be able to relate to the characters!
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Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

What To Look For When Choosing The Best Books For Toddlers

It’s no secret that I am a huge book fan… I’ve done a huge amount of research, buying, and reading books for toddlers.

And over the years, I have come to realise that there are 10 things every parent needs to look out for and include in their toddler’s library:

What To Look For When Choosing Books For Toddlers
  1. Keep stories short and sweet. Toddlers are not able to concentrate for long periods of time so the ideal book needs to capture their interest quickly and not take too long to read.
  2. Read about relatable subjects. Using books that help toddlers understand what they are feeling and experiencing, is a great way to teach them how to talk to you and for you to show them that you understand how they are feeling. Carefully chosen books for toddlers can help them through the ups and downs of potty training, the arrival of a new sibling, developmental leaps, bedtime struggles and so much more.
  3. Ensure there’s repeatable text. As your toddler’s language develops they will love to repeat new words and phrases back at you. So encourage this development with books containing repeatable texts.
  4. Include rhyming and fun texts. Rhyming text, especially funny rhyming text will capture your toddler’s attention and have them coming back again and again. Make sure you have some rhyming books in your toddler’s library and mix them up with funny, whacky rhymes as well as the more traditional ones.
  5. Have interactive features. Toddlers love to take part and do things with you, so an interactive book ticks both those boxes and has the added bonus of improving fine motor skills, improving language and teaching your little one how to follow instructions. Look for books for toddlers with flaps, cutouts and a variety of textures.
  6. Have ‘look-and-find’ objectives. In addition to interactive books for toddlers… ones that require your toddler to find things on a page are also perfect for this age group. These books improve concentration and will also have longevity in your little one’s library. Think ‘Where’s Wally’ but for younger eyes!
  7. Incorporate books without words. Picture-based books allow you and your toddler to explore the pictures together and talk about what you see and how you both think the story is developing. These types of books also give your toddler the opportunity to develop their imagination and ask lots of questions.
  8. Include simple learning books. Don’t be afraid to include some simple learning books that teach concepts like colours, shapes and numbers. Although your toddler may not understand them at first, repeating the colours, shapes and numbers as you read will be establishing these concepts in your little one’s brain, long before they can vocalise and use them.
  9. Always have ‘Good Night’ books for bedtime. Reading a bedtime book is an ideal way to get your little one ready for sleep, and encourage healthy bedtime routines whilst being a wonderful bonding experience too.
  10. Include books you enjoy too! If you have to read something over and over again… your toddler will get far more out of it if you are enjoying the story together. Look back and choose some of the books for toddlers that you loved reading as a child… chances are your little one will love them too.

TOP TIP: If you can, invest in printed books as they are more engaging and build neural connections and support the development of your child’s communication and social skills better than e-books. (source)

As an extra book for you dedicated readers, Billy’s Beetle was my and my son’s absolute favourite book to read together and he still reminisces about reading it over 28 years later!

Billy's Beetle By Mick Inkpen
A firm favourite of my son, Billy's Beetle is a beautiful story about a boy losing his beetle and going on a journey to find him whilst meeting a collection of characters along the way. I highly recommend this book as it's a lovely read for both adults and toddlers alike.
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Benefits Of Reading To Toddlers

As a parent, teaching your child to read and instilling a love of learning and exploring through words is one of the most amazing gifts you can give.

Not only does reading to toddlers offer up huge potential in the future, but it also has the following benefits:

  1. Reading to toddlers helps them to build a strong relationship with you. Cuddling with a book allows you to slow down and enjoy the time you spend together in a calm and non-confrontational way.
  2. Future academic success. Studies show that students exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all areas of their education later in life.
  3. Reading stories together teaches your toddler the basics of how to read a book by themselves. No child is born knowing that the English language is read from left to right, that words on a page have meaning or that they are made up of letters separated by a space… These are all skills that your child learns when they follow along with stories you are reading aloud.
  4. They help develop better communication and logic skills. By offering opportunities to learn how to handle their emotions and express what they want in a healthy way through books for toddlers… You will notice these stronger communication behaviours become a part of your toddler’s everyday life.
  5. Books for toddlers also teach children how to deal with emotional or stressful situations. Opening up a conversation to ease your child’s fears is what books are amazing at doing. For example, if your child is nervous about starting nursery or going on holiday, reading a story that deals with this topic can show them that their feelings are normal as well as guide them towards how to handle them.
  6. Sitting down to read develops better concentration and discipline skills. Most toddlers will squirm and become distracted when sitting down to read… but eventually, they learn to sit for the duration of the book. This practice helps with reading comprehension, stronger self-discipline, longer attention spans and better memory retention.
  7. Finally, reading instils a love of reading. As cliche as it sounds… Children who are exposed to reading are much more likely to choose books over video games, television and other forms of entertainment as they grow older.

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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