Toddler development

20 Best Toddler Books for Your Home Library

Get them started with these fun-to-read toddler books early.

By Candace Powell

20 Best Toddler Books for Your Home Library


The best toddler books do a plethora of things — namely, gift you with precious, ever-fleeting time with your growing child. Beyond that, books are great tools to strengthen language, social-emotional development and cognitive function.

The more toddlers are exposed to books, the better the benefits. Add a few favorites to your newborn checklist for your home library so you and your little one can share on their adorabl toddler mattress at story time.

What to look for in the best toddler books

When browsing for the best toddler books, consider your child's age and stage as a jumping-off point. Books with bold, bright images or even textures can help with sensory development. Rhyming books and stories with their favorite characters are always fun.

Here are some of our favorite toddler books to get a deep love of reading going from the earliest ages.

The Mommy Book by Todd Parr

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This sweet book for early readers (ages 2 to 3) is a favorite among parents. With vibrant illustrations and easy-to-understand words, The Mommy Book touches on all the different kinds of mommies—be it those who sing or those who teach you to be exactly who you are—which is perfect for building your toddler's sense of empathy.

My Heart Is Like A Zoo by Michael Hall

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For all the animal-loving toddlers, My Heart Is Like A Zoo is the perfect early-reader book (ages 2 to 3) due to its recognizable shapes and win-your-heart animal illustrations. Critically-acclaimed authors and parents alike adore Hall's use of more than 300 hearts for toddlers to count and learn. It garnered five stars for good reason.

It's one of of a handful of great books preschool and daycare centers always have on their shelves.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

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If you're looking to sob for the next little while, Love You Forever will get you there. This timeless tale of a mother's love of her growing son has been deemed one of the best toddler books of all time and has sold over 15 million copies since its original release in 1986.

Read the beautifully written pages with your baby or toddler to show them that, no matter how old they get, they'll always be your baby.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

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As one of the gold-standard, bestselling books for early readers ages 1-3 years, The Very Hungry Caterpillar offers many things your toddler will love. The board book with more than 58,000 ratings on Amazon is gorgeously drawn, with a teachable tale about life, growth, and embracing change to become your best self.

Truly a timeless story that every parent should have on their bookshelf, just about every kid will read this book by the time they make it to kindergarten.

Are You A Ladybug? by Judy Allen

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Take your little one on a wild journey — as a ladybug! Follow along as Are You A Ladybug? puts you in the mind of a sweet bug exploring the world. This easy-to-read and follow-along book is accessible for readers ages 3-6 and helps your toddler learn to read.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

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Any toddler who loves made up creatures will get a kick out of The Gruffalo. The story follows a clever mouse who invents a silly "gruffalo" to stay safe in the woods. With nearly 15,000 ratings, this Amazon Teacher's Pick has a 4.9 rating for its witty, easy-to-follow writing and bold illustrations.

It's an adorable take on monsters and fears, helping them say "good night!" in peace.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Big Book by Laura Joffe Numeroff

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As one of the best toddler books around, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie should live in every child's bedroom. The heartwarming story of Mouse (who mimics every toddler on earth) who gets easily distracted. Parents of toddlers get it.

This is the first book in a series of stories that follow Mouse and it's earned a 4.9-star average with nearly 12,000 ratings on Amazon. It's the perfect book for ages one to four.

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

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For toddlers learning about emotions, this book about feeling shines. Happiness, anger, sadness and bravery are just a few feelings surrounded by beautifully illustrated artwork. In My Heart aids in emotional development in early readers ages 2 to 5.

Another plus? Many reviewers stated it helped their children learn how to express themselves after pandemic isolation.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

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This Amazon Teacher's Pick packs in a lot of heart into such a classic story. The Story of Ferdinand follows a bull who'd rather smell the flowers (literally) than be like all the other bulls.

Not only has the tale been adapted into a cartoon and movie, but it's also never been out of print since its 1936 U.S. release. Perfect for toddlers on the older side and bathroom reading when they've moved beyond early potty training.

My First Library by Wonder House Books

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Calling all animal-loving toddlers! This boxed set of 10 animal-focused board books will introduce your child to a variety of animals and more. Brightly-colored pages coupled with easy-to-read text help build vocabulary in record time.

With more than 63,000 ratings, this set makes a great gift or addition to your toddler's nighttime routine. Add a couple of teddy bears and bam—a brilliant gift idea for a three-year-old.

Ricky, the Rock That Couldn't Roll by Mr. Jay

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Five years since its release, Ricky The Rock That Couldn't Roll is still an Amazon bestseller. Toddlers will fall in love with Ricky as he and his friends find a way to help him roll.

Written in verse, this good book is best for ages three and up and helps teach the power of perseverance in the face of adversity.

Dr. Seuss's Beginner Book Collection by Dr. Seuss

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Dr. Seuss and early reading go hand-in-hand. This collection of classics introduce your toddler to the wacky world of Seuss's characters. This is one collection you can read together or they can thumb through at their toddler table and chairs set on their own, thanks to the beginner text.

There are a million reasons this set remains a bestseller with a 4.9-star average rating and over 22,000 reviews. It's a must-have bed book story collection because you can rotate each night.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

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If you're in the market for a highly-rated, bestselling, book for young ones into trucks and machinery, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is the one for you. The thick board pages make holding easy, and the rhyming text is great for helping your toddler read aloud. Bonus: If they love it, there are other construction-themed books in the series.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

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Though The Rainbow Fish was originally released in 1996, its message still holds true today—as proven by the 16,000 glowing ratings. It's the perfect addition to your early reader's daily routine. The words are easy to understand and the pastel colors and adorable fish will have them asking you to read it again and again.

Hear Bear Roar by Eric Carle

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If you've ever struggled to keep your toddler car seat exciting enough for long drives, this collection cures that.

With 30 buttons, your little one can entertain themselves while you keep your eyes on the road. It's also the perfect bedtime book to refresh their memory of what they've learned about animals so far.

Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm by Melissa & Doug

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Some of the best toddler books are the simplest. Poke-a-Dot allows your child to interact on every page. With farm animals, buttons to press and "pop," and sing-along songs, this is one book toddlers of all milestones will enjoy.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

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Since 2012, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has accumulated more than 36,000 ratings, a 4.9 average review, and thousands of happy parents. This creation teaches toddlers about the alphabet in a fun rhyme as they race up a coconut tree.

It's great for children ages 1 to 4 and comes as a sturdy board book that'll last a little longer than a paperback.

Press Here by Herve Tullet

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For all the adventurous toddlers, Press Here is an adventure for any time of day. By simply following the instructions on each page, you and your child can bond through interactive play (and they're learning to read!).

Touted at "the longest running picture book on the New York Times bestseller list," this is one journey you'll love to take together.

This Is Gus by Chris Chatterton

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Kids who love grumpy characters will adore Gus and his antics. When a new puppy comes around, Gus learns how to embrace new friends — a good takeaway for kids of all ages.

Adorable illustrations and simple text encourage young readers to take Gus with them to their toddler pillows to re-read the heartwarming story to themselves all over again.

There's A Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher

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If you've ever had a "there's a monster in my room" situation, maybe There's a Monster InYour Book can help. This interactive book puts your toddler in the center of the action. Makes a great bedtime story to ease their worried minds or a mid-day adventure to have a little fun.


Who are the best toddler book authors?

We love the authors (and books) listed above, but if you're looking to stretch your library and keep reading, consider titles by Sandra Boynton, Don Freeman, Leslie Patricelli and Alice Schertle.

What is the most popular toddler book of all time?

Believe it or not, Goodnight Moon is the most popular book for toddlers across North American booksellers. Fun rhymes, easy-t0-see imagery and cardboard pages make it a timeless winner. Want your own copy? Get one here.

This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
This article was originally published on May 11, 2023

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