Update Your Child's Bookshelf with These 15 Best Books for Toddlers

July 2, 2020

Update Your Child's Bookshelf with These 15 Best Books for Toddlers

Help enrich your child by reading them the 15 best books for toddlers. This list will keep your kids entertained for years to come.

Overview: Books For Toddlers

Did you know that the number of books located in the home is directly correlated with higher reading scores for children?  

Reading works wonders with children. Build reading into your bedtime routine, and any other time throughout the day. Reading expands your child's vocabulary and teaches important messages about everything from feelings to friendship.

Whether you're a parent or you're looking for the perfect toddler gift, books are the one gift that you can never go wrong with. Kids have plenty of toys, but books are gifts that are the gifts that keep on giving.

If you've never had a child before, the amount of books on the market to choose from is overwhelming. Read on to learn about the best books for toddlers, from classics to new, unique reads that both you and your little one will love.

1. The Pout-Pout Fish: One of the Best Books for Toddlers and Adults

The Pout Pout Fish Book By Deborah Diesen

Parents and toddlers alike will love The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. This book is lyrical, fun, and a great way to teach that you can always turn your frown upside down. Children will love the repetitive "blub, bluuub, bluuuuuub" of the Pout-Pout fish.

This sweet story is about a fish that claims he's gloomy, and he's not going to change. After numerous interactions with a variety of sea creatures who try to get him to change his pouty ways, he encounters a beautiful fish that gives him a kiss. He turns from the Pout-Pout Fish to the kiss kiss fish.

The Pout-Pout Fish also presents an opportunity to engage your toddler by asking them to point out the sea animals like clams, jellyfish, and squid. The animated illustrations of the creatures will bring them to life for your little one.

One of the other positive aspects of this book is parents love it. With lines like, "Hey, Mr. Fish, with your crosstown frown," it's fun for all ages.

2. The Little Blue Truck

Little Blue Truck Book By Alice Schertle

The Little Blue Truck is a perfect toddler book for animal lovers, truck enthusiasts, and has a positive message about helping others.

Little ones will delight over the friendly Blue Truck, along with his animal friends, who assists a dump truck who gets stuck. The book is complete with all the best farm animal noises, from the horse to the sheep.

There are plenty of opportunities in the book to have your toddler chime in with animal noises, truck beeping, and more.

A tale of teamwork, helping out strangers, this is a cute read for any toddler.

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3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Book By Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault Illustrated By Lois Ehlert

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a bestselling book that provides a fun, silly way to teach your little ones the alphabet.

The book is about all the letters of the alphabet climbing up a coconut tree, and when the weight becomes too much, they all fall down.

It's filled with nonsensical rhymes, catchy phrases, and bright colors, like hot pink and orange. You can even sing the book, and before you know it, your little one will know their whole alphabet.

4. Llama Llama Misses Mama

Llama Llama Misses Mommy Book By Anna Dewdney

If you have a little one going off to school, this is a perfect read. The Llama Llama books are a big hit for toddlers, and this one is no different.

Toddlers will appreciate the rhyming and lovable characters. They will also enjoy watching little llama do things that they do every day, like get dressed, brush their teeth, and eat breakfast.

Other Llama Llama favorites include Llama Llama Red Pajama and Llama Llama Misses Mama.

5. The Feelings Book

The Feelings Book By Todd Parr

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr is filled with bright colors, silly faces, and an abundance of feelings. All parents have experienced how quickly toddlers' moods can change. One minute they're happily playing with a toy, and the next minute they're throwing an epic temper tantrum.

It's up to us as caregivers to help toddlers understand their emotions. The Feelings Book is a fun way to begin to explore the wide range of feelings that we all experience.

6. Petventures: A Personalized Pet Book

Personalized Pet Book For Toddlers

All children love their pets. There is no better way to get an engaging book for your toddler than to get a personalized pet book.

Petventures allows you to create a custom children's fiction book about pets. The premise of the book is that your own personal pet explores a magical town that's filled with other pets. You can customize your pet's name, your child's name, and your hometown.

Best of all, you can design how your pet looks, making the story really come to life for your little ones. If your family has multiple pets, you can include them all in the story.

If you have an unusual breed or specific information about looks, there is even the option to email color or breed details, including photographs.

The opportunity to relate to the characters in the story will be astounding to watch as your little one realizes the story is about their very own family pet.

One of the coolest things about the Petventures books is they are designed by a group of San Francisco pet lovers who are passionate about helping animal rescue organizations. You can buy a book and help a good cause at the same time.

7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See Book By Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle

This classic read is terrific for teaching colors. Children will be delighted with a blue horse, a purple cat, a red bird, and many more animals. There is also a lovely picture of many different children at the end of the book.

It's also a great way to teach children that things can be anything they want them to be. A horse can be blue, and a cat can be purple, in the wonderful world of their imagination.

8. Where the Wild Things Are: A Toddler Book Classic

Where The Wild Things Are Book By Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are is a universal favorite and continues to engage children of all ages. The pictures are beautiful, and it will take readers into the world of imagination.

This book tells the story of Max, who makes mischief and is sent to bed without his supper. He then embarks on a journey into a new world where wild things live. Max becomes king, and he's in control of all things in this new world.

But, in the end, Max gets homesick and decides to return home to his room, where he finds his dinner ready to be eaten.

9. Little Beauty

Little Beauty Book By Anthony Browne

Little Beauty by Anthony Brown is visually stunning, with realistic depictions of a gorilla. This tale was inspired by a real gorilla who learned sign language.

The story is about a gorilla who learned sign language. Although the gorilla had many creature comforts, the gorilla was lonely and wanted a friend. The gorilla finds that friend in a little kitten named beauty.

The gorilla and the kitten do everything together. Toddlers will delight at seeing a gorilla swing from the lights and go to the bathroom on a potty.

At the end of the story, the gorilla gets angry when they watch a movie and breaks the television. In a true act of friendship, the kitten takes responsibility for breaking the TV, and the two friends get to live happily ever after.

For any child who loves animals, this delightful book about friendship and feelings is one of the best toddler books you can add to your shelf.

10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book By Eric Carle

This beautiful book written by Eric Carle takes children on a counting adventure and brings to life the scientific miracle of a caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly.

A caterpillar begins to eat his way through a ton of food like apples, plums, and oranges, which your little one can count. The caterpillar then gets bigger and fatter, eating his way through the pages, feasting on Swiss cheese, cupcakes, and much more.

At the end of the book, the caterpillar becomes a brilliant and colorful butterfly.

This is one of those books which you will need to replace numerous times because it will get so much love from your toddler.

11. Olivia

Olivia Book By Ian Falconer

Olivia, the funny and confidant pig, has captured the hearts of parents and toddlers alike. Any parent of a strong-willed child will resonate with this book.

This book has a humorous approach to real life with a strong-willed toddler with a short attention span.

The other wonderful thing about Olivia is there are many more Olivia books so there are many more to enjoy for those toddlers (and caregivers) who fall in love with this theatrical and confident pig.

12. Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus

Pete The Cat The Wheels On The Bus Book By James Dean

Pete the Cat is a favorite among toddlers and it's a character your children can follow as they start to read on their own. James Dean, a New York Times bestselling author and artist, has created a groovy and fun character, Pete the Cat.

Pete plays the guitar, surfs, and loves hanging out with his friends. The illustrations are wonderful, and the books range in topics from holidays to classic songs and more.

There is a fun rendition to the classic Wheels on the Bus song. There's also a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

If you've introduced screen time, the Pete the Cat Instagram account also has a daily story time, and there are often videos of James Dean creating new Pete the Cat artwork.

13. The Giving Tree


The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a classic and powerful tale that may make you weep.

The tales' black line drawings are simple yet effective and don't distract from the story. The Giving Tree is a beautiful tale of generosity and unconditional love, the kind of love where you will give someone absolutely everything you have. In the case of the tree, she gives her leaves, her apples, and finally her whole self.

14. Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon Book By Margaret Wise Brown

This classic bedtime story, originally published in 1947, is one of the absolute best toddler books for going to bed. There is something special about this magical book that helps children get ready to fall asleep.

Babies, toddlers, and children alike need a bedtime routine. For many, that involves reading a book. Goodnight Moon is a must-have for bedtime.

Goodnight Moon, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, is a soothing tale of a little bunny who slowly, and repetitively says goodnight to everything in his room. The book will show your toddler that it's time to start slowing down and getting ready to rest.

Many of us have fond memories of reading Goodnight Moon before bed, and you can create the same soothing memories with your little one.

15. The Wonderful Things You Will Be

The Wonderful Things You Will Be By Emily Winfield Martin

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin is a charming book about how every child is unique and that parents eagerly anticipate what they will one day grow up to be. The message is sweet and tells children that their parents will be so proud of them no matter what they decide to be when they grow up.

The illustrations in this book are lovely and toddlers will be drawn to them immediately. They will love pointing out all the things that they would like to be. There is something for every child in the book, from the musicians to veterinarians to gardeners.

Another wonderful thing about this book is the diversity. At a time when talking about race with children is so important, this book makes sure to represent all children.  

At the end of the book, there is a wonderful surprise of a foldout page that your children can open to discover many children dressed up as delightful characters like a tree, a ballerina, a robot, and more. This book will become a classic that you definitely want to have on your shelf.

Build Your Toddlers' Library Today

During uncertain times when there are not a whole lot of things to do with toddlers, reading is an activity that will engage them and provide a lifetime of benefits.  

Start building your library today with the best books for toddlers that will engage your little one for years to come.

If you're interested in designing your own custom pet book, you can create one today. We would love to chat with you and help you design a magical story about your beloved pet that your child or children will love.

Written by Petventures

Petventures was created by a group of dog and cat lovers in New York and San Francisco, inspired by our amazing pets. While we occasionally growl and hiss at each other over the respective merits of our feline and canine companions, we are united by our love of art, storytelling and goofy critters.

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