Best Picture Books for Toddlers

My eldest daughter Lucy loved pulling books from the little shelf in our apartment living room as a toddler. She would sit with them tucked between her chubby knees and turn the pages continually. The books began to tear from her daily routine. My first instinct was to put them high where she could not reach them so they could be preserved for her future siblings.

It took me a few years–and two more children–to realize that often the best picture books are the ones that end up torn, taped, re-taped, and broken at the binding from being opened so many times. They are the ones that end up in my lap for the tenth day in a row with the words, “Mama, book?”

Lucy, 2015

Here is a list of books that have been beloved by my toddler-aged children (you better believe I have these memorized!):

Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes by Beatrix Potter, also Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Blue on Blue by Dianne White

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Corduroy by Don Freeman

Diggers Go by Steve Light

Freight Train by Donald Crews

The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone

Going to Sleep on the Farm by Wendy Cheyette Lewison

Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

I am a Bunny by Richard Scarry

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy Carlstrom

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

My First Counting Book by Lilian Moore

My First Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (poetry)

My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie

The Napping House by Audrey & Don Wood

1 is One by Tasha Tudor

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow

A Picnic with Monet by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, and others in the “Mini Masters” series

Poems to Read to the Very Young by Josette Frank, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field

Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire

Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever by Richard Scarry

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa

Click here for a printable PDF booklist!


Which picture books does your toddler pull off the shelf again and again? Please share in the comments below.

Never miss a post! Receive an email notification when I share a new post on Beloved Bookshelf.

New Year, New Plans

Hoping you had a merry Christmas and are having a great start to the New Year! I have been looking forward to beginning a new year with Beloved Bookshelf as I enjoy the fresh start that a new calendar year provides.

These are my plans and priorities for 2020:

. . . finding editions of classics like Mother Goose, Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, and Aesop’s Fables to recommend. Call it my nursery essentials list, if you will. Many booklists recommend these classics but do not always suggest which editions. I want to provide you with some great suggestions. All editions must have top-notch prose (when dealing with translations and adaptations) as well as beautiful illustrations.

_MP15166jpeg

. . . recommending more chapter books. My children are six and under, so most of my time has been spent searching for picture books and nursery classics. My eldest daughter and I are now beginning to read chapters books together! I am also planning on reading a handful on my own this year. If your children are older and you need chapter book recommendations now, please check out this page where I list my trusted resources for finding book recommendations.

. . . book cover photographs above all of my book titles. Photographs are so helpful and this is my top priority in the coming months.

. . . and the project I am most excited to announce: grade-specific literature lists for homeschool and the classroom, beginning with preschool, kindergarten, and first grade!

Please send me an email if there is anything you would like to see on Beloved Bookshelf this year. I am grateful to several readers who informed me that they prefer age or grade-specific booklists rather than master lists. While I do think most of the books on my lists can be read at various ages, I do understand the convenience of organizing booklists this way. For example, “Put Me in the Zoo” is a splendid early reader, but my two-year-old toddler can’t get enough of it. Just something to keep in mind even after I reconfigure the booklists.

Finally, I want to make sure you don’t miss an article I added to my resources page a couple of months ago titled “Awakening the Moral Imagination” by Dr. Vigen Guroian. It is the best article I have read on the subject of why children should read fairy tales. I encourage you to read it! Dr. Guroian also wrote a book on this subject which I hope to read and review sometime on the blog titled Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination. And . . . if you are looking for fairy tales to read with your child, here’s my great big list of illustrated fairy tales.

 

Never miss a post! Receive an email notification when I share a new post on Beloved Bookshelf.

Christmas Booklist

group2BB

Every year after Christmastide we put our Christmas-themed books away so that when Advent begins it is the first time my children have seen them all year. I check out the ones we don’t own from the library and we place them in a basket with a festive bow. I love how these stories work their magic all Advent long as we prepare our hearts for Christmas morning. Here are our favorites. 

finalprint01

Christmas Picture Books

Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins, illustrated by Nicholas Sidjakov

baboushkaBB

The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale by Aaron Shepard

bakerBB

Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck

christmasmangerBB

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by P.J. Lynch

miracleBB

The Christmas Story Golden Books

christmasstoryBB

The Dolls’ Christmas by Tasha Tudor

dollBB

The Donkey’s Dream by Barbara Berger

donkeyBB

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola

legendBB

The Nativity by Ruth Sanderson

nativityBB

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell

roomforBB

The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola

wisekingsBB

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney

yearofBB


Books About Christmas Hymns

Good King Wenceslas by John Mason Neale, illustrated by Christopher Manson

wenceslasBB

The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats

drummerBB

Stephen’s Feast by Jean Richardson

stephenBB

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Gennady Spirin

12daysBB


Christmas Poetry

 A Wreath of Christmas Legends by Phyllis McGinley, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

wreath3BB.jpg


~ ADDITIONS! ~

thechristmasstory

The Christmas Story illustrated by Gennady Spirin

thestoryofholly&ivy

The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden, illustrated by Barbara Cooney


What are your family’s favorite Christmas books? Please share in the comments below.

You may also like . . . the Winter & Snow Booklist.

 

Never miss a post! Receive an email notification when I share a new post on Beloved Bookshelf.