Best Picture Books for Toddlers

When my first child Lucy was entering toddlerhood, she loved pulling books from the little shelf in our apartment living room. She would sit with them tucked between her chubby knees and turn the pages continually. The books began to tear from her daily routine.

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Circa 2015

My first instinct was to put them high where she could not reach them so they could be preserved for her future siblings.

Now that I am three children deep, I have realized 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?”

So many memories shared between the pages of our duct-taped binding of Blueberries for Sal.

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


Picture Books for Toddlers

Click here for a printable version of the Picture Books for Toddlers booklist.

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Blue on Blue by Dianne White, illustrated by Beth Krommes

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

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

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

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

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

The Napping House by Audrey & Don Wood

1 is One by Tasha Tudor

Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow

Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire

Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever by Richard Scarry: I am linking the new edition. We own the first edition so I am uncertain if there are significant changes.

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 Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa


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



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Beloved Bookshelf September Additions

The majority of my time spent on Beloved Bookshelf is researching, checking out, and reviewing books. As I wrote in my introductory post, these lists are far from finished and I am excited to continue to share the treasures I am discovering. In order to keep you aware of which books are being added, I will share a post each month cataloging the newest additions along with providing short descriptions and cover photos. 


New beloved books:

The Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow

Read about mushroom-sized children and their adventures playing with the forest animals, avoiding snakes and other dangers, and enjoying the changes of the seasons. A wonderful book for the imagination!

Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow

This sweet, enjoyably repetitive tale is about a little boy who determines to use his sheep’s wool for a brand new suit. Recommended for preschoolers.

Little Red Cap by Lisbeth Zwerger

I love Lisbeth Zwerger’s delicate illustrations. I am always trying to find exceptionally well-illustrated fairy tales. This rendition reads well aloud and the story hits all the right notes, making it my new favorite alongside Trina Schart Hyman’s Little Red Riding Hood.

Sleeping Beauty by Kinuko Y. Craft

Craft has delivered a beautiful adaptation of a beloved fairy tale in her book Sleeping Beauty. Jaw-dropping illustrations and flawless storytelling.

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger

A giant refuses to share his garden with the children of the village, causing an eternal winter in its walls. The allegorical ending is very affecting. I also recommend Ritva Voutila’s version which has more detailed illustrations.

Katie Meets the Impressionists by James Mayhew

Katie and her grandmother go to an art museum where Katie discovers she can step into the paintings! An entertaining book for teaching art history to young children.

Locomotive by Brian Floca

2014 Caldecott Medal Winner about the construction of and experience of traveling upon the transcontinental railroad. Follow a young family as they journey from Nebraska to California on the 1869 railroad.

A Song for Lena by Hilary Horder Hippely

A grandmother tells a childhood story to her granddaughter about her family giving food to a beggar and receiving an unexpected gift in return.

The White Cat by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Gennady Spirin

Spirin’s illustrations of this rich old French fairy tale will enrapture from beginning to end.

Crinkleroot’s Nature Almanac by Jim Arnosky

A science book packed full of information about woodland animals, taught by the lovable character Crinkleroot.

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston

Aston has shared the best bits of information about eggs in this gorgeously illustrated book. Wait until you see the end pages! Perfect for fostering a child’s curiosity about the world. Also recommended: A Butterfly is Patient, A Nest is NoisyA Seed is Sleepy, and others in series. 



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