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?”

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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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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 to recommend of classics like Mother Goose, Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, and Aesop’s Fables. 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 be in-print and have top-notch prose (when dealing with translations and adaptations) as well as beautiful illustrations.

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. . . 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.

 

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