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The earlier you can instill a love of books and reading, the better. It’s great to read with your babies from a young age and keep a basket of board books with your toddler’s toys. Board books are ideal for small, chubby hands, and are sturdy enough to withstand being chewed on and seriously abused. Toddlers like books with rhythm, that encourage movement, and their very favorite part of reading is always that it is a fun time spent with mom. Your toddler will want to read these books with you over and over and over, so they should definitely be books that you find enjoyable and funny as well. I’ve raise eight toddlers, and the books below are still my favorites, which is really saying something!


 Everybody sing along—because it’s time to do-si-do in the barnyard with a high-spirited animal crew! BARNYARD DANCE is chock full of twirling pigs, fiddle-playing cows, and other unforgettable animals. Extra-big, extra-fat, and extra-fun, BARNYARD DANCE features lively rhyming text and a die-cut cover that reveals the wacky characters inside. Guaranteed to get kids and adults stomping their feet and dancing.

All of Sandra Boynton’s board books are absolutely wonderful! You will laugh and dance along with your toddler, and you won’t mind reading them a million times! I’ve only included six here, but you can find more on Amazon.





Sunbathing dinosaurs and artistic dinosaurs, dancing dinosaurs and volleyball-playing dinosaurs make learning opposites fun! From Boynton on Board, the bestselling series of extra-big, extra-fat, extra-appealing board books, Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! features the inimitable Sandra Boynton’s colorful, humorous drawings and lively text.







A shy hippo makes a big impact in this Sandra Boynton classic.

Serious silliness for all ages. Artist Sandra Boynton is back and better than ever with completely redrawn versions of her multi-million selling board books. These whimsical and hilarious books, featuring nontraditional texts and her famous animal characters, have been printed on thick board pages, and are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages.






This raucous story about the sounds animals make—including three pigs who say “la la la!”—is just right for reading aloud. Your toddler will beg you to read this with them!









 Three earnest animals and one misguided turkey learn colors and clothes in this hilarious Sandra Boynton classic.











A wacky crew of hippos, cats, pigs, and cows lead kids from a quiet One to a “LOUD LOUD LOUD” Ten-and back to quiet One again. From Sandra Boynton, the bestselling series of extra-big, extra-fat, and extra-fun board books, here is One, Two, Three!, a counting book as only Sandra Boynton could do a counting book. Filled with her humorous, colorful drawings and lively text, One, Two, Three! is an adventure with numbers that kids and their parents will love.






 1 is one duckling swimming in a dish
2 is two sisters making a wish
3 is three swallows up in the sky
4 is four sheep nibbling rye

From beloved author-illustrator and Caldecott honoree Tasha Tudor, this sweet counting book is now available as a Classic Board Book! Young ones will delight in the simple text that counts from one to twenty, and they’ll be captivated by the charming illustrations of animals, children, and nature.









Good night, Gorilla. Good night, Elephant. 

It’s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who’s that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin?

Good night, Giraffe. Good night, Hyena. 

Sneak along behind the zookeeper’s back, and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night romp. This book is a must-have for all toddlers.




In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room—to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one—the little bunny says goodnight.In this classic of children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.

This board book edition is the perfect size for little hands.








Red caboose at the back, orange tank car, green cattle car, purple box car, black tender and a black steam engine . . . freight train.

In simple, powerful words and vibrant illustrations, Donald Crews evokes the rolling wheels of that childhood favorite: a train. This board book features sturdy pages and is just the right size for little hands.

This Caldecott Honor Book features bright colors and bold shapes. Even a child not lucky enough to have counted freight cars will feel he or she has watched a freight train passing after reading Freight Train.





Including a special feature, dye cuts, this beautiful board book edition, perfect for teaching the days of the week, offers readers an interactive experience.

“The very hungry caterpillar literally eats his way through the pages of the book—and right into your child’s heart. It is gorgeously illustrated and brilliantly innovative. Toddlers love this book!





Don Freeman’s classic character, Corduroy, is even more popular today then he was when he first came on the scene in 1968. This sweet story of a small teddy bear waiting on a department store shelf for a child’s friendship has appealed to young readers generation after generation. 

I’ve only listed this, our favorite Corduroy story, but there are dozens more stories about Corduroys adventures at Amazon.










Out for a drive in the country, Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple’s well-known and beloved sheep run into some mishaps with their sturdy red jeep.

Full of fun, nonsense rhymes and whimsical portraits of the sheep, this story is guaranteed to entertain. Pleasing and lighthearted, this has great appeal for young readers.





It’s time for bed, but the sheep just can’t settle down. Never fear: a trusty sheepdog is here to help. What will it take to get these restless sheep to bed? A hug? A blanket? A drink of water? Will this dedicated collie ever get these bleating sheep to sleep?

From the team behind the best-selling Sheep in a Jeep, this sweet and silly sleepy-time tale is perfect for anyone putting a demanding little one to bed. This sturdy board book is just right for little hands.
It is critical, as a toddler mom, to have several bedtime books in your arsenal! 



In this hilariously simple book, Max learns a more sophisticated word than the ones his sister tries to teach him.








We’re Going on a Bear Hunt takes the reader on an adventure they’ll never forget. Children love the obstacles the characters run into on their way to finding a bear. Each page has beautifully illustrated pictures with breezy colors. It’s good for young children who are learning to talk, as well as, those who are learning to read. The story uses repetitive language which is wonderful for young readers and children who are building their vocabulary. We like to do the actions with the characters as they go through the wilderness and bring the adventure to life. 








Whether it’s a hairy lion, bumpy lizard, smooth dolphin, or sticky tree frog, the inviting tactile pages of Touch and Feel Wild Animals will leave toddlers entranced. Simple text and bright pictures provide talking points for parents and children, and the sturdy format is perfect for little hands to hold and feel, touch and explore, over and over again.







A timeless classic that continues to win over the hearts of children. The simple, rhythmic text and expressive illustrations are just as appealing today as they were when I was a child.

This is a hardcover, rather than a board book, but I like to familiarize my toddlers with this format as well, teaching them to touch and turn pages gently. We keep these books out of reach and teach our children that they are not toys to play with or chew on. It’s good for toddlers to begin experiencing ‘real’ books young, on Mommy’s lap.






Pirates have green teeth—when they have any teeth at all. I know about pirates, because one day when I was at the beach building a sand castle and minding my own business, a pirate ship sailed into view.
So proclaims Jeremy Jacob, a boy who joins Captain Braid Beard and his crew in this witty look at the finer points of pirate life by the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator David Shannon and the storyteller Melinda Long. Jeremy learns how to say “scurvy dog,” sing sea chanteys, and throw food . . . but he also learns that there are no books or good night kisses on board: “Pirates don’t tuck.” A swashbuckling adventure with fantastically silly, richly textured illustrations that suit the story to a T.


Here is a list of all of my favorite picture books for children.












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    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Those are adorable toddler books, Alyssa! We have the ones that came with little cat and puppy finger puppets, and several of the duck ones. I’ll have to check out the rest.

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