Top 100 Books for Toddlers: ParentDish Picks
Setting up a routine to read to your infant is a great way to bond. While many of the 100 books listed below, in alphabetical order, are for infants, some are stories your child will happily grow into and enjoy for years to come.
1. "All Fall Down" by Helen Oxenbury (1987): One of a series of board books by Oxenbury, "All Fall Down" is adorned with adorable children and simple text. Many believe this series, including companion books "Clap Hands," "Say Goodnight" and "Tickle, Tickle," are a must for babies and toddlers.
2. "American Folk Songs for Children" by Ruth Crawford Seeger, illustrated by Barbara Cooney (1980): This book holds a collection of classic folk songs to sing to your baby.
3. "Arlene Alda's 1 2 3: What Do You See?" by Arlene Alda (1998): Using innovative photographs instead of illustrations, this is a counting book that surprises children.
4. "Arthur's Nose" by Marc Brown (1976): The first installment of the Arthur series begins with the now-famous aardvark learning about handling various aspects of life, such as his distinctive nose.
5. "Baby Dance" by Ann Taylor, illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden (1999): With gentle verse, a father dances with his baby girl.
6. "Baby Faces" by Margaret Miller (1998): As babies grow and become more fascinated by faces, this book serves them well with many faces, reactions and emotions represented.
7. "Baby's First Words" by Lars Wik (1985): Uses photos to acquaint a baby with items in his world.
8. "Black on White and White on Black" by Tana Hoban (1993): Featuring silhouettes of familiar shapes and household items, these books take advantage of how well an infant responds to the contrasts of black and white.
9. "The Baby's Word Book" by Sam Williams (1999): Children involved in daily activities, with actions, emotions and objects.
10. "A Book of Sleep" by Il Sung Na (2007): With its exquisite illustrations, this is a story of night and everyone going to sleep, except for the watchful owl.
11. "Cat is Sleepy" by Satoshi Kitamura (1996): It's the tale of a cat, searching for a boy and a girl, settling in for a nap.
12. "Clown" by Quentin Blake (1996): This is the journey, without words, of tossed-out toys and the clown who escapes from the garbage to find someone to rescue him and his play friends.
13. "Count with Maisy" by Lucy Cousins (1997): Using basic text and energetic colors, this book focuses on counting and Maisy the mouse. Practical and colorful, this story -- along with its companion books -- have become modern-day classics.
14. "Counting Kisses" by Karen Katz (2001): Counting down from the number 10, this delightful book suggests different ways to show a baby love, affection and, of course, kisses.
15. "Do Not Feed the Table" by Dee Lillegard, illustrated by Keiko Narahashi (1993): A boy's day, along with everyday utensils, receive special, poetic treatment in this witty book.
16. "Duck and Goose" by Tad Hills (2006): The first book in a humorous series follows two friends as they muddle (and disagree) through hatching an egg, which is actually a ball.
17. "Freight Train" by Donald Crews (1978): A freight train speeds through the pages of this colorful, bold book with simple text.
18. "The Gingerbread Boy" by Richard Egielski (2000): A classic folk tale brought into contemporary Manhattan, complete with bus and subway travel.
19. "The Going to Bed Book" by Sandra Boynton (1982): Many of Boynton's books are great picks for learning about opposites, counting and so forth. Her endearing animals and silly rhymes are popular with parents and children alike.
20. "Going to the Zoo" by Tom Paxton, illustrated by Karen Lee Scmidt (1996): A sing-song, joyous story of a father taking his three children to the zoo.
21. "Good Dog, Carl" by Alexandra Day (1985): The beginning of this silly book, has Mom leaving Carl, the family's lovable pet rottweiler, to babysit. The baby jumps on Carl's back and the adventures begin and continued in successive books.
22. "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947): Truly an American classic, this is the story of a rabbit settling her bunny into the quiet of bedtime in a familiar, comfortable world.
23. "Goose" by Molly Bang (1996): A gosling hatches and finds itself in a home with woodchucks. Away we go on its eventful journey to discover why it feels different.
24. "Grandfather and I" and "Grandmother and I" by Helen E. Buckley, illustrated by Jan Ormerod (1994): These two books express the warmth and special bond between a child and her grandfather or grandmother.
25. "Grandfather Twilight" by Barbara Helen Berger (1984): A fairy tale old man hangs the moon in this peaceful and beautifully illustrated book.
26. "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss (1960): The playful rhyme in this book tells a fun and zany story about disliking -- and then liking -- green eggs and ham, in typical Seuss fashion.
27. "Guess How Much I Love You" by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram (1994): Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare compare their love for one another in a sweet parental love story perfect for bedtimes.
28. "The Guinea Pig ABC" by Kate Duke (1983): Guinea pigs display true acrobatic -- and alphabetic -- skills.
29. "Hand Rhymes" by Marc Brown (1993): This fun book overflows with rhyming and hand-play games for adults to enjoy with children. Everyone ends up giggling, just as they do with "Finger Rhymes."
30. "Happy Birthday, Moon" by Frank Asch (1982): A colorful, simple story about a little bear and the moon.
31. "Have You Seen My Duckling?" by Nancy Tafuri (1984): A Caldecott Honor award-winning book about a mother goose who cannot find one of her many ducklings.
32. "Hello Toes! Hello Feet!" by Ann Whitford Paul, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott (1998): Read about one busy little girl and her feet as they move through the day.
33. "Hippety-Hop, Hippety-Hay: Growing Rhymes from Birth to Age Three" by Opal Dunn, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert (1999): Dunn selected these rhymes and divided them into different age groups specifically for parents to interact with their babies.
34. "Humpty Dumpty and Other Nursery Rhymes" by Lucy Cousins (1996): Part of a series of Cousins' bright, colorful, childlike illustrated books of classic nursery rhymes.
35. "Hush, Little Baby" by Marla Frazee (2003): Besides this warmly illustrated version, several variations of this classic lullaby exist on the market, including ones by Sylvia Long, Caroline Cooney and Aliki.
36. "I Am a Bunny" by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry (2004): Originally published in 1967, this classic follows the four seasons in the life of a bunny. Companion stories include "I Am a Kitten" and "I Am a Puppy."
37. "I Lost My Bear" by Jules Feiffer (2000): A household searches for a child's treasured bear gone missing.
38. "I Love You as Much ..." by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by Henri Sorensen (1993): Animal (and a human) mothers telling their offspring how strong their love and bonds are.
39. "Joseph Had a Little Overcoat" by Simms Taback (1999): This Caldecott Medal winner is an adaptation of a Yiddish folktale about a tailor who uses and re-uses an overcoat until a button remains.
40. "The Kingfisher Nursery Rhyme Songbook" by Sally Emerson, illustrated by Colin and Moira Maclean (1992): Rhymes and action, along with watercolor illustrations, accompany familiar songs such as "Row, Row Your Boat" and the less familiar songs like "Duke of York."
41. "Knock at the Door and Other Baby Action Rhymes" by Kay Chorao (2000): Twenty well-known action rhymes for the very young feature a flowery motif.
42. "Lentil" by Robert McCloskey (1940): A timeless story of Lentil, a little boy who saves the day.
43. "Little Blue and Little Yellow" by Leo Lionni (1959): The 50th anniversary edition of this story was released in 2009. It tells the story of Little Blue and Little Yellow who are such good friends that they become green and their parents don't recognize them. What are they to do?
44. "Little Elephant" by Miela Ford, illustrated by Tana Hoban (1994): Told in photographs, this is a simple adventure story of a baby elephant.
45. "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper, illustrated by George and Doris Hauman (1930): The original story that sticks to the basics has led generations of American children to say "I think I can, I think I can."
46. "The Little Fur Family" Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Garth Williams (1951): A softly illustrated story about the little fur child's daily activities, even down to the bedtime lullaby.
47. "Little Gorilla" by Ruth Bornstein (1976): A baby gorilla, Little Gorilla, grows up to be a big gorilla.
48. "The Little House" by Virginia Lee Burton (1942): This Caldecott Medal-winning book depicts the little house built long ago with life and a city encroaching upon it. The house appears as a smiling face.
49. "The Maggie B" by Irene Haas (1975): It's the story of a child with a simple fantasy of being away on a boat with her baby brother and wonderful, child-like amenities.
50. "Mama, Do You Love Me?" by Barbara M. Joosse, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee (1991): An Alaskan child challenges her mother with naughtiness.
51. "Mooses Come Walking" by Arlo Guthrie, illustrated by Alice M. Brock (1995): A soothing book written by the folksinger with verse that's rather silly and cartoon-like moose illustrations.
52. "More, More, More Said the Baby" by Vera B. Williams (1996): Three babies enjoy different tickly games with adults -- fun for everyone.
53. "Mother Goose Remembers" by Clare Beaton (2000): These 46 Mother Goose rhymes are depicted using clothwork art, which makes this standard childhood collection stand apart from others.
54. "Mouse Tales" by Arnold Lobel (1972): Papa Mouse tells a story to each of his seven sons at bedtime.
55. "Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss's Book of Wonderful Noises" by Dr. Seuss (1970): The wordplay in this book easily becomes a favorite with children and the sounds are fun, too.
56. "Mr. Gumpy's Outing" by John Burningham (1971): Countless children and animals plan to pile into Mr. Gumpy's boat for an outing and they don't all fit.
57. "My First Baby Games" by Jane Manning (2001): Babies and adults move to the simple, familiar rhymes this board book invites babies to play.
58. "My Very First Mother Goose" edited by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells (1996): Activities within this selection of 68 Mother Goose rhymes move from dawn to dusk. One of many fine Mother Goose compilations.
59. "The Nativity" illustrated by Julie Vivas (1988): A contemporary illustrated version of the story of the Nativity with a sweet baby Jesus.
60. "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Anita Lobel (1984): This version of the priceless Christmas poem is set in a Brooklyn brownstone.
61. "No, David!" by David Shannon (1998): Chaos ensues when David misbehaves and hears his mother, in all sorts of ways, tell him "No," while letting him know she still loves him.
62. "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" by Frances Cony, illustrated by Iain Smyth (1999): Pop-ups and other active pages illustrate the well-loved song.
63. "Old Mother Hubbard" by David A. Johnson (1998): The traditional rhymes are told in a version that includes a mutt and a Victorian lady.
64. "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss (1960): This Seussian rhyme that introduces colors and numbers is popular with children of any age.
65. "One Gorilla: A Counting Book" by Atsuko Morozumi (1990): A counting book involving a gorilla who journeys through a house, the sea and a garden, all the while trying to reach the number 10.
66. "Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale" by Karen Katz (1997): A sweet book about an adoptive mother telling the story of parents going to meet their new baby.
67. "Owly" by Mike Thaler, illustrated by David Wiesner (1982): A gentle bedtime story about an inquisitive owl whose mother kindly suggests he find answers.
68. "Pat the Bunny" by Dorothy Kunhardt (1940): Baby's first touch and feel book features a furry bunny.
69. "Pat-a-Cake and Other Play Rhymes", compiled by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson, illustrated by Alan Tiegreen (1992): Classic rhymes are incorporated into this interactive volume.
70. "Peter Spier's Rain" by Peter Spier (1981): The magical qualities of rain are discovered by a boy and his sister.
71. "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?" by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle (1991): The text is in a similar vein to the "Brown Bear, Brown Bear: What Do You See?" book, with collage zoo animals and questions that lead from one page to the next.
72. "Quacky Quack-Quack!" by Ian Whybrow, illustrated by Russell Ayto (1992): Find out what happens when a baby takes bread to feed the ducks, eating it along the way.
73. "The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister (1992): The main message of this shimmering book is that beauty is not the main component to friendship.
74. "The Random House Book of Fairy Tales" by Arnold Lobel (1986): Arnold Lobel illustrates this major collection of 306 Mother Goose poems.
75. "The Relatives Came" by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Stephen Gammell (1985): Family visitors abound, creating fun chaos in this Caldecott Honor award-winning book.
76. "The Runaway Bunny" by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1942): A bunny, hiding in all sorts of places, takes comfort in always being found by his mother, whether the bunny is spied in the garden, on a mountain or at a circus.
77. "The Snow Bear" by Jean Craighead George, illustrated by Wendell Minor (1999): A snowy frolick with a young child and a bear.
78. "Snow" by Uri Shulevitz (1998): A boy and his dog think it is really going to snow -- and what happens when it does is wonder-filled.
79. "The Snowman" by Raymon Briggs (1978): A boy builds a snowman who then comes to life in his dreams.
80. "So Say the Little Monkeys" by Nancy Van Laan, illustrated by Yumi Heo (1998): Jibba, jibba, jibba say the small monkeys in this book that begs to be read aloud.
81. "Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born" by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell (1996): The child-like narrator lets the reader know about the excitement of the child's birth and adoption.
82. "A Teeny Tiny Baby" by Amy Schwartz (1994): This story follows the busy life of a baby, as seen from the baby's perspective, which is quite a different view from the child's sleep-deprived parents.
83. "Ten, Nine, Eight" by Molly Bang (1983): Follow along as a little girl gets ready for bed, counting along the way.
84. "The Three Little Pigs" by Margot Zemach (1988): Many editions of this classic tale exist -- this one includes a wolf in a frock coat.
85. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by Jan Brett (1986): The holiday favorite with lush illustrations.
86. "The Wheels on the Bus" by Paul Zelinsky (1990): The familiar bus journey song with lots of activities.
87. "The Winter Bear" by Ruth Croft, illustrated by Erik Blegvad (1975): Children find a bear in the wintry woods, bringing him home to get him warm and dry.
88. "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" by Simms Taback (1997): Come along as the old lady swallows the fly...and everything else in this old folk song with die-cut holes to see the various animals she swallows.
89. "Tickly Under There" by Debi Gliori (1998): A bear points out the fingers, toes and other body parts of the cub bear, inviting human parents to imitate the parent bear.
90. "Time for Bed" by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer (1993): A variety of animals and their young are falling to sleep for a perfect bedtime book.
91. "Time to Sleep" by Denise Fleming (1997): A bear senses winter and tells a friend who tells another forest animal until the news is relayed back to a sleeping bear.
92. "Voyage to the Bunny Planet" by Rosemary Wells (1992): One of three in a series, this tale of taking a trip to the Bunny Planet to have a better day than you had.
93. "Waving: A Counting Book" by Peter Sis (1988): An urban counting book with Mary and her mother waving at folks and objects in their neighborhood.
94. "Wendy Watson's Mother Goose" by Wendy Watson (1990): A variation on the Mother Goose books with this one set in snowy New England.
95. "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (1989): Going to catch a bear on a family outing with entertaining actions through rivers, forests and mud.
96. "Whatever Happened to the Dinosaurs?" by Bernard Most (1987): Big dinosaurs inhabit this book detailing the probable -- and improbable -- things that brought dinosaurs to extinction. "If the Dinosaurs Came Back" is one to consider as well.
97. "When I'm Sleepy" by Jane R. Howard, illustrated by Lynne Cherry (1985): A little girl wonders what it would be like to sleep with various animals in a cave or a swamp, and ends up in her own bed.
98. "Where's the Bear?" By Charlotte Pomerantz, illustrated by Byron Barton (2003): Seven words of text tell the story of a bear and villagers who set about to chase him.
99. "Who Said Red?" By Mary Serfozo, illustrated by Keiko Narahashi (1988): Two children banter about colors.
100. "Where Is Baby's Belly Button?" By Karen Katz (2000): Heavy flaps reveal the body parts as a baby learns to answer the questions like where are baby's eyes? Ears? Belly button?
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