Books for Toddlers, 3-5

Books aren't just for eating anymore. Reading is fun, and exposure to books helps kids do better in school. Here are some favorites to help you build your library.

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Where the Wild Things Are

By Maurice SendakYou might enjoy this book more than your kids do! Packed with monster mischief, hilarious scariness, and beautiful illustrations; it will captivate imaginations for years to come. (HarperCollins, 1988)

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Green Eggs and Ham

By Dr. SuessTry as you might, you cannot resist Sam-I-Am and his green eggs and ham. This wacky rhyming classic is as fun now as it was the first time you read it. Now, run out and get it! (Random House, 1960)

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By Don FreemanFor any kid who has dreamed of having an empty department store all to himself, Corduroy is a dream come true. This adorable bear has terrific adventures on his way to find his missing button. (Viking, 1968)

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How I Became a Pirate

By by Melinda Long, illustrated by David ShannonHow about an ocean voyage where no one eats vegetables and bedtimes are for babies? With these lovable pirates, life is grand -- at first. Jeremy Jacob's raucous ocean tour is sure to mesmerize even the most well-behaved children. (Harcourt Brace, 2003)

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The Family Book

By Todd ParrAdopted families, stepfamilies, one-parent families, and families with two parents of the same sex, along with the traditional family -- are all chronicled here in a funny, silly, and accepting way. A terrific tool for teaching children about differences. (Little, Brown & Company, 2003)

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Are You My Mother?

By P.D. EastmanFor the restless toddler who relishes audience participation. Each time the confused young bird asks a strange animal, "Are you my mother?" your kids will knowingly answer, "No!" And they might even explain why not. A wonderful teaching tool with a warm-fuzzy ending. (Random House, 1960)

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Diary of a Worm

By Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry BlissA hilarious book about the surprisingly intriguing life of a young worm. Written in diary form, our worm observes the differences between being a worm and being a human. He laments that he can't have a dog or chew gum, but is relieved that he doesn't have to visit the dentist. ("No cavities. No teeth either.") We can all relate. (Joanna Cotler, 2003)

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Walter, the Farting Dog

By William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, Illustrated by Audrey ColmanIf the word "fart" is taboo in your house, this could be the perfect book for you and your family. Author William Kotzwinkle follows Walter through some embarrassing escapades, all to show him that gas might be kind of funny. But in the words of Kotzwinkle's first book, "Everybody poops." (North Atlantic Books, 2001)

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Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-Up

By Robert SabudaPerhaps best known for his holiday books, Robert Sabuda always produces creative and intriguing books that can make any grown-up wish for childhood again. Plus, this one is about cookies, and who wouldn't want to live in a pastry shop for a little while? (Little Simon, 1997)

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I Hope You Dance

By Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers, Illustrated by Buddy Jackson and Karinne CaulkinsThe authors of the adult best-seller of the same title bring their witty and fun message to children. This book offers encouragement and the kind of inspiration you need to shake off a bad day or just have a darn good time. (Rutledge Hill Press, 2003)

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The Big Shiny Sparkly First Word Book

By Willabel TongThis is a great book for the curious preschooler who is just discovering that learning can be fun. There's plenty to do -- questions to answer, flaps to lift, and unique illustrations to teach children about their first words. (Courage Books, 2003)

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The Best Books Age by Age: Toddlers

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