8 Best Board Books for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers of 2021

Filled with colorful illustrations and simple text, these board books are ideal for the littlest readers.

An image of a mom reading to her kids on a couch.
Photo: Getty Images.
01 of 08

Washer and Dryer's Big Job

Washer and Dryer’s Big Job book
Courtesy of Macmillan Books

Written and illustrated by Steven Weinberg

Inspired by his daughter's fascination with clothes tumbling in the dryer, Weinberg spins a tale that will get kids excited to help with chores. The googly eyes on the cover attracted our toddler reviewers, while interactive elements and fun words like rrrumble kept them invested. Said one mom: "Now my son talks about clothes being yucky and moves our laundry from the washer to the dryer."

Ages 1 to 3

02 of 08

Peekaboo: Bear

Peekaboo: Bear book
Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Written by Camilla Reid, illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius

Modern board book, we see you: sturdy knobs that kids slide to reveal cheerful images that elevate the peekaboo game. "My girls love to pull on the last tab and see their reflection in the mirror," said one parent. "They laugh and yell, 'Peekaboo, it's me!' "

Ages 0 to 3

03 of 08

Turn Seek Find: Habitats

Turn Seek Find: Habitats book
Courtesy of Chronicle Books

Written and illustrated by Ben Newman

Kids rotate two activity wheels to determine which animal and color to look for in scenes that depict five habitats ranging from African savanna to Pacific island. Besides boosting observational skills, the book "helped my son, who has autism, discover many animals and words," said a mom.

Ages 2 to 5

04 of 08

Count to Love!

Count to Love! book
Courtesy of Scholastic

Written by Andrea Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Rhymes roll off the tongue in this playful book that urges parents to count to l-o-v-e (1-2-3-4) as they snuggle their little one. ("Count to love on fingers and toes. 1-2-3-4. Touch your nose.") Acrylic drawings of joyful babies cement a feel-good vibe.

Ages 0 to 3

05 of 08


Comparrotives book cover
Courtesy of Abrams Books

Written and illustrated by Janik Coat

A colorful parrot demonstrates how adding -er changes the meaning of words; our preschool testers grasped the grammar concept. On left-hand pages, the parrot personifies a single adjective, like silly, cold, or fast, while the right side kicks it up a notch, making drawings sillier, colder, and so forth. Raised snowflakes and other textures add a hands-on element.

Ages 2 to 4

06 of 08

Drive the Fire Truck

Drive the Fire Truck book
Courtesy of Chronicle Books

Illustrated by Dave Mottram

Testers' minds were blown when they opened the book: Cutouts become handles to a steering wheel, and kids feel as though they're looking over the dashboard. Rhyming text instructs kids to make turns to reach a burning building. Noted one parent, "The story offers opportunities to teach kids left and right."

Ages 0 to 3

07 of 08

Who Needs a Hug?

Who Needs a Hug? book
Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Written by Dean Hacohen, illustrated by Sherry Scharschmidt

In this endearing read that will help kids feel safe and loved, frightened baby animals get reassurance from a parent. Said one tester: "The sweet message about needing and accepting comfort for everyday challenges touched my child."

Ages 0 to 3

08 of 08

Snap! Chomp Your Jaws!

Snap! Chomp Your Jaws! book
Courtesy of Chronicle Books

Written and illustrated by Bob Barner

As kids listen to wildly fun facts (like crocs have the strongest jaws on the planet), they can pull the solidly constructed tabs to watch each animal open and close its mouth.

Ages 3 to 5

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