The All-Time Best Books for Toddlers
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
By Eric Carle
Yup, the caterpillar's still hungry! And just like him, when it comes to this book toddlers can't seem to get enough.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
By Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
Be warned: This fun read is likely to inspire many a bear hunt of your own.
By Donald Crews
Have a train-crazy kid? This book has great illustrations to help children learn the names of each type of train car.
The Napping House
By Audrey Wood and Don Wood
We love how this story builds, making tots wonder and anticipate what will happen in the end.
The Happy Egg
By Ruth Krauss
As you know, toddlers are curious about...well, everything. This book tackles one interesting phenomenon: how a baby bird comes from an egg!
By Saxton Freymann
Freymann has a gift for transforming recognizable fruits and veggies into adorable animals and objects.
By Leslie Patricelli
How often do you say "yucky" to the things your kid puts in her mouth? Read this book with her to explain the difference between yummy and yucky -- so she (hopefully) can stop experimenting on her own.
Where's My Teddy?
By Jez Alborough
If your toddler's got a lovey, then chances are he can relate to this book's topic: Searching for a missing teddy bear.
By Karen Katz
A countdown to bedtime, this book is sure to inspire lots of sweet mom-toddler snuggles.
Sheep in the Jeep
By Nancy E. Shaw and Margot Apple
Full of fun rhymes, this is a book that your toddler will want to hear again. And again. And -- you get the idea.
Baby Happy, Baby Sad
By Leslie Patricelli
You know from personal experience how quickly your child's moods can swing. This book creatively helps toddlers understand this pair of emotions.
Green Eggs and Ham
By Dr. Seuss
Try 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!
By Don Freeman
For 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.
How I Became a Pirate
By Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon
How 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 best-behaved children.
The Family Book
By Todd Parr
Adopted 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.
Are You My Mother?
By P.D. Eastman
For 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.
Diary of a Worm
By Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss
A 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.
Walter, the Farting Dog
By William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, illustrated by Audrey Colman
If 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."
Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-Up
By Robert Sabuda
Perhaps 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?
I Hope You Dance
By Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers, illustrated by Buddy Jackson and Karinne Caulkins
The 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.
The Big Shiny Sparkly First Words Book
By Willabel Tong
This 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.
I Know a Rhino
By Charles Fuge
A little girl has tea with a rhino, a bubble bath with a giraffe, and more adventures. The crisp rhymes and lively drawings will make this one of your bedtime faves.
By Raffi, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
We love this board-book version of Raffi's most popular tune about a baby whale and his Eskimo, walrus, and dolphin friends. Wolff's lighthearted illustrations bring the song to life.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
By Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle
A blue horse, green frog, and yellow duck are some of the unforgettable animals your baby will spot in this colorful book.
A Pocket for Corduroy
By Don Freeman
Lisa is warned by her mother to take everything out of her pockets before washing them. Corduroy, her teddy bear, hears this and after realizing he has no pockets, he searches to no end to find one.
Originally published in the March 2008 issue of Parents magazine.