The All-Time Best Books for Toddlers

Check out some of our favorite books for toddlers.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Courtesy of the Penguin Group

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.

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We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Courtesy of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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.

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Freight Train

Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

Freight Train

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.

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The Napping House

Courtesy of Harcourt, Inc.

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.

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The Happy Egg

Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

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!

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Fast Food

Courtesy of Scholastic, Inc.

Fast Food

By Saxton Freymann


Freymann has a gift for transforming recognizable fruits and veggies into adorable animals and objects.

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Yummy Yucky

Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Yummy Yucky

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.

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Where's My Teddy?

Courtesy of Candlewick Press

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.

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Counting Kisses

Courtesy of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Counting Kisses

By Karen Katz


A countdown to bedtime, this book is sure to inspire lots of sweet mom-toddler snuggles.

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Sheep in the Jeep

Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin, Co.

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.

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Baby Happy, Baby Sad

Courtesy of Candlewick Press

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.

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Green Eggs and Ham

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!

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Corduroy

Corduroy

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.

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How I Became a Pirate

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.

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The Family Book

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.

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Are You My Mother?

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.

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Diary of a Worm

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.

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Walter, the Farting Dog

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."

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Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-Up

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?

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I Hope You Dance

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.

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The Big Shiny Sparkly First Words Book

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.

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I Know a Rhino

Courtesy of Sterling

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.

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Baby Beluga

Courtesy of Crown Books for Young Readers

Baby Beluga

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.

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks

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.

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A Pocket for Corduroy

Courtesy of Viking Juvenile

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.