The Best Books Age by Age: Toddlers
The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf, and Grandma
By Diane and Christyan Fox
In this creative retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Cat attempts to read Dog the classic story, but our canine friend has a lot of questions and improvements to make. The book's kooky sense of humor will have children giggling in no time.
Hank Has A Dream
By Rebecca Dudley
An adorable critter tells his hummingbird pal all about the adventure he had in his sleep the night before. Gorgeous side-by-side images show both the "real" world and Hank's imagined fluffy clouds and idyllic forest.
Penguin in Peril
By Helen Hancocks
Three hungry cats kidnap a penguin from the zoo so he will catch fish for them. But when he escapes, the felines face more trouble than they bargained for.
What's Your Favorite Animal?
This compilation features today's most popular picture-book authors and illustrators, including Eric Carle, Mo Willems, and Lucy Cousins. From the domestic cat to the Amazonian Neotropical Lower River Tink-Tink, each response allows the artist's personality and style to shine through, making for a delightful variety of answers.
By Kelly DiPucchio
Gaston is a bulldog puppy being raised in a litter of poodles, so no matter how hard he tries, he can't quite fit in. But a trip to the park soon proves that his family loves him for who he is, not what he looks like. Adorable illustrations make the heartwarming story even more charming.
Help! We Need a Title!
By Hervé Tullet
Uh-oh, these characters aren't quite ready for readers yet! Young kids will get a kick out of watching them scramble to come up with a tale to tell. This unique book encourages creativity in a manner that's fun for all ages.
Goatilocks and the Three Bears
By Erica S. Perl
When the always-hungry Goatilocks tests the bears' porridge, she can't resist munching down on the bowl and spoon -- and that's just the beginning! Young readers will love the kooky creature's exploits.
By William Joyce
What if the alphabet did not exist? According to The Numberlys, life would be orderly and dull. But soon the tale's heroes break out hard hats, hammers, and glue guns, and start inventing letters. Gorgeous illustrations will enchant readers of all ages.
I Am Otter
By Sam Garton
The curious title character tries to entertain herself at home while her owner -- known as Otter Keeper -- is at work. But the situation soon turns messy when her teddy bear goes missing. The adorable critter -- who originally gained fame through a popular blog -- will win the whole family over.
I'm My Own Dog
By David Ezra Stein
This book gives readers a comical peek into the life of man's best friend. Our protagonist is a self-reliant canine who fetches his own slippers and can give himself scratches, thankyouverymuch. But when a lonely human follows him home, the dog has no choice but to fetch a leash to lead the man around with.
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... 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.
Originally published in the March 2008 issue of Parents magazine. Updated December 2014.