Reading books to your toddler strengthens your bond and lays the foundation for a lifetime love of books. Not only that, but reading helps develop language skills and teaches life lessons.
So it’s crucial to pick the right ones. The pressure is on, but fear not; we’ve done the legwork!
With careful consideration and a focus on development, learning, and fun, we present the top 25 best toddler books tailored for you and your child’s enjoyment.
- 30 pages board book
- Comes in different reading formats
- Educational early learning book
- Fun and adorable
- Comes either as Kindle or hardcover
- 57 pages
- Beautiful story
- Creates an interactive experience
- Eye-catching illustrations
- Enjoyable read
- Comes in five formats
- 28 pages
- Fun and educational
- Very affordable
- 36 pages
- Sturdy and easy to handle
- 36 pages
- Beautifully illustrated
- 40 pages
- Reassuring story
- Comes in four formats
- Includes stickers
- Sweet book to read
- 32 pages
- 40 pages
- Timeless classic book
Review Methodology: At Mom Loves Best, we meticulously analyze, assess, and compare a wide range of toddler books, using a set of criteria based on their educational value, entertainment factor, and age-appropriateness. Our hands-on experience and professional evaluations are backed by data and facts sourced from our extensive research. We offer an objective review of each book’s performance, scoring them on their ability to captivate a child’s imagination and foster their love for reading. We also track design choices, identifying those that effectively engage young readers. The result is our comprehensive ranking, a trusted guide for parents seeking the best toddler books. Our evidence-backed findings provide a reliable benchmark for your purchasing decisions.
The Best Toddler Books of 2023
We tried to find simple books with little text and intriguing illustrations. That’s your best bet for engaging your child.
Here is our list of the 25 best toddler books around.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
A Different Good Night
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is a charming and heartwarming book that is perfect for toddlers who love trucks and construction. The New York Times bestselling book has rhyming text and colorful illustrations sure to capture your toddler’s attention. Just long enough for the soothing story to help them turn off their engine and rest.
- Engaging rhyming text.
- Colorful, detailed illustrations.
- Soothing story helps toddlers wind down.
- Introduces different construction vehicles.
- Some text may be challenging for younger toddlers to understand.
One Sheep, Two Sheep, Three Sheep Dance
Count to Fall Asleep
With this newly-released book from Christina Young, your toddler gets to follow 12 little sheep during their day. It’s a quirky bedtime story that teaches your little one how to count using sheep and rhythmic rhymes.
You and your toddler can snuggle up and count together until they’re fast asleep. The illustrations are adorable, great for grabbing a little one’s attention.
- Quirky and fun bedtime story.
- Teaches toddlers how to count.
- Adorable illustrations.
- Soothing story.
- Some text may be challenging for younger toddlers to understand.
The Giving Tree
Giving is Good
In this old classic, your child can learn about generosity and self-sacrifice, but also to be thankful. The story is about an apple tree that unconditionally gives and gives to a little boy. As he grows, he continues to ask for more until the tree sacrifices itself.
It is a thought-provoking story that can be interpreted in many ways. And, since the moral of the story isn’t set in stone, it allows for questions, which sparks curiosity. If you have a sensitive child at home, though, you should be aware that this one can be a tearjerker.
- Teaches the importance of giving and self-sacrifice.
- Sparks discussion and critical thinking.
- Beautifully illustrated.
- Timeless classic.
- Can be a tearjerker for some children.
- Some readers found the story’s message too idealistic.
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
Lift and Discover
Step into the vibrant world of the zoo with this interactive board book, perfect for toddlers. “Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book” offers a tactile experience, encouraging little ones to actively engage with the story.
Eye-catching illustrations bring the zoo to life, while the lift-the-flap design makes every page a delightful surprise. Watch your child’s curiosity bloom as they search for the monkey, lion, or elephant, sparking enriching conversations about their favorite animals.
- Interactive design engages young readers.
- Bold illustrations capture a child’s attention.
- The flaps could be sturdier.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Tell Me What You See
Dive into a vibrant world of forest animals with your little explorer! As each page turns, a colorful creature emerges, prompting a delightful game of “What do you see?” From the happy frog to the handsome horse, every animal will capture young imaginations.
Not only does this book offer a visual feast, but it also provides an opportunity for toddlers to expand their knowledge of animals and their behaviors. Whether they fly, crawl, or gallop, each animal has a story to share, making it an essential read for budding animal enthusiasts.
- Captivating illustrations.
- Encourages interactive reading and animal recognition.
- Some buyers noticed issues with the printing, however, this was very rare.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Best Toddler Book for Alphabetic Rhymes
Teach your toddler the alphabet with this fun book by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. The alphabet letters race each other up the coconut tree, but is there enough room?
The book’s text has a fun rhythmic beat to it, which your toddler will love to hear repeatedly.
- Rhythmic narrative that resonates with toddlers.
- Fun and innovative way to teach the alphabet.
- A few buyers feel that the pages are hard to turn.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
Loving and Truthful Messages
The Wonderful Things You Will Be is a heartfelt ode to the boundless love and dreams parents hold for their children. Through poetic rhymes paired with captivating and sometimes humorous illustrations, the book offers a touching narrative that will resonate with both parent and child.
It teaches your toddler about unconditional love and how parents see them, even during tough periods. It’s not a book full of long sentences and words, which makes it a great choice for a little beginner to read.
- Beautifully written; evokes emotion.
- Imaginative illustrations that captivate young minds.
- Some parents thought the pages could be more durable.
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Worries About Bedtime
If your toddler struggles to sleep alone, then the Llama in the red pajama might help. The bedtime book is about a little llama tucked into bed by his mom — but as soon as she leaves, he starts to worry.
Llama Llama Red Pajama tenderly tackles the common bedtime anxieties many toddlers face, instilling a comforting message that even if out of sight, parents are always close by.
The beautifully penned narrative captures the blend of vulnerability and assurance, making it an essential read for the bedtime routine.
- Addresses common bedtime anxieties in a relatable manner.
- Provides reassurance to toddlers.
The Kissing Hand
Tackling Separation Anxieties
This book helped my child right before the first day of school. It’s the story of Chester Raccoon, who doesn’t want to go to school in the forest. His mom then shares a little family secret to give reassurance when it’s most needed.
The book includes stickers, so your little one can take the kissing hand with them to fight their insecurities at daycare or school. Even if your toddler isn’t struggling with separation anxiety, it’s still a fantastic, sweet book to read. Toddlers can relate to Chester Raccoon, which reassures them that such feelings are normal and okay.
- Addresses separation anxiety with a gentle narrative.
- Comes with stickers.
- Some parents felt the book focuses only on the solution rather than the process.
The Snowy Day
Multicultural Snow Day
Upon its release in 1962, The Snowy Day broke new ground by presenting a realistic, multicultural urban setting. Celebrated for its inclusive portrayal of children from diverse ethnic backgrounds, it has since cemented its place as a cherished classic.
Experience the wonder of the season’s first snowfall through the eyes of a child and all the magic and possibilities it brings. This book is especially heartwarming to read around Christmas time.
- Genuine multicultural representation.
- Captures universal joy and wonder towards snow.
- The paperback version can be on the flimsy side.
Make Way For Ducklings
A Lesson in Kindness
Embark on an endearing journey with a duck family searching for the perfect place to rest. At last, they settle on Boston’s Public Garden. But the challenge remains: how do they safely usher their ducklings to this haven?
Along their trek, the ducks encounter a friendly police officer who displays the essence of kindness and community support. The book teaches about kindness and the importance of helping one another.
- Captures the spirit of community and kindness.
- Engaging illustrations.
- Some readers wished the illustrations were more vibrant.
Interact and Press
Press Here is a whimsical journey through a world of vibrant dots. While minimal in words, it brims with playful interaction. Each page invites the reader to press, tilt, or shake it, transforming a simple reading experience into an exhilarating game of cause and effect.
As toddlers gleefully follow along, they’ll be captivated by the dots’ reactions, ensuring belly laughs with each turn of the page.
- Interactive experience encouraging active participation.
- Simple yet captivating visuals.
- Some consumers said the book arrived damaged.
Big Girl Panties
For Potty Training Girls
Big Girl Panties takes a light and positive approach to the world of potty training. With its catchy rhymes and vibrant illustrations, the book follows a little girl’s milestone moment of trading diapers for her very own big girl underwear.
Not just a tool for potty training, it’s a delightful read that celebrates growing up, offering encouragement with a dash of humor.
- Playful rhymes.
- Engaging artwork to captivate young readers.
- Some parents wish it was more informative about the process of using the toilet.
Teaching Spatial Concepts
With this fun, colorful book by Eric Hill, you get to help the mother dog find her lost puppy, Spot. She looks everywhere — under and over, inside and outside — she sees a lot of animals on the way, but no Spot. Your toddler can help open the different flaps to expose who’s hiding.
Beyond its playful narrative, the book cleverly introduces spatial concepts like ‘over,’ ‘under,’ and ‘inside,’ making learning a delightful game.
- Interactive flaps engage toddlers.
- Colorful, simple illustrations.
- Some parents feel the flaps could be sturdier.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
A Goofy Favorite
We all know the song, but did you know that reading it to your toddler could be even better? The book is full of goofy, mischievous images of the five little monkeys getting in trouble. There’s no lesson to the story other than not to jump on the bed.
Their antics are a visual treat, prompting giggles with each turn of the page.
- Delightful illustrations capture attention.
- Some parents find the book repetitive.
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
Follow Trixie and her dad as they venture off to the neighborhood laundromat along with Knuffle Bunny. Through its lively illustrations and relatable narrative, the story highlights the challenges faced by non-verbal toddlers. It beautifully portrays the importance of understanding and the magic of a child’s first words.
- Relatable for parents.
- Engaging for toddlers.
- Some reviewers said the pages tore easily.
Diapers Are Not Forever
Diaper Ditching Motivations
For toddlers who are potty training, this is one book they can relate to. It addresses the process in a charming, straightforward way that’s easily understood by small children. The colorful and intriguing illustrations make it a hit.
The book discusses how to use the potty and why it’s essential to do so. It encourages confidence as tots approach this milestone. We also love this book because the story is in both English and Spanish.
- Dual-language narrative (English and Spanish).
- Effectively aids the potty-training journey.
- The Spanish translations has some errors.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle’s timeless classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, invites children into a world of discovery. As the caterpillar munches its way through foods, toddlers learn about counting, days of the week, and how the little caterpillar transforms from an egg into a butterfly.
It’s a delightful mix of education and entertainment, and great for toddlers as they can follow along, seeing the holes the caterpillar has eaten.
- Multi-faceted learning through a simple narrative.
- Some parents found the book quite small.
If Animals Kissed Good Night
How do animals say goodnight? This is a whimsical little bedtime story about a girl asking if animals are kissed goodnight and wondering how they would do it.
Giraffes must stretch high in the sky to kiss. Sloths move slowly, so they’ll still be saying goodnight after the other animals are sleeping. The book tickles your toddler’s curiosity, forcing them to use their imagination and ask questions.
- Sparks curiosity and imagination.
- Some reviews mention the book being too long.
Bright and Early Board Books by Dr. Seuss
The Best from Dr. Seuss
In this bundle from Dr. Seuss, you’ll receive four board books wrapped together in a cute blue box. You get Hop On Pop, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think, Ten Apples On Top, and The Shape Of Me And Other Things.
We love Dr. Seuss, and this bundle is a wonderful beginner’s package.
- Iconic tales for budding readers.
- The books are small.
Olivia Helps with Christmas
Join Olivia, the spirited piglet, as she navigates the festive chaos of Christmas preparations. Ian Falconer’s story is simple, with few words and sentences on each page — but the illustrations are whimsical and cute.
Toddlers can experience the December anticipations through Olivia’s eyes as she hangs stockings and eagerly awaits her gifts.
- Whimsicle illustrations.
- Some parents thought the book was a bit long.
P is for Potty! (Sesame Street)
Potty Training 101
Let Elmo and friends from Sesame Street tell your little one about using the potty with this lift-the-flap book. It includes more than 30 flaps to flip, so there are plenty of things for your toddler to discover.
The book is sturdy and can easily be read while on the potty.
- Interactive book that makes learning fun.
- The flaps are flimsier than the pages.
Hands Are Not for Hitting
Best Toddler Book for TeachingNot to Hit
This book will teach the many things that hands can do other than hitting. It addresses an important topic — that violence is never okay. Instead, it shows that everyone is capable of performing positive, loving actions.
It’s bright and inviting but also durable with simple words toddlers understand. Additionally, there are tips for parents and caregivers.
- Empowers children with positive behavior.
- Some parents find the text too simplistic.
ABC's For Boys
For small boys, this take on the ABCs teaches the alphabet using all the things boys love.
This includes airplanes and construction vehicles, among many other things. It’s excellent for boys from an early age up to 5 years.
- Relatable content for young boys.
- Parents pointed out that the letter ‘B’ is supposed to depict a bulldozer, but the image is of a front loader.
The Feelings Book
Dealing with Emotions
Toddlers can’t always label their feelings, which often leads to tantrums. The Feelings Book can help your little one learn about the various emotions they experience.
The book illustrates different moods with fun images the young reader can relate to.
- Bright illustrations depict varied emotions.
- The ‘feelings’ discussed aren’t all ‘standard’ emotions.
Why Reading Is Important
Reading with your child is good for them. Sharing stories, singing, and simply talking every day support your little one’s development in various ways. Here are some benefits:
- It helps them recognize sounds, language, and words.
- It develops early literacy skills.
- It sparks curiosity and imagination.
- It teaches your child to value stories and books.
- It develops your toddler’s brain, communication, and social skills.
- It helps them understand changes, new events, and the emotions that may follow.
- It helps them understand the difference between make-believe and reality.
You don’t always need to read aloud to your toddler; sometimes, merely looking at the pages can make you the best storyteller. Your little one will watch you hold the book correctly, turn the pages gently, and show interest in its contents (1).
The best toddler books address daily events like eating, sleeping, and potty training. Look for board books, as they’re less likely to break if your toddler gets handsy.
Handling Toddlers Who Won’t Sit Still
As a parent, I know the challenge. My little one would rarely sit still during storytime unless it was before bed. It became frustrating, but then I discovered that sitting isn’t a requirement (2).
Keep in mind that a toddler’s attention span isn’t long — this is why short stories are often best. If your little one prefers to stand up while you read, then that’s okay, too.
Engage them in the story, ask about the pictures, or make funny voices. Try to find a favorite book that you can read repeatedly.
If reading doesn’t catch their interest, don’t push it. Instead, leave the book for now. Perhaps your toddler prefers singing nursery rhymes or simply hearing your voice.
Any Time Is Storytime
Reading books to your toddler is one of the best ways to aid their development. They establish early literacy capabilities, expand their vocabulary, and build social and communication skills. It’s also a way for you to bond and have a special time with them.
Try to find a favorite story — one that revolves around their interests. Still, don’t worry if your little one doesn’t want to read a book — some toddlers prefer songs or simple conversations.