Narrowing down a selection of favourite picture books feels like an impossible task for me. I feel bad for all the favourite books I’ve not included on this list, of which there are many. I’ve really tried to compile a list of all-time favourite books that not only did my children love, but books we really enjoyed reading.
I love how toddlers are perfectly happy to read the same book over and over again. In fact, I find that they actually get more from the books when you do read them again and again; it helps to improve their vocabulary and comprehension of the books. (I think I’ve read ‘Goodnight Moon’ to each of my children at least 100 times!)
Below is a selection of books you’ll enjoy reading on repeat. They were loved by all five of my children (and many are from my own childhood too).
Favourite picture books for toddlers:
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. There is something magical about this book. All five of my babies were completely mesmerised by it.
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. Again, I don’t know a child who hasn’t loved this book.
- Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? by Eric Carle (and the original Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?). Favourites from my own childhood!
- Choo Choo Clickety Clack by Margaret Mayo. So many good sounds and automobiles!
- The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. A classic loved by all my kids.
- Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan and Janet Ahlberg. There is something so catchy about this rhyming book.
- Can you Count? by Gyo Fujikawa. We love all of the books by Fujikawa, and this one simply appealed to my kids because of the sweet animals on each page.
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, the same woman who illustrated We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (another favourite). This sweet, poetic book is an Australian classic and rightfully so.
- Koala Lou by Mem Fox. Another Aussie classic!
- Are you my Mother? by P.D. Eastman. Another family favourite! (I remember reading this book to my younger brothers when they were little.)
- Go Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman. This was Easton’s favourite book as a toddler and I think I’ve read it at least a thousand times in my parenting life. There’s so much to learn in this book: colours, night versus day, play versus work, stop and go, up and down, over and under, hello and goodbye.
- The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Monkey Puzzle and really any of the books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
- Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox. Such a simple, sweet rhyming book.
- I Want my Hat Back by Jon Klassen. He’s a genius; we love all his books.
- Lost and Found, How to Catch a Star, and all the books by Oliver Jeffers.
- Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen. Again, this is a favourite from my own childhood that all of my kids loved too.
- The Everywhere Bear by Julia Donaldson. Such a sweet story, and one that never gets old to read.
- Wombat Stew by Marcia Vaughan. Another Aussie classic, and deservingly so.
- And the Train Goes by William Bee. It’s catchy and fun to read aloud. Spot the snail on each page too!
- Olivia by Ian Falconer. A cheeky, endearing character!
- Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion. Another childhood favourite.
- The Tiger who came to Tea by Judith Kerr. A British classic.
- Magic Beach and other books by Alison Lester. This one is poetic and beautiful and full of imagination.
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClaskey. A classic!
- A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip P. Stead. A sweet story with even sweeter illustrations.
- Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems. Witty and funny and super sweet too.
For more book suggestions, including recommendations by age, you can check out my eBook.