the best books for toddlers
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent – I had this book as a child and now I think it’s the cutest thing in the world to hear Ella carefully say, “Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo.” Bart’s parents gave her this book for Christmas, and I’m thrilled to have it in our collection.
Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley – Our beloved librarian, Miss Andrea, read this a few months ago at storytime, and Ella immediately was the world’s biggest fan. When the library copy was checked out, we were reduced to watching videos of random strangers reading it on YouTube.
I Spy Under the Sea by Edward Gibbs – It has holes on each page to look through and features animals. Basically a perfect book in Ella’s world.
Scarface Claw by Lynley Dodd – I was first introduced to Lynley Dodd by Angela Noelle who graciously sent us a copy of one of her other books. Now every time we go to the library, we have to camp out on the aisle where her books are kept and page through all of them until we find one featuring Scarface Claw. When Crawford was here a few weeks ago, he heard more than he ever wanted to know about Scarface Claw.
The Tawny Scrawny Lion by Kathryn Jackson and Gustaf Tenggren – This was another Christmas gift from Bart’s parents, which I’d never read, but now I quite love. When Ella picks this one, I am happy to read it to her (unlike the Poky Little Puppy; I bought it at Bart’s request and then he read it once and said, “I didn’t remember it being so long”).
Good Boy, Fergus by David Shannon – Ella attends a little preschool run by a friend of mine once a week and she came home bursting to tell me all about David. This was the pre-nap/bed book for several solid weeks and she could recite the whole thing. I’m sorry, but there isn’t much cuter than a two-year-old “reading” a book to you.
P.S. You can see previous favorites of Ella’s here.
And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!
if you liked this list of books for toddlers, you might also like these other posts:
- 12 Movement Books for Little Readers
- 25+ of our favorite funny kid books
- When the Neighbor Children Come Knocking
Tawny Scrawny Lion is my personal favorite of the Little Golden Books. And yes, people often seem to forget how long they are. I don't know if it's because reading to babies and toddlers is a relatively new thing or if kids have shorter attention spans than in "the olden days".
We love Big Green Monster, especially the developmentally disabled kids I do outreach with. Even the most disinterested ones will get into the act, waving vigorously to send away the monster.
I love love love Tikki Tikki Tembo!! I also had it as a kid and just think it's the most charming book ever.
Kayla @ Freckles in April says
Love Tikki Tikki Tembo! Classic.
I almost texted you last night to see if you had ever tried out I Spy with My Little Eye (same author. Didn't realize there was an under the sea version). We checked it out from the library a couple weeks ago and my kids are obsessed.
Yay, Tikki Tikki Tembo! I'm so glad to see that the illustrations haven't changed. Isn't it a bummer when the edition you read as a child gets revamped with some new, usurper illustrations? Not okay with me!
I love that the dog book is about a WESTIE! I bet Ella would love her very own doggie even more than the book. 🙂
Momma Miles says
What's up with the long children's books?! They kill me, I've been known to creatively "edit" while reading. It used to work, until the punks started reading. Now they call me on it…
I loved Tawny Scrawny Lion!
i loved reading tikki tikki tembo as a kid too! i think we might have you it, i will have to check and dig it out and read it with little bit. they read the green monster book and school and we had to check it out at the library last time. will have to check out some others on your list! thanks 😉
The Tawny Scrawny Lion is one I loved as a kid! I'm always happy to read it to the kids.
The Tawny Scrawny Lion was my favorite book when I was little! And Good Boy Fergus is adorable. I bought it for my sister because she has a Cairn Terrier who, except for being blond instead of white, looks and acts just like Fergus. She changed his food last week and he doesn't really like the new stuff, and we've been joking that he's just waiting for the whipped cream on top. 😀
I love these posts, because I just click over to my library's website and reserve every one of them. Makes my trip to the library so much easier!
Angela Noelle of SK says
I am so pleased you have access to NZ titles! "The toughest Tom in town," is her fave, huh? What a darling! Have you read The Caterwaul Caper? I LOVE all of the different barks from the crew from the original book.
Peaceful Reader says
I love this list as it is a mix of old and new!
Aren't those I spy books the greatest!? We discovered those at our library in Ohio. Jacob is also loving Tikki Tikki tembo….I can only read that one so many times consecutively….