Thank you to SuperMom Kat for sharing her “must read” toddler book list with the SuperMommy readers.
A great way to spend some quality time with your child is cozying up with a good book and reading out loud. Kids love to hear the sound of a parent’s voice and enjoy flipping through a book that sparks their imaginations. Sky is the limit in a book, and the ones my toddler and I love really do take you on a journey. You can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss, Curious George, and Winnie the Pooh, but check out these Top 20 MUST READ toddler board books with your little tyke!
(1) Bear Says “Thank You”
Written by: Michael Dahl, Illustrated by: Oriol Vidal (2012)
What parent doesn’t want polite children who mind their manners? We never want to be THAT parent who has to claim the kicking, screaming temper tantrum throwing child who takes things without asking and can’t seem to utter a please or thank you. This picture book promotes manners in a fun way – without parents having to go into a torturous lecture. A little baby bear asks his mommy bear for different art supplies and learns the art of saying “Thank you!” – then surprises Mommy Bear with a thoughtful work of art at the end. Watch as your child chimes an enthusiastic “Thank you!” as you flip through the pages of this story together. This book is part of a series where Hippo Says “Excuse Me”, Penguin Says “Please”, and Mouse Says “Sorry”. Michael Dahl’s clever and playful books provide a wonderful platform for parents to introduce fundamental manner concepts to their children.
(2) How Hippo Says Hello!
Written by: Abigail Samoun, Illustrated by: Sarah Watts (2014)
Hop a plane with Hippo to eight different countries from the US. Hippo learns to say, “Hello!” to other animals in each country: France, Russia, Egypt, India, China, Japan, and Argentina. Find brilliant illustrations of Hippo saying “Bonjour!” to the fox waiter at a café near the Eiffel Tower in France. Hippo says, “Konnichiwa!” to kimono-clad animals twirling colorful parasols surrounded by picturesque cherry blossom trees in Japan. Sound out the provided phonetic translation of “Pree-vyet” for “Hello!” in Russian as Hippo waves to a boat of bundled up bears sailing along the Russian River. Watch your toddler say, “Namaste!” as Hippo sits on an Elephant and waves to a tapestry weaving pig in India. This book is part of The Little Traveler series which includes How Gator Says Goodbye!, How Penguin Says Please!, and How Tiger Says Thank You!. Children soak up other languages more easily in their early years. You can’t go wrong with learning commonly used greetings and phrases from other countries through Samoun’s fantastic board book series.
(3) Buzz, Buzz, Baby!
Written and Illustrated by: Karen Katz (2014)
Surprise insects, a lift the flap book, and delightful language- oh my! Most toddlers are fascinated with creeping, crawling bugs and critters, and will squeal with delight with this fun read. Karen Katz writes and illustrates her own series of Lift the Flap books including bestseller Where is Baby’s Belly Button?, Roar, Roar Baby!, Counting Kisses: A Kiss and Read Book, Baby Loves Spring!, and A Potty For Me. Karen Katz has written and illustrated over 50 books, so take your pick. My daughter and I are Katz fans, and haven’t found any of her books yet that we haven’t enjoyed.
(4) Wee Little Bunny
Written by: Lauren Thompson, Illustrated by: John Butler (2010)
An antsy, busy, adventurous, and exploratory baby bunny who loves to hop and play his way through his action packed day visiting other animals and enjoying the outdoors? Sounds a lot like my toddler- and most likely yours too. Wee Little Bunny only settles down when he returns home to snuggle in his mom’s comforting arms and shares the story of his day. The illustrations by John Butler are gorgeous, life-like, and charming. Thompson and Butler collaborated on the Wee Little Lamb and Wee Little Chick board books – both are a breath of fresh air to read. Your little one will LOVE flipping through the Wee Little Animal books.
(5) Beach Babies
Written by: Puck, Illustrated by: Violet Lemay (2014)
Joyous sandcastles, trendy beach fashion, beach sports, and sailboats! For many of us, the beach is a magical place to play and relax. Puck and Lemay take the ocean home to wherever you are. Discover clues to find colors, letters, shapes, hidden animals and objects, and other concepts such as up and down, all typically found by the sea. Puck also authored the Cool Counting book series which we love. Feel like a jet-setting traveler as Puck takes readers on a journey of landmarks in different cities and states in 123 California, 123 Hawaii, 123 New York, 123 Texas, and 123 San Francisco- just to name a few.
(6) Play Baby Play!
Written and Illustrated by: Marilyn Janovitz (2012)
A play date with friends on a rainy day sets the tone for this fun rhyming story. Illustrations of children of different skin tone colors, hair textures, and unique expressions play with toys and games, experiment with instruments at music time, and read books at story time. Your child may identify with at least one of the cute, frolicking characters depicted in the book. This toddler board book is a blast to read aloud to your child. Play Baby Play is part of a series that includes the popular Go Baby Go and Baby, Baby, Baby! books.
(7) Dinosaur Zoom!
Written by: Penny Dale (2014)
If your child is fascinated by dinosaurs, different kinds of cars, and making “vroom” and “zoom” type sounds, this action packed toddler board book is a grand slam! Colorful dinosaur types zip and race through the desert, over rocky roads, through pounding rain, sweltering sun, and various weather conditions. The dinosaurs ride a variety of vehicles such as a jeep, a motorcycle, and by bus, to name a few. The realistically illustrated dinosaurs all skid into one festive place- to surprise the littlest dinosaur for a birthday party. This adventurous toddler board book is part of a series that includes Dinosaur Dig! and Dinosaur Rescue!, which both parents and children will enjoy.
(8) Ladybug Girl and Her Mama
Written by: Jacky Davis, Illustrated by: David Soman (2013)
Ladybug Girl can’t wait to spend quality time with her mom. Decked out in her signature red ladybug polka- dotted rain boots, tutu, and wings, Ladybug Girl and her mom venture out to enjoy their mother-daughter day. Activities include gardening, eating grilled cheese sandwiches, catching a movie, grocery shopping, and taking family dog Bingo out for his stroll. This toddler board book is sweet as can be, and is part of a New York Times award winning series that includes Ladybug Girl Dresses Up, Ladybug Girl Loves…, Ladybug Girl Makes Friends, Ladybug Girl Feels Happy, Lady Bug Girl Says Good Night, Ladybug Girl and Bumble Bee Boy and more.
(9) My Day Bathtime
Written and Illustrated by: Alex Ayliffe (2013)
Rub a dub-dub and splish and splash with Baby in the bathtub. Rubber ducky, bubbles, boat, frog, dog and hippo keep Baby good company in this sudsy bubble bath tale. Other toddler board books in the Go, Baby series include My Day Mealtime, My Day Bedtime, and My Day Playtime. Your child will love going through each toddler board book to find a surprise at the end of each book’s baby routine- his or her own reflection in the mirror!
(10) Flip, Flap, Fly! A Book for Babies Everywhere
Written by: Phyllis Root (2009)
Babies are everywhere in this toddler board book! Your child can ziggle, zaggle, and wiggle with a slithering baby snake; sloop, slop, and slide with a furry baby otter, and slip, creep, and squeak with a baby mouse. These critters are just a few of the animals creating a stir in this creative book of creatures. To keep them out of trouble, each animal’s mom is right by their side to accompany them on their journey. While this toddler board book is not part of a series, Root has written several other terrific reads such as Rattletrap Car, Scrawny Cat, Kiss the Cow!, and Creak! Said the Bed.
There is nothing like a good book. If you are tired of reading the same simple board books to your little tyke over and over again, these board book picks can spark the imagination (of yours and your child’s)!
Are you finished reading books 1 -10 on the list above? Well now it’s time to check out Part 2 with another 10 exciting books for you and your toddler to enjoy together. Click here for Part 2 of the Top 20 “Must Read” Toddler Books list.
Flip, read, and enjoy!
Super Mom Kat