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Toddler Time: Top Books Your Little One Will Love

April 23, 2014

toddlerbooksWhether it’s a bedtime story or an afternoon reading session, reading to your toddler provides an opportunity to bond, nurture and educate.

According to Mark Wright, center director for The Tutoring Center in Houston, reading to toddlers is critical for language development. “Toddlers are listening to you for an example of how to speak and when to speak,” says Wright. “But also even at this early age, they are looking for why and how to read. It’s a perfect time to show them that reading is fun, that you should do it often and that it’s not a chore.”

Show your toddler the joy of story telling and reading with these top books your little one will love.

The Pout Pout Fish

This fun, rhyming book by Deborah Diesen is about a fish who thinks his pouty face makes him destined to be gloomy. Funny rhymes and repetition build this story into a nice rhythm, says Wright. “I like that the vocabulary isn’t too simplistic and the pictures are bright and cheery,” he says. “If you’re a practiced story time reader or classroom teacher, there’s lots of possible voices and interactivity available on each page.”

Goodnight Moon

Besides being noted as a classic children’s book, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a sweet and simple story about a bunny’s journey to sleep with vivid illustrations that are perfect for a bedtime story and an educational opportunity. Your toddler likely has an incredible capacity to learn and remember information, says Cary Swen, author of the blog The New York City Nanny. “Using this time to read to them helps them learn to hear a word and to recognize the word in written form and in picture form,” she says. “Reading the phrase ‘Good night Moon’ allows the child to hear the sentence, see the words and connect the picture of the moon to the phrase.”

Little One, Little One, What Do You See?

For a fun and educational book that teaches your toddler about rhyming and counting, this treasure by Alan Siewert will keep your child entertained for hours. While immersed in the story, your child will also learn how to recognize traits of various animals. Prompt his or her learning with questions, such as “What animals can jump?” or “Can you count how many elephants are in the book?”


This book, authored by Gloria Walker, helps your toddler to see that little “oops” in life can be bearable. According to Walker, the rhyming story is accompanied by whimsical and engaging expression illustrations. “It is a book aimed at toddlers and all the little bumps they may receive in life,” she says. “It depicts their resilience to keep moving forward developmentally with the help of family who lovingly assist them back up again.” What sets this book apart is that it includes a section for parents and nannies, with a table demonstrating developmental guidelines for children from birth to 18 months of age

Serinah and the Butterfly

A true and inspirational story written to empower children, author Rhonda Reif shares a tale about the adventures of her dog, Serinah, with a butterfly. In the story, Serinah sees a butterfly and begins to chase it around the yard, ultimately catching it and releasing it unharmed. According to Reif, the book provides four insights for toddlers: What appears impossible really is possible; never give up on your wishes and dreams; work toward achieving those dreams; and believing in yourself makes things happen. “Of course the moral of the story is that Serinah caught the butterfly because she didn’t know she couldn’t catch the butterfly,” says Reif. “She did not allow emotions, self-doubt or fear to get in her way.”


Toddlers often enjoy books about day to day situations that they might encounter, such as running errands, eating or going to bed, says Paige Lindblom, preschool director and owner of Fledgling Kids, an online company offering products to support the social and emotional health of children. Mealtime by Elizabeth Verdick shows little ones that mealtime can be positive, healthy and fun – a definite must for picky eaters. As a bonus, the book includes tips and ideas for parents, nannies and caregivers.

Owl Babies

This story by Martin Waddel explores the emotional journey of three owls who worry that their mom won’t come back. But, she does. “This adorable story helps reinforce to children that mom might not be there, but she will be back soon,” says Marina Lumsden, parent expert and certified Triple P Parenting program provider in St. Paul, Minn. The vivid images and illustrations make this book a must-have for the toddler in your life.


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Jessica says:

Goodnight, Moon is the only book on this list I know – I’m going to have to make a run to the bookstore to pick some of these other ones up!!