Looking for some enjoyable books to read to toddlers? For this age group, pick books that have interesting stories and colourful illustrations to keep a child’s attention. Be sure you choose books for your kids that you won’t mind reading over and over and over again! Don’t worry. Eventually, they will be able to read the book themselves in a few years. Here are my favourite toddler books.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
This book introduces kids to Hairy Maclary and his lovable friends. With its repetitive rhyming text, this is an excellent story to read and toddlers will love looking at the pictures of the different dogs. There’s a whole series of Hairy Maclary books and a DVD as well.
Josephine Wants to Dance by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley
This book by the creators of Diary of a Wombat is an uplifting book which demonstrates the power of having a dream. Josephine is a kangaroo who dreams of becoming a ballerina. It’s worth reading just to see the illustrations of a kangaroo wearing a tutu and ballet slippers. FYI Wombat makes a guest appearance.
Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles and Rod Clement
What happens when an emu gets tired of being an emu and decides to reinvent himself? Follow along with the rhyming adventures of Edward as he attempts to relieve his boredom by impersonating other animals at the zoo. This is a funny book which features stunning illustrations.
Edwina the Emu by Sheena Knowles and Rod Clement
The sequel to Edwards the Emu starts with Edwina announcing that she’s laid ten eggs. Edward not surprisingly freaks out and Edwina decides that she’ll go out and find a job to support the family. It’s a wonderful rhyming story of a working mum who is looking for the right job . In the end, she realises what it is. Like Edward the Emu, the illustrations are brilliant especially the newspaper The Daily Emu.
Magic Beach by Alison Lester
With its detailed images and various stories (both everyday and magic) relating to the beach, this is a gorgeous book to read. It teaches kids how to use their imagination to discover the make believe. It also provides a strong female role model with a story about Princess Belinda charging in to save Prince James from the dragon. If you can, purchase the Special 20th Anniversary Edition to get a limited edition wall frieze.
Hunting for Dragons by Bruce Whatley
Another strong female role model is the little girl in Hunting for Dragons. Every weekend she goes hunting for dragons in her house and finds them all over the place. Very clever illustrations which will have you and your child searching for dragons within the drawings.
All The World by Lisa Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee
“Everything you hear, smell, see. All the world is everything. Everything is you and me. Hope and peace and love and trust. All the world is all of us.” This is my favourite book to read to my daughter. It features beautiful drawings celebrating the everyday joys of life such as gardening, climbing trees, visiting the beach and being part of a family. It’s a precious book that would make a wonderful children’s birthday present.
Mother Goose’s Playtime Rhymes by Axel Scheffler
There’s tons of nursery rhyme books available but this book present them in a slightly different way. This is a story about Mother Goose and her three goslings interspersed with classic nursery rhymes. It’s a novel way to introduce nursery rhymes to children while entertaining them with a story of the three goslings Boo, Lucy and Small. (Buy the version with the CD which narrates the whole book if you feel like a break from reading it to your child).
Kiss Good Night Sam by Amy Hest and Anita Jeram
Every parent needs a book that reinforces a peaceful goodnight routine. This is the book in our house. Sam the Bear has a whole routine before he goes to bed which finishes with his mum Mrs Bear kissing Sam once and twice and then twice more. It’s the perfect sleep time book which finishes with lots of kisses!
M is for Metal: The Loudest Alphabet Book on Earth by Paul McNeil and Barry Divola
Okay, this book is probably not on a lot of recommended book lists for toddlers, but parents will love reading it. Why? It starts with “A is for Angus whose riffs are a hit. He’s a grown man in a schoolboy outfit” and ends with “Z is for Zeppelin, we followed, they led. Stairway goes to heaven and then to bed.” Fantastic book for those who want to teach their kids about quality music.