Tiny Reads

Toddler books.

Some of them are nuts, Amen? Just yesterday, I plucked a ripe one from the yellowed oak library shelf and I flipped through the first few pages, then a few more, then finally the end and I still have no earthly intimation of the plot. There was a dinosaur and a cherry pie, and I think a waltz? I don’t know. It is all very blurry.

My toddler book rule is 80% selfish. If I’m going to be the one reading it, I want to enjoy it immensely. I want to be reminded of the golden rules of childhood, the simplicity of it all, the deeply-held roots of humanity that we’ve forgotten amidst trips to the dry cleaner and cleaning out the gutters.

But perhaps it’s just me.

Anyway. If you’re the same, if you’re 80% selfish, if you yearn for a toddler read that you love as much as they love, one that you won’t find yourself skipping over the part about the sugar plum goddess, here’s a brief list for you and yours:

The Book(s): The Little Books Boxed Set
The Lesson: What is ordinary to you is extraordinary to someone else.
The Price: $18

The Book: Rosie Revere, Engineer
The Lesson: Hard work and persistence will get you everywhere (Also: everyone needs an Aunt Rose).
The Price: $9

The Book: The Little Red Hen
The Lesson: You reap what you sow.*
The Price: $4
*There is zero grace in this book, you’ve been warned. (Ken loves it.)

The Book: One
The Lesson: It takes just one person to make a difference.
The Price: $10

The Book: The Shape of Me and Other Stuff
The Lesson: People come in all shapes/sizes (and each is a wonderful thing).
The Price: $5

The Book: An Awesome Book of Thanks!
The Lesson: For the ultimate perspective shift, try gratitude.
The Price: $11

The Book: I’ll Teach My Dogs 100 Words
The Lesson: Big dreams take big work.
The Price: $8

Tell me, what are your favorite books to read to your little ones? I’d love to hear!

UPDATE — Thanks for your awesome suggestions! I’ve put together a little shoppable collection including your favorites right here!

  • Great suggestions!!
    I have a 3 year old daughter. Some of our current favorites are
    *Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    *The Adventures of Beekle
    *Last Stop on Market Street
    *All The World
    *Imani’s Moon
    *Dewey Bob
    And so many more! I’m a bit of a book hoarder so a lot to read ;) Books in every room and in the car!

  • Anything by Oliver Jeffers is a joy for both adults and kids. Also anything by Chris Haughton, Oh No George went down a storm with my dog loving nieces and nephew.

  • I don’t have a toddler but I love quirky & clever kids books :D its an art for sure!:
    -the “don’t let the pigeon___” and “Elephant & Piggie” series by Mo Willems
    -“big bear hug” and “making the moose out of life” by Nicholas Oldland (there are a few more in that series too)

  • Ha! That is SO Ken to love the Little Red Hen!!!! Ha ha! Great books, Some goodies that I haven’t seen yet. Love a brand new book rec!

  • I feel this way about music in the car – luckily he tends toward Black Eyed Peas and All About the Bass, and I sprinkle in some Caspar Babypants Beatles hits for both of us. Bookwise, I love the Sandra Boynton ones, Gerald the Giraffe, and a series about Dinosaurs that I can’t remember the author – thank you for more suggestions. There are NEVER too many books in our life. = )

  • Erin, I LOVE this list and that you care so much what your little is reading about already! My parents got me two great books when I was a little one that both taught the lesson “people are different” and stood me in good stead for a lot of future situations calling for tolerance. One was My Mum and Dad Make Me Laugh (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1406331856/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1449397692&sr=8-1&pi=SX200_QL40&keywords=my+mum+and+dad+make+me+laugh&dpPl=1&dpID=51fig5b7m7L&ref=plSrch#immersive-view_1449397699126) and the other was The Topsy Turvies (http://www.amazon.com/The-Topsy-Turvies-Picture-Books/dp/0140562192). They loved them as much as I did.

  • “I love you stinky face” is awesome! It’s about a mom who loves her kids no matter what! Super sweet!

  • I don’t have kids but I love the children’s book On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, it’s one of my favorite books to gift to any friends who are expecting.

  • Jan Brett books are lovely. She re tells lots of old fables as well as writing new ones. She is super immersed in authenticity, traveling to Africa to study the animals before she illustrates them in her books, for instance. She also hides hedgies in most of her books which are fun to hunt for and she has the most incredible illustrations with lots of foreshadowing and sub-plots in the frames around the main illustration. Highly recommend.

    • Oh you are so right about Jan Brett! We have the mitten and I love it (and I had no idea she hid hedgies in most of her books! Love that!).

  • I am really picky about the books I read, too. I want them to have great rhythm (for read alouds) as well as tell a good story. Here are some of our favorites:
    Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
    The Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
    Bright Stanley by Matt Buckingham
    Where’s My T·R·U·C·K? by Karen Beaumont
    Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

  • These are some very important life lessons being taught. Thanks for the list and I have added quite a few to my daughter’s TBR list. Recently my daughter and I have read a fantastic book called “Do You See What I See?” by author Katrina-Jane (http://katrina-jane.com/). It is a book that follows a little girl who is being visited by her grandmother who has recently passed away. It sounds like it would be a scary subject for a child but the author uses beautiful illustrations and writes in rhyme so that children can enjoy the book and learn about the afterlife in a very special way. The quote that really stuck with me is “”Always be honest, Always be true, for this is a special gift that has been given to you.” I think the book is full of positive messages and allowed for my daughter and I to go over a hard subject that is usually difficult to approach. Hope you and your readers will check it out!

  • I have an abiding passion for children’s literature. It can be so, so bad, but can also be some of the most effective writing a person can read. “One” is such a fabulous book. I use it to launch a whole unit of study in my classroom each year. You’d be shocked at how effectively it teaches the tricky social skill of speaking up without putting down. Another favorite is Charlotte Zolotow’s “I Know A Lady”. It is beautifully simple and deeply touching. Just lovely.

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