Nicole has a degree in psychology, and is a mom to four young sons. She loves all things art, and enjoys writing about her experiences.
Looking to expand your little one's library? Here are 25 amazing kids books you're both sure to love! Perfect for ages 2 and up!
1. Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
This story is somehow captivating and calming at the same time, which makes it a perfect book for bedtime. The colors are vibrant and yet the pace is slow and soothing. There are many perplexing aspects of the book, if you really take the time to think about it.
Despite being a little weird and nonsensical (and what fun would kids books be if they made perfect sense all the time?) this story is a favorite worldwide and a must-have for your child's little library.
2. "Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes" by Eric Litwin
While nannying for a little boy one summer, I was introduced to the delightful books featuring Pete the Cat. This book, along with all the other "Pete the Cat" books, definitely need to find their way to your child's bookshelves! You'll love Pete's optimistic and groovy attitude towards life, as he teaches your child not to sweat the small stuff and how to keep a good attitude despite setbacks. No matter what Pete steps in, whether it be strawberries that turn his shoes red, blueberries that turn his shoes blue, or mud that turns his shoes brown, Pete keeps a positive mindset, knowing that "it's all good"!
3. "I Love You Through and Through" by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak
All parents want to impart many things to their children, but most of all, we want them to know just how very much we love them. Convey that message easily to your little one as he or she sits in your lap and you read this sweet and beautiful classic together. Your toddler will learn that no matter what he or she does, you will love them just the same. Lines like "I love your happy side, and your mad side" let your toddler know that even when emotions run high, mommy and daddy will always be there! What a fun and endearing book.
4. "Dear Zoo" by Rod Campbell
This "lift the flap" book is so charming and super fun for toddlers. Discover zoo animals and the sounds they make, and why many of them may not make the best pets (but... hint: one pet at the end does!) "Oh Dear!" and "Noisy Farm" are a couple more of the titles by Rod Campbell that are sure to make your little tot smile.
5. "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen
My son always brings me this book to read. It is definitely one of his favorites! Follow this charming little family as they go on a bear hunt, and have a ton of adventure through it all! They'll go through the squishy grass, sqerchy mud, and more to reach the bear's cave -- before having to turn around and run home and jump under the covers! This is one you'll enjoy reading with your child over and over again (I know I do!)
6. "Animal Alphabet" by Alex Lluch
Teach your toddler the alphabet in the most fun way possible, while simultaneously allowing him or her to explore different animals. Toddlers love this "seek and slide" book that allows them to reveal the animal that each letter stands for!
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7. Good Night Gorilla
This book is unique in that it doesn't have any words, just pictures that tell the story of a sneaky gorilla who doesn't want to go to sleep. He's also great at unlocking the cages of all the animals and letting them out when they're supposed to be settling in for bed! Tricky little guy!
8. "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" by Eilseen Christelow
Watch out for this fun title, as a side-effect may by that your toddler will start jumping on the bed! Seriously though, this fun book about squirmy monkeys who don't want to go to sleep will capture your child's attention and keep it until the very end. See the love of a mommy for her kids, as she nurtures each one that falls off the bed. Kids love the repetition in this story and the silliness of it gets their funny bone going ever time!
9. "Barnyard Dance" by Sandra Boynton
With rhyming throughout and fun-loving farm animals, this book is an instant hit with any toddler or small child. Sandra Boynton has become a household name to parents across the U.S. and beyond! Her whimsical, light-hearted stories are always a joy to behold.
10. Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman
There are a bunch of different "Ladybug Girl" books including "Ladybug Girl Feels Happy", "Ladybug Girl Dresses Up", "Ladybug Girl Makes Friends", and many more! Little girls love these books, but so do little boys (as my son can attest to!) Ladybug Girl is fun and has a positive attitude, and she's always going on a new adventure. Maybe the reason this series is so popular is because it taps into kids' inherent love of dressing up.
11. Peek a Who? by Nina Laden
In this fun, simple board book, children can explore different creatures/things and the sounds they make, all while playing the beloved game of peek-a-boo. They can even see their own face at the end, when a mirror is shown with a little caption that reads, "Peek-a-YOU!" This is a great book for toddlers and anyone who loves rhyming and imagination.
12. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond
"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" is one of those classic books that many of us remember from our own childhoods. I was so excited to share this storybook with my son. Just now when he saw me putting the image into this blog, he exclaimed, "That's my favorite book!" (Of course, he has LOTS of favorites!) The mouse in this story is so fun-loving and creative. It's exciting for kids to see how the plot develops as the story naturally progresses. Some of the other stories that evolved from this one are quite fun as well, such as: "If You Give a Moose a Muffin", "If You Give a Pig a Pancake", and so on. I recommend checking out all of them!
13. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This is definitely one of the very first toddler books you should purchase for your little one. I might even still get it if he/she is only an infant and start reading it then (it's never too early!) As this curious little caterpillar eats through various types of foods, he learns what satisfies, what makes his tummy hurt -- and what makes him feel much better! Then, there's a wonderful surprise at the end when he undergoes a great metamorphosis!
14. Big / Little by Leslie Patricelli
For toddlers learning the difference between what's "big" and what's "little" in this world, look no further than this adorable little board book. Elephants and skyscrapers are BIG! Ladybugs and peas are little... and so on! Leslie Patricelli has also written some other fun board books such as "Yummy, Yucky" and "Baby Happy, Baby Sad". Great resources to teach baby all about his world!
15. Mommy's Best Kisses by Margaret Anastas
Mommies and babies alike will fall in love with this sweet and endearing book about all different kinds of animals and the way they love their babies. Give kisses to your sweet baby the whole way through this delightful journey!
16. "The Beginner's Bible"
This is the same little children's bible that I read when I was a child. I remember reading it on the bus to and from school every day. Now I couldn't be more pleased about passing it on to my own son. This children's bible follows the stories in the Bible closely and does not contain any theological deviations (that I've seen). It keeps the stories simple and yet keeps the meaning intact as much as possible, so that even little children can understand. The illustrations are colorful and fun as well. Please do check out this classic children's bible if you need one to read to your toddler, or even your elementary schooler.
17. "Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert
While visiting our local library with my son recently, I stumbled upon a beloved classic that I remember fondly from my childhood. I showed it to my husband, and he remembers it, too. Lois Ehlert created fun and creative books using colored paper cut-outs, and in the process she captured the hearts of countless children. "Planting a Rainbow" is a particularly fun book for me. I love the colorful flowers and how it teaches children about gardening-- so neat! Ehlert also wrote the very popular toddler board book about the ABC's, entitled "Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom". Check out all her books, as each one is a delight.
18. "The Lady with the Alligator Purse" By Nadine Bernard Wescott
What solves a little boy's case of the hiccups from swallowing too many bubbles in the bath? Not castor oil, not penicillin, but -- pizza! Who is there to deliver this remedy? Not the doctor, not the nurse... but the one and only, "Lady with the Alligator Purse"! Join in the fun with this wacky and wonky story that will have your kids rolling on the floor with laughter!
19. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
There's something so fun and cute about a little birdy wandering from his nest in search of his mother (who, unbeknownst to him, is actually only a few feet away digging for worms for his breakfast!) Come only on the journey with him to find his beloved mama, and you won't be disappointed. Along the way, you'll meet a dog, a cat, a cow, an airplane, a car, a crane.... and pretty soon, you'll be on the ride of your life right along with him! This is one of my son's favorites that he loves to read over and over. You can purchase it full size or in a board book format, which is more convenient for tiny hands.
20. "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Suess
This book is an absolute classic, there's no question about that. It has a great moral to impart to our kids about being willing to open your heart and mind and try new things. You never know until you try, right? When I was a teenager and my little brother was a kid, I remember using colored food dye to make his scrambled eggs green. It was a fun little project, but needless to say, I couldn't get him to eat all of them! I think he maybe took one bite! Poor kid, being the subject of his big sister's experiments. Well, even though the actual green eggs didn't work out, the book is still an awesome one to have in your collection!
21. "The Little Engine that Could" by Watty Piper
C'mon, does it get any more "classic" than this book?! "The Little Engine that Could" is a great story for many reasons. For one, it instills confidence in your child, which is so needed for their tiny little hearts. It instills that idea that one should never, ever, ever give up! And also, the story includes trains, toys, and dolls, so that makes it entertaining and interesting for your tiny reader. This one is a "must have" in your household. It might even inspire you as an adult! (I know its encouraging to me!)
22. "Little Blue Truck" by Alice Schertle
Little boys pretty much always love trucks, cars, diggers, and anything that goes "vrrooom"! My son is no different, and he surely loves this book about the big dump truck that gets stuck in the mud, and the little blue truck (and all his animal friends!) who come rushing over to help! The book rhymes, which makes it super fun to read, and it contains lots of animal sounds, which is good practice for your tiny tot. Plus, there's mud involved, which--let's face it-- little boys LOVE! Such an adorable and fun story!
23. "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"
Any Eric Carle book is sure to be an instant hit with your kiddo. We absolutely love Eric Carle books in our household! (Maybe it's because mom is an artist and dad has a great appreciation for anything artistic as well!) In any case, this book by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr. is sure to be a favorite that your child will want to read over and over. The paintings of each animal are brightly colored and vibrant, and you will have so much fun teaching your child about each animal and what sound they make. This is one of Carle's most famous books, but really, pretty much all of them are amazing!
24. "Where Is Baby's Belly Button?" by Karen Katz
Fun illustrations and surprises behind every flap make this book super exciting for kids! It also helps little ones learn about different body parts, which is important for their development. You can always count on Karen Katz' books to be bright, colorful, and enjoyable from beginning to end! Your little guy or gal will want to read it over and over!
This book was written in 2000, but Karen Katz' first book "Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale" was written in 1997, based on her own experience of adopting her little girl. Karen Katz also has many other lovely "lift-the-flap" books, including books for specific holidays, such as "Where is Baby's Pumpkin?" and "Where is Baby's Valentine?", and a personal favorite of ours, "Where Are Baby's Easter Eggs?" Toddlers just love lifting the flap on each page and being surprised every time! Katz also has a few books that help with behavior issues, such as "No Biting!", "No Hitting!" and a personal favorite, "I Can Share". Definitely look into her fun and precious books!
25. "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
This book is so beloved by so many. You will, no doubt, remember it from your childhood, and even if you don't, this is one you definitely want to have in your little one's library. It will also make you tear up, for sure! It was originally published in 1986 and takes you on adventures of a little toddler and his mother, as he grows into an adult man-- but along the way, he is and will always be his mommy's special little boy. The book contains the famous lines:
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."
This book is quite possibly the sweetest bedtime story, ever!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 23, 2016:
What a great job you've done compiling this list on various topics and adding your personal evaluation. Many parents and nannies should find this helpful. Thank you.