12 Picture Books to Read to your Toddler

I have been reading books to Noa for more than three years. I have read her almost 500-600 books and to come up with 10-15 books for a toddler was a difficult task. Hence, I decided to write a separate post for board books and picture books.

Every book has something to offer and you may want to read as many books as you want to your toddler. Except for chapter books, I have read Noa everything and I find it hard to divide picture books as per age.

Illustrations are tempting and trust me, toddler books are addictive. Who doesn’t love illustrations? I enjoyed reading Harry Potter Illustrated edition when it was published. And I am assuming so did you.

J K Rowling Harry Potter Illustrated

According to author Emma Walton Hamilton, picture books “also educate the ear and the eye… Nuances and subtleties, new vocabulary and meaningful ideas, all become available in the read-aloud experience – for which picture books are inherently designed – and prepare children to become better listeners in later life. And because they’re picture books, the words tell only half the story. The rest is revealed by the art, which helps kids notice details in the world around them, plants the seeds for art appreciation and teaches them to look beyond words for emotional clues concerning communication.”

Before you start with a list of books I would like to confess that I am a fan of Emma Chichester Clark, Oliver Jeffers, Alison Jay and Jim LaMarche’s work. So if you see their books and if you are anything like me you might love others too.

Here is the list of 12 picture books that you and your toddler will fall in love with:

Escargot
Escargot a beautiful French snail

Escargot by Daskha Slater, Illustrated by Sydney Hanson

Bonjour! Escargot is a beautiful French snail who wants only two things:

  1. To be your favourite animal.
  2. To get to the delicious salad at the end of the book.

But when he gets to the salad, he discovers that there’s a carrot in it. And Escargot hates carrots. But when he finally tries one—with a little help from you!—he discovers that it’s not so bad after all

What I love – Interactive read out loud for your picky eater. My daughter started loving carrot after I read her this book. Illustrations are beautiful and so is Escargot.

How to Catch a Star By Oliver Jeffers

Once there was a boy, and that boy loved stars very much. So much so that he decided to catch one of his very own. But how? Waiting for them to grow tired from being up in the sky all night doesn’t work. Climbing to the top of the tallest tree? No, not tall enough. The boy has a rocket ship . . . but it is made of paper and doesn’t fly well at all. Finally, just when the boy is ready to give up, he learns that sometimes things aren’t where, or what, we expect them to be.

First-time author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers offers a simple, childlike tale of reaching for the stars, and emerging with a friend.

What I love – This is cute children book ever with such simple words, images, and joys in life. It has a very great message – to never give up on your dreams!

Who Goes There Karma Wilson

Who Goes There By Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Anna Currey

Lewis Mouse is preparing his nest for winter. It is cosy and it is warm, and yet something is missing. All of a sudden—

SCRITCH, SCRATCH, TAP, TAP, TAP!

Lewis hears the scariest noises! Who can be making those sounds? He uses his bravest voice to shout, “WHO GOES THERE?” and scare off whoever it is. But could it be that he has nothing to be afraid of? Perhaps whoever is making the noise might make Lewis’s home even cosier!

What I love – This one makes a perfect read out loud book. A repetitive rhyming story with so much fun with different noises of animals.

A story for Bear

A story for Bear by Dennis Haseley, illustrated by Jim LaMarche

Open your heart and imagination to this magical fantasy about friendship and reading…

One sunlit afternoon, ab ear discovers a mysterious fragment of paper that leads him to a cabin and an unlikely friend. Although he can’t understand her words, he returns day after day all summer to hear the woman read to him. Each night he carries the sound of her stories–of sailors and goddesses and far-off lands–back to his cave. The stories are from another world, but their sound touches him.

What I love – A heart-warming story between a girl and a bear. It celebrates writing and reading and the magic of being read to.

BlueBird Wordless Book

BlueBird by Bob Staake

In his most moving and beautiful picture book to date, acclaimed artist Bob Staake explores what being a friend means, the universal themes of loneliness, bullying.

What I love – I don’t like wordless books much however, this is an exception. Lovely and heart-warming illustrations with a beautiful story about friendship. A book to fuel the child’s imagination and explore a story in own way.

Little Star

Little Star by Marita Conlon-Mckenna, Illustrated by Christopher Coady

After being added to a young boy’s treasure collection, a playful fallen star begins to dim, and the boy realizes that he must act to save her.

What I love – Colourful and dramatic illustrations and a cute heart-warming and touching story!! This books subtly explain being happy and giving for others happiness and life even it means letting go of your favourite treasure.

The Storm Whale

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies

This is the story of a lonely little boy, a whale washed up on a beach and a friendship that will change both their lives forever.

What I love – A gentle and heart-warming story highlighting the relationship of a young boy and his dad, and letting things go back to where they’re meant to be.

The Whisperer

The Whisperer by Pamela Zagarenski

When a little girl receives a curious book filled only with pictures, a whisper urges her to create the words she can not see. As the page turn, her imagination takes flight and she discovers that the greatest storyteller of all might come from within.

What I love – It’s a picture book with words and beautiful illustrations, for the dreamer in all of us.

The Wish Tree

The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Chris Turham

Charles wants to find a wish tree. His brother and sister don’t believe there is such a thing, but his trusty companion Boggan is ready to join Charles on a journey to find out. And along the way, they discover that wishes can come true in the most unexpected ways.

What I love – Light, beautiful winter illustrations with and a sweet message about continuing the journey even if no one else seems to believe in it.

The Noisy Paint Box

The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosentock, Illustrated by Mary Grandpre

In this exuberant celebration of creativity, Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpre tell the fascinating story of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the very first painters of abstract art. Throughout his life, Kandinsky experienced colours as sounds, and sounds as colours–and bold, groundbreaking works burst forth from his noisy paint box.

What I love – Warm and glowing illustrations for an artist who sees the world differently.

Shine Moon Shine

Shine Moon Shine by David Conway, illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic

One Snowy Night, in a great big city, the moon falls from the sky. Can a young boy’s kindness make the moonshine again?

What I love – It’s a heart-warming story with breathtaking illustrations. A story about kindness and empathising.

The Cloud Spinner

The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool, Illustrated by Alison Jay

One small boy has a special gift—he can weave cloth from the clouds: gold in the early morning with the rising sun, white in the afternoon, and crimson in the evening. He spins just enough cloth for a warm scarf. But when the king sees the boy’s magnificent cloth, he demands cloaks and gowns galore. “It would not be wise,” the boy protests. “Your majesty does not need them!” But spin he must—and soon the world around him begins to change.

What I love – Illustrations are so beautiful that it looks like real. I am smitten by this illustrator. This story tells about greed and its consequences.

Once, you have developed daily reading habit for your toddler, you may check Goodreads for more picture books. You may also visit nearest library with kid and borrow few. And, please share your favourite read which you think I should include here, please do let me know in comments so I can add in this list.

If you enjoyed reading this post please do share with your friend who might benefit from this list.

  1. […] The second set will have books with varied emotions and theme, for which I have written a separate post. […]

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