One of the parenting moments I most looked forward to was sharing my favorite stories with my babies. While they haven’t reached the age for me to read them The Hobbit, begin adventures alongside Harry Potter, or even Anne of Green Gables, we have been able to step into the world of adventure together every now and then, beginning from the time before they could even talk.
Any parent will tell you that there are a ton of board books out there, ready for you to share with your little baby or toddler, but what they probably won’t mention (particularly if they’re clearing out their book shelves to make some room) is that quantity does not necessarily mean quality. There are a lot of books that won’t hold your interest or the short attention span of your little one, especially when you’re reading them over and over again.
Whether you’re preparing a baby registry, looking to update your nursery bookshelf, or for a gift for your new niece or nephew, here are 15 amazing baby board books that won’t bore baby or the person turning the pages.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
There is a reason this book has been so popular since it first hit bookshelves in 1969. This beautifully illustrated book follows the development of a baby caterpillar as he eats numerous snacks and eventually transforms into a butterfly. Your child will learn to count and their colors too through this children's classic.
This brightly colored book is worth a peak for the artwork alone. Primary colored collages are used to create the main images of the book. For anyone looking to entertain a little one, a series of Eric Carle’s stories is also available to watch and enjoy care of Netflix.
14 We Belong Together by Joyce Wan
All of Joyce Wan’s books have been among my son’s top picks for as long as I can remember. These are simple books with adorable drawings alongside uncomplicated statements reinforcing companionship in love. This book particularly appealed to me as a mom of multiples, as it focuses on perfect pairs, like cookies and milk, a fork and a spoon, and bacon and eggs.
While toddlers, my kids particularly enjoyed the illustrations that helped them build on their vocabularies. These simplistic sayings can teach your child basic rhyme skills and relationship between objects. The drawings might remind you of Hello Kitty, but kids love these books for their easy read and wonderful illustrations.
13 Hand, Hand Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins
Exploration of hands, sounds, music, as well as catchy repetitive rhymes makes this the perfect book to read with little ones. Bright use of primary colors in the drawings of dancing monkeys and monkeys who play instruments will help teach baby about their body parts and entertain everyone.
The great thing about this book is that as your child grows older they'll appreciate this book for a whole new reason, the ability to repeat the rhymes, and laughter as they imagine monkeys doing the things they're doing in the book. You might even get a chuckle too.
12 Five Little Monkeys
This is the first rhyme my daughter learned when she was beginning to speak, and to this day, years later, she still gets a kick out of the naughty monkeys and the mischief they’re up to. This singsong rhyme will get babies and those reading shaking their fingers at the bad little monkeys jumping on the bed!
In the book pictured above, children will be more engaged with a book that has a tactile feature. With a fuzzy monkey for children to feel, this book is sure to hold the attention of your little one. While the original author of this rhyme is unknown, it's a widely known nursery rhyme children learn to help them learn to count up to five.
11 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
The book Goodnight Moon has been tucking children into bed for nearly 70 years now! This quiet book of poetry can help make any bedtime routine a little bit calmer, and a whole lot easier. Softly read your child to sleep along with little bunny who is also saying goodnight to everything around him.
This might make your bedtime routine a bit easier as your child sees another character who also has a bedtime routine and best of all, they can go over the routine with the character. Although the story might be repetitive, kids love the rhymes and the familiarity of going to bed, something they can relate to.
10 Are you my Mother? By P.D. Eastman
We are all looking to find our place and identity in this world as both adults and children. In this entertaining and funny book a little bird is searching for his identity and his mother as he asks a variety of creatures he encounters whether or not they are his mother.
This book loosely teaches kids how to think critically as the bird tries to figure out who is his mother. The illustrations are pretty simple and there's not a lot of color used in the book, but your child will love the story all the same as other children before have.
9 Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
This 75 year old classic story is the original interactive book for little ones. Each page of the story shows characters Paul or Judy involved in a specific activity or action, like smelling flowers, or patting the bunny and encourages young children to do the same. Some versions of the book even have a soft bunny that comes along with the story to act as one of baby’s first toys.
The simple message of the book get skids moving and maybe even thinking about the things they do every day. The simple drawings means that children can imagine themselves doing what the kids in the story are doing. I suggest getting the book that comes with the plush bunny for you baby, then the three of you can cuddle up at story time.
8 Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton
Let your child learn about expressing all different sorts of emotions through a story about a happy hippo and an angry duck. This rhyme will have your little ones giggling, and can be a good starting point to start discussing the importance and validity of emotions with your child.
As always Boynton’s words provide laughs , smiles, and all around entertainment. Other favorite reads by Boynton include: A to Z, The Going to Bed Book, Tickle Time, and Your Personal Penguin. No matter which book you decide to read to your child, they'll love the imaginative storytelling and pictures.
7 Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee
This poem has come out of a poetry compilation and can now be shared with a younger audience.
It is an entertaining board book celebrating the delicious food that we just can’t get enough of. This was one of my favorite poems as a child and the first item that my daughter ever selected to recite in front of her kindergarten class. It’s fun, funny, and has some great illustrations.
Children love the rhymes and colorful images, you'll love it because your kids will enjoy reading it with you again and again.
6 That’s not my…by Fiona Watts
Fiona Watts has an entire series of touch and tactile patch books that can help babies explore a world of textures. I personally favor, That’s Not My Monster, but your baby can explore this series including trucks, mermaids, monkeys, cows, kittens, dinosaurs and more!
Each page teaches your little one the difference between surfaces and no matter which book you choose from this series, you can't really go wrong wince the animal books teach the difference between species as well through pictures.
5 Who Sleeps, Cat the Cat? By Mo Willems
Any books by Mo Willems top my list of awesome, but this one is specifically for the younger crowd.
Caregivers and small ones will enjoy their time with Cat the Cat and her animal friends as they get ready for bed. Again, in the spirit that parents and children alike have grown to love Willems for, there may be a little twist at the end. Other amazing (non-board) books by Willems include the Knuffle Bunny series, The Pigeon series, and Hooray for Amanda and her Alligator.
The best thing about this author is that his books grow with your child. Check out his assorted books and you'll fall in love with the characters and the images too!
4 I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak
This board book shows the unconditional love and bond between a parent and their child in a simplified and elegant way. This one shows a toddler boy and his teddy bear and the support they receive through a gamut of feelings and emotions. Pretty, basic, but always relevant to a parent and child, a great read before tuck in time.
If you're looking for a feel good book to read to your little one at bedtime, than definitely check out this book. After reading this book you can talk with your child about all the people in their life that they love.
3 Big Dog Little Dog by P.D. Eastman
You can be different and still be friends, just ask big dog Fred and his bestie Ted. Together they essentially parallel play through a series of activities even though they are very different. When they face a problem that they can’t figure out a wise bird gives them some advice that involves making things simple.
This book teaches kids that differences are good and that different people have different strengths, but that makes the world better, not separate. Help your child to learn how to accept differences with a great book like this where the lessons can translate to real world experiences.
2 The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Take a poetic walk through the deep dark wood where a mouse tricks some creatures, and she fools them good. (Don’t worry I promise that Donaldson’s rhymes are better than my own). A mouse is threatened by some bigger woodland creatures and tells them a scary tale about a big bad monster, the Gruffalo. Find out what happens when little mouse comes head to head with a real life Gruffalo.
If your child likes the Gruffalo there are other books in the series including the story of The Gruffalo’s Child. These books make teh connection of cause and effect and can help your child understand the outcome of getting caught in a fib.
1 How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
This is a story about a little boy who loved stars so much he decided that he would catch one of his very own, even if it took all day and night. Dreaming of having a star for a friend the boy decides to take action and readers can follow him on his star finding adventure from dawn until dusk as he seeks out this new starry friend.
Other Jeffers stories featuring “the boy” include The Way Back Home and Lost and Found. The first book explores how one boy gets back home after making a trip into orbit, and the second book won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book of he Year. A short film was even made of Lost and Found.