Best Board Books for Toddlers and Babies
Hi there! I’m excited to discuss some of the best board books for toddlers and babies! Board books resemble picture books with the main difference being the structure of the pages. Board books, sometimes called baby books, are excellent for little ones, whether you have an infant or a three year old. This book list will give your kiddos some books their little hands won’t want to put down. After all, our goal as parents is to foster a love of reading at a young age.
To put it simply, I love children’s books. I don’t take commission for reviewing any of these stories. I want you to receive book recommendations you can trust from an expert in children’s picture books.
Where to Buy Board Books
When possible, I always suggest supporting local booksellers. Local bookstores are important and valued businesses in their respective communities.
If you’re looking to purchase from large online e-commerce stores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target are all solid options.
What to Look for in Board Books
There are some specific, valuable elements to look for in board books for toddlers and babies. Here are some things to look for:
- Rhyming. Rhythmic structures
- Colors. Vibrant colors assist with color recognition and keeps the attention of the child.
- Repetition. Frequent use of the same words, especially sight words, will set your child up for future reading success.
- Textures. Different textures keep children engaged throughout the entirety of a board book.
This list includes some of my favorite board books. Enjoy!
Blue Hat, Green Hat
I’ll just say it: this book is funny! The silly turkey in the book can’t help but make mistakes when trying to get dressed. This book helps children understand their colors and learn different items of clothing. I promise you your kids will enjoy this silly book! Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton.
The Snowy Day
A Caldecott award winner and New York Times bestseller, this classic story about a young boy enjoying a snow day is a beloved picture book. This story is known for its vibrant, high contrast colors and simplicity of story. One of my all-time favorites! Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.
The classic children’s book beloved by young children all over the world, this book is one of the best read-aloud books ever written. The story successfully keeps children engaged even though the illustrations never take the reader away from the little bunny’s bedroom. Written by Margaret Wise Brown. Illustrations by Clement Hurd.
This story involves a child who writes to a zoo… asking for a pet! The zoo ends up sending many animals that are not the best option for a pet to say the least. The book is a flap book, which is excellent for tactile learners. The animals are hiding behind the flaps waiting to be discovered. Ultimately, one animal ends up becoming the perfect pet. Written and illustrated by Rod Campbell.
A Little Stuck
This book is a great read-aloud story with plenty of giggles to be had. A boy named Floyd has a kite that gets stuck up in a tree. Naturally, he tosses his shoe into the tree to get the kite down, but his shoe also gets stuck. More hilarity ensues as he throws more and more absurd things into the tree! This story is guaranteed to make your children laugh. Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Moo, Baa, La La La
This book is a rhythmic romp that is a joy for young children — which is exactly what you would expect from Sandra Boynton. Children will surely identify many different animals and associate sounds with them. It’s a loud book that makes kids laugh and make animal sounds! You’re sure to enjoy it!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
In one of the most beloved children’s books ever made, the story follows a young caterpillar who eats its way to a stomachache! Eventually, the caterpillar goes through metamorphosis and transforms into a butterfly! The story goes through the days of the week and displays various fruits and vegetables. Written and illustrated by Eric Carle.
Vegetables in Underwear
This colorful book involves lots of happy vegetables wearing underwear of all kinds. Children will learn basic opposites in the book based on the kinds of underwear the vegetables are wearing, i.e. big and small, clean and dirty, and so on. Rhyming is on display, making this bun fun to read aloud! The book positions underwear as a “big kid” clothing item, showcasing that growing out of the need of diapers is a worthy goal. It’s a really fun book for small children! Written and illustrated by Jared Chapman.
A simple book introducing many different kinds of bugs to young readers. You may find your little one saying “hello” to all the bugs as you flip through the book. Shiny, metallic looking bugs on a black background contrasted with white elements on each page makes for a memorable reading experience. Perfect for newborns on up. Written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls. Illustrated by Emily Bolam.
Please, Mr. Panda
This book is all about teaching basic manners to young children. Numerous animals are offered a donut, but they neglect to say “please” or “thank you.” The illustrations are adorable and the message is excellent. Written and illustrated by Steve Antony.
Besos for Baby: A Little Book of Kisses
This bilingual English/Spanish book demonstrates how love transcends languages; showing that love is in fact a universal language. The book is a great way to introduce Spanish to a child. The story uses simple, yet important, words in both languages. An easy book to enjoy for even the youngest of readers. There are, in fact, kisses for baby on practically every page! Written by Jen Arena. Illustrated by one of my favorites, Blanca Gomez.
You Are Light
This book with cut-outs is unique as it has see-through panes around the edges of the book. The book seeks to ask how we perceive light, with each page offering new blends and context for how we see light. The text references scenarios that match up with the colors on each page. It’s a clever book that, at times, may be more ambitious than it needs to be. Written and illustrated by Aaron Becker.
Black and White
An interactive fold out book with no words. The book offers simple illustrations with stark contrast between the use of varying black and white images and backgrounds. Parent involvement may be necessary to help little ones turn pages as it is a fold out book. One critique of this book is the lack of color potentially makes the book less visually stimulating for young readers. This book is well suited for newborns. Written and illustrated by Tana Hoban.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
“Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” is a story by one of the children’s book dream teams consisting of Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. The story, which explores watching and identifying animals, is great for young readers learning their letters and simple words. Carle’s iconic illustrations shine throughout the story. A classic recommended for any young reader. Written by Bill Martin Jr. Illustrated by Eric Carle.
Green Eggs and Ham
Rhyming and rhythmic structure? Check. Silly characters on a unique adventure? Check. It must be a Dr. Seuss book! This beginner book follows Sam-I-am on his quest to have his friend try green eggs and ham. Additionally, the story teaches children to try food they may assume the don’t like — a lesson my own kids are still learning too. It can also have an impact on an adult reader to be courageous and try new things.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
An unconventional ABC board book where lower case letters of the alphabet want to climb the coconut tree. The hijinx leads to disaster! It turns out 26 letters is too many and the tree can’t hold them all up! Capital letters come to the aid of their little ones and tend to their bumps and bruises. The illustrations are colorful and the story offers repetition of letters. Written by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. Illustrated by Lois Ehlert.
A fun, colorful peekaboo style story that’s part of a series of books by Nina Laden. The reader actively tries to guess what animal is around the corner on the next page. The last page is very memorable with the use of a “peek-a-you” mirror. This is a fun book with rhyming and repetitive text. My oldest child, when she was 2, wanted to take this book everywhere with her. It’s a great book!
The Going to Bed Book
A story to help young kids calm down and get ready for bed. The story follows a happy group of rhino, hippo, elephant, and others as they go through their bedtime routine. They scrub in the tub, put on their pajamas (which differ in size and color), brush their teeth, exercise, and rock to sleep. A go-to book for getting young kids ready to go to sleep. Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton.
The TouchThinkLearn is not just one, but an entire book series based on numbers, letters, colors, shapes, and more. The series often features cut-outs and vibrant colors, making them excellent for visual and tactile learners. All books in the series are written and illustrated by Xavier Deneux.
Time to Pee
If you’re a parent, I don’t need to remind you that potty training can be a difficult process. This book takes readers through each step of the way and ultimately encourages children to use the potty. And hey, accidents happen! The book also encourages kids to try again if they have an accident. It’s a supportive book about an important topic. Written and illustrated by Mo Willems.