A Grandmother’s Guide To Toddler Books – Part One

If you have been to a baby shower recently, you may have been asked to bring a book instead of a card with your gift. Hallmark may not be happy but new parents love this idea as a way to build their family library.

But shopping for children’s books can be overwhelming. There are so many great options – and some stinkers, too.

I thought I’d share with you some of the toddler books that have become my favorites after hours of reading to my little grandchildren, ages 2 months – 4 1/2 years old.

Sure, you can’t go wrong with the classics like “Goodnight Moon” or anything by Dr. Seuss but thinking outside that box, you might consider these gems.

(By the way, this post contains some affiliate links which means that if you buy something after clicking on the link, Amazon will send a few pennies my way. Then I will promptly send these pennies back to Amazon as I buy new books for the little ones.)

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Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Little Blue Truck

Little Blue Truck Leads the Way

These sweet books tell the tale of the Little Blue Truck who shows by example that kindness is best.


Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama Red Pajama

The headliner in the Llama Llama series, this book is written in a melodic tempo which makes it a delight to read.

Caution, however, if you are reading this to a young one who is suffering from separation anxiety you might want to skip the page that says,

“Llama llama red pajama feels alone without his mama.”

Just a little word of advice. From experience.


The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna

The Pout-Pout Fish

Featuring whimsical illustrations, The Pout-Pout Fish tells of a gloomy Gus who learns to turn his frown upside-down. The story is particularly riveting when the reader uses a different voice for each of the friends as my son does when reading to his twins.

Again, there are a number of “sequels” in the Pout-Pout series but you will want to read this one first.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin

Click, Clack Moo: Cows That Type

Farmer Brown’s cows have some demands which they present to the farmer in the form of a typed letter. Negotiations go back and forth until – spoiler alert – the animals win.

The Gruffalo by Julie Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

The Gruffalo

A tiny mouse uses bravery and quick thinking to outwit those who would like to have him (as in EAT him) for lunch.

Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard, illustrated by David Slonim

Digger Dozer Dumper

The important jobs of each digger, dozer, and dumper are described in a rhyme. Truck-obsessed children like the ones in our family will love this.


Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Last Stop on Market Street

This award-winning book first came to my attention when I saw it on a list of children’s books that encourage kindness to others.

CJ and his grandmother ride the bus across town together as they do every Sunday. Through their conversation along the way, Nana open’s CJ’s eyes to the goodness all around him.

The beautiful message and captivating illustrations won my heart immediately. And might have even brought a tear to my eye.


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Stay tuned for Part Two of my toddler book recommendations – more great stories that have earned the Momo seal of approval.

In the meantime, what are your favorite books for young children? I’m always looking for suggestions!

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  1. what a fantastic roundup. i have most of these and because i love so many of what you listed, i put in my amazon cart all the ones we don’t already have!

    here are some of my faves:
    my friends by taro gomi – even though it looks a bit feminine, all kids love it
    love you forever
    a sick day for amos mcgee
    Catherine Gacad recently posted…California Alumni Association Hoops PartyMy Profile

    • My kids are determined to raise feminist sons so the look of a book won’t deter them. I know they have “Love You Forever” but I’m going to check out these other titles. Thanks, Catherine!

  2. Children’s books are my thing for sure! We loved spending time reading to our boys and I fondly remember the classics I learned to love . . . from Captain Kangaroo! Make Way for Ducklings and Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. So many favorites and I love your choices. Can’t wait to see the others.
    Leslie Anne Tarabella recently posted…Comment on Ripcord! by Jenna MeonMy Profile

    • Mike Mulligan! I’m going to have to see if the boys have that one. A classic that tells the story of a piece of construction equipment is right up their alley!

  3. Looks like great books. I’m not old enough to have grandchildren, but I’m sure the day will come in about 20 years. Enjoy your Sunday!

  4. Love your selections…as a mother of boys one of my favorite books is Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch…a tear jerker. I may need to bring it out and remind my grown boys about this book. Have a great weekend.

  5. Aw, I miss board books. Sort of. I don’t miss reading the sames ones eight billion times.

    My kids always loved Dear Zoo with its flaps.
    Katy recently posted…To the Anxious Working Mom Going Back To WorkMy Profile

    • Dear Zoo is another great one! I have that book in the grandma library at my house. I know what you mean about reading the stories eight billion times. That’s why I like to find books that are amusing so I don’t want to tear out my eyeballs when one of the little guys says, “Again?”.

  6. Off the charts with this one, Mo. Thank you. How on earth did you know that my grandniece and grandnephew are soon to be celebrating their birthdays? You’ve eased my mind immensely and for that I do thank you. I’m off to research the darn Canadian dollar issue (costs us $1.25 at least to now purchase one of your $1.00) and see if I can swing selecting them through you. Hope I can. Either way, I’m off to share your post. It’s a beaut.
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…It Won’t Write ItselfMy Profile

  7. Our most worn board book with The Big Red Barn; it’s a great “go to bed” book. Guess How Much I Love you is another one we loved.

    I miss buying toddler books, but I will hold off creating a grandma stockpile! These are great recommendations, Mo.
    Dana recently posted…Technology bonding generationsMy Profile

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