Toddler Bookshelf Favorites



From the very beginning, it was important for me to instill a love of reading in Merle. Fortunately Merle has grown to love reading as much as her parents. These are her favorite books currently. 

What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada, Illustrated by Mae Besom (As seen here)

This is one of those books that is great for both children and adults. Every time I read it, I find a new meaning reading between the lines. The core of the story is that it’s important to nurture the uniqueness that is your own mind. 

Wuthering Heights: A Weather Primer by Jennifer Adams, Illustrated by Alison Oliver
Pride and Prejudice: A Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams, Illustrated by Alison Oliver

When I first came across BabyLit books, I was overjoyed to find my favorite books in a child palatable form. Each book is loosely based on a classic novel and focuses on an instructional topic such as numbers or weather conditions. We have a number of the BabyLit books, but Merle’s favorites are Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice (just like mommy). Each page of Wuthering Heights features whimsical drawings and a quote pulled directly from the original text that references weather conditions. Pride and Prejudice counts one to ten featuring characters and events from the original book, such as four marriage proposals (I laughed out loud the first time I read this page). I started reading these books to Merle in infancy and they continue to be some of our most frequently read books. 

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts (As seen here)

My initial pull to this was that it featured a girl interested in being an engineer, but the story has a lot more to offer than that. It identifies failure (yes, failure) as the key to success. It reinforces my parenting style with Merle, which of course makes us love the book even more.

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (As seen here)

I grew up reading the classic Grimm versions of fairy tales and they were something I knew I wanted to share with Merle. This publication is beautifully illustrated, printed, and bound. The book is truly a work of art. Parents who aren’t familiar with the original German text may be surprised by the grim realities not depicted in the Disney versions, but I think a healthy level of fear is a good thing.

Once Upon A Potty by Alona Frankel

Merle was potty trained more than a year ago, but she still gets a kick out of this book. It’s a silly story about a little girl named Prudence who learns how to use a toilet. Oddly enough, it is the same book my mom used to potty train me in the early nineties. The author now publishes a girl version (the original story) and a boy version.

Frederick by Leo Lionni (As seen here)

Frederick the mouse uses his talents as a poet, intellectual, and creative to save the day instead of following along with the other worker mice. I wish I had read this story twenty years ago. 

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Kronin, Illustrated by Betsy Lewin

With repetition, rhyming, and an impossible situation, toddlers love this book. The premise is a group of cows find an old typewriter and begin typing notes to the farmer, demanding better working conditions, namely electric blankets. At first the farmer refuses, but as more farm animals join the cows’ cause, he eventually gives in, knowing he can’t run a farm without working animals.

The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings by Stan and Jan Berenstain

We love a lot of the Berenstain Bears books, but some can be overly religious or self-righteous, which are attitudes we don’t expose Merle to (If you’re curious, I can talk more extensively offline about why we don’t address religion with Merle).  Despite the title, this Berenstain Bears book is benign and reminds children to be thankful for what they have (loving parents, a home, etc) instead of focusing on materialistic pursuits.

Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown (As seen here)

Each page of this book is a standalone comic depicting situations that might occur if Darth Vader was an active father in the lives of Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. Star Wars aficionados with children will find humor in the comics and it is ideal for bedtime reading when there isn’t enough time to read a full book start to finish.

Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman
The Crown On Your Head by Nancy Tillman

We love Nancy Tillman books. As a parent, the most important part of the job is to ensure a child feels safe, loved, and special. Tillman’s books celebrate unconditional love and acceptance. The lyrical text and surreal illustrations solicit moments of serenity in otherwise busy day. Admittedly I cried the first time I read Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You. The message is one that both children and adults need to hear sometimes.

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