Reading to and nowadays reading with my little one has been one of our most treasured bonding times. We have made tons of memories singing, rhyming, repeating, laughing, dancing, dreaming, and imagining through the pages of the many books that we have read. We have read in tents and dollhouses, airports, doctor’s clinics, beaches, bathrooms, car rides, kitchen slabs, mountains, blankets, umbrellas, and even through some of the zoom classes (oops!!). We have read through our sadness, anger, happiness, stubbornness, and even laziness. We sometimes cleverly quote them to gain an advantage in an argument “Mumma it’s okay to break a rule if there is a good reason ” or “because we are not just gonna BE GOOD, we are gonna DO GOOD mumma”. In short, books have been an integral part of this growing up and motherhood journey. It all started with Tisya’s first book Goodnight Moon
So here are our top ten favorite books for toddlers. These are the books that we have read over and over again, innumerable times and yet have enjoyed them thoroughly every single time. Hope you love them as much too!
Gajapati Kulapati by Ashok Rajagopalan
This is a book that has brought in oodles of laughter and fun every time that we have read it. The story is about an affable, gentle elephant who catches an elephantine cold leading to some ginormous stormy “Acchhhhooooos”, well sneezes. Our house used to roar with “acchoos” for months together, an achhooo here, an achhooo there, and an acchooo everywhere, and every achhooo was always followed by nonstop laughter. This book is a ‘not to be missed one’ in every toddler’s reading collection. I promise you a fun ride.
Kids love adventure, kids love rhyming sing-song words, kids love predictive repetitive text and kids totally love to see grown-ups getting scared. In short, this book has everything that the kids love, all beautifully put together with alternating colour and black & white illustrations making this one of the most loved children’s books ever. At the end of the story Tisya always used to chuckle and exclaim “Weren’t they so silly mumma to go on a BEAR hunt!real bears aren’t like teddy bears.” We even used to make our own several versions of the chant from the book. One I remember is “we’re going on an ice cream hunt! We’re gonna eat a strawberry one” or “we’re going on an umbrella hunt we’re gonna catch a bright one” and many more such. Singing and chanting with kids is a lot of fun. Try it.
This book is an exciting mix of vibrant eye-catching illustrations, some opposite words, some rhyming words, some numbers, some colours, some patterns, some textures and many kinds of interesting fishes. The easy text and bright coloured pictures will immensely appeal to the children. Tisya used to love to yell out the names of the fish even before I could read it.
What would you do if you had a tiger at your doorstep one day? Scream and flee of course! But hey this is a child’s world and here anything is possible, there aren’t any rules nor any codes of conduct. Hence you should welcome him in lovingly and offer him some tea and snacks. The chaos and mess that follows will amuse and delight the child. This book is all about fun and imagination. My little one loved impersonating the anthropomorphized tiger in her most serious heavy voice “excuse me but I am very hungry.” We have a memorable video of it too.
No matter what situation you land yourself in, Pete the cat always has a song for it all. A light-hearted, sing-song groovy little cat who can find his way out of all troubles with a song in his lips, spring in his feet, and smile on his face. Pete the Cat is the coolest cat around and the one you would very certainly not want your child to miss. Highly recommend.
This one is totally a page-turner, literally because every page comes with a leading question for the next page. So Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? You’ve got to actually turn the page to see!! So many different animals illustrated in bright bold unusual colours makes it very interesting and engaging for a toddler; blue horse, purple cat, and so on. Teach them animals, teach colours, teach animal sounds or play guessing games about who comes next but most importantly you will have loads of fun with reading this with your little one. This isn’t a storybook as there isn’t any story, it’s a fun, clever, and creative book to entertain kids and fuel their imagination.
This one was an absolute favourite in our bookshelf. This book is a brilliance of Eric Carle cleverly combining fantastic storytelling with many nuggets of wisdom, animal facts and diversity of nature. The gorgeous full-page size paper collage illustrations are captivating. However, none of this is the topmost reason why this book will instantaneously engage a toddler! The interesting use of acetate sheets to introduce the camouflage is the show-stealer. The book has intermittent clear see-through pages with different kinds of fishes hiding behind them which the children love discovering or guessing. Can keep them glued to the book for a long time and the interest doesn’t dull even after repeat reading after all kids love that sense of accomplishment! At the end of this write up I have shared a video link of Tisya and me reading this book when she was about 2.5. It is one of our favourite videos !
An interactive book which isn’t a pop-up book. This is almost like a mobile game except that it’s on a book. It covers concepts like counting, colors, left/right, up/down, and so on, all in a fun and engaging manner. Every page carries an instruction which the child has to follow leading into the next page with its outcome. Now here comes the tricky part, the last page says “do you want to do this all over again?” and hey guess what your child is going to give you an emphatic, enthusiastic yes. Tisya and I used to go into an almost never-ending loop. So be warned! Now think about whether you want to buy this one tough call!
“Are you a friendly blue truck or a grumpy yellow truck?” has to be one of the most repeated statements that I have used with my little girl. Thanks to this cute little story of a little blue truck who shows us that being nice and friendly to everyone around us is a wonderful thing. Books and stories have the power to make things easy to explain to a child. I am not at all a person who would pick up a kids’ book for its teachings or morals, I choose them for their fun element, pleasure, and imagination. But when you come across a book that does encapsulate a very basic, simple yet valuable message in a fun and entertaining manner then why not. A big yes from us.
Sometimes amid all the dos and don’ts and rules of parenting we parents/caregivers forget or wander far away from the very basics of raising a child. The whole fabric of the parent-child relationship can be woven with a single thread – a thread of unconditional limitless love. This book is a gentle and beautiful reminder of this. A perfect bedtime read with your little one which will leave you with the warmest and cuddliest feeling from deep within and your child will blissfully bask in this feeling. Don’t miss this one.
So these were some of our top favourites but there are a lot many more. It was very hard to bring it down to ten! Every book we have read- favourites, not so favourites, old, new, big, small, funny, serious, bought or borrowed, each one of them has a special place in our hearts as it has become a small memorable part of Tisya’s growing up and through these stories we have made precious memories. Hope you all have a great time with them too. Happy reading!
You can follow our reading journey through our insta handle stories_about_books and our YouTube channel Tisya’s Storyland