10 Books To Read Over & Over With Your Toddler

There are a thousand reasons to read to your children. It’s fun, it’s great for bonding and any parenting expert will tell you that it’s one of the most important things to do.  But what do you read?  It’s hard to tell without spending a fortune which picture books will entertain and which will be thrown to the ground in a huff. Making an exhaustive list would be well, exhausting but here’s my top 10 list of toddler approved picture books, that as a bonus won’t drive parents around the bend by the third read!

1) My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes

The cat from France liked to sing and to dance …. but my cat likes to hide in boxes

read cat boxes

Author: Eve Sutton

Illustrator: Lynley Dodd

An oldie, but a goodie – your toddler will adore looking at all the different cats from the different countries, and bonus for parents, it’s easy to read.  Fun Fact: Eve Sutton asked her cousin Lynley Dodd to draw the illustrations, and during the process noticed that Lynley had her own stories to tell. She urged her to write them down, and Hairy Maclary was born!


2) Kissed by the Moon

May you my baby sleep softly at night, and when dawn lights the world may you wake up to birdsong

read kissed by the moon

Author & Illustrator: Allison Lester

This book is essentially a spoken lullaby so it’s perfect for bedtime.  Full of beautiful illustrations, the text speaks of a parent’s wishes for their little baby. It’s one my son’s favourites, and I know it will be your child’s too.


3) John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat

‘We are all right, John Brown. Just the two of us, you and me,’ Rose would say.

read john brown

Author: Jenny Wagner


John Brown and Rose were alright living alone – but to John Brown’s dismay, the Midnight Cat decides to move in. This is the perfect book for a child who will soon have to share Mummy with a new sibling, they  will read along and see John Brown realize that Rose has enough love to go around.


4) Guess What? There’s a Hippotomus On The Hospital Roof Eating Cake

I didn’t want to go to hospital. My big sister said, ‘My hippo knows all about hospitals. He can go with you.’

read hippo

Author: Hazel Edwards

Illustrator: Deborah Niland

In the the first book the hippo lived on the little girl’s roof eating special cake. This sequel involves him going to the hospital to help a little girl be brave.   Fantastic book for a little person to make the process of being admitted to hospital a bit less scary.


5) Hairy Maclary Scattercat

Slinky Malinki was down in the reeds, but along came Hairy Maclary……. 

read scattercat

Author & Illustrator: Lynley Dodd

As with all of Dodd’s stories, it’s got a simple plot – Hairy Maclary decides to chase all the cats, until he finds the one who won’t be chased. If your little one adores cats (or Hairy Maclary) this is definitely the book for them.   Bonus: the Hairy Maclary books are also available in app form for the iPad.


6) Sebastian Lives In A Hat

Sebastian lives in a hat. It’s a brown woollen hat. Sebastian’s a fuzzy pink wombat.

read sebastian

Author: Thelma Catterwell

Illustrator: Kerry Argent

This is a fantastic book for Australian children. It follows the life of a baby wombat named Sebastian who is being cared for by humans after his mother was killed. The book shows him growing up, and finally being released into the wild.


7) Who Sank The Boat?

Beside the sea, on Mr Peffer’s place, there lived a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig, and a tiny little mouse.

read who sank the boat

Author & Illustrator: Pamela Allen

Some animal friends go for a ride in a boat just because and someone sinks the boat. The answer is surprising and little people will love guessing who is responsible right up until its conclusion.


8) Chatterbox

She listened to stories. She banged on pots and pans. She did everything except talk.

read chatterbox

Author: Margaret Wild

Illustrator: Deborah Niland

Chatterbox is a story about a family who desperately want their baby girl Daisy to talk – but aren’t prepared for the consequences once she does!  It’s a fun read to encourage both speech and reading in your little one, there’s lots of easy words for them to copy and it has beautiful bright illustrations.


9) Wombat Stew

Dingo wagged his tail. ‘Why I should have thought of that. Rightio in they go!’

read wombat stew

Author: Marcia K Vaughn

Illustrator: Pamela Lofts

One day a dingo catches a wombat and decides to make a delicious wombat stew. Luckily the wombat’s friends have a plan to save him that results in some fairly gross things going into the stew pot. Super fun to read, with lots of cute illustrations. I always find something new whenever I re-read it.


10) The Little Boy Who Lost His Name

He headed off to find his name, never mind the dangers. For it’s true this little boy was ever so courageous…

read little boy lost name

When a child wakes up and finds their name has gone missing, they go on an adventure and meet creatures who each hold a letter. Normally I hate these sort of gimmicky books where they insert your child’s name, but this one is beautiful. With the choice of genders and avatars as well as the different creature for each letter of the alphabet, each book becomes unique.


Does your toddler have a favourite that didn’t make the list? Share in the comments.

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  1. Great list! I love children’s books and am always on the hunt for ones that both my toddler and I will enjoy. We love our Lost Names book and of course Hairy Maclary and I am now going to hunt out Chatterbox

  2. I love reading books with my kids! All of these look fantastic, glad they’ve already been given the small person seal of approval, will hunt some of these down 🙂

  3. My son (2 years old) loves to read. We bought him the ‘The Little Boy Who Lost His Name’ for his first Christmas. He loves looking at it. His favourite book at the moment, and has been for quite some time is..The Little Yellow Digger.

    Thanks for sharing these great books with us at Friday Favourites. Will add them to our home library!

  4. We’ve just started getting about 20 books out of the Library each week and the kids love it! We’ve always had a lot of books but now it’s a never-ending supply. Thank you for this list! All books we need to check out 🙂

  5. I’m a sucker for kids picture books and I struggle to name a favourite – they change so often! My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes is a fave in our house too. I do have a soft spot for The Very Cranky Bear, Nudie Rudie, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes…. I could go on!

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