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!
The cat from France liked to sing and to dance …. but my cat likes to hide in 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!
May you my baby sleep softly at night, and when dawn lights the world may you wake up to birdsong
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.
‘We are all right, John Brown. Just the two of us, you and me,’ Rose would say.
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.
I didn’t want to go to hospital. My big sister said, ‘My hippo knows all about hospitals. He can go with you.’
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.
Slinky Malinki was down in the reeds, but along came Hairy Maclary…….
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.
Sebastian lives in a hat. It’s a brown woollen hat. Sebastian’s a fuzzy pink wombat.
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.
Beside the sea, on Mr Peffer’s place, there lived a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig, and a tiny little mouse.
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.
She listened to stories. She banged on pots and pans. She did everything except talk.
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.
Dingo wagged his tail. ‘Why I should have thought of that. Rightio in they go!’
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.
He headed off to find his name, never mind the dangers. For it’s true this little boy was ever so courageous…
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.