Monday, February 23, 2015

Essley's Favorite Books

The Best Books for Toddlers // Bubby and Bean

Ever since Essley first learned to grasp things with her tiny hands, she's gravitated toward books. She's only 13.5 months old, so obviously she doesn't read yet - but there is something about the act of being able to turn each page to discover a whole new set of colors and shapes and words that thrills her. Of all of the toys and games and activities that now sprawl across both her bedroom and the space that was once our living room (sigh), it is almost always books that she chooses first. When she toddles up to me with a book in hand then climbs up on my lap so I can read to her, my heart melts. Although I'll admit that the best is when she sits on the floor and quietly occupies herself with books long enough for me to return some work emails or clean the kitchen or, you know, get two whole minutes of uninterrupted bathroom time.

Essley has a lot of books (I kept most of mine from childhood, we started buying them for her when I was pregnant, and she's received a lot as gifts as well), and it will be fun to see which ones end up being her go-to's over time through the various stages of her learning. Right now, she's (of course) a fan of baby and toddler level board books that are easy for her to hold, contain interesting pictures and pretty colors, and have simple stories. Her favorites change week to week, but she does have handful to which she is most attached. The books you see above and listed/linked below are the ones you'll find her carrying around and looking through repeatedly throughout the day, everyday. A few of them (#4, #5, and #11) were my favorites as a toddler too. If you're in search of some really great books for a special baby or toddler your in life, these are the ones that I'd recommend. (And judging by her apparent bond with each of them, Essley would too).

1. Sally in the Snow by Stephen Huneck 
(Beautiful illustrations and a sweet story about a dog's skiing adventure.)
2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle 
(A simple story with gorgeous animal images and rhythmic text.)
3. Baby Loves to Rock by Wednesday Kirwan 
(A fun, modern book is full of colorful illustrations of animals rocking to different types of music.)
4. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
(A classic and the ultimate bedtime story.)
5. I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry 
(A beautifully illustrated simple story of the seasons, originally published in 1963.)
6. On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman 
(Sweet, tender, and affectionate story about celebrating the birth of your little one.)
7. That's Not My Puppy, Its Coat Is Too Hairy by Rachel Wells
(A fun touch and feel book with bold illustrations great for sensory skills.)
8. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram 
(Sentimental and endearing with pretty watercolor pictures.)
9. Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton 
(Earthy colored, folk-style artwork accompanies a sweetly reassuring story.)
10. My Very First Book of Colors by Eric Carle 
(This first book in which Essley took interest as a newborn. Teaches color matching through vibrant artwork.)
11. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper 
(A slightly abridged version of the classic children's book made for toddlers.)
12. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd 
(Another classic by Margaret Wise Brown filled with poetically rhythmic text and a mix of lovely black and white and color illustrations.)
13. Hello Baby: Animals by Roger Priddy 
(Full of high contrast colors and simple animal shapes, great for stimulating sight and learning simple words.)
14. Little Miss Austen: Pride and Prejudice by Alison Oliver and Jennifer Adams 
(Part of the super clever BabyLit series; teaches numbers via charming Jane Austen-inspired illustrations.)

Those of you with kids (or nieces/nephews, or grandkids, or children of friends who you love), are any of these books among your little ones' favorites as well? What were your favorites as a young child?



  1. My 2.5 daughter also loves books so when she was an infant we started doing a little photoshoot every 6 months or so of her in our reading chair and a couple of her fave books at that time. It's a great way to document which books she has loved and also cute to see her grow in the chair and hold the books differently and stuff. Definitely a little project I'd recommend. When I have a lot more, I can print and frame my favorites and hang them in her reading nook.

  2. I loved Goodnight Moon when I was little. Sharing this with my sister who just had a baby last week!

  3. The pic of Essley sitting amongst all those books is so precious! Those books look great, I think I would choose #7. I read a lot of books featuring animals as a child :)

  4. Numbers 2, 4 & 8 are on our classic favorites list as well. Some books we have are from my oldest daughter - all beat up, but still some of the best kid books ever!

  5. Oh my gosh do these bring back memories. I had that I Am A Bunny book, haven't thought about it in years! How wonderful that she loves books, that's a great sign. =) That picture of her at the library (?) is adorable.

    1. Bookstore. :) But we're getting her a library card this week!

  6. This is well-timed for me ... the other day my niece asked why I only had two books for her at my place (answer: she had taken the rest home with her at various points!).

  7. You have some CLASSICS in that collection!! I'd never seen a toddler Jane Austen before, though.

  8. Thanks for your comments everybody! Love that these brought back memories for some of you as well.

  9. This makes me so happy !! So many of my sons favorite books are on this list. And we had That's Not My Reindeer and still read it because I had no idea that there was a That's Not My Puppy :)

  10. I love it when kids love old fashioned books, and I love the illustration of the bunny hiding from the rain :-)


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