This post will feature 20 books that worked really well in my last run of Toddler Storytime. In case you missed it, here are the other posts focusing on this age group:
- How I Plan
- Favourite Read Alouds, Part 2
- Favourite Songs and Rhymes
- Favourite Songs and Rhymes, Part 2
- Songs To Get the Wiggles Out
- Songs to Get the Wiggles Out, Part 2
- How I Incorporate Puppets
- Favourite Felt Stories
- Favourite Felt Stories, Part 2
For toddlers, I usually only do two books and a felt story. Maybe three books if they are all really short. But for the most part, it’s just too hard to keep their attention for a third book, and we do more “get the wiggles out” activities instead. And I never hesitate to skip pages or summarize the ending if a book just isn’t working.
I always start with the longest book and move to the shorter one last. Pop-Out books have been a huge hit with my storytime crowd, so most weeks I include one of those. Without further ado, here are my favourites!
1. Peek-A-Moo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti; illustrated by Stephanie Peterson
A lift-the-flap type book that encourages kids to guess the sounds animals make. I love the repetition of “Guess Who?” Cimarusti has a whole series of these books and I’ve had success with all of them.
A great book for teaching parents how to ask questions while they read and for teaching toddlers how to make predictions. Two clues are given on the left page, leading to a pop-out pet on the right page. You can also get the ocean version, food version, or bug version. I love ending with this book as it grabs their attention.
4. What Will Hatch? by Jennifer Ward
This 2013 book got me at first read. Most of the toddlers can’t guess what will hatch from the eggs, but it’s a great opportunity to show caregivers how to ask questions and point out things in the illustrations.
5. Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails by Nancy Tafuri
6. Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett
Before I read this one, I have all the caregivers practice the chant with me – “Monkey and me, Monkey and me, Monkey and me we went to see..” Then it becomes more like a song we sing between all the animal pictures.
7. Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort
I limited myself to one singable book for this list, but I absolutely love singing books in toddler storytime. The parents always get a kick out of this one when the people on the bus go, “Help! Help! Help!” Please check out our Pinterest Board for more singable books.
8. I Went Walking by Sue Williams
9. RRRalph by Lois Ehlert
Sometimes you need to throw in a book that will make the parents laugh too. Lots of wonderful sounds in this book to help kids develop phonological awareness. And I will never get over the uniqueness of Ehlert’s illustrations.
10. Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker
11. I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
Colorful, large pages. A funny ending. I’ve never had this book stay on the shelf after using it in storytime. And if the toddlers are getting restless, it’s easy to skip some of the pages in the middle without disrupting the storyline.
12. No, David! by David Shannon
My two-year-old niece Sophie has loved this book since she was a baby. I’m not sure if it’s because the kids get to be the one saying, “No!” or if she liked the pictures. But David was one of the first names she ever learned to say.
13. The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli
Leslie Patricelli – my personal storytime goddess! This book is more of a story than her other ones that feature opposites, but I love it for it’s emphasis on creativity and imagination. And how many parents have given their child a gift only to have the package become the object of desire?!
14. Toot Toot, Beep Beep by Emma Garcia
15. Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed? by Barney Saltzberg
A read alike to No, David!, this book features a little pig who has a different idea about each bedtime routine. On each page, we talk about what Cornelius should be doing. And who can resist the name Cornelius!
16. Wow! Ocean! by Robert Neubecker
Each page only has two words and the focus of this book is more on the detailed drawings. As I scan this book across the room, I tell parents to point out things their child likes or perhaps doesn’t know yet.
17. Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton
18. Busy Boats by Susan Steggall
19. Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas
I read this one at our Halloween Storytime and it was a huge hit! The kids loved shouting out, “pumpkin” and the parents were laughing out loud. Jan Thomas has many great toddler books, but this one is my favourite.
20. Bear About Town by Stella Blackstone
I would have never picked up this book if it hadn’t been left on the storytime shelf by the previous Children’s Librarian. Each page has one sentence describing what Bear does on each day of the week. The illustrations are so bright and colorful, and I had a parent comment afterwards that she loved the activities Bear did on each day.
That’s all from me! What are your favourite books to read at Toddler Storytime?