Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Favorite Read-Alouds for Toddlers

By Rebecca Berg Manor

My 22-month old son loves to be read-aloud to and I love reading to him. As his attention span lengthens, we've been able to read books that have a bit more of a plot and are moving away from simple word books to story books. And like most youngsters, Iren likes to have the same stories read over and over and over again. In order to help preserve the last remaining shreds of sanity for other mothers of toddlers, I'm sharing my list of books that I enjoy reading (even for the 64th time) and are also baby approved. These are appropriate for your littlest listeners.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
Iren loves this classic. The repetition lends itself to a nice cadence and he loves when we get to the page where he can say "It's a BEAR!"

Big Dog...Little Dog, a Bedtime Story by P. D. Eastman
This was a story I heard about from my husband long before we had our own children. It was his favorite and has now become one of Iren's favorites! It's great for introducing concepts like big and little and it's fun to read using silly voices.

Goodnight Moon
Such a classic! Iren loves finding the mouse on each page and our copy is huge lap book that despite it's sturdy pages is in very poor condition from repeated use.
Goodnight Mr. Darcy
Such a clever take on Pride and Prejudice! Iren has the best godparents ever and they have provided him with some of the most endearing read-alouds. This one makes me smile every time Iren pulls it from the bookshelf and shoves it in my hands.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
This book was a gift from friends in Scotland and it's by an Edinburgh author and is pure whimsy. Iren is always demanding that we read "Grullalo!" Different voices for each character are essential and when I was reading it aloud on a flight recently, I would have sworn that the people in front of us were leaning toward us to hear how the story ended.

Lentil by Robert McCloskey
The very first time we saw Iren was during an emergency sonogram when he was the size of a lentil. So incredible to be able to see his tiny heartbeat! From that point on we referred to him as "Lentil" which reminded me of a book I loved growing up. So I got a copy and it's been sitting on our shelves Iren's entire life. It's definitely not written for tiny listeners but Iren started pulling it off the shelf and it's now a favorite. I'm not sure how much of the story he actually comprehends, but he loves the illustrations and is constantly pointing out things asking "What's this?"

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood
Iren's favorite babysitter gave this to him and he's grown to love it! One of those fun stories that builds on itself, it's great for an after nap snuggle. 

The Wheels on the Bus illustrated by Sylvie Kantrovitz Wickstrom
This is the best illustrated version of the classic song I've seen. Lots of fun details, it's helped Iren learn all the motions so it's great to pull out when he needs to burn off a bit of energy.

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
I love the Ahlberg's books and the illustrations capture youngster's attention. This one is a fun rhyming book that references well-known fairy tale characters like Mother Hubbard, Tom Thumb, Robin Hood, the Three Bears, and more. The illustrations are lovely and great for asking your little one to point out different objects.

The Obadiah Books by Brinton Turkle
I grew up with these and absolutely love them. The stories emphasize kindness, consideration, and generosity. They distinguish between bravado and true courage. The illustrations transport you right back to 18th century Nantucket. Absolute musts for a family library.
The Mini Masters series by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober
Such a clever way to introduce your toddler to classic art, this four-book boxed set features the artwork of Degas, Matisse, Monet, and Van Gogh. Each book has a poem that ties the paintings together into a coherent story. Perfect for bedtime as all four can be read quickly and end with some sort of reference to bed-time or resting. 

These are just a few of our favorites and I'd love to hear about yours! What books were you able to read dozens and dozens of times without feeling a bit nutty? Any books you really hated but your youngster loved? We have a book on shapes that I cannot stand but Iren loves, so it still gets pulled out even though I try to hide it behind other favorites! 

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  1. These are all great recommendations. I'm so excited that you mention the Obadiah books! Haven't thought of those for years, and they're so perfect for fall. I will have to do a special post about them soon! :)