Best Board Books for Toddlers

Updated April 13, 2018
Boy with board book

From tried-and-true favorites to brainy books, board books are a staple in any toddler's library. These books have all won their spots on a best list because they have either won awards or are well-reviewed by noted editors and children's books experts. Make sure to pick one up, and make reading a board book a part of your daily routine.

1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?

by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a concept book that teaches animals and colors in a compelling and memorable way. Read Aloud Revival notes it as one of the best board books ever for toddlers, likely due to its longevity - it has been around for more than 50 years and is still ranked in the 2012 School Library Journal's Top 100 Picture Books of All Time.

2. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?

by Dr. Seuss

The whimsy of Dr. Seuss is applied to silly sound concepts in Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? The book was published in 1970 but is a staple for early childhood and makes GoodReads' list of top toddler books.


3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Eric Carle

Eric Carle is the master of appealing tales and artwork. The Very Hungry Caterpillar has delighted children for decades. It tops Common Sense Media's list of best books for toddlers and has won several awards, including making the National Education Association's list of top books for children.

4. The Napping House

By Audrey Wood

Good Reads also lists The Napping House as one of the best books for toddlers. A 1984 New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book, this sleepytime story is done in a classic style and is a charming hit with children and parents. Zzzzzzz.

5. Peep and Ducky Rainy Day

By David Martin

Peep and Ducky Rainy Day features a simple, rhyming tale of two birds having a jolly good time in the rain, will ring true with puddle-loving toddlers. Keeping the familiar refrain of his first book, 'lucky, lucky, lucky,' toddlers can participate. The Children's Book Review notes this as being one of the best new board books for 2018.


6. Freight Train

By Donald Crews

A 1979 Caldecott Honor book, Freight Train also makes Parents Magazine's list of all time best books for toddlers. It's unique in that Freight Train is not a story at all, but rather a visual foray inside how a freight train works. If you have a train-loving toddler - this will be her favorite book - guaranteed.

7. The Pout Pout Fish

By Deborah Deisen

Suitable for the older toddlers in your life, the Pout Pout Fish is a great story about a fish that learns that his mood is up to him. It was a 2009 Indie's Book Award runner-up, and Kirkus Reviews praises its playful language and colorful illustrations.

8. Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching

By Laura Gehl

In the very charming Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching, Peep tries to convince Egg to hatch by telling Egg about all the adventures they'll have together. Beautifully illustrated, Publisher's Weekly praises the book for having 'just enough text.' The Book also was a Children's Book Choice 2017 finalist.


9. Vegetables in Underwear

By Jared Chapman

Definitely not the read aloud for settling down and going to sleep, Vegetables in Underwear will have you and your toddler giggling. On Amazon's Best Children's Book list for babies, Vegetables in Underwear is just as it sounds - a book featuring vegetables who wear all kinds of underwear, from briefs to silly undies.

10. Baby Loves Quantum Physics

By Ruth Spiro

Also on Amazon's list of best books for babies, Baby Loves Quantum Physics doesn't quite seem like your standard baby board book fare. A Mighty Girl praises the story, which engages children in a 'hide-and-seek' kind of game about Schrodinger's cat. The book is part of a series of STEM books for babies.

Best Board Books for Toddlers