5 Brilliant Books for Toddlers

I love the library.  We can load up with new books, and freshen up story times on a regular basis without having to find the extra shelves to store them all.  But every so often we discover books that are absolute gems, and so I go ahead and buy copies that can become part of our collection at home.  Here are a few that I think are brilliant for toddlers, and that my daughter absolutely loves.


The House that Zac Built, by Alison Murray

The house that zac built

This is a lovely take on the traditional nursery rhyme ‘The House that Jack Built’.  While little Zac is deeply absorbed in his wonderful building-block creation, an annoying fly buzzes about causing all kinds of chaos.  The gentle repetition is great for little children, the excitement builds, and draws to a most satisfying conclusion once Zac has restored order and all involved relax and admire his most impressive house.  There’s a wonderful contrast between the calm and peaceful scene that is disrupted by the series of events unfolding due to that pesky fly. Little ones can help to blow that fly away with a deep breath, and relax into the calming end of the story (perfect for bedtime).

Dinosaur Rescue by Penny Dale

Dinosaur Rescue

Think of every exciting thing that ordinarily captures the imagination of children; diggers, pirates, spaceships…and then add in dinosaurs!  This is exactly what Penny Dale has done in her series of books, and its a winning combination.  ‘Dinosaur Rescue’ is our most favourite of all; a broken down pick-up truck, a train speeding towards it, and only the Dinosaur Rescue team can help!  Everything about these books is exciting; the illustrations are abuzz with energy, the repetition of the poetry enables the excitement to build and build, and there are some most satisfying sounds to join in with on every page.  And yet the tale is drawn to a gentle close none the less; all is well, and those dinosaurs return to base for a well-earned rest and a relaxing good night (again, just what you need before bedtime).

A Brave Bear by Sean Taylor and Emily Hughes.

A Brave bear

The innocent testing of boundaries, the horridness of feeling all wrong, the loving way dad makes it all better and the utter contentment of a day well spent are captured with an artful simplicity that both parent and child can relate to.  The joyful illustration evokes the rambling beauty of the natural world, and its refreshing for the story to be written in the first person, from the perspective of a delightful little bear hanging out with their dad on a hot, hot day.   My daughter was captivated from the first read, and asked for it over and over.  And given the way it captures the father-child relationship, this book is a beauty of a gift for fathers day.

Love by Emma Dodd

Love by Emma Dodd

I’ll be honest, this one is probably in the mix because its an absolute favourite of mine.   I.Just.Love.This.Book. Emma Dodd captures the unconditional love and sheer joy of parenthood in a way that is really moving (I can rarely read the words ‘the world is much more lovely since the day you came along’ without welling up).  The artwork is simple yet stunning.  This book enables us to convey a really powerful message to our children in the most beautiful way (I love you no matter what), and has become my go-to present for new parents.

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

Monkey and me

We discovered this book around about the same time that we started taking my little one to the zoo, which made it all the more relevant.  A little girl and her much-loved toy have been to the zoo, and what wonderful things they have seen!  This is an example of the type of book I love the most; childlike without being childish.  The beautiful drawings capture so accurately the way that small children experience the world with every fibre of their being (some people are just so talented).  So I am able to admire the artistry of the illustrations, while my daughter is able to delight in the familiar animals that she too has seen at the zoo.  And once again, there is a rhythm and repetition to the words that makes it so accessible and comforting for very little ones – another one I am asked to read over and over.

If you go ahead and track down a copy of any of these lovely books, I hope you enjoy them as much as my daughter and I do!

Thanks for dropping by my blog,