Mothers of toddlers and preschoolers know there are some books that kids become fixated on and want to read over and over again. Often, they’re the same books their parents read as children.
Even when I try to diversify our reading time, there are a few books that my kids always go back to. There’s something so sweet about little ones “reading along” out loud, not because they’ve learned to read, but because they know the words by heart.
For moms looking to invest in books that will hold your child’s attention (and yours) for years to come, here is a list of top 10 picture books for kids that never get old.
1. Hey! Wake Up, by Sandra Boynton
All of Sandra Boynton’s books are fun, but this one is my kids’ favorite. It’s about several animals’ morning routine and is written in a rhyming style. Each page is fun and enthusiastic. I read this almost every morning, at least once or twice. Well, actually, my two year old “reads” it to me. I love hearing her say, “Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy. Wiggle your nose!”
2. The Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle
This book is written in a sing-songy rhyming pattern. The story is about two trucks on a country road and all the animals they pass by. The big truck needs help and thanks to the little truck, everyone pitches in to help. My kids love the story and the illustrations — the animals, the trucks, rural setting — they get really wrapped up in it. They especially love if I do the animal sounds rather than just reading the sounds.
There are several other books in The Little Blue Truck series and every time we see a new one at the library, my kids grab it.
3. This Is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen
We picked this book up at the library one day and it became an instant favorite. It follows a fish who stole a hat from a bigger fish and thinks he won’t be caught. The humor is dry but it’s totally my style. Plus, the illustrations are really lovely. I smile the whole time I’m reading this book. My kids could read this one every day. There are others by Klassen that follow the same theme — they’re all great!
4. The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle
This is by the same Eric Carle who wrote “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” but my kids gravitate toward this lesser known book. The story is of a spider spinning her web on a fence at a farm. All the animals stop by to include her in their fun, but she is busy working. It’s unique because the illustrations include an actual textural thread as the spider’s web that grows as she builds her web. My kids love to touch and feel the each page. We’ve owned it for years and never worn out the newness of the thread!
5. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt
This book is a little more lengthy, but the idea is so cute. The story is about a little boy whose crayons write him letters voicing their grievances about his coloring habits and life in the crayon box. Once we started reading this book regularly, my toddler seemed to really remember all her primary colors. There are other books in this series that are on our wishlist!
6. Hello Ninja, by N.D. Wilson
This is a short, simple, rhyming book. I can read the whole book in about 45 seconds, so when my kids ask me to read it five times in a row, I don’t mind. The illustrations are pretty and the words are fun. It is a favorite bedtime story in our house.
7. Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of John J. Harvey, by Maira Kalman
This book was a gift to us and so I had no idea about it before I read it. It’s a book about a retired fireboat in New York City that came to the rescue after the 9/11 attacks. The book is beautiful and emotional and every time I read it, I remember. It’s a beautiful way to share this piece of history with our children that focuses on the heroes.
8. Yummy, Yucky, by Leslie Patricelli
This book has been a favorite for both of my kids as they are learning their first words, but they still like to read it to each other. It shows a baby tasting different foods and non-food items and deems them either yummy or yucky. We actually keep our copy in the car for some backseat entertainment and to keep it kind of special. It still gets plenty of attention! Patricelli has several fun stories, and my kids also love her “Potty” book.
9. Runaway Bunny, By Margaret Wise Brown
This book is by the same renowned author of Goodnight Moon, which my kids also love. But this one is my daughter’s favorite. It is about a little bunny who tells his mother bunny he is going to run away to various places. The mother reassures him that no matter where he goes, she will follow because she loves him.
We read this often at night and I love snuggling up to tell her this sweet story that hits so close to my heart.
10. Press Here, By Herve Tullet
My five year old adores this book. It is full of interactive instructions that show the changes you “make” as you turn each page. This is not just a book, it’s a fun activity to for the whole family. He loves to show this book to visitors. It became an instant favorite from day one!