living books for babes

Reading is a wonderful way to bond with your baby, and it also helps lay the groundwork for language acquisition. Here are some of our favorite books for babies and toddlers arranged by categories (first books, rhythm and rhyme, silly, snuggly, and bedtime).

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first books

Indestructibles Books

These books were meant for the curious baby. They are bright, engaging for little eyes, rip-proof, chew-proof, and non-toxic. Plus, they are easy to stash in a diaper bag.

Peek-A-Boo Forest Book

This sweet little book has flaps that make lots of fun noise and is great for sensory exploration and working on fine-motor skills. I have a picture of Levi “reading” this book at three months old in his car seat. It also includes great suggestions for how to enhance the book for older babies.

Eating the Alphabet

A vibrant book dedicated to produce, this ABC book will educate and inspire!

Jane Foster’s 123

On a whim, I picked up Jane Foster’s ABC and 123 books, and my kids love them. They have bright, vibrant, clear images and are a lot of fun to read! Every little one should have an alphabet and counting book, and these are great.

Pocket Piggies Books

Oh my goodness, Lucy adored these. We started off with the Opposites!, then got the Colors! and Numbers! for her birthday. The Pigs of Pennywell Farm are the star of these simple books that help baby learn simple concepts and vocabulary.

rhythm and rhyme

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

This book, along with Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, gets read on repeat by our kids. They have learned to identify a lot of their animals through these books and love the cadence of it.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

One of my childhood favorites about letters climbing and falling out of a tree! So fun to read aloud.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

This one is engaging to read and is special for its rhythm. My kids love to hear this one over and over!


Our little guy loved construction vehicles, and this book is an exciting look at the process of building a road. It also has a catchy rhyme scheme which makes reading it aloud especially fun. We also have the book Construction which is about building a library.


Sandra Boyton Books

Sandra Boyton books are simple, fun, and silly. Moo Baa La La La is one of our favorites (the kids love to fill in the gaps as we read), along with Blue Hat, Green Hat and The Going-To-Bed Book.

Dr. Seuss Books

Dr. Seuss is known for his ability to connect to kids! Some of his simpler books, such as The Foot Book, Hop on Pop, and One Fish, Two Fish have been thoroughly enjoyed by our toddlers.


Bear Snores On

This is so fun to read. It’s the story of a sleeping bear that misses out on the goings-on of his forest friends, and what happens when he wakes up. The rhythm and rhyme are mesmerizing for children and adults alike. There are several other Bear books, including holiday ones for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Little Blue Truck

This was Levi’s favorite book when he was a baby. As parents, we enjoy rhythm and rhyme, the gorgeous illustrations, and the message of kindness. We also enjoy reading about Little Blue’s adventures in the city in Little Blue Truck Leads the Way.

Little Cub

I picked this book up for a quarter at the thrift store, not knowing what a gem I had found. The story is about a little cub and an old bear who are equally lonely. Then their paths meet. It may just bring tears to your eyes.

Little Excavator

By the author of the beloved Llama, Llama books, Little Excavator is a story about Little E who wants to roll with the big-rigs, but continually runs into trouble. It’s a story about everyone’s inherent value and that even the smallest of us has something to offer.

Mighty, Mighty Construction Site

We loved Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site so much that we picked this one up, too. It celebrates cooperation and friendship and is especially great for little ones that love machines.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This classic should be on every shelf. It’s educational, fun, and beautiful. Our children adore it.


Mama Loves You So

This precious book is one of my favorite gifts to buy for new moms. The illustrations and message are so sweet. I picked this one up for Lucy when she was first born, and both my children enjoy having this book read to them.

Daddy Kisses

This sweet little board book is especially great for bonding with Daddy. Each page depicts how one dad in the animal kisses his little one, and ends with a great big kiss-fest from the reader’s own Daddy. It makes our kids squeal with delight every time.

Guess How Much I Love You

Like many others, this is our favorite bedtime book, but we like to read it any time. As parents, we identify with the great love that Big Nutbrown Hare expresses for his little one. The story is sweet, the message is sincere: we do love our children right up to the moon, and back.

bedtime books

Time for Bed

What first drew me to this book was the beautiful illustrations. Each page is an animal parent coaxing her little one to sleep. It has a sweet, soothing rhyme that has comforted both us and our kids.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

This has been a staple bedtime book in our home. It’s a lovable, beautiful book that tells the story of different pieces of equipment preparing for bed. It helped Levi (and Mama) learn to identify different types of machines and their parts. It’s also available in a board book for especially little ones.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Levi especially enjoyed this one. Large dinosaurs prepare for bed in fun, whimsical illustrations. It’s easy and fun to read and will be especially beloved by dinosaur enthusiasts.

Goodnight Moon

This classic was a favorite of Levi’s when he was especially young. He liked pointing out the kittens on each page. The rhythm and rhyme has helped it span the test of time.

See more of our recommended books on our book list page!