My Top 3 Picture Books for Very Young Children (0 - 2 year olds)

Updated: Apr 6

I’ve had many a conversation with people who think it is not worth reading to babies or very young children, but I am here to tell you- it is so important to start reading to children as soon as they are born. It builds an amazing bond between you and baby and it does so much for their development (this is something I will be going into more detail about in my next blog so keep an eye out for that!).

Babies love to snuggle up close with you and listen to the sound of your voice so reading a story to them is such a good way to do this. As newborn babies, they will love high-contrast books (black and white patterns), but this doesn’t mean you can’t read them other books too. As they grow they will be fascinated by pictures of other babies and will love listening to gentle rhymes.

Toddlers will begin to use their hands more so board books with flaps are winners as they can get involved with the story and turning the pages. They also respond really well to silly noises, so animal books are great where they can copy your sounds too.

Toddlers will also be able to follow simple stories and they will love joining in with lively actions and guessing what might be on the next page. They will probably surprise you with their ideas!

Stories are just fantastic and to start from birth is a brilliant way to get your child loving books and wanting more stories. In this list I have chosen 3 wonderful short stories which are always met with smiles for my youngest audiences!

From Head to Toe

By Eric Carle

If you are a fan of Eric Carle, you will love this book too. I have the board book addition so it’s great for little hands.

In this book, you are taken through a variety of animals that can do various movements and each time they ask if you can do it too. For example, “I am a camel and I bend my knees. Can you do it?” Then, in response “I can do it!” This will encourage little ones to have a go at each movement and if the reader gets involved too, it creates a lot of fun and giggles!

The animals are bold and brightly coloured drawing children into the picture book. It’s a great action book to get little ones involved in the story.

Rosie’s Walk

By Pat Hutchins

This is a book that I doubt will ever lose its sense of originality and delight. It is, for me, the perfect picture book and one that I enjoyed as a child and continue to enjoy as an adult.

It is really all about the illustrations as there are only a very few words and it could really be told without them--which I mean as a compliment because the illustrations are wonderfully expressive and interesting. We watch as Rosie takes a stroll through the yard, but the stroll isn't nearly as pleasant for the fox who is trying -- unsuccessfully -- to navigate the obstacle course Rosie is unknowingly leading him through. I’m still not sure if Rosie knows what is happening or whether she is oblivious to the fox's constant attempts to eat her! But that is part of the joy of reading this book- you can make your own decision!

It is a great picture book to read with younger children as the story is simple to follow and they can understand what is happening by looking at each picture. My children’s favourite part was when the fox gets smacked in the face by the rake- but there are so many funny parts to the story that little ones will just love!

Dear Zoo

By Rod Campbell

This is a lift-the-flap book, which combines a young child’s love of zoo animals and playing hide and seek! So this will obviously be a winner in your house, right?

In this story a child writes a letter to the zoo asking if they can send them a pet. As the story develops, we discover that some animals are just not suitable as pets. So, what will the perfect pet be? Perhaps your little one has an animal in mind that they would like as a pet. Maybe a dinosaur or a bear or a beetle?! The possibilities are endless!

Dear Zoo is an amusing and interactive story that gives space for children to guess what animal is behind the flap (each flap is in the shape of a crate/box/basket with little parts of the animals visible which allows for predictions to be made). The repetitive phrases will soon have your toddler reading along as you tell the story. Because it is so simple, this book is a brilliant one to start with babies and very younger children. The pages are uncluttered and easy for them to focus on the direct illustrations. As your little one develops and grows, you can get even more out of the book as you can talk about the noises the animals make, what they like to eat, why some animals are in zoos and others are in people’s houses, about writing letters, about how to choose presents for others and so on!

An all-time classic- and deservedly so. This is a must on your little one’s bookshelf.

#childrensbookreviews #kidsbookreviews #picturebookreviews #booksforbabies #booksforunder2s

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