Read Aloud Thursday–favorite toddler books

The curls are gone. . . sniff, sniff

You’ll excuse me if this post is a little sentimental and nostalgic, right? 

We’ve passed a milestone here at the House of Hope. As of Saturday, I am no longer a nursing mother.   Our usual morning routine for the past many months has been for me to get the DLM out of bed around 8 a.m., change his diaper, and then sit in the rocking chair beside his bed for him to nurse.  We’ve followed up the nursing session by reading several books for many weeks now.  Having practiced child-led weaning with my girls (who weaned themselves at 11 months and 15 months), I really had no idea how much longer this would go on and what weaning would look like for the DLM, my best nurser yet.  For the past couple of weeks, the DLM would say “book!” in the middle of nursing, and sometimes even before.  He’s twenty-one months old and is really exerting his self-hood:   if it’s books he wants (and it usually is–he has an insatiable reading appetite already!), it’s books he insists upon.  And so the end of nursing happened almost accidentally.  Just when I’d settled into weaning him who-knows-when, I realized on Monday that he hadn’t nursed since Saturday morning.   Thinking it wise to take advantage of the situation, I suggested a book to him on Monday morning, and he never even mentioned “going night-night,” his code for nursing.  On Tuesday he suggested “night night” once, but he chose reading over nursing without a backwards glance.  It’s a little bittersweet, of course, this ending of one more little piece of his dependence on me.  It makes it a bit easier that this transition was accomplished through the love of reading. 


He most assuredly knows what he likes.  A book he couldn’t get enough of last week might be met with a definitive “NO!” tomorrow.  The books pictured above mostly came from the basket in his bedroom, so they’re the ones we read the most often, with a few notable omissions.  Most of these books are hand-me-downs from the girls, which is nice for me, of course.  I like remembering reading them to the girls and the building of the family culture that follows.  What’s even sweeter to me is that the girls read them to the DLM, too. 

I won’t bother with mentioning all of the titles above.  Maybe it’s because I’ve read all of these so many times, but I feel like surely everyone and her sister must know them all by heart like I do.  ;-)  I do want to mention a few special ones, though.

I picked out Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo on a whim for a little Valentine’s Day gift for the DLM, and it has been a winner (well, up until today, when he positively refused to listen to it ;-) ).  Kevin Lewis is the author of this sing-songy, rhyming little board book full of all sorts of locomotive action and fun.  I love that the book ends with “Good night, engine, safe and sound” instead of the engine black and red caboose careening wildly about the track up until the last page.  (In other words, it’s a good bedtime story, too.)   I think we need to add more of Kevin Lewis’ books to our decidedly vehicle-sparse collection.  Daniel Kirk’s illustrations are bright, colorful, and graphic, perfect for a toddler.  The DLM (sometimes) and I (always) give it a Highly Recommended. 

Another favorite of mine is one I bought specifically for the DLM, and it’s the only other book that I can think of that we own that’s about a motorized vehicle.  Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle is also about a bunch of animals, and which just adds to the toddler appeal.  Of course, I’ve already said that

Hands down my favorite toddler book is Owl Babies by Martin Waddell.  Our copy was already well-loved by the girls, but the DLM has taken it to a new level:  for a while, every time I read the line

“I want my mommy!” said Bill,

he would turn around and give me a big, tight squeeze around the neck.  Every single time.  Now I’m more likely to get a grin than a squeeze, but I’ll never forget that sweet phase or this precious book.  I love it

It’s not long before this. . .

turns into this. . .

What’s your favorite, favorite book from your children’s toddlerhoods?  Please share!


14 thoughts on “Read Aloud Thursday–favorite toddler books”

  1. Your stack of board books favorites looks almost the same as ours! Have you seen Emily Gravett’s “Orange Pear Apple Bear”? My toddler loves that one. Also Nina Laden’s “Peek-a-who?” (but that might be just a little young for the DLM?). And Jez Alborough’s “Hug!” is fantastic. Our two Sandra Boynton favorites are “But not the hippopotamus” and “Barnyard Dance,” and my toddler also loves the board-book edition of “Silly Sally” by one of the Woods (I forget which of them!). Both my girls adored Gutman’s “Mommy Hugs,” but that’s probably also on the younger side for the DLM.

  2. *sniff* as I read this morning. I have a 9-month old and he is already getting appetite for books! Love it. I am trying to treasure it all – nursing and books – because I am sure he’ll be my last.

    Parker had almost all of those books as a babe. We never thought we’d be blessed with another (long story) so many of them were passed along. But we are collecting again now. And many will probably find a way to Grant’s bookshelf.

    Of all those books up there Owl Babies is my hands down favorite. Brings tears to my eyes as I remember my 4-year-old picking the book from the libraray and reading it all by himself. Now he is 8 and devours super longs books by the handful. *sigh* Sometimes I wish there was a pause button.

  3. Well, that is an emotion-packed post! I love that the DLM would turn around and give you a hug whenever you’d read the “I want my mommy” line. Priceless! Oh, tug at the heart!

    He is growing up so fast. Wow. His head looks so much older! ;D

    I loved reading this post.

  4. Favorite toddler books…. hmmm it has been a long while, I don’t really know. It was sweet to read your post though and the photos are soo cute too. Cherish the Moments… soon your babies will be 26, like my oldest will be next week. :-)

  5. Love this post! We have an extra child this week (friend staying with us) so I didn’t get to do my own post, I’ll be back next week.

    Many of the ones you listed here are favorites of ours, especially anything by Sandra Boynton, Leslie Patricelli and Owl Babies. One of my 2 1/2 year old’s favorites right now is Dinosaur Roar by Paul Stickland. We also have a DK Truck Book that I memorized when my oldest was a toddler. Interestingly, my second son wasn’t all that interested in trucks but Ruth loves it.

  6. I think my favorite for toddlers is either “Not the Hippopotamus” or the “Belly Button Book” by Sandra Boynton. I love both of those so much. I remember that when my daughter was a toddler, she went through a phase though where she wanted a book called Peek a Boo Zoo every-single-day-many-times-a-day. She would yell “book! book!” but that was the only one she wanted. It felt like it went on like that for months but it was probably only weeks. :-)

  7. Reading to my children is one of my favorite times of day with them all snuggled against me! I often think if I did it over, I would have read them more classic fairy tales and Bible stories and things like that when they were younger and just keep it in rotation until those stories become part of their lives.

  8. What a cute little guy, so into reading already! Great books, I always love coming here and seeing what you’re reading for my next ideas ;0) Thanks for hosting the linkup!

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