It may be the English teacher in me, or it may be the knowledge that reading to children helps them develop in many different ways. Whatever it may be, I know that I am always looking to add new books to our collection of bedtime stories. (Which have recently become any time of day stories because D LOVES reading stories with us!)
If you’re anything like us, your collection may seem too large as it is, but I honestly don’t think you can own too many books. Books teach so much more than just letters and reading. Many of them have morals or lessons even in the youngest picture books.
In case you’re wondering, we own well over 100 children’s books and we didn’t even throw one of those fancy ‘bring-a-book-instead-of-a-card’ baby showers. Nor did we have a ‘sprinkle’ for J. We had one, very low-key baby shower with family and friends and my coworkers threw another small one almost a year after D was born because no one could fit it into their schedule. With that being said, we didn’t get many books as gifts and the majority of our books have come from us buying the books at book fairs or just on a whim, or my mom buys/recommends books her preschool kids used to love.
With that being said, I will share with you the top 10 books my three-year-old can’t get enough of so that you may find something new to add to your collection. Because, I see you, dreading your kid pulling the same book from the shelf that you’ve read every night for the last month and a half! (Trust me, I love books… but I am not a fan of Clifford!)
I found this at the Scholastic Book Fair my school hosted two years ago and I knew nothing about it. I picked it up, thumbed through it, and thought, “Hmmm… robots. D might like this.” Boy, was I wrong. At first, Mr. Troop and I loved the book and we begged for him to let it be part of our bedtime routine. However, he was more interested in those short, catchy, rhyming books. So, I realized he wasn’t ready for this level of a book yet, and we put it on the shelf and forgot about it. And then, he turned three. He has memorized this book. He reads it to us most nights instead of us reading it to him. Loves is an understatement when it comes to this book.
I’m putting these two together because they are interactive books. They are not related in any way, but they both involve your child to manipulate the book or make noises. My mom purchased these books for us and I was skeptical at first. Don’t Push the Button is a pretty basic story and a very quick read. So, we usually read it 3 or 4 times a night because D thinks pushing the button is hilarious. There’s a Monster in Your Book is another one I was skeptical of because I didn’t think D would really get into it much. But, after our first read-through, he insisted we do it again so that he could make all of the noises and wiggle the book. Now, at three, both of these books are his go-to choices at nap time or for a mid-day read.
3: Any of the “Spot” books
We own Where’s Spot? and Find Spot at the Museum, but grandma owns every Spot book there is. These were a fan-favorite when D was young, and they have become even more of a favorite as he gets older. And, now that J is one, he loves lifting the flaps and looking for Spot as well. *Note: not all Spot books are lift-the-flap books!
Okay, if your three-year-old is like mine, they’re suddenly obsessed with farting. It came out of nowhere. One day, D woke up and said, “Good morning, toots!” and I looked at him befuddled. The look of bewilderment on my face was enough to make him laugh hysterically and that’s all she wrote… Farts are now any everyday laugh fest at our house. Luckily, grandma knew just the book to encourage him. She said they used to read this in preschool and all of the kids thought it was hilarious. We’ve only read it a handful of times at the time of this posting, but D just thinks a farting dog is hilarious!
I don’t have this series at my house, but grandma has them at her house and the minute we walk through the door, D pulls them off the shelf and is in grandma’s lap, ready to read! I’m not sure who adores this series more: grandma or D. As soon as she heard that D had any interest in dinosaurs, she was over here asking me to order the first book off of Amazon for her. Once she read it to D and he loved it, she was back having me order the other two books. (If you’re like we are, the first two books we ordered were soft-cover, but the third book only had a hardcover option. It’s horrible because they don’t match! But, the books are totally worth it!)
Alright, so, I’m going to tell you a secret here… I have heard nothing but rave reviews of this story. I had high school students telling me to purchase this book for my son from the moment he was born. And, I did purchase this book, but I bought it for my nieces. My brother-in-law just came to stay with us for a week and said that his girls love this book so much that they told all of their classmates about it and brought it in for their Mystery Reader to read to their classes. So, it’s on my list of books to purchase next because I’ve got people telling me that kids of all ages love this book. (Also, there are more books to this series. Bonus!) *Note: the description says this is a book for children K-3rd grade, but I’m still adding it to my collection stat.
This one may seem silly, but this book gets love every time we go to the playroom. We have to read it at least 3-4 times every time we go downstairs. It’s a more recent favorite which is hilarious considering it was Mr. Troop’s childhood book and his mom brought it up around Thanksgiving in a box of other books. It’s fun because it was Mr. Troop’s. It’s simple because it’s literally just the Old Macdonald we’re all familiar with. But, of all the versions we have of this story.. this is D’s favorite.
8: Prepare if you Dare: A Halloween Scare in __________ (Enter your state)
I’m always torn with seasonal books because part of me thinks you should only read them during that season and the other part of me believes you can read a book whenever you want to. And, D loves reading this book year-round! He loves witches right now, so he enjoys looking for her throughout the book. My favorite part is how the story includes towns, attractions, and traditions from our state. I don’t believe there is a book for every state, but they have a pretty good selection. They may be pricey on Amazon, but we can usually find them around Halloween every year at our local grocery stores.
Heads up! This is another book series! We just happened to start with the Christmas book because it was the first one I had seen. We were walking through the store and they had the Christmas book selection in the middle aisle (ugh.. They know how to get me!). D saw this book and was instantly attracted to it. My mom happened to be with me and started raving about how much she loved reading these stories in her classroom, so I tossed it in my cart. We actually used it as our ‘Christmas Eve’ gift (we have started a family tradition of unwrapping pajamas and a book on Christmas Eve), but we’ve read it almost daily since. Next on our list is How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
10: Any book with music
Okay, so this is vague, I know. But, we love music at our house. We’re constantly listening to something. So, these books are great. Yes, we own some books that have the music buttons on the side that go along with the stories (like this one, Daniel Tiger’s Friendly Songs), but some of D’s favorites are the ones that we sing together like The Wheels on the Bus or The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin. He loves when we sing them, and we often hear him singing them to J or just to himself throughout the day.
Sandra Boynton’s books are great at any young age! They’re short enough that our 1 year old will sit through them. They’re short enough that our three-year-old can memorize and “read” them on his own (or to his brother). And, they’re catchy enough that 3 still loves them and we can read them 6 or 7 times in a row without getting bored.
So, I know I said 10 books and then proceeded to give you way more than 10 books. If you’re wondering how we own well over 100 children’s books…. This is how. I walk into a bookstore and can’t just buy one book; I have to own all of the books!
Also, for those of you that might not know, you can sign up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and they will send your kiddo a free book every month right to your mailbox! I have both boys signed up and we receive two new books a month (one for each boy, and each appropriate for their age/reading level)! It’s completely free and a great way to add to your library if money is tight! **Depending on where you live, this may not be available in your country, but you can check out the website here.**
What are some of your children’s favorite books? I’ll try to stay up-to-date on my list and create book lists for each age/reading level as well! So, make sure to drop your child’s favorite book and their age below so I can grab your recommendations and add to our library!
Also, if reading isn’t your style or your book collection is already too big (is that even a thing?), feel free to check out these activities for kids.