Hot picks: Books for babies and toddlers

It's never too early to get your child started on reading! Here are some great book picks for babies and toddlers. Plus, check back in every week for a new reading challenge to try with your kid.

A Traffic Jam of Trucks Book Cover
Photo: Priddy Books

1. A Traffic Jam of Trucks: A Clever Colors Book
Written and illustrated by Roger Priddy, Priddy Books (AGES 3+)
Discover a rainbow of colourful trucks in this engaging board book. Your little one will love the raised shapes on the touch-and-feel pages.

Make it fun: Have your young reader create their own rainbow by first finding a red truck, an orange truck, a yellow truck, and so on. The different textures of the vehicles will help her to remember her new knowledge of colour! 

Book cover for little excavator

2. Little Excavator
Written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney, Viking (AGES 2-5)
Little Excavator wants to help the big rigs—Loader and Dump Truck, Backhoe and Crane—turn a vacant lot into a fun neighbourhood park, but all the jobs seem much too big. Is there anything he can do?

Make it fun: Help your little one point out all the rhymes on each page. See if he can notice a pattern!

Photo of the board book Construction Vehicles showing the animals in the cars

3. Construction Vehicles
Written by Marie Fordacq and illustrated by Peggy Nille, Twirl (AGES 1-3)
Ideal for tiny truck enthusiasts, this charming board book features a cast of animal construction workers—and plenty of illustrations of their cranes, dump trucks and cement mixers at work.

Make it fun: Go through each page and have your new reader point to and name each different vehicle.

book cover of Sea Otter Pup depicting a sea otter floating on his back

4. Sea Otter Pup
Written by Victoria Miles and illustrated by Elizabeth Gatt, Orca Book Publishers (AGES 0-3)
Pup spends the day out in the water with his mom, learning how to eat spiky sea urchins, somersault beneath the waves and groom himself. One day, he’ll be old enough to search for food on his own.

Make it fun: Get your little one to find the sea otter pup and his mother in every illustration.

Book cover of Can You Find My Robot's Arm. Illustration of robot shadow under a street light

 

5. Can You Find My Robot’s Arm?
Written and illustrated by Chihiro Takeuchi, Tundra Books (AGES 2-5)

Robot has lost his arm. It’s not in the house, or the garden, or even at the candy shop, so he and a fellow robot friend must figure out what to use as a replacement. A lollipop? Or maybe a fork?

Make it fun: In each illustration, ask your child to try to find something that Robot could use as a substitute arm.

book with elephant on the cover

6. Mouse is Small
Written and illustrated by Mary Murphy, Candlewick Press (AGES 0-3)
Mouse is smallest, and Pelican is bigger, and Zebra even bigger, but who’s the biggest of all? High-contrast, charming illustrations are eye-catching, and toddlers will love lifting the flaps to see which animal comes next.

Make it fun: Before lifting each page, guess together what animal you think will be on the next page.

book cover with two lambs

7. Time for Bed
Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Jane Dyer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (AGES 0-5)

“It’s time for bed, little sheep, little sheep, the whole wide world is going to sleep.” As different animals put their babies to sleep, beautiful illustrations and a soothing rhyme will put your little one the path to dreamland, too.

Make it fun: Together, make up with your own goodnight rhyme using your child’s name. Add it to the end of the book every time you read it before bed!

Book cover for dinosaur roar with green dinosaur

8. Dinosaur Roar!
Written by Henrietta Stickland and illustrated by Paul Stickland, Pan MacMillan (AGES 0-5 )
This colourful classic introduces kids to the concept of opposites. All the dinos are on the way to a picnic, and everyone has unique characteristics. This one roars, but that one squeaks. That one is clean, but this one’s slimy.

Make it fun: Give your kid a prompt and see if she can come up with her own opposites.

Check back next week for more great picks!

Read more:
How to encourage kids to read
100 best Canadian kids’ books of all time
14 must-have books for babies

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