While my daughter is past the board book stage now, I had already written a list of our favorite board books and taken pictures for this post long ago, so I figured I’d go ahead and post it! All of these are books that we were able to read over and over without getting too bored as parents. We had several other excellent books we bought in board book form that turned out to be too long or otherwise ill-suited for a baby or young toddler’s attention. Harold and the Purple Crayon, it turns out, looks basically the same on every page for a baby. And The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton is too long as a board book. We wish we’d gotten those as picture books for later!
We highly recommend all of the following board books!
Brett, Jan —
- The Hat: Lovely little story of a hedgehog who gets a mitten stuck on his head. Jan Brett’s books include sidebar illustrations that show things that are going on elsewhere at the same time. As a parent, you will notice something new every time!
Brown, Margaret Wise — Margaret Wise Brown has written tons of books with a variety of illustrators. Personally, I don’t enjoy her writing all that much. The books that I do love by her are mainly loved for their illustrations. Goodnight, Moon is probably her most popular book, but frankly, all the red and green decor drives me nuts (we do own a copy and I try to avoid being asked to read it)! This post about alternate titles for children’s books suggests that Goodnight, Moon would be more accurately titled When the Colorblind Decorate. My thoughts, exactly!
- Big Red Barn: This book is a charming introduction to all the animals on a farm. At the end of the book, they all go back inside and fall asleep.
- Home for a Bunny: The illustrations in this book are beautiful! Our daughter loves pointing at all the animals in this one. There are butterflies, robins, frogs, groundhogs, etc.
Carl, Eric —
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar: A caterpillar eats everything he can find, including junk food, until he finally eats a green leaf and feels better. He goes into his chrysalis and comes out as a beautiful butterfly.
Church, Caroline Jayne — Caroline Church is the illustrator for several similar books that have sweet “I love you” messages for little ones and opportunities to learn to identify body parts. We only own one of her books so far, but have checked some others out from the library. We love all of these!
- I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rosetti-Shustack
- Goodnight, I Love You by Caroline Jayne Church
- Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church
- How Do I Love You by Marion Dane Bauer
Fujikawa, Gyo — Fujikawa’s books have such sweet little illustrations. Her babies are adorable.
- Babies by Gyo Fujikawa
Scarry, Richard — We love, love, love I Am a Bunny! All about a cute little bunny who lives in a tree and the wonderful things he observes and does in each of the four seasons.
- I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom (illustrated by Richard Scarry)
Seuss — Our daughter loves all of the small Dr. Seuss board books. They are different from the originals. Some, like There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, mostly leave out pages, but others, like Go, Dogs, Go, change the story entirely. I think our daughter loves them so much because the illustrations are colorful and they are short enough for her current attention span. Mr. Brown is probably her favorite because she loves it when we make all the noises. Normally I would be opposed to abridged stuff, but these are an exception for me. :)
- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
- There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!
- Go, Dogs, Go!
- Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
- And more…
Srinivasan, Divya —
- Little Owl’s Night: Little Owl visits all of his forest friends at night, returns to his branch, and falls asleep while his mama tells him how the day begins. So sweet.
- Little Owl’s Day: Little Owl wakes up early and discovers what the forest is like during the day.
Stoop, Naoko —
- All Creatures Great and Small: This book contains the text of the hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” I love the text most of all, but the illustrations are sweet as well.
Tudor, Tasha — Anything by Tasha Tudor is guaranteed to be beautiful. There are other board books by her as well, but this is the only one we have. It makes a lovely first birthday present or baby shower gift.
- 1 is One: Of all the the board books on this list, this is the one I most highly recommend! The illustrations are so sweet and as a parent you will never tire of reading it. This book counts up to twenty, “12 is twelve baby birds, learning how to sing…”