Book Gifts for Toddlers

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Okay let’s be honest… this is a hard (ish) age group. They love books, but they love them so much they eat them.  Toddlers are still learning the mechanics of how a book works…and in order to do this they use all their senses!

Book Gifts for Toddlers


But don’t let the possible destruction stop you from reading to your one+ year old. In fact this is the time get them hooked on books.

For younger toddlers I think board books are a great option for unsupervised book time. I have board books all over the house and in the car and they are relatively indestructible.  My list of board books in this post are all favourites in our house.

For one on one reading time with a toddler the list below is comprised of ones that PudStar enjoyed from one+ and some that ChickPea is getting for Christmas from grandparents and family.

Tips for Reading with Toddlers

  • Keep it short and snappy…but regular. Read a quick book to them on the change table, in the bath, at mealtime.
  • Pictures, picture, pictures and minimal text
  • Rhymes rock! Toddlers love the rhythm of words
  • Get them to interact with the book (can you point to the horse?)
  • Let them chew and touch and smell their books
  • Add board books to their toybox for free play and exploration
  • Encourage page turning
  • Talk about the cover, the pages, the back cover and the spine of the book and point these parts out. This is all part of learning to read and use a book. With older toddlers follow the text with your finger so they see the way words flow from left to right.
  • Be prepared to lose a book or two. On saying that…I only had one ripped book from PudStar. ChickPea…hmmm…she will destroy many.
Board Books

I’ve been involved in children’s books long enough now that I can pull these titles out of my head (shame I can’t pull out other useful information). But if you’re looking for books for different age groups…always head to the Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Books lists. Having been on the National Executive of this wonderful organisation I may be biased, but I really do think their book awards are the best children’s book awards in Australia, certainly the most respected in the industry, and they have been going since 1946.

Top Ten Books for Toddlers (except there is more than Ten!)

‘Good Night, Sleep Tight’ by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek Great new rhyming picture book by Mem Fox. You can’t go wrong! This one has a super cool male babysitter who recites old rhymes. ChickPea is getting this one from Nonna and Papa for Christmas.


‘Baby Bilby Where Do You Sleep?’, written and illustrated by Narelle Oliver. Narelle is excellent company always, and I do so adore her work. I could rave and rave about her books for all age groups and will do so in a post one day…but you simply must purchase this one.

Can We Lick the Spoon Now

 ‘Can We Lick the Spoon Now?’ by Carol Geoss and Tamsin Ainslie. Read my review of this one here.


‘Look See, Look at Me’ by Leonie Norrington and Dee Huxley. Very minimal text but every word is perfect. Dee Huxley’s illustrations are exquisite as always. This is a celebration of family life in an Aboriginal community, but is a universal tale.


‘Rudie Nudie’ by Emma Quay. PudStar has pointed out that there are illustrations of bottoms in this book. Once your older child recovers from the giggles over some rudie nudie toddlers, this book is just an absolute joy and if you have a bubble machine you must read it amongst bubbles. The endpapers are lovely, lovely, lovely.

‘Ivy Loves to Give’ by Freya Blackwood. I purchased this one for our little neighbour Ivy. It’s a gorgeous tale about a little girl who just loves to give presents. The presents are not always quite right, a cup of tea to a chicken for example, but Ivy is a generous little toddler.

‘It’s Bedtime, William’ by Deborah Niland. A story for the toddler who is not so great at going to bed! Every night he has many, many reasons he cannot go to bed…but one night there really is a good reason.  

‘Tom Tom’  by Rosemary Sullivan and Dee Huxley. I HAVE to include this one as it is without a doubt PudStars favourite book and has been since she was about 18 months old. I don’t really know what made her connect with this one so strongly (Dan says it is the excellent way he reads it…hmmm). Tom Tom whirls through his day and his community…to his Grannie Annie’s house, to kindy…all over the place really. It’s a lovely introduction to Indigenous culture.


‘The RunAway Hug’ by Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood. The family in this story are just so normal and lovely…there is a mess in the house, the dad is just great, the baby is on the floor with the dog…oh it just makes me feel okay about my house and the chaos of my life! No ‘pretty as a picture’ house here! One of the children takes her mothers last hug and shares it with the whole family and then returns it to her…perfect idea!

‘Ten Blue Wrens and What a Lot of Wattle’, written and illustrated by Elizabeth Honey. Most fabulous counting book I’ve seen in years! Very Australian, very excellent. Well done Elizabeth Honey! You can read my full review here.

‘That’s Not a Daffodil’, written and illustrated by Elizabeth Honey. Also by Elizabeth Honey, this is a lovely story of neighbours and growing and seasons. We planted daffodil bulbs after we read it. Our daffodils were not nearly as lovely as the daffodil in the book…but hey…that’s life!

‘Noni the Pony’, written and illustrated by Alison Lester. Got to love a horse book! Alison Lester is a great writer of Australian horsey stories and this is one for younger children. Anything this woman produces is great.

‘Puffling’ by Margaret Wild and Julie Vivas. Oh how I love this book. PudStar was given this book when she was born and it makes me cry every time. It’s about growing up and becoming independent from your parents…something you so aren’t ready for when you have a gorgeous squishy new baby in your arms. But it’s just lovely.   

‘Baby Wombats Week’ by Jackie French and Bruce Whately. Of course every household in Australia is required to own Diary of a Wombat, but this is the version for younger readers. I love, love, love listening to Jackie French talk about her books and her passion for them and this one will start you off with your Jackie French collection. She has over 140.

‘Possum and Wattle’, written and illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft. This is just the perfect alphabet book for the Australian household or as a gift book to family overseas. From blossoms and bees through to wombats and willy willys…Australia’s flaura, fauna and landscape are named and illustrated in exquisite detail. Bronwyn Bancroft is one of our most highly awarded writers of Indigenous children’s books.



The Body Shop

Megan Daley Bio

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

My book recommendations (for babies to young adults) is here and you can peruse ALL of my reviews (searchable by age, genre and theme) here.

Check out my mini ebook, 'What to Read Next' or sign up for my FREE webinar, '3 Tips to Start the Best Book Club Ever'.

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  1. Renee Smith on Oct 19, 2012 at 11:36 am

    The tips above are great. My husband has been struggling to get our daughter to read at night (mind you he has been using books with way too much text) and since trying these new tricks she seems to be a lot more interested.

    The list of books is great too am going to give this list to the relatives for ideas plus my cousin is about to have a baby any day now so it is going to come in very handy! Thanks Megan

  2. Fiona Faithfull on Nov 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you so much for this great list of books Megan. I too will be giving this list to the relatives for Xmas ideas.

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