Hi everyone! Today we’re talking about something near and dear to our hearts: reading to our children. We very much enjoy reading with our children, and have been reading to all of them since they were itty bitty babies.
However, one of the little known joys of parenthood that we have been blessed to experience is the feeling of absolute dread when you just want your child to go to sleep, and they then choose a lengthy book, one full of long paragraphs, or “lots of words” according to Jordan.
In the interest of helping another parent out, here is a list of books that you will actually enjoy reading to your children. These are not terribly long or difficult reads, you probably won’t hate them, and most come in the indestructible board book option for littles. Full disclosure, our oldest kid is just 3.5, so I don’t know if these recommendations will hold up with an older crowd. Put these on your Christmas lists, birthday lists, and wish lists… it’s a gift to your child AND you.
1. The Little Blue Truck
It’s a classic for a reason, and it was our son’s very favorite book when he was a young toddler. Charlie was just gifted a “clean copy” (ie not covered in kid food goo and beat up from rough handling) for her birthday this week and we’re thrilled to share this book with her. Who doesn’t love a simple rhyming book with lots of animal noises? The entire series is fantastic.
2. They All Saw A Cat
Probably my favorite book of the bunch, this is my #2 go-to gift behind the Hatch Baby Rest (the Hatch has gotten an upgrade! It’s awesome!). The imagery is beautiful, it’s a very cute concept, and it’s also a nice quick read. This was Charlie’s favorite book for her first year.
3. Giraffes Can’t Dance
I do love a good rhyming book, and this silly one is again really more fun for parents than kids. I also really enjoy books that work in a nice message, even if the kids are too young to “get” it.
4. Goodnight Moon
This one had to grow on me, but now it is in our regular rotation. It’s not quite as fun as the rhyming books, but it does have a little bit of a rhythm to it and the kids seem to enjoy hearing it. It’s also a super quick read.
5&6. Goodnight Tractor/Goodnight Pirate
Another couple of my son’s favorites, Goodnight Tractor and Goodnight Pirate are two adorable books about sleepy time. They’re quick reads, they’re fun for the kids to recite, and they have very cute imagery.
7. If I Were A Puppy
From the makers of our very favorite stuffed animals, this book from Jellycat is another of our kids’ favorites. Only a few pages but with soft fluffy pictures to touch, both of our oldest enjoyed this book.
8. Little Joe Chickapig
This book really should be higher on the list, because we do love it. It’s a little longer though, so in the spirit of promoting books that you won’t be angry trying to get through, this one fell a little lower on the list. We do love its message though, and the chickapigs are awfully cute. Also, true to form, this one is a rhyming book. You can buy a stuffed chickapig to go with the book as well.
9. Noisy Baby Animals
Another touch and feel book, but this time with noises to go along with it, this was another of our daughter’s favorite books. It ranks lower on the list due to the noise, sometimes you don’t want a book that’s going to make noises all night long when your child demands to sleep with it, so buyer beware.
10. Bone! Feed the Hungry Pets
A final favorite, our kids loved this book. Ranked last due to its relative fragility (it’s easy to tear) get ready to make pretend animal noises as they eat their food. A very quick read, it’s short enough that it’s not too annoying to make animal noises for long.
That’s it! Those are our top ten highly recommended books (and book series) for kids under the age of 4, especially if you are a tired parent who wants to read to their kids but doesn’t always have the energy late at night for a super long book (Dragons Love Tacos, I’m looking at you).