Top Ten Favorite Board Books

31 March 2023

I have a number of book posts in the queue – I’m planning to share some of June’s favorite chapter books, as well as our first handful of nightly read-alouds, in response to requests – but first I’d thought I’d share some of our very favorite board books. Miss Annie is firmly in her board book era and loving every minute of it. While I’m cooking dinner, she will often take herself over to our lower bookshelf, remove and flip through them one by one, then stack them neatly in a pile to her side. It is the very cutest.

The best board books are beloved by the youngest kids AND pass the muster of a parent reading them hundreds of times. Several of our favorites have the covers torn off; I can recite most word-for-word. Here are ten of them.

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman | If I had to pick a number one favorite, this would be it. Introduced to us by my sister- and brother-in-law, this book has the sweetest illustrations and impeccable rhymes. Plus, we have lots of fun with all the different animal voices :)

Also worth mentioning that this is the rare book where the others in the series are equally as good. We haven’t read all of them, but we have Bear Can’t Sleep and it’s also great.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr, John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert | This book is a delight to read, and the bold, modern illustrations are colorful and fun. One of my favorite alphabet books!

Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter | Reading this book usually results in shrieking and giggles, and all three kids have been obsessed in their time. There is one line I change for moral hazard reasons – it encourages kids to push the button when no one is looking – but otherwise, a total crowd-pleaser.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherry Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld | Written in nearly perfect iambic tetrameter, these rhyming lines just trip off the tongue. Combined with cozy illustrations and clever details, our copy is tattered from so many page turns. GGCS has spawned a legion of spin-offs, but unfortunately, none are as good as the original (though the Christmas version is worth adding to your collection).

I Love My Tutu Too! by Ross Burach | This newest addition to our bookshelf has become an instant favorite. The wordplay makes it so fun to read, and Annie demands a mini dance party when we get to the second-to-last page (IYKYK). Combined with a tutu, it would make a perfect birthday gift for a little gal!

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry | A sweet story of friendship that shows the consequences of being kind – or not – our kids particularly loved this one because we’d bounce them on our laps every time we said “bump” and gently push them forward whenever we read the word “push.” An interactive reading experience :) Also helpful for learning animal sounds!

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker | You know how some books are described as “rollicking”? That’s the perfect way to describe this one. It just carries you along with a smile on your face, and again, the rhymes are perfection. And the little pea illustrations are so endearing!

Olivia by Ian Falconer | I was introduced to this pig protagonist when I was in high school, and immediately fell in love. The spare illustrations and clever writing make it a stand-out even 20 years on.

Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton | Would it be a board book list without a contribution from Sandra Boynton? I think not. Though we have and love many of her board books (Barnyard Dance, Birthday Monsters, Moo Baa La La La, The Going to Bed Book), this one is my favorite.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple | Even after hundreds of read-alouds, this one still makes me chuckle. Between the clever words and illustrations of erstwhile sheep, I think you’ll enjoy this one as much as your toddler.

Of course, I’d love to hear: what are the favorite board books in your house, or that you remember from childhood?

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March 31, 2023 6:21 am

There is just something magical about a good book, even when it is for little ones! The all time favorite in our home is The Scruffy Puppy by Wendy Ravenhill and Jessica Allan.

March 31, 2023 7:12 am

Our top favorites are LITTLE YOU by Richard Van Camp and ALL THE WORLD by Liz Garton Scanlon. Both are pure poetry and our kids love them too.

March 31, 2023 7:52 am

Love this post! We love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! I think you gifted us Sheep in a Jeep and that is a favorite too, we love it. We also love the book Bathtime for Chickies.

We recently checked out Belly Button Book from Sandra Boynton and that is a new favorite we are considering purchasing.

March 31, 2023 8:33 am

These are all well loved favourites on our book shelf as well!! We recently purchased a wooden blue truck and animal set for our kiddos to play with because their love of Little Blue Truck runs deep. We’ve been gifting them all of the Little Blue Truck spin off & holiday books over the years and they are all equally loved!! My son even made little Valentine’s and loaded them into his toy blue truck and passed them out to his toy animals just like in the book!!

Another of our family’s favourite to read & gift for infants are the Chronicle Books finger puppet books. We have the Little Puppy & Baby Giraffe ones and my 1.5 yr old daughter loves petting the puppy puppet and giving it little kisses. So cute & they’ve held up well!!

March 31, 2023 8:45 am

I love talking children’s books! Some other ones we love include: Hello Baby by Steve Jenkins, Jamberry, Baby Beluga and Down by the Bay, both by Raffi. Can’t wait to see your other children’s book posts.

March 31, 2023 9:22 am

oh I love this! adding all of them to our library list!
some of our favorites:
All the World and Everywhere Babies (both illustrated by Marla Frazee) are so, so sweet, and just gorgeous books. probably MY favorites. I also love “when I hold you” for the sweet incorporation of scripture beautiful pictures of mamas and babies. I don’t know that the baby truly has favorites yet, but anything with a flap to lift, a car, pr animal noises is a hit these days.
We also just bought Grumpy Monkey, and I think it’s going to be a family favorite!! such expressive illustrations, and a good message that sometimes we just need to sit with our feelings, and we’ll probably feel better soon.

March 31, 2023 11:17 am

I’ll Love You Til the Cows Come Home is one of my favorites. If a board book could take you on a journey, it’s this one. Sheep in a Jeep and Little Blue Truck are on rotation frequently, too!

March 31, 2023 2:28 pm

Atlas has especially loved Hug Machine, Love Monster (my personal favorite), Press Here and Little Blue Truck for a long time, and all of the Spot books, but now that she’s talking more, we also really love If You Give a Mouse a Cookie :)

March 31, 2023 3:11 pm

I desperately love Sandra Boynton and read Pajama Time to Foster before every nap! She has a new-ish one out called How Big is Zagnodd? with a surprise “guest” that legitimately cracks us up every time we read it. Foster’s current favorites are Where the Elephant Walks by Keiko Kasza and Doggies by Sandra Boynton. (Also, is there anything sweeter than a tattered, well-loved board book cover? The best!!)

March 31, 2023 3:28 pm
Reply to  Pressley

Whoops, meant WHEN the Elephant Walks!

March 31, 2023 4:44 pm

Hi! Little Blue Truck was my oldest’s favorite and we have snatched up every seasonal version since. I Love You Through & Through was a little toddler favorite for us, lots of finger play/voices/pointing to body parts involved making it interactive while also including a message that has been repeated for years since even as kids have grown and had big feelings of their own, “I love your happy side, I love you sad side. I love your silly side and your mad side.” Also wanted to add that I snatched up some young reader books for my son who is also in 1st when you shared your library haul a few weeks back. My son particularly loved Pizza & Taco. He read it a dozen or so times until I returned it for the next one in the series. Grabbed a couple of the Narwal books too and both my kids liked those. So I’m looking forward to your future fave book posts since those were two I had never heard of.

April 1, 2023 3:56 pm

Our youngest is 7, so we have been out of the board book phase for a while now. Most of our board books are/were German, ha! So no recommendations except 2 that we loved (and were in English): 1.) Goodnight, Gorilla: Loooved that it could be „read“ in 2 minutes or 15, since it’s mainly you telling the story along to the pictures. And the pictures are so detailed, we always found something new!
2.) Giraffes Can‘t Dance: One of the books I STILL know by heart. Beautiful rhymes and story!
Now I‘m looking forward to your other book posts :)

April 3, 2023 12:41 pm

My favorite that I insist on reading to my son every night is How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night. I just ordered 2 of these and added several more to our wishlist!

April 5, 2023 6:21 am

I agree with all of these! The Sandra Boynton books have always been favorites around here and Hooray For Hat! is a personal favorite and we reference it a lot when we’re grumpy. I love keeping a basket of board books for foster kids or young cousins that come over and re-reading them again has so many memories!

April 5, 2023 11:09 am

I still read Barnyard Dance with the same intonations as you, since my first exposure was hearing you read it to baby June in the car! Adding a few new-to-me reads to Emilia’s wish list. Charlie looooved Little Blue Truck and Blue Boat, so we determined his favorite genre was blue transportation :) My favorite from childhood is Corduroy…the fact that the girl’s name is Lisa probably had something to do with it, but I remember loving it, and it still feels so sweet to pull off the shelf!