Best books for three-year-olds

three year old reading book

Bored of board books and looking for some inspiring material for your three-year-old? Check out these classic recommendations from Mumsnetters and restock your shelves

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Mumsnetters say:

“My three-year-old is currently obsessed with Where The Wild Things Are and likes to pretend he is Max and say all his lines as we are reading it.. Let the wild rumpus start!”

“An essential classic in my opinion. I started reading it to my son recently, who also has a fierce temper. It helped us, being able to visualise the rage.”

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Not Now Bernard by David McKee

Not Now Bernard by David McKee

Mumsnetters say:

“A clever and fabulous little book which all my three kids have loved. I think they have all caught on to the fact that it raises an eyebrow for us parents by reminding us of the perils of ignoring our kids! "

“It is a simple concept but basically is a comment on the relationship between hassled parents and a child seeking attention. Children love the repetitiveness of it and the fact that it involves a monster. Also, the illustrations are very engaging.”

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Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr

Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr

Mumsnetters say:

“I've only just discovered Mog with my daughter and it's wonderful. Delightful illustrations (which have now acquired a retro cachet!) and wonderfully simple text. I also love that even the burglar gets a cup of tea!”

“The Mog books have been huge successes in this house. We've laughed so much over the expressions on Mog's face.” 

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Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss

Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss

Mumsnetters say:

“It is my favourite Dr Seuss book and very quickly became one of my daughter's favourites too. The story is lovely – Horton the elephant has large ears, so he can hear the tiny Whos on their speck of dust, but none of the other jungle animals believe him.”

“A heart-warming story about little people making their voices heard, and showing that even the tiniest person can make a big difference.”

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Where Are You Blue Kangaroo? by Emma Chichester Clark

Where Are You Blue Kangaroo? by Emma Chichester Clark

Mumsnetters say:

“Both my five-year-old and my two-year-old love this book and it's one that I never tire of reading. The author's illustrations are lovely and she captures beautifully how important a special toy can become to a child.”

“The pictures are lovely and the repetitive line, 'Where are you blue kangaroo?', gets shrieked at the top of my daughter's voice. This is a children's classic – especially if your child has a special comforter.”

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You Choose by Nick Sharatt and Pippa Goodhart

You Choose by Nick Sharatt and Pippa Goodhart

Mumsnetters say:

“It works so well. Normally we all choose our own adventure to go on, although sometimes we go together. The children never tire of choosing what to wear, what to eat and which bed to sleep in. Every time you look there is something you haven't noticed before. Great book, especially if you get tired of reading the same stories every night.”

“This is a kids' classic – and if it doesn't reach iconic status in the near future, I will be very surprised. Its endless possibilities and interaction between reader and child are fantastic. We rate this 10/10 in our household!”

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The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Mumsnetters say:

“The Smartest Giant in Town is a perennial favourite – I got it for my son on his third birthday, and even though he's now four and a half we must still read it at least a couple of times a week.”

“I love The Smartest Giant because you get the opportunity to sing bits of it. We have two tunes for singing George’s song – it's absolute TORTURE, like an ancient auntie let loose on a Bontempi TRILLING away in your ears. My daughter loves it!”

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Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Mumsnetters say:

“A lovely book with so many lessons for little ones. Dave is so upset when he loses Dogger – something all children can relate to as they all have their favourite toys! My daughter really enjoys this book – we love cuddling up together and reading it quietly.”

“This is for any child who has ever lost a favourite toy. My daughter knows all the words to this story, but never tires of hearing it read to her at bedtime.”

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Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

Mumsnetters say:

“Totally adore this book. In fact, we love all of Oliver Jeffers' books in this house. Illustrations are beautiful and the story is simple but emotive. It's a real bedtime favourite.”

“Beautiful illustrations and a really heart-warming story. My daughter loves the little penguin. It's a great book for introducing the idea of loneliness to young children, and how important friends are.”

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Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Mumsnetters say:

“My daughter loves this book – it's her favourite at the moment. The characters have 'ordinary' names: Sarah, Percy and Bill, and it's got that bit of repetition in the last line of the page that little ones love.”

“My three-year-old loves this book. She has the version with the DVD, which is lovely. She likes it read with different voices for each owl baby.”

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