Best baby books, chosen by Mumsnet
It's never too soon to start reading to your children, and sharing a book with your baby can be a great bonding experience. These storybooks, as recommended by Mumsnet users, are ideal for the very youngest of readers.
Best books for one-year-olds
We might not remember our first books – read aloud by parents who
really, really hoped they'd send us off to sleep – but they definitely had a big impact on our development. These are the best baby books for one-year-olds – full of gorgeous illustrations and sensory fun.
1. The Baby's Catalogue by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
A classic, sturdy board book, The Baby's Catalogue is full of vibrant scenes for your baby to enjoy. Open the book at any page and make up your own story about what could be happening.
“One of the best books ever for this age – every child I have seen with it loves it.”Shop now
2. Busy Town by Rebecca Finn
An interactive baby book, the tabs on each page can be pushed, turned and pulled to bring the 'Busy Town' to life. Ride the bus, feed the ducks and pop to the shops with rhyming text and bright illustrations.
“All the Busy books are great. They're lift-the-flap but very sturdy – perfect for inquisitive babies.”Shop now
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3. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
Another classic bedtime book for babies, Goodnight Moon is a gentle, rhythmic story perfect for lulling your little one to sleep (or for trying to, at least).
“A fantastic bedtime story about a little rabbit who goes around his room saying goodnight to everything. It's lovely and gentle, I used to end up reciting it to my little boy when he woke up in the night – worked a treat.”Shop now
4. Poppy and Sam's Animal Hide and Seek by Jenny Tyler and Stephen Cartwright
Great if you're looking for an interactive baby book, Apple Tree Farm has flaps to lift and textures to feel on each page. It'll help your child learn to count, too.
“I'd really recommend the Poppy and Sam books with flaps.”Shop now
5. Oh Dear! by Rod Campbell
Created by the author of Dear Zoo, Oh Dear! is another popular sensory book. Lift the flap as you turn the pages and follow main character Buster all around the farm.
“A lift-the-flap book where Buster has to look round the farm until he finds the eggs. My children are 10 and seven now but I could probably still recite this off by heart!”Shop now
Best books for two-year-olds
At two-years-old, your child will have a much better understanding of the world around them, and their ability to concentrate will have come a long way. These slightly more advanced baby books should pique their interest.
6. Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins
Rosie the hen is walking around the farm – little does she know, she's followed by a fox. Unfortunately for the clumsy fox, he encounters calamity after calamity. Read it with your baby for shrieks of laughter.
“An absolute classic and lovely to look at.”Shop now
7. Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Perfect for inquisitive readers, there's a poem on each page of this classic baby book, hinting about what's hiding in the picture. Familiar nursery rhyme characters like the Three Bears, Tom Thumb, and Baby Bunting make an appearance.
“The Ahlbergs books are the best by a mile.”Shop now
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8. In The Night Garden series
Most of us are familiar with the
slightly surreal TV show, but who knew there were brightly coloured baby books to accompany it? If your child can't get enough of Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy, these sturdy books will go down a treat.
“My daughter loved the In The Night Garden books.”Shop now
9. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Great fun to read aloud, venture into the deep, dark wood and find out what happens when a little mouse meets an owl, a snake, and – of course – a hungry Gruffalo. Here, the classic story is reworked into a board book for the littlest of readers.
“The Gruffalo is a little longer than you'd usually pick for a baby, but they just love the rhythm of it.”Shop now
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10. That's Not My Monkey by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells
Another touch-and-feel picture book, your baby can explore different textures with every page, as well as trying to spot the little white mouse.
“We've got six of the That's Not My… series of books and my daughter loves every single one of them. It's her first choice every storytime and she's learnt how to describe the textures of many items because of it.”Shop now
Best books for three-year-olds
We now move into 'baby and toddler' territory. At three-years-old, your child will start to understand complex ideas – like size and amount, and the days of the week. The following picture books embrace (and further encourage) this development.
11. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Everyone's heard of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (and probably eaten a few hundred Caterpillar cakes too), and for good reason. Vivid and colourful, the pages' holes make for a fun, sensory reading experience.
“This is a brilliant book. So simple but so effective. Counting, colours and words – it's all in there. A definite classic.”Shop now
12. Miffy The Artist by Dick Bruna
It's hard not to have a soft spot for Miffy the bunny. In this colourful lift-the-flap book, Miffy takes inspiration from an art gallery and decides to become her very own Picasso.
“Miffy is super for the words and illustrations.”Shop now
13. Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson
A gentle bedtime story, Owl Babies features three owls who wonder when their Mummy will come home (which she does, of course). You'll return again and again for the timeless illustrations.
“Owl Babies is lovely.”Shop now
14. Shoe Baby by Joyce Dunbar
'There once was a baby who lived in a shoe, who had learned how to say “How do you do?”' A solid favourite among parents, Shoe Baby is charming and (ever so slightly) off the wall.
“Not a touchy-feely book, but it's lasted since my son was one and it's still going strong. It's a rhyming book too, which seems to keep their interest from a very young age.”Shop now
15. Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood
If learning to count is on the cards, this undersea adventure will help. The rhyming text will help readers go from one to 10 and back again, accompanied by vivid, beautifully illustrated pages.
“Both of mine liked a book called Ten Little Fish, wherein the 10 fish gradually dwindle to one, who falls in love with another fish, and then they have babies and produce another 10 little fish.”Shop now
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