7 First Stories to Share with Your Toddler

Here are seven delightful stories to share with toddlers. All have simple plots and familiar subject matter. These are good choices for young children ready to move beyond simple concept books and entertaining rhymes.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson. A beautiful, simple story of a boy’s unwavering faith that the seed that he plants and cares for will grow into a carrot. Ages 1+


Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. A simple plot that your toddler can relate to — Toddler loses knuffle bunny. Toddler finds knuffle bunny. — brilliantly told. Ages 1+

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Half storybook, half concept book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the story of a hungry caterpillar eating a lot of food and, ultimately, turning into a beautiful butterfly. Toddlers will enjoy playing with the holes the caterpillar chews through the book — especially if you can get your hands on the large board book edition of this book. Ages 1+

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Depicts a young boy Peter’s adventures in the snow with simple, graphic illustrations of Peter in his red snowsuit. The Snowy Day conveys the joy of playing in snow. Ages 1+

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. The child narrator explains the steps involved in planting a flower garden and watching it grow. Planting a Rainbow has beautiful, colorful illustrations of a variety of flowers. Ages 1+

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. A fun story about animals enjoying a party, complete with popcorn, black tea, and a campfire, in a bear’s den while the bear sleeps. Bear Snores On has an entertaining, rhyming text and great illustrations. Ages 2+

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. An amusing story of a mixup that occurs one late-summer day while Sal and her mother and little bear and his mother are picking blueberries on Blueberry Hill. Blueberries for Sal includes great descriptions of Sal engaging in some typical toddler behavior. Ages 2+

I would love to hear your ideas for great first stories to share with toddlers. To be a good pick, the book must have a plot and the plot must be simple.

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5 Responses to 7 First Stories to Share with Your Toddler

  1. mindbde2soul says:

    I would say almost any Eric Carle book is great. But also board books that retell traditional nursery rhymes or books with lots of repetition.

  2. Erinn L says:

    You hit some of our favorites. I also really love “Goodnight Moon” and “Goodnight Gorilla” because they are almost wordless stories which is such a great developmental tool for budding book lovers. We also love “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” and the Raffi sing a long books like “Wheels on the Bus,” “Baby Beluga” and “Down by the Bay.” Our newest household favorite, though, is “Brown Bear.” Owen loves it because he can read it, Evan loves it because he can “read” it by rote and Mia loves it for it’s content.

  3. Molly says:

    I’d like to add The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle. Our kids both loved that one, and it has a nice message, too.

  4. le corre says:

    my children loved that book too

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