Toddler Reading Favourites

One of my favourite things to do with my son Gavin is read books together. He is coming up on two years in March, so his reading tastes are not fully developed; but he’s already making his opinions very clear. Some books sit on the shelf untouched, while others are constantly being found on the floor, behind the couch, or in the wagon, which tells me that they are ones he is drawn to again and again.

Early in my TBPL career, I ran the Books for Babies program at the Brodie branch and had a number of books that were my ‘go-tos.’ Of course, I had to buy these favourites for Gavin’s home library, and luckily, he enjoys the bright, warm illustrations of baby animals and rhymes of Flip, Flap, Fly! by Phyllis Root as much as I do. Bee Frog by Martin Waddell is another title I think of very fondly. A parent who attended the program told me later that they had to buy their own copy, because the child had asked for the story again and again. Gavin is also a fan of Bee Frog, I suspect mostly because he likes hearing Bee Frog’s dragon roars, and the cute frog illustrations give us plenty of details to look at and count.  

Bear of My Heart by Joanne Ryder is one of those very sweet books about the bond between parent and child and can easily make me feel emotional. Unfortunately, Gavin is not particularly moved by the meaningful words. He much prefers the bear in Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff, which introduces colours for him to point to on the page, or Good Job, Little Bear, also by Martin Waddell, since Little Bear is having adventures.

It’s always interesting to see what books he is drawn to, and one he especially enjoys is Little Miss Muffet by Ian Beck (unfortunately now out of print). This was one of my books when I was a child, but I don’t think I was as attached to it as Gavin is. I actually hid it from him for a while because he was getting so agitated when the spider appeared – to be fair, in this version it is a really big spider who is larger than Miss Muffet herself! I wasn’t sure if he was excited about the upcoming battle when Miss Muffet and friends frighten the spider away or if he was frightened of the spider. He has re-discovered the book some months later and still gets worked up, but now shouts “Go!” at the spider, so I figure it’s safe to put back in rotation. 

Gavin’s current favourite is Drumheller Dinosaur Dance by Robert Heidbreder. This rhyming dino bounce has a great repeated bumpity-bump, thumpity-thump chorus that is especially enjoyable when drummed on a little tummy. As a truck superfan, he’s also very into the Little Blue Truck books by Alice Schertle, and his nonfiction books with giant pictures of diggers, loaders, dump trucks and more have needed mending many times already. I’m looking forward to seeing where his reading journey takes him next.

Gavin, right, with one of his favourite reading buddies.
Gavin, right, and one of his favourite reading buddies.

You can find these books and so many more in the TBPL collection. Search our online catalogue at, or put in a request for a kid’s book bundle by visiting and let our staff pick the titles for you. To get your Library card, email us at or call 345-8725 to get started. 

Laura Prinselaar – If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you.

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