9 Toddler Approved Picture Books for Spring

Do you want to read to your child but would rather read your own books? Have you ever gone to the library and been completely stumped about what picture books would be toddler approved?

I feel your pain, Mama!

During Benji’s first year, I wasn’t consistent in reading to him. Mostly because he was a book eater until recently. So, now that we are past that stage, I am attempting to incorporate reading into our daily rhythm.

I love to read, and I want Benji to love to read. But it’s often easier to read my own books than slow down and read his books. However, this last week, he surprised me. We brought home a pile of books from the library. For the most part, I’ve left them around the house so he can access them, and he does. He finds a book, opens it, and talks as if he were reading it himself. And I suppose he is!

It has been easy to feel like I dropped the ball, because I haven’t read to him every day of his life. I get caught up on perfection of the ideal rather than appreciation for progress. But when I see him connecting with books in his own little way, I’m encouraged and reminded that a positive relationship with books is the goal. For reading to be an enjoyable thing. That’s the hope as we build our family culture around books.

Rachel Winchester toddler picture books
Have you heard of Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival? She is your book goddess and has created all sorts of book lists to guide you in connecting with your kids through stories. So, I used her booklist for May as a guide when I went to the library. I need all the help I can get knowing the best books to bring home.

In looking for a book, the main criteria is that it is enjoyable each time we read it. That is especially true for picture books!! How many times do you read the same book over and over again? I want to enjoy each reading and not merely drone through it for Benji’s sake.

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Here are 9 toddler approved picture books for spring:

BooBoo by Oliver Dunrea

BooBoo is a gosling who likes to eat. The story is simple, short but funny. This has been a particular favorite of Jesse’s to read to Benji. A different book by Dunrea was on the book list I was using but our library didn’t have it on the shelves so I picked up BooBoo instead. It’s a small book which makes it easy for Benji to carry around and flip through himself.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

We have a board book version of this one at home. But in the last week, Benji has become especially fond of it, flipping through and looking at all the different food. It is also a small size which he likes. Plus, I don’t have to worry about him bending the pages. But, Eric Carle’s books are always delightfully illustrated, and this one does not disappoint. It’s a classic!

Rachel Winchester toddler approved picture books

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

Have you read Stevenson’s poetry for children? I am wanting to get a copy of his complete collection of verses for children, but until then, we grabbed a copy of his poem, My Shadow. It’s illustrated by Penny Dale, and very cute! This is a great way to incorporate poetry into your child’s life in such a delightful way.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Speaking of rhythm, I love the rhythm of this book. I learned of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at a library story time a few years ago. The librarian led the kids through a movement activity with the reading of the book. It was fun! As we’ve walked around the yard sometimes, and I give Benji direction, I think of this book. If you are looking for strong sounds and rhythm, this one’s for you.

Over in the Meadow by John Langstaff

The illustrations of this book and its bright primary colors sold me. I couldn’t leave it behind. The child is introduced to all sorts of animals found in the meadow: foxes, bunnies, owls, birds, and more. It also counts as it goes along while being rhythmic and fun to read. I will definitely have my eye out for more of Langstaff’s work.

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

We have only read this book a few times, but it is cute. It won the Caldecott Medal and is a good book. But it hasn’t been one of our favorites compared to the rest.

Rachel Winchester toddler approved picture books

Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

This is a fun book made up of one sentence. A hen goes for a walk and is chased by a fox, though she doesn’t know it. The fox gets beat up along the way by stepping on a rake, falling in a pond, and other such comical happenings. Benji doesn’t quite get the humor, but the pictures are brightly colored and attention getting, I enjoy reading it, and the story is short. That makes for a win in our book!

Have You Seen My Duckling by Nancy Tafuri

Similar to Rosie’s Walk, this book does not have many words. There are many wordless pages, and the same question is repeated throughout, “Have you seen my duckling?” If you don’t like wordless books, then you may not enjoy this book. But I find it quite enjoyable. The story is clearly seen through the pictures which are well done. This has been one of our favorites to read every day!

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

I absolutely adore this book! Perfect for spring as we plant seeds and cultivate life waiting and wondering at what happens under the ground. Then all of a sudden, signs of life and growth! Benji flips through this one often on his own. The illustrations and story are simple, but so good. I enjoy every read through.

Do you have memories of reading picture books when you were a kid? What were your favorites? Do you have other picture books you would add to this list? 

Rachel Winchester toddler picture books for spring

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