Looking for a gift for the 3-year-old in your life? Here are our top books for 3-year-olds!
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These books have all been very popular at our house! I chose them for this list because they are funny and beautiful — and just the right length 3-year-old listeners. Enjoy!
Paul Meets Bernadette, by Rosy Lamb
This beautiful book is an absolute treasure! Paul the goldfish used to have a very simple life going around in circles –- back and forth and up and down — until the day that Bernadette dropped in!
Bernadette helps Paul see that there’s a whole world outside the fish bowl. We love her perspective! The banana, she says, is a boat. The blue teapot is an elephant. As the two fish observe the teapot filling tea cups, Bernadette notes, “She is not too dangerous. But you must not disturb her when she is feeding her babies.” We laughed all the way through, and I love the tender ending.
Cupcake, by Charise Mericle Harper
Cupcake is disappointed because unlike her siblings, she’s just plain vanilla. Candle hops up and laments that he’s just plain green. Together they brainstorm toppings that would make Cupcake special: pickles, spaghetti, smelly cheese… can you guess what turns out to be the perfect topper? This is a big favorite at our house!
Hilda Hen’s Scary Night, by Mary Wormell
I can’t help but love Hilda, a silly hen who falls asleep under a bush and must find her way back to the hen house alone, at night. She is proud of her bravery as she sneaks past a snake (a garden hose), avoids a monster (a toy rocking horse), and swims through a lake (a child’s pool). The folk-art illustrations, simple text, and fun story combine to make this book a winner.
The Tub People, by Pam Conrad
The Tub People line up at the edge of the tub — always in the same order: the father, the mother, the grandmother, the doctor, the policeman, the child, and the dog. They love to play sea captain and have water races– until the horrible day when the Tub Child disappears down the tub drain. This is one of my favorite picture books of all time — so I won’t share the ending in hopes that you read it for yourself!
Trashy Town, by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
This book is on my shopping list for our toddler (turning three soon!). Mr. Gilly drives around Trashy Town collecting garbage. After each pick-up we read, “Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the trashy town!” The simple illustrations, predictable text, and of course the subject (trash!) will likely make this a winner at your house, too.
I’m Fast! by Kate & Jim McMullan
Here’s an entertaining read about a train and a car racing to Chicago. This is one of several books by the McMullan author/illustrator team. With the train sound effects, funny text (My Two likes to quote the line “Cows? You gotta moooooove it! Thanks, ladies!”), and staccato rhythm, it’s a hit for kids who love trains and even those who don’t.
Mimi, by Carol Baicker-McKee
The first thing you’ll notice is the 3-D artwork created with paint, fabric, and clay. It makes this adorable book really stand out – but the story itself is wonderful too. Preschool-aged children will relate to Mimi’s day of playing, library school, and a visit to the park. And they’ll cheer when Mimi finds her missing pill bug, Frank.
Mouse Went out to Get a Snack, by Lyn Rossiter MacFarland
A hungry little mouse leaves his mouse hole to get a snack. “Something like a piece of cheese.” But what a feast awaits him when he finds a giant party spread on the dining room table! The mouse throws food over the side of the table as he counts: “1 piece of cheese, 2 plump plums, 3 baby carrots…” When the cat finds him, the mouse must abandon his giant platter — but escapes with one piece of cheese. You’ll love the simple text and hilarious pictures, and you won’t mind reading it again and again. A real gem!
The Giant Jam Sandwich, by John Vernon
Here’s a vintage book (1972) for your shopping list. Four million wasps have descended on Itching Down – what will the townspeople do? The baker has a plan: jam is the wasps’ favorite food – so why not build a giant jam sandwich to trap them in? The rhyming text is wonderful, and the pictures will have you hooked. Love it!
Jump! by Scott Fischer
“Well, I’m a bug. I’m a bug. I’m a snug little bug, and I’m sleeping on a jug. Until I see a frog, and I… JUMP!” The frog is in a bog sleeping like a log, until he sees a cat. And then he… JUMPS! And so it goes all the way through this hilarious book. Kids love chiming in on the word “JUMP,” and it’s fun to predict which animal is coming up next. Highly recommended!
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