With the use of technology spreading like wildfire, people are reading less and less actual books these days. It’s a pity that most youngsters today don’t know what it feels like to sit back, relax, open a paperback or hardbound book in their lap, and get transported to another world in the stories and pictures of the book. Parents nowadays substitute books for e-books on their iPads and tablets; but that isn’t quite the same.
For those who want to bring back the tradition of reading books to their children, it’s important to know that it’s never too early to start. Reading to your child even before he turns a year old is a good way to kick start the habit and hopefully raise a book-lover. After all, reading is known to augment intelligence, make a reader more eloquent, and excel at the written word.
Luckily, there are a great many books for toddlers aged 0 to 5 that are out there for the taking. These best-sellers have captured the hearts of toddlers and parents alike, and make for excellent bonding moments.
So what are the most popular books that toddlers throughout the years have enjoyed reading? This list hopefully inspires parents to start reading to their children actual books and not just e-books, because there’s no substitute for turning the pages of a good book.
10. Dear Zoo
Written in 1982 by Rod Campbell, this picture book is perfect for a four-year-old’s visual development. A board book with a lift-the-flap feature, the reader is made to search for the pet he’d like to have and in the process, various zoo animals are revealed. Then the right pet for the child is discovered. What makes this book a popular one is that it’s interactive yet simple, which makes it easier for parents to read it to the child over and over again.
9. The Giving Tree
There’s no better way to teach a child a lesson than by incorporating it into a creative story. The Giving Tree was written by Shel Silverstein and it’s an endearing tale that’s beautifully written in simple, lyrical verses. It’s accompanied by child-like drawings as well, making the children able to relate to the visuals. The story is about a tree who loves a little boy unconditionally and continues to do so even when he’s no longer grateful for everything it’s given him. It’s about loving without expecting anything in return, a great lesson to teach children.
Many little girls are familiar with the cartoon series about a little French girl in a Catholic boarding school named Madeline. The cartoon is based on the series of Madeline books written by Ludwig Bemelmans, the first of which was written in 1939. All books are written entirely in rhyme. The rhyming style along with the simple themes make the books ideal for storytelling to children. The book series and cartoon have been such a tremendous hit that Madeline was made into audiobooks, movies, and even video games.
7. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Before Bugs Bunny, Thumper, and Roger Rabbit, there was another little rabbit winding its way around children’s hearts. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was written in 1902 by Beatrix Potter and has since become one of the most successful children’s books of all time. The story tells of a mischievous little rabbit named Peter, whose wide-eyed curiosity causes him to disobey his mommy and he subsequently gets into trouble and suffers its consequences. It’s been reprinted and re-illustrated numerous times and has generated merchandise such as toys, clothing, and a board game.
6. The Little Engine That Could
Always making the list of top 100 children’s books of all time, The Little Engine that Could was first published in 1930 by Platt and Munk. This colorfully illustrated book is about a little engine that is asked to do the seemingly impossible task of pulling a long train up a tall mountain. Other, bigger engines think the effort won’t be worth it and so they refuse to step up to the plate. However, the little engine agrees to take on the work and through perseverance, is able to succeed. The story is used to teach children a very important lesson: optimism coupled with diligence results in tremendous success.
5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
A multi-awarded book that’s used to promote literacy can only mean that it’s a very engaging, memorable story—and The Very Hungry Caterpillar is no exception. Published in 1969 in the United States, this children’s picture book’s plot is simple. Using simple illustrations, it shows the kinds of food a caterpillar eats before its metamorphosis into a butterfly. It’s laden with educational tools, like counting, the seven days of the week, types of food, and the stages of growth from caterpillar to butterfly. The book has also been used to promote healthy eating to the children in the United States.
4. The Cat in the Hat
Dr. Seuss is definitely synonymous to classic children’s literature. Theodore Geisel took on the Dr. Seuss pen name and has produced numerous children’s literature under the name, including The Cat in the Hat. Written in 1957, the story is about a cat who appears to two children and entertains them to the point of causing chaos and turning the house into upheaval. He conjures a machine to clean up the mess right before the children’s mother arrives. The story uses the rhyming method, which is an effective tool in holding children’s attention and expanding their vocabulary and love for the written word.
3. The Velveteen Rabbit
A toy wanting to be loved and become real is like Toy Story meets Pinocchio and in this beautiful combination is found the story of The Velveteen Rabbit. Written by American writer Margery Williams and published in 1922, The Velveteen Rabbit is one of the most beloved books in children’s literature. It tells the story of a stuffed rabbit made of velveteen that’s given as a gift to a little boy. Due to its simple make, it’s initially ignored by the boy, but later becomes his favorite toy. Since it experienced real love from its owner, the rabbit is transformed by the Nursery Fairy into a real, living rabbit who visits the little boy’s garden.
2. Charlotte’s Web
A book like Charlotte’s Web is enjoyed by adults and kids alike, and that says something about its popularity. Written by American author E.B. White and published in 1952, the illustrated book is about a pig and his friendship with a spider named Charlotte. To save him from being sent to the slaughter house, Charlotte writes various messages for the farmer to see on her web, in order to convince him not to send off the pig. Messages like, “Some Pig” are written on her web and ultimately, these messages save the life of the pig. The story teaches about the lengths one would go to for friendship, a beautiful story to pass on to the readers.
1. Green Eggs and Ham
Yet another Dr. Seuss book has made it to the list of most successful children’s books. Green Eggs and Ham was written by Dr. Seuss in 1960, in the wake of the success of The Cat in the Hat. In the book, Sam-I-Am bugs the narrator of the book to try a dish of green eggs and ham and the narrator utters the lines, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am” several times throughout the story. The book was written for beginning readers and therefore contains very simple words, again using the rhyming style to make for catchier reading.