Author Richa Jha Says you Must Include These Toddler Picture Books In Your Reading List

Reading before bedtime or simply sitting down to read with your toddler now has a special meaning for both of you. You may welcome the few minutes you can get your little tornado to sit and rest and your child may love the fact that you read aloud his favourite story books over and over again to him. Whatever your reason is, there is no denying the fact that this is a special time to bond for you and your child.

We bring you a list of picture books that have been my family's favourites through teh years and we hope they make it to your shelves too! Don't forget to vie the list of picture books for your infants. 

The Best Picture Books for 2-3 Year Olds


1. That Is Not a Good Idea (by Mo Willems; Walker Books):

Shop Here: Rs. 280

That Is Not a Good Idea

The first time you read this book, your little one will let out anxious shrieks of ‘That is not a good idea’ at each step of this hilarious silent-movie styled book. Thereafter, it’ll be a mischievous all-knowing shout out for a build up to the enormously satisfying end.

2. Oh, Daddy! (by Bob Shea; Balzer + Bray):

Shop Here: Rs 648

Oh, Daddy

A zany, must-read, daddy-child book overflowing with silliness and humour. And loads of deliberate crazy mistakes by daddy hippo!

3. If There Was One Place I Could Be (by Kalpana Subramanian and Prashant Miranda; Little Latitude):

Shop Here:

If there was one place I could be

Little Anahi takes us on a magical journey through the enchanting underwater world. This book has such clever use of words and fresh detailed vibrant illustrations.

4. Aliens Love Underpants (by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort; Barron’s Educational Series):

Shop Here: Rs. 178

Aliens Love Underpants

We think this is the funniest book in Claire’s Loves Underpants series. What is not to adore about perfect rhyme and all the silliness of aliens going to any length to grab underpants on earth!

5. Harry the Dirty Dog (by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham; Harper Collins):

Shop Here: Rs. 326

Harry the Dirty Dog

A classic written largely in black and white, you cannot help but fall in love with this dirty dog who runs away from the house to avoid taking a bath (and gets dirtier and dirtier). Your child will love the progression of dirt!

6. Where is Amma? (by Nandini Nayar and Srividya Natarajan):

Shop Here: Rs. 95

Where is Amma

There’s something about Nandini’s lovely stories that always resonates with me. This is my absolute favourite of hers. A gentle, genuine, honest, and oh-so-real innocence characterizes both the text and the illustrations. The way the boy and his trusted general, the cat, look for amma everywhere is truly heart warming! The most touching moment – ‘It must have been very cold inside the fridge and you didn’t even have a sweater!’

7. When the Earth Lost Its Shape (by Shobha Vishwanath and Christine Kastl; Karadi):

Shop Here: Rs. 150

When the Earth Lost its Shapes (Karadi Tales)

An endearing what-if book. Getting to see limp squidgy out-of-shape everyday things a child is familiar with – egg, sandwiches, waffles, kites, and more is a perfect recipe for getting kids to talk of shapes for days.

8. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (by Mo Willems; Walker and Company):

Shop Here: Rs 262

knuffle bunny

We LOVE, apart from everything else, the all-so-believable clueless dad in this classic.

9. Z is For Moose (by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky; Greenwillows Books):

Shop Here: Rs. 830

Z is for Moose

I can’t decide what I love this whacky book more for – the alphabet madness or the rocking friend the zebra is to the moose.

10. All Join In (by Quentin Blake; Red Fox):

Shop Here: Rs. 675

All Join in

It’s the most crazy book to pick up for kids to soak in poetry in all its eccentricity (with equally eccentric illustrations) early on. It’s zany, the repetitions work well with kids, and it’s noisy. Incredibly noisy!


1. Don’t Let the Pigeons Drive the Bus (by Mo Willems; Walker Books):
Shop HereRs. 245

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Phenomenally hilarious, in case you still haven’t succumbed to Mo Willem’s charms.

2. Ekki Dokki (by Sandhya Rao and Ranjan De; Tulika):
Shop HereRs.

Ekki Dokki
One of the most crisply done folk tales rendered memorable by De’s unusual geometrical illustrations.

3. Days with Thathu (by Geeta Dharmarajan and Nancy Raj; Katha):
Shop HereRs. 96
A evocatively done book on the warm, wonderful, inexplicable bond that children and grandparents share.


4. Harold and the Purple Crayon (by Crockett Johnson; Bloomsbury):

Shop Here: Rs 267
Harold and the Purple Crayon (Purple Crayon Books
This 64 page classic is as much of a prized possession today as it must have been to thousands way back in the 50s. A brilliant combination of unbridled imagination and lingering imagery.

5. Suddenly! (by Colin McNoughtan; Anderson):
Shop Here: Rs. 594

Kids usually LOVE this suspense thriller, or as close to one as it can get for a young reader! Not sure what I enjoy more about this book – Preston the adorable pig going about his day in the face of the nastiest of dangers, or the suspense at each road corner.

6. Frog and the Birdsong (by Max Velthuijs; Andersen):
Shop Here: Rs.489

Frog and the Birdsong
One of the best books for toddlers and young ones to talk about the inevitability of death and the beauty of life. And that there’s grief in death, even if it’s a stranger’s. Sweetly, lovingly, calmly told.

7. Humbug Witch (by Lorna Balian; Star Bright Books):
Shop Here: Rs 3850

Humbug Witch
By far one of the cutest books you’ll find featured on this list. Little Witch has everything going for her to be the meanest witch in the universe, except one. Don’t miss it!

8. To Market! To Market! (by Anushka Ravishankar, Emanuele Scanziani and Rathna Ramanathan; Tara):

Shop Here: Rs. 175
To Market! To Market!
Explored through the perspective of a little girl, watch this local marketplace come alive, page by page, with the help of some mesmerizingly rich, vivid illustrations and playful everyday words. It’s quirky and enchanting and almost photographic; wait until you get to the page with ominous red chillies – it’s sure to build up a sneeze in you.

9. Junior Kumbhkarna (by Arundhati Venkatesh and Shreya Sen; Tulika):
Shop HereRs. 135

Junior Kumbhakarna
Laugh, giggle, chortle your way through this funny book that kids and adults are smitten by, especially if gorging and lolling around for a better part of the day are right up your alley.

10. Dog Blue (by Polly Dunbar; Walker Books):
Shop Here: Rs. 542

Dog Blue
‘What Bertie wanted more than anything in the whole wide world was a dog. A blue dog! So Bertie pretended he had a blue dog.’ An irresistible story of make belief, dog love, and a freaking-out realization when faced with reality – ‘Bertie’s dog isn’t blue at all!’.

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