Marlow’s favourite books (great for ages 0-3)

brown bear
marlow reading brown bear, brown bear
I thought it could be fun (and hopefully helpful) to post the favourite books of each of my children.  Not the books I think are the best — the ones with the pretty illustrations or the beautiful classics we all grew up with — but the ones that really appeal to my children, the books they ask for time and time again. Sharing each of my children’s favourites will hopefully help define an appropriate age range for each book.

I’ll go in order from youngest to oldest, so let’s start with Marlow (aged 18 months)! Her favourite books are quite typical ones, the books my other children also liked at this age. Her attention span is short, so she likes books with little text that engage her with lift-the-flap features and vibrant colours, or most importantly, books with animals (we like to make animal sounds as we read!).

We’ve been reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear lately (my copy from when I was her age!) and it’s a good one for teaching colours (and animals). This was my favourite book when I was little, and it’s been so fun for me to read it to all of my kids. Here are six of her other favourites (which I think would appeal to children aged 0 to 3):

marlow's favourite books copy

1. The Very Busy Spider : Another Eric Carle favourite! A spider lands on a fence post in a farm yard and starts to spin a web. She is visited by all the farm animals, and Marlow loves making all the animal sounds.

2. Goodnight Moon : A magical bedtime favourite of all of my children at this age. I can read this book by heart! A must-buy for any young child.

3. I Am a Bunny : Marlow loves the little bunny named Nicholas, and when he goes into his tree at the end of the book to hibernate for the winter, she always says ‘shhhhhhh’ and pretends to also go to sleep.

4. Dear Zoo : Another favourite of all my children when they were this age. There are flaps to lift on every page to reveal different animals.

5. Where Is My Baby? : Another book with flaps to lift and animals hiding underneath. Plus, we love helping the mama animals find their babies.

6. My First ABC : This is a great book for teaching babies their words. We play the game where I ask her to point to all the things in the book, and I’m always surprised by how many words she knows.

What are your toddlers’ favourite books? Please share!

x Courtney

22 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Lindsay | June 9, 2014 | Reply

My two-year old is currently obsessed with The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr and my older child loved Oliver Jeffers books when he was a toddler. Goodnight Moon has also been a bedtime favourite in our household – such a lovely soothing rhythm to it.

2. Joanna | June 9, 2014 | Reply

Some of these were my daughters’ favourites too. They also loved The Baby’s Catalogue by Janet and Allan Ahlberg and Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox.

3. Courtney in London | June 9, 2014

Joanna,
I’ve never heard of either of these books! Thanks for the tip. I will look them up now. x

4. Nicola | June 9, 2014 | Reply

Our 3 have loved anything by Eric Carle, fab books. However I’d say our firm family favourite is We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen – a story about a family walking through all sorts of terrain (squelchy mud, sploshy river, long swishy grass) to find a bear. When they finally find the bear….I won’t ruin the end! Its a great chanting book, we all know the story off by heart. To be honest, anything by Michael Rosen is genius – totally deserved British Childrens Laureate a few years back.

5. Courtney in London | June 9, 2014

Nicola,
We LOVE ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’! It’s one of our favourites too! (I should have included it on this list. Thank you for mentioning it here.) x

6. Pam | June 9, 2014 | Reply

Hi Courtney,

What a lovely idea and so helpful, too! We have bookcases full of books that I love the illustrations of, yet my kids totally sidestep these in favor of their favourites. My youngest, Melodie, is nearly 19 months and loves I am a Bunny, too. Other favourites include I Can Fly, as well as I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean. She also likes Kazuno Kohara’s Haunted House and after reading it, she walks around with a blanket over her head the rest of the day…
I’m looking forward to your book lists as my children are in a similar age group to yours. We have a six yr old, a soon to be four yr old and then there’s our 18 month old.

7. Courtney in London | June 9, 2014

Thanks for your comment, Pam! We also love ‘I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean’ – it was one of my oldest son’s favourite books for so long!
And I’ve never heard of Kazuno Kohara’s Haunted House. Must look it up! x

8. Sofia | June 9, 2014

The Haunted House is a favorite here too, that white & orange is brilliant.

9. Tamara | June 9, 2014 | Reply

My children loved Mem Fox books too. I think she is part of most Australian children’s libraries. Two other Mem Fox books we loved are ‘Time for Bed’ and ‘Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes’. The later has lots of sweet illustrations of boy and girl babies from around the world.

10. Jessica | June 9, 2014 | Reply

My 19 month old daughter loves ‘Who Sank the Boat’, by Pamela Allen, particularly the end when ‘Splash’ they all fall in the water. Whenever she hears the word ‘splash’ any other time she calls out ‘oh no’! She also loves a board book ‘Diggers and Dumpers’ at the moment, and some board books by Nicola Tuxworth that show babies, toddlers and preschoolers doing everyday things like splashing in water, getting messy, playing and jumping. From your list we also enjoy ‘Brown Bear’ and ‘Dear Zoo’ and Eric Carle books, and I look forward to trying ‘Goodnight Moon’. Here we either say Goodnight with Maisy or Spot, or the beautiful ‘Time for Bed’ by Men Fox.

11. Courtney in London | June 9, 2014

Jessica,
What a coincidence! My childhood favourite book was ‘Who Sank the Boat’ as well!! I had my copy from when I was little, but it has since been destroyed by my boys – the pages ripped out of it. I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it! x

12. Christy | June 9, 2014 | Reply

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton is my nearly 15 month son’s favorite. He gets more and more excited as we count up to the middle of the story and then squeals when all the hippos go berserk in the middle. It’s a fun read and one I know off by heart!

13. Frances | June 9, 2014 | Reply

Funny, I was also going to add some of the books that others have added!

For my daughter The Baby’s Catalogue by Janet and Allan Ahlberg in tandem with the John Lewis (real life) baby catalogue were great hits. She also adored ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’.

For my son, his first favourite book (and one that I credit for getting him interested in books aged one) was ‘Peak a Who?’ by Nina Laden. Other huge hits have been the Usborne Farmyard Tales series, Benedict Blathwayt’s Little Red Train series and Oliver Jeffer’s ‘Lost and Found’, ‘How to Catch a Star’ and ‘The Way Back Home’ (2-3 yrs more than 0-2).

Both have also really enjoyed anything by Richard Scarry and anything by Lynley Dodd (Hairy Maclary etc). Our recent new find (and huge hit!) is Tracey Corduroy’s ‘Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam’. The illustrations are gorgeous! I think you could do a blog post on that book alone!

14. Jen | June 10, 2014 | Reply

Thank you :)
love your suggestions!

15. Jen | June 10, 2014 | Reply

My 21 month old loves Nancy Tillman books. They are my favorite too. The illustrations are incredible. We read It’s time to Sleep My Love, every night.

16. Courtney in London | June 10, 2014

Jen,
I just ordered a couple Nancy Tillman books! They look beautiful. Thank you for the recommendation! x

17. Catherine | June 10, 2014 | Reply

Im always looking for book ideas so this post is a great help! Dear Zoo off your list is the only one we have…they loved that from an early age (as did I:)) Each Peach Pear Plum & Peepo (Janet & Allan Ahlberg) are favourites in this house, along with Pip & Posy books (Axel Schleffer) … not many words but lots of action, A squash & a squeeze (Julia Donaldson) & Thea LOVED Guess who says Moo (Leonie Shearing) its a very well worn, quick to read book … perfect in this house!! x

18. Claire | June 10, 2014 | Reply

I love children’s books and fear I’m becoming a bit of an addict! My 17 month olds current favourites include I am a Bunny of course! Stephen Krensky’s Now I Am Big & I Can Do it Myself- illustrations are beautifully simple and even though he’s far from “big” I think he actually sees himself in it- especially digging in the garden!
Chris Haughton’s A Bit Lost- helping little owl find his mama and get a big hug at the end!
Hug! Jez Alborough & Paul Hutchins Rosie’s Walk- those buzzing bees!
And of course anything with lions/ tigers/ snakes (Alain greier’s animals book too!) to make animal/ scary noises! x

19. Naomi | June 17, 2014 | Reply

I love this post – although it isn’t helping my book addiction!!

Lots of others have mentioned our current favourites (A Bit Lost, We’re going on a bear hunt, Lost and Found, Each Peach Pear Plum (or Bear Bum – as my 17 month old calls it!)

But we also love Oh No George also by Chris Haughton, any Stella Blackstone books – especially Bear on a Bike, and Oh Dear! by Rod Campbell is another classic that my little one loves – again and again!

Naomi x

20. Danielle Downey | July 5, 2014 | Reply

“Bus Stops” by Taro Gomi

21. Melissa | July 17, 2014 | Reply

Hello! Sorry, this is a little off topic but I was struck by how lovely your heart ring is – Ive only just started reading this blog (ive gone from most recent post to here so far) so if you’ve already answered this further back im sorry, but where is it from?

Thank you!! Melissa

22. Courtney in London | July 17, 2014

Hi Melissa,
Thanks for the comment about my heart ring. My husband gave it to me nearly ten years ago and he bought it in a little boutique in London (The Cross at Clarenden Cross). I’m sorry I don’t know the designer or any other info! x

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