A roundup of the best books for three-year-olds with some of the best children’s books that younger children will adore! Grab this book list of children’s books perfect for older toddlers and early preschoolers!
Any age is a wonderful time to spend time reading to children! But there’s something magical about a good book and young kids around age three. Their vocabulary is booming! 3-year-olds typically understand the plot and meaning of books.
Also, young children see parent read-aloud time as just about the best way to spend time with their parents/caregivers. It’s a great way to have physical touch, quality time, and undistracted attention from parents/adults. It’s just about the perfect age to help kids learn a love of reading at a young age!
Great Books for 3-Year-Olds
A roundup of fantastic books every family should own that are particularly great books for 3-year-olds!
I love this book so much, I themed my second child's nursery The Wonderful Things You Will Be nursery! The charming illustrations are worthy of living in a frame on a wall. But the rhyming sentimental words with a positive message that wonderful things lie ahead of our babies, make this a firm favorite of many parents!
This classic story has been loved by families for a very long time! Including mine! In fact, our first baby had a Where the Wild Things Are nursery. The main character, Max, is a young boy who ventures to the land of the wild things. He is deemed king of all the wild things, and soon realized he misses his home and mom. It's one of those children's books little ones can appreciate, and older kids will enjoy too!
The colorful illustrations will have you at hello! Eric Carle has a gift with stories and illustrations that enthrall little readers! But it's one of those simple book options that little ones adore at an early age! The punched-out holes are perfect for little hands to touch and interact with. This is one of the most gifted and requested books for good reason!
My kids grab this almost any time we have story time! The sing-song simple rhymes make this book a pleasure to read!
This is the story of a friendly little blue truck who lives out in the country and takes the time to say hello to every one of the farm animals. When he finds himself in trouble, his best friends all come to his rescue. It's a cute tale of the power of good friends and kindness that's fun for parents to read and helps kids develop a love of books!
This is a great book to start literacy skills at an early age! The song and rhyme scheme hold kids' attention and helps transition to longer stories. But you'll find your kids learning the alphabet and letter recognition which is so important at age three!
A witch welcomes all the animals who ask if they can join her on her broom. When the witch finds herself in trouble, her friends come to save the day. It’s all about inclusion, making friends, and being a good friend with a Halloween twist. Plus the rhyming words and story flow are like the standard for children’s books! Also, the illustrations by Axel Scheffler are fantastic!
After the Room on the Broom, we discovered the Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and loved it almost as much! I think the second time we read it my son started quoting lines and acting the book out.
A clever mouse talks his way out of being eaten by several forest animals by scaring them into thinking a fictitious creature called The Gruffalo is nearby ready to eat each animal who threatens the mouse. He has a poem and saying all about The Gruffalo. The surprise ending and clever story make this cautionary tale one that is so fun to read!
I purchased this book when my oldest was two, and he made his babysitter read it nonstop for over an hour the same day. Bless her patient soul! This comes from the same author of Llama Llama Red Pajama with the same melodious rhyme and a plot that will make any young child smile!
The little excavator tries to help with everything but is just too small. And then the perfect job no big construction vehicle comes is way, and he saves the day! It's sweet, it's a quick read, and three-year-olds adore it!
Dig follows Mr. Rally and his dog Lightning to five different jobs they must complete on their excavator. The sing-song rhyme will enthrall the littlest readers! Plus this book is one of the best counting primer books to help those in primary school practice counting and keeping track of a process.
This is the first book Now it’s one he makes the animal noises too. This one is a particular favorite because it has more common animals with animal sounds kids learn pretty quickly. As he’s growing further he’s learning to say the animal names, but still enjoys the pictures and noises.
I’ve been amazed how long lasting this book has been! We even found this slider version the other day and I seriously considered buying a duplicate because it’s so loved. You can’t go wrong with the entire series, but this is a great place to start!
Great Board Books for Three Year Olds
A roundup of fantastic board books for three-year-olds that you'll both love reading together!
Hello, darling illustrations and a basic understanding of rocket science in the simplest form! We love this entire series of board books for babies! But I think age three is when they'll start to grasp some of these basic scientific concepts.
The lullaby has the best put-a-kid-to-bed tone, but I was always hung up on the materialistic promises I was making to an infant! Ha! This came in a book set we purchased with lyrics reimagined to be sweeter and more love and experience-based. Both my babies have loved it! And my toddlers have sung along to it and request it for bedtime regularly.
I have to sing the praise of all the BabyLit books! They're all fantastic and grow with babies into toddlers and preschoolers. The All Aboard! series focuses on specific places with landmarks and geography. I couldn’t choose just one, we have London, Paris, and Washington D.C.
Kids love spotting the trains and vehicles, pointing out animals, and learning new vocabulary words. Kids can learn about places and cultures with the cutest illustrations. These books are fantastic as kids gain the ability to understand locations and cultures.
I have yet to meet a Sandra Boynton book that younger kids haven’t loved! They are funny, silly, cute, have a fun rhyme, and they go along with all the moments your child identifies with- i.e. Pajama Time or a close second, The Going to Bed Book. We love all these books, and they're extra fun at betime.
Best Bedtime Stories for 3-Year Olds
Prepare your 3-year old for bedtime with this book list of best bedtime stories for 3-year olds.
If you have a vehicle-loving toddler you're going to love this sweet goodnight tale that walks kids through where diggers, fire engines, and other vehicles may sleep at night. The entire series is darling! But this is an excellent book to check out first!
This happens to be my favorite childhood book, and it's still a beloved laugh-out-loud fun read! It features the Sesame Street character Grover who is afraid to turn pages and get to the end of the book because of the monster at the end. It's a classic and a favorite you don't want to miss!
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (of any of the Pigeon series!)
Mo Willems has a gift for tickling the funny bone of even the littlest readers! But older children love a great Mo Willems book too! Don't Let the Pigeon Eat a Hot Dog was our first, and my kids asked for it on repeat. It's a great quick read with lovely pictures that helps even kids who have a hard time sitting still sit and enjoy a great book!
Penelope Rex is a t-rex off to kindergarten who discovers her classmates are children (that she can’t stop eating). It's a great read before a three-year-old starts preschool! This book is laugh-out-loud funny and one we never mind reading for the millionth time.
If a cat gets stuck in the tree, the logical explanation is to slowly throw larger and larger objects up into the tree to save it, right? This story has the most beautiful illustrations to enjoy while you giggle through this silly story!
This is a charming and funny story of losing a favorite stuffed friend and processing emotions for little ones. They'll find it all too relatable, and parents will enjoy reading and talking through big feelings with kids in a books that will warm your heart and make you laugh.
Great Interactive Book Options
Have fun and get some wiggles out with these excellent interactive books for kids! These are particularly great books for 3-year olds
Little ones not only love these illustrations, but they'll also love acting out the different movements animals do. From turning your head like a penguin to standing on one foot like a flamingo, this is a great way to get some wiggles out!
This may be the best thing that happened to our wiggly kids! The book walks you through all the places you may be ticklish, with a fun story and a cute guide! Kids will roll on the floor laughing from tickles and anticipation with this fun read!
This book gives such an important message the first appearances can be deceiving. You'll find illustrations of animals that may seem intimidating or even scary, but have lovely sides you may have not realized! Like gorillas may seem fierce, but they are gentle, loving parents. It's a beautiful book with simple text and beautiful illustrations!
My son got this book for Valentine’s Day (we love gifting books!) and just adores it. He says the last word of every line from the popular Louis Armstrong song. The illustrations are darling, and it’s an instant mood-booster of a read!
This may be one of the sweetest modern children's books about friendship! You'll find excellent illustrations in a fun modern style. The story is so sweet and reminds us all of the free proclamations of love we should give to our friends when they're feeling blue.
This is one of the best books for three-year-olds when they're about to embark on a new experience! Maybe a new school, a new friend, or a new daycare. It's a sweet reminder there are friends and amazing things ahead!
The Questioneer books are all fantastic, but Tosie Reverie is a great one to start with for young readers! Rosie is a little girl trying to create and invent but keeps finding failure. Her Aunt Rosie reminds her the most important thing is to never give up!
“Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.”
Rosie may become one of your favorite characters, and this book with the rhymes, illustrations, and stories, is one you'll love to own!
Like these book lists of best books for three-year-olds? Be sure to check out these posts too!