Bedtime story alert! Best picture books for toddlers and early readers

Looking for new bedtime reading fodder? Here are the stories we're loving for an end-of-the day storytelling sesh right now...

Reading with our kiddos remains one of our all time favourite easy things to do with the small folk. And yes, we do feel a little sad when our tiny bookworms move beyond picture books and onto reading chapter books without our help. But for now, while we do still have toddlers and early readers to make the most of, these are what we consider to be some of the best picture books out there for a storybook snuggle session.

Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen

Little Rabbit Foo Foo, riding through the forest, scooping up the wiggly worms and bopping them on the head. Down came the good fairy and said, “Little Rabbit Foo Foo, I don’t like your attitude scooping up the wiggly worms and bopping them on the head. You’ve got three chances to change or I’ll turn you into a goonie.” Find out if Little Rabbit Foo Foo can change his attitude to avoid becoming a goonie in a hilarious tale that kids and adults will never tire of.

Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort

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There’s a whole lot of funky underpants in this colourful read! Photography: Aliens Love Underpants via Facebook

Aliens and underpants combine in this fun rhyming story that’s bound to tickle toddler’s and pre-readers sense of humour – because knickers are always funny, and even more so when aliens are stealing them.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: A classic that’s been turned into it’s own mini-film, and has been charming adults and kids alike since 1989. Plenty of adventure, swishy grass, snow storms and a big bear set the scene for a tale that kids will demand again and again at bedtime.

Bing Bunny series by Ted Dewan

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Bing Bunny is just like a regular toddler, but in rabbit form. Photography: Bing Bunny via Facebook

Oh how we love Bing Bunny! We discovered this cute-as-pie series waaaay back when our own teenager was a tot, and have happily wheeled it back out for our toddlers ever since. Bing is a bunny who really understands what being a toddler is all about, and along with his best friend Flop, they cover everything from potty training to making glittery pictures, refusing to eat his tomatoes to having picnics under the dining table.

Dirty Bertie series by David Roberts

This one will definitely appeal to a pre-schooler’s love of all things dirty, stinky and a little bit gross. Bertie has a bit of a wind problem, eats his bogeys and picks up sweets from the floor, which makes him a hero in the eyes of anyone age three to seven years, we reckon. Once your kids have advanced from picture books, there’s a whole new series of Dirty Bertie chapter books for older bookworms to read for themselves.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Little Nut Brown Hare has a lot of love to share, and this sweet story really warms the cockles of our heart every time we snuggle up with the kids to read it. Expect adorable arguments once you’re done on who loves who more.

Hairy Maclary series by Lynley Dodd

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Hairy Maclary and his mates get up to all sorts of mad capers. Photography: Hairy Maclary via Facebook

A shaggy dog tale following Hairy Maclary and his furry friends on adventures around Donaldsons Dairy, these rhyming stories with their eye-catching illustrations make this one of our favourite series of reads for kids age three to seven years. Watch out for the stage show versions too: Hairy Maclary was here earlier this year as part of Kids Fest 2018, and we’re very much hoping he’ll be back again soon!

Charlie & Lola series by Lauren Child

For any kid who has a little sister (or a little brother), Charlie & Lola is the ultimate ‘relatable’ series for little ones. Lola is small and very funny, and we absolutely adore everything about her: especially her love of pink milk, her invisible friend, Soren Lorenson, and her ability to always endear her big brother Charlie, even when she’s being a total nuisance.

Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor

If you have a little girl – or boy – who is partial to a spot of bling, the Fancy Nancy series is a must. Not only do we give her a big thumbs up for rocking feather boas and tiaras to the shops, but we also love that these books slip in plenty of ‘fancy words’ that widen our own kiddos’ vocab too.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

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Roasted fox anyone? Photography: Julia Donaldson via Facebook

It was pretty hard to pick just one of the awesome Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler reads as their rhyming books are just all so flipping fab. We’ve plumped for The Gruffalo as it’s the one that our own kiddos love best (we polled them all) and because we do love a small hero who gets the better of potential bullies. Owl ice cream, anyone?

Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

While we’re big fans of all the Dr. Seuss books, Green Eggs and Ham gets the vote for being the ‘best’ from our own team of HoneyKids’ mini-readers. Take deep breaths before you try and conquer those long rhyming paragraphs! The story is ridiculous which makes it all the more fun.

Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks

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Spider just wants a family to call her own… Photography: Lydia Monks

We think it’s fair to say that spiders get bad press. They just go about their day, minding their own business while trying to rid the world of nasty little critters such as mozzies and cockroaches. We should celebrate them, we say. Aaaarrgghh! Spider! weaves a lovely story of a lonely spider who just wants to be a ‘real life pet‘. Will she get adopted by a family, or will she be washed down the plughole never to be seen again? Read the book to find out!

Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems

If you’re looking for a story that encourages sharing, then Pigeon Finds the Hot Dog does it in such a funny way that kids will never think twice about dividing their goodies again. We love everything about this whacky story, from the kooky illustrations to the angry pigeon.

Circle of Seasons by Gerda Muller

For many little ones in Singapore, traditional weather seasons are not something they are familiar with. Explore what happens around the globe with this beautifully illustrated book during spring, summer, autumn and winter and expect the kids to be surprised to find out that the rest of the world doesn’t wear sandals and tees all year! Be warned: the kids will want to go kick autumnal leaves in Europe and build snowmen on a skiing holiday by the end of the tale.

Top image: Patti Schmidt via Instagram

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:

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10 coming-of-age books for teens to read
Keep the kids quiet by crafting a busy book

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