Realistic books about toddlers for toddlers?
May 14, 2016 4:00 AM   Subscribe

Our 21 month old is fascinated by the photos of parents and babies in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It got me thinking that although he's got over 50 story and picture books, they nearly all feature animals as protagonists. Can you recommend some books featuring realistic everyday life with toddlers as the main characters?

We've already got Peepo and The Baby's Catalogue by the Ahlbergs, which are great. He also likes the Topsy and Tim books, although they're a little too advanced for him and I think Topsy and Tim are supposed to be five or so, so a bit older than I'm looking for. We've also got some fantastic books about ordinary life, like Dig Dig Digging and In The Town all Year Round, but I'm looking for something with more of a focus on a toddler's experience of life - home, family, nursery, playground etc.

Bonus points for any depiction of breastfeeding!

Thanks for any suggestions.
posted by prune to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I Love You Like Crazy Cakes is good.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:18 AM on May 14, 2016

Global Babies is toddler crack. It's just close-up pictures of babies all around the world wearing local baby clothing and having cute fat baby faces.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:20 AM on May 14, 2016 [10 favorites]

I love you through and through.

Baby cakes.

Both feature kids with stuffed animals doing daily baby toddler type things. They are both really about loving your kid too (i.e. say I love you on most pages).
posted by Kalmya at 5:49 AM on May 14, 2016

Where's my teddy?
Has lovely drawings.
posted by freethefeet at 6:17 AM on May 14, 2016

Some Babies by Amy Schwartz
posted by Redstart at 6:24 AM on May 14, 2016

Knuffle Bunny
posted by brujita at 6:44 AM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Helen Oxenbury -- The Dancing Class, Eating Out, The Birthday Party, The Drive -- they're all really lovely.

Also check out the 'Oxford Reading Tree' 'First Experiences' series -- here's Going on a Train -- they deal with stuff like getting haircuts, seeing a dentist, even getting lice -- here's a full list.

I instantly adored both the Helen Oxenbury ones and the Biff, Chip, and Kipper 'First Experiences' because they are so well-done, so sensitive and in tune to how the world is for a very young child. Great illustration, pleasant to read -- there is nothing more stupid than a children's book that is tedious to read aloud -- and very in touch with the sorts of things that stand out to wee ones. The kids in them are a bit older than toddlers but the subject material -- being in a restaurant et cetera -- is instantly recognisable.

(We liked Biff et al so much we invested in a slew of their levelled readers and found them excellent as that sort of thing goes -- my old Peter and Jane books were openly mocked, but my daughter was very fond of the writing and the characters in the much more modern Biff, Chip, and Kipper. {Biff is a nickname; Biff is a girl named Barbara.})
posted by kmennie at 8:07 AM on May 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is a book I bought a friend's daughter at MeFi's recommendation. Seems to have gone over well.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:14 AM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

More More More, Said the Baby, by Vera Williams. Really fun to read aloud. A favorite when we were reading a lot of board books.
posted by miles per flower at 8:24 AM on May 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

My kids have really liked Good Dog, Carl and the associated Carl books. They're dog + baby adventures with no words, which means we always had lots of conversation about what's happening.
posted by linettasky at 9:30 AM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Second the irresistible Helen Oxenbury
posted by smugly rowan at 12:16 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

My just turned 3 year old loves Shirley Hughes. They are exactly what you're asking for.
posted by david1230 at 7:08 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Baby Baby Please by Spike Lee
posted by wannabecounselor at 3:57 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thank you for all the great recommendations!
posted by prune at 6:14 AM on May 15, 2016

Anything illustrated by Marla Frazee: All the World is breath taking in words and illustrations and Everywhere Babies is so fun for your kid's age.

Both have recurring random people so finding them though the book is fun for everyone.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 2:00 PM on May 15, 2016

My kids loved Helen Oxenbury and she has great depictions of kids. One book that got a lot of love was King Jack and the Dragon. Clap Hands and Tickle Tickle are very short, but have everyday depictions of toddlers doing toddler things.

A quick search brought up this book, which the reviewers seem to like. Seems designed for teaching about sleeping at night/nursing in the day but people seem happy about the depictions in the book.
posted by LKWorking at 8:22 AM on May 16, 2016

Most things by Karen Katz have babies/toddlers.
posted by freezer cake at 12:22 PM on May 16, 2016

Just an update that we tried several of the above recommendations which were very good, thank you! Our son really loved the Shirley Hughes book we bought (and asked for it to be read to him five times in a row - a record!) so I have marked that as best answer.
posted by prune at 3:07 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

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