A toddler in footy pajamas, snuggled up in your lap; a clever picture book; a chorus of belly laughs… Does bedtime get any better than that? These five picture books are crowd-pleasers sure to get toddlers and preschoolers—and their parents!—giggling with glee.
1. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann—Picture books don’t get any better than this. Follow the mischievous antics of a key-stealing gorilla, sneaking behind the zookeeper as he makes his final rounds, tucking all the animals in for the night. The book hardly has any words, but the pictures alone have brilliant comedic timing. It’s masterful. Last week, I introduced this family favorite to our two-year-old. She totally understands the plot, and keeps begging to read it again. Every page has hidden secrets to uncover: Find the escaping balloon, follow the banana-carrying mouse, count the number of people watching from the windows (the number grows from page to page) . . . you’ll find a new, fun hidden detail with every read!
2. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems—Every kid can relate to the story of a beloved stuffed animal—Knuffle Bunny—getting accidentally left behind in a laundromat. The pictures and timing are picture-book perfection. I can hardly get through reading it without choking on my own hysterical giggles. (And this book is the first in a series about Knuffle Bunny, every installment a delight.)
3. Don't Push the Button! by Bill Cotter—We can’t get enough of this book in our house. And when I say we, I mean me and all four of my kids, ages two to nine. There’s an oh-so-tempting red button winking at you from every two-page spread, and who knows what will happen if you push it? Don’t push the button! Don’t even think about pushing the button! Oh, no, someone couldn’t resist . . . This is a highly interactive book that draws squeals and giggles galore, and they crescendo all the way through the final page.
4. Where's Spot? by Eric Hill—Who knew a lift-the-flap book for toddlers could be so amusing? Toddlers love to help Mama Dog find her little lost puppy Spot by peeking under all the flaps—and they’ll find a funny assortment of animals grinning out at them beneath every flap. My youngest daughter fell in love with this one when she was about fourteen months old. I’d say, “Where’s Spot?”, she would lift the flap, shout “No!” and bubble over with giggles every time. Priceless. It never gets old.
5. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean and Eric Litwin—Pete the Cat has the best sense of humor about life’s minor annoyances, even when his jacket starts losing its buttons one by one. (There’s a life lesson hidden in there, too!) Kids love to sing along to Pete’s groovy songs, and the clever twist on the last page makes for a deeply satisfying read.