Best Books for One Year Olds

Best Books for the Under 1 set, as determined by Scarlet Jane, age 23 months.

I’m so glad Jacinda posted some Easter books (and for your suggestions in the comments) because Scarlet and I are ready for some new reading material.  Actually, Scarlet is fine with reading the same books over and over (and over and over and over) again: it’s mom & dad who are ready for something fresh.  I think we parents often stare at the bookshelves reminiscing about our favorite books and wondering which of these new ones might create similar awesome memories for our child.  I remember always wishing someone would tell me if she would actually like it before I shelled out for a book, and wondering which books to buy at which age. So I thought maybe it would be helpful if I looked back and shared with you the books she adored around age 1.  Maybe your little beans will enjoy them too.

I wonder if you agree that getting books as gifts for your child is the foolproof present? I love watching her open a new book more than anything.

Get Scarlet’s suggestions for the Best Books For One Year Olds after the jump…

Best Books for One Year Olds 
(note:  list culled from my particular child at one year old.  does not include MY favorite books for one year olds if she did not share my enthusiasm for them. I basically picked all the books with missing spines and drooled on pages evidencing her deep love for them):

Just looking at this book makes my eyes well up. Scarlet adored this book from just a few months up until around age 1. It’s just a little giraffe who wants to reach her own leaf on a tree. So sweet.

2. That’s Not My Pony and That’s Not My Dragon and That’s Not My etc etc etc.
These “touchy feely” books were addictive to Scarlet – she couldn’t get enough and when asked “is that my pony?” she would shout “NOOO!” and when the pony in question would appear she’d let out a satisfied “MINE!”.  She also loved the little mouse making appearances throughout.

3. Where is Baby’s Mommy and other Karen Katz lift-the-flap books
She loved these beyond compare. They kept her quiet on airplanes. They put her to sleep on my chest while reading. They made her giggle. She tore the flaps off and we bought replacements of the same books. Thanks Meemah!

4. Corduroy’s Halloween
To this day, still her 2nd favorite book.  OMG, it’s a lift-the-flap book about a bear trick-or-treating.  we read it every day of the year.

This book was written by John Lithgow and contains insane phrases that kids should hate like “He completed his peregrination” but alas this was, and remains, Scarlet’s most favorite book in the history of books. I think it originally came with a CD of John Lithgow reciting it but I am so thankful we can’t find it because I know it would be on 24-7. This is a cute story about a squirrel in central park who falls in love with art and secretly paints with his tail at night then opens an art gallery (did i spoil the ending, whoops). I have no idea why she liked this book so much but she did so there you go.

6.One Gorilla: A Counting Book
Here is one Scarlet and I agree on. I LOVE THIS BOOK. The illustrations are beyond gorgeous, and it’s about one person’s love affair with their gorilla. On each page an increasing number of animals waits to be counted and becomes more camouflaged in the gorgeous scenery, along with one gorilla. Before she could really talk she would just say “DERE!” to point to the animals. One of her first words was “gorilla” or actually “rilla”, i mean c’mon could that be any cuter? I also like that having the One Gorilla on each page reveals a bit about the relationship between numbers – helped her understand how One was different from Five in a concrete way. Five pandas is my favorite, but 10 “fishies” is Scarlet’s.

7. Hippos Go Berserk!
“9 Hippos go to work. ALL THE HIPPOS GO BERSERK!” This counting book is about a bunch of hippos having a house party. What could be more awesome?

8. First the Egg
What came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s the little holes from page to page that Scarlet was fascinated by. This is a Caldecott Honor Book and Theodore Seuss Giesel Honor book for a reason, it has such charm.

9. Pancakes, Pancakes!
I have to be honest, I hate this book. Carleton and I try to hide it and cringe when she pulls it out, but we don’t toss it because of her undying love for it. I love Eric Carle books as much as anyone else, but this is a long, torturous detailing of everything that goes into making a pancake. The poor child has to thresh wheat, and grind it at the mill, and milk a cow, and churn butter, and assemble 50,000 cooking instruments, and like 200 other steps so he can have a pancake. I respect that lesson but the book bores me to tears. But Scarlet loved it at age 1 so here it is!

10. John Deere Farm ABC
A gift from John-Deere collecting Papa, this ABC book features lots of farm words and little doo-dads to pull and play with. Scarlet adores it, and we cant wait to take her back to the family dairy farm in Pennsylvania to see a real live “S for Silo”!

11. Where’s My Sweetie Pie?
This book is too cute. It has flaps, cute animals, and a mirror. ’nuff said.

12. Peek-A Who?
A little book, perfect for carrying in the diaper bag. It’s been used and abused and re-read 50 million times but she loved this book at age one and still loves it now. Peek-a-zoo, Peek-a-choo-choo, PEEK A YOU!!!!

So those were her absolute favorites around age 1. Please share with us the books your child loves/loved around that age! And while you’re at it download our free Spring Critter Bookplates!



maid marian

Thanks so much for your list of books! I was looking for some new material to read to my 15-month old son. I'm tired of reading the same ones over and over too. Le sigh! However, I am not tired of reading to him or relishing in the fact that he loves books.

His favorite books are:
1) Where's My Mummy? by Carolyn Crimi. It's about a little mummy who does not want to go to bed.
2) Happy Birthday Thomas (the Tank Engine). My son got this for his birthday and it mentions balloons, one of his favorite things.
3) Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? by Eleanor Hudson. This book is about Elmo's love for books and getting lost in a story.
4) Curious George ~ The Dog Show. My son loves dogs and who doesn't love Curious George.


What a great list! We love one called "words" around here. It is a whole book of simple words and fun to touch pictures- genius for the under one crowd.


In this house it was Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? (and several similar titles) as well as a VERY cute fabric book called 5 Funky Monkeys (jumping on a bed). And the very catchy Mr. Brown can Moo and There's a Wocket in my Pocket.

B+C's Mom

Thanks for the list! I love book recommendations. Here are some my daugher loved starting around age 1:

1) Everywhere Babies
2) Dear Zoo
3) Gossie (and BooBoo, Peedie, etc.)
4) Bears in the Night
5) Where is Baby's Birthday Cake?
6) Harry the Dirty Dog
7) I Love my Mommy Because…
8) I Love my Daddy Because…
9) Kipper's A to Z

Now that she's 2, a few new favorites are:
1) In the Town All Year 'Round
2) Mercer Mayer Little Critter books
3) Curious George stories


I live with and care for my nieces, ages 2 and 3 months. When the older one was a year old, she loved the following:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Chicka Chicka ABC
Moo, Baa, La La La
Dora's Day at the Beach
any lift the flap by Karen Katz
A Tale of Tails
Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch
My Little Word Book
Mama, Mama
Mama, Do You Love Me?
Mickey is Happy, Mickey Esta Feliz
At the Playground (Sesame Street)

I know there were more, but I can't remember them now! Her current favorites are:
Elmo Loves You
Where is Love, Biscuit?
Polar Babies
Counting 1, 2, 3
What Shape? (she LOVES this one)
still loves all the Karen Katz books
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
The Very Busy Spider
Kitty Says Meow
I Kissed the Baby!
Baby Minnie's Treat
and oh so many more! She loves books, just like me. I used to teach preschool, so I have a large collection of board books, and I always find new ones regularly! I like to browse the thrift stores and used book stores and library book sales for cheap books. I have found a lot in very good condition for very little money!


thank you! what a great list. I am now off to purchase some of your suggestions for my 9mth old girl and am secretly looking forward to reading Hippos Go Berserk!


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