Reading a book to your three-year-old is a great way to develop their literacy skills while cuddling and enjoying snuggles. At this age, kids can easily look at picture books and narrate what they imagine is happening in the story either to themselves or to you.

Children's books have a sweet story structure and characters designed to deliver valuable life lessons in a way that the young readers can understand. Parents can create a routine by reading the best books for 3-year-olds to kids at the same time every day. In addition, picture books give children a headstart at school and increase their literacy level. Below, we have rounded up the best bedtime storybooks for 3-year-olds.

15 Best Books For 3-Year-Olds

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Now even younger children can follow the little green caterpillar as he eats his way to becoming a beautiful butterfly in this sturdy board book
  • Great for early development
  • Children will enjoy this delightful tale
  • Ages 2 to 5
  • Carle, Eric (Author)

This timeless classic picture book by Eric Carle takes us to the world of a very hungry caterpillar. The story starts when the caterpillar is still an egg. As soon as the egg hatches, a very hungry caterpillar is born.

The caterpillar looks for something to eat and finds fruits that he eats. However, on Saturday, he eats unhealthy food and falls ill. The next day the caterpillar eats some leaves and gets well.

Later on, the caterpillar becomes a cocoon. Finally, as the story comes to an end, the caterpillar surfaces as a beautiful butterfly.

This story emphasizes the importance of healthy eating, especially when getting children to eat vegetables when they want sweets. In addition, the caterpillar's metamorphosis, from being an egg to a butterfly, encourages children to follow their dreams.

2. Lost and Found

Lost and Found
  • Hardcover Book
  • Jeffers, Oliver (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 12/29/2005 (Publication Date) - Philomel Books (Publisher)

In this picture book, Oliver Jeffers tells a heartwarming story about a little boy and a penguin. One morning, the little boy finds a penguin at his door. He assumes that the penguin is lost. Out of concern for him, the boy decides to take the penguin back to his home.

The journey to the South Pole is long, tiresome and difficult. There are storms and dark nights. To pass time in the boat, the little boy tells the penguin stories about his life. On arrival, both the boy and the penguin are sad.

Later on, the penguin decides to leave its home again and look for the boy. On the other hand, the little boy goes back to the South Pole to look for the penguin. Naturally, the boy is sad when he doesn't find the penguin. However, upon reuniting, the two become good friends.

This bedtime story highlights the value of friendships. It insists on kindness and care for others, especially our home animal friends and farm animals.

3. All By Myself

All by Myself (Little Critter) (Look-Look)
  • Young children's fiction. A story of learning how to get dressed and groomed "all by myself" for young children. Colorful illustrations throughout book.
  • Mayer, Mercer (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 03/13/2001 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

In this classic and heartwarming book, Mercer Mayer's Little Critter is eager to show all the things he can do by himself. Whether riding his bike, coloring a picture, buttoning his overalls, or tying his shoes, Critter wants to do everything by himself.

The stories in the book are funny and most kids find themselves relating to Critter. Kids start learning how to be independent at 3-years old and this book is perfect for that. Parents can learn to embrace this independence and allow kids to get involved in easy-to-do tasks.

4. Dragons Love Tacos

This silly book is about dragons that love tacos: chicken tacos, beef tacos and even teeny tiny tacos. In addition, the dragons love to party. So the secret is to serve tacos to lure them to a party. However, red-hot trouble ensues if the dragons accidentally eat spicy salsa.

This read-aloud is funny and unforgettable. In addition, the illustrations are interesting. This book will have you and your child laughing at the jokes in the storyline.

5. Grumpy Monkey

Grumpy Monkey
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lang, Suzanne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 05/15/2018 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Jim the chimpanzee wakes up in a sad mood, yet it is such a beautiful day. His friends in the jungle don't understand why he is like that. They suggest to him that he is grumpy, but Jim insists that he is not.

Throughout the day, Jim is seemingly in a bad mood and even at one point, he has a bit of a meltdown. All he wants is just a day to feel grumpy.

This read demonstrates to kids that they are allowed to feel and be in their feelings. Contrary to what is expected of them, kids feel sad, angry, frustrated, tired and grumpy, just like Jim. In addition, parents need to let kids express their feelings without fear of being judged or made to feel otherwise.

6. Room On The Broom

Room on the Broom
  • Donaldson, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 08/25/2003 (Publication Date) - Puffin Books (Publisher)

This fun read-aloud is about a witch and her cat. The two are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick. While in the sky, the wind blows away the witch's hat, bow and wand. Fortunately, three animals find the missing items just in time. In return, they want a ride on the broomstick.

The witch is generous and finds room on her broomstick for all the animals asking for a ride. Towards the end of the book, the witch faces a hungry dragon putting her life is in danger. Thankfully, the animals flying with her repay her kindness and save her life.

This lovely book is funny and demonstrates to kids the importance of kindness, friendship and inclusivity. The board book is written in rhythmic text, making it an interactive book for both parents and kids.

7. Hands Are Not For Hitting

Hands Are Not for Hitting (Board Book) (Best Behavior Series)
  • Agassi Ph.D., Martine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 02/15/2002 (Publication Date) - Free Spirit Publishing (Publisher)

This board book is written in simple words and full-color illustrations to teach children that violence is not okay. This concept is passed along in terms and pictures that are easy for kids of a young age to understand.

Everyone should use hands to portray positive, loving actions and not violent actions like hitting. This book is important in molding and guiding the behavior and reaction of parents and kids. In addition, the book includes tips for parents and caregivers.

8. Cars And Trucks And Things That Go

Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
  • Hardcover Book
  • Scarry, Richard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 72 Pages - 06/01/1998 (Publication Date) - Golden Books (Publisher)

Cars and Trucks and Thing That Go by Richard Scarry is a timeless classic that makes a perfect book, especially for vehicle-obsessed little ones. This picture book features trains, planes, automobiles and lots of activities on each page.

Scarry's magnificent style engages the child, making this a suitable read for kids and parents. This fun book will have your child eager to explore every new page.

9. The Wonderful Things You Will Be

This book represents all the wonderful things parents think of when they look at their children. The wonderfully rhymed tale uses illustrations of plants, animals, superheroes and other expressive illustrations to depict the endless possibilities in children's future.

This book shines a marvelous lesson on the love parents have for their kids and is written to celebrate dreams and acceptance. For this reason, reading this book aloud over and over is great for families.

10. Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night?

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? (Where Do...Series)
  • Board Book
  • Sayres, Brianna Caplan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages - 06/24/2014 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

After a long day of work, dump trucks, snowplows and giant crates need to settle down and get some rest. This construction story explores the different bedtime routines for diggers and other trucks. Some take a bath, while others brush their teeth.

This book is written in a sweet rhyme scheme and uses repetitive questions that will have your little girl or boy thinking about their bedtime routine. In addition, this book is great for reinforcing such routines.

11. The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo
  • Donaldson, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages - 03/02/2006 (Publication Date) - Puffin Books (Publisher)

This book tells a fun story about a mouse who creates a fearsome creature called Gruffalo to scare away his enemies. The creature's name is Gruffalo. The mouse uses the story of the Gruffalo to scare a hungry fox, an owl and a snake. In turn, he protects himself from being eaten by the enemies.

The moral of the story is to broaden the child's thinking and creativity. In addition, the book encourages humor among kids.

12. The Incredible Book Eating Boy

The Incredible Book Eating Boy
  • Hardcover Book
  • Jeffers, Oliver (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 04/19/2007 (Publication Date) - Philomel Books (Publisher)

This charming story is about a boy that loves to eat books and, in turn, gets smarter. Red books especially are his favorite. The illustrations in this picture book are captivating and entertaining to kids. However, after eating several books, the boy becomes sick because his stomach cannot digest information.

The book eating boy's story encourages young readers to read more so they can get smarter. It also insists on taking time to understand what you learn instead of just merely reading.

13. Corduroy

  • Don Freeman (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 28 Pages - 09/30/1976 (Publication Date) - Puffin Books (Publisher)

Corduroy is a timeless story of a teddy bear in a departmental store. The little bear eagerly waits for someone to take him home. One day, a little girl named Lisa and her mother visit the store. The girl wants to buy Corduroy, but her mom refuses because the bear is missing a button.

That night, the little bear decides to look around for buttons. Fortunately, Lisa comes back to the store and takes him home.

The book teaches kids that flaws and imperfections are normal and everyone has them. In addition, love and kindness should be shown to everyone, flawed or not.

14. Hair Love

Hair Love
  • Hardcover Book
  • Cherry, Matthew A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 05/14/2019 (Publication Date) - Kokila (Publisher)

This book tells a beautiful story about the relationship between a father and her daughter through hair. Zuri's hair is kinky, curly and coily.

There is an extra special occasion and Daddy has to step up and style her daughter's hair. It is a difficult task, but he'll do anything to make Zuri and her hair happy.

Hair love is an important book to read for parents and children. It celebrates the cultural difference symbolized by hair. It's the parents' role to nurture and care for the child's hair. In return, children learn to be confident and appreciate the culture and beauty of being black.

15. Guess How Much I Love You

Guess How Much I Love You
  • Asthma friendly design
  • Made to be safe and durable around children
  • Made using superior materials
  • McBratney, Sam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Little Nutbrown Hare shows his father how much he loves him. To him, he loves his father as wide as he can reach and as far as he can hop. However, Big Nutbrown Hare loves his son even more since he can reach farther and hop higher.

This story is a representation of the love between parents and kids. It is important to reassure children that they are loved and treasured constantly.

Frequently Asked Questions on The Best Books For 3-Year-Olds.

1. Can A 3-Year-Old Read?

It is too early to expect a 3-year old to read a book. However, kids at his age understand and visualize illustrations in a book. From the picture books, they can try to think about the message being told in the story.

In addition, kids understand and recall stories read to them. They also attempt to retell their favorite stories.

2. How Do You Choose Books For A 3-Year Old?

When choosing a book for a 3-year old, it is best to consider what your child likes. For example, if your child likes vehicles and toys that look like vehicles, getting books that use vehicle-related illustrations is recommended.

Books with expressive illustrations and pictures are also a good option. Again, this is because illustrations are easy to remember and allow the child to broaden his imagination levels. Similarly, you can opt for fairy tale books, short stories or rhymes to encourage your child to read and recite after you.

3. What Are The Best Books For 3-Year-Olds?

The best books for 3-year-olds should be captivating, hilarious, educative and informative. Kids lose their attention span easily, so a captivating book will keep the child's eye glued to the book. Funny jokes are easy to remember hence key when looking for a book.

Most importantly, the best book should be just what you're looking for, informative and educative. It is never too early to start teaching kids valuable life lessons. As such, good books should deliver key concepts in simple words that are easy to understand.

About the Author Tom Brewer

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