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Dad Bloggers Share Their Favorite Toddler Books to Read

What’s cuter than a daddy and toddler spending time cuddled up together on the couch lost in a book? Nothing! -- which is why we asked our favorite dad bloggers to share the books they love to read together. From hilarious to heartfelt, here’s what they said.

Book: The Monster at the End of This Book, Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover by Jon Stone

Why we love it: “It doesn’t matter if your toddler has never seen Sesame Street before, The Monster at the End of This Book is still a fantastic kids’ book, one of the best ‘books about books’ ever written. The concept is a genius riff on reverse psychology. Even the most squirmy or reluctant readers will find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into the story as the adorably hysteric lead character begs them to stop turning pages. It’s a read-aloud classic that every parent should keep in their bedtime-reading repertoire.”

-- Tom Burns, founder of Building a Library: Finding the Right Books for Your Kid


Book: The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

Why we love it: “I read this first in a bookstore to my daughter when she was about 4, knowing how much we loved other Oliver Jeffers books. This one was new to us and we were eager to read. By the end, I was openly weeping and couldn't even pretend to get the words out anymore. It's about a curious, inquisitive girl who loses someone close to her and locks up her heart for years and years, opening it again when she spots a young girl much ... oh, gah. I can't even finish the description, and trust me, you don't want to know the ending without discovering it for yourself. It's an achingly beautiful book full of nuance and longing, curiosity and loss -- a pitch-perfect starter book for when kids start to have questions that are not so easy to handle anymore. I'd recommend anything by Oliver Jeffers but this one always hits close to home for anyone who has ever lost anyone, which is to say, humans.”

-- Mike Adamick, author of Dad's Book of Awesome Projects, a 2013 Amazon Book of the Year and founder of Cry It Out: Memoirs of a Stay-at-Home Dad


Book: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Why we love it: “I read this with my 3 ½ year-old daughter at bedtime. She loves it almost as much as I do. What makes this story so entertaining for both us, aside from the fact it’s about DINOSAURS!, is it isn’t predictable, and takes on a familiar tale, but adds a wonderful twist to it, while still keeping with the central moral: do what you’re told, kids. It is absolutely hilarious for grown-ups and my daughter understands most of the humor, which makes it one of the few books I never skip pages, even when I’m “asked” to read it seven times in a row.”

-- Navdeep Singh Dhillon, co-founder of Ishq In A Backpack and NavdeepSinghDhillon.com


Book: How to Speak Droid with R2-D2 by Urma Droid

Why we love it: “I'm pretty big into Star Wars and I'm also a member of the 501st Legion, a costuming organization for Star Wars-related events and volunteer charity work. I didn't want to push the franchise on my daughter but she has seen me dress up as a Stormtrooper on numerous occasions, so her initial interest was quite genuine. We watched Episode IV one night and she fell in love with the robots, especially R2. I read to her at night during the week so this book has been a cute way to share something that I love with her.”

-- Bryan Ferguson, co-founder of 8BitDad.com


Book: What Daddies Do Best by Laura Numeroff

Why we love it: “Aside from this book being about how great dads are, I love reading it to my son because after every mention of an activity that daddy does best, he looks over at me and says ‘You ARE the best at that, daddy’, at which point my eyes start to well up a bit.”

-- Chris Read, founder of Canadian Dad and Kindness Canada


Book: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Why we love it: “Rare is the picture book that could exist without pictures. Yolen’s words are so elegantly rich, like a decadent chocolate mousse, yet none alone would cost more than a nickel. When the elusive owl is spotted at last and our youthful narrator describes how she and her pa ‘watched silently with heat in our mouths, the heat of all those words we had not spoken,’ a shiver never fails to travel down my spine. Reading Owl Moon to my daughters since they were toddlers has helped instill in them the ability and the desire to pause and to reflect on the infinite possibility of beauty in everyday language and in the natural world that surrounds them.”

-- Jeff Bogle, founder of Out With The Kids (OWTK)


Book: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

Why we love it: “A few weeks before I became a father, I was drawn to the kids section at the book store. There I found Big Nut Brown Hare and his son. I bought the book that day. Throughout his toddler years, I read it to my older son at bedtime. I would ask, Guess how much I love you? He'd guess all the way to the moon and back, then tell me he loved me that much, too. Plus: past the planets and the stars in the sky -- and all the way back to his heart. It’s still our favorite.”

-- Carter Gaddis, publisher of DadScribe.com


Book: I Love My Pirate Papa by Laura Leuck

Why we love it: “As a stay-at-home dad, I am always on the lookout for great books about dads and their kids. This one demonstrates the special bond that a dastardly pirate and his young son following his dad's footsteps aboard a pirate ship have. You can see how close their bond is in the book doing all this cool pirate stuff and then the ending is an unexpected tear jerker. Gets me every time.”

-- Chris Bernholdt, founder of DadNCharge.com, editor of the National At Home Dad Network blog, AtHomeDad.com and co-creator of Philly Dads Group


Book: Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth

Why we love it: “This is a simple story of empathy and kindness told through wonderful watercolors, thoughtful haiku, and tender insight. Also, pandas!”

-- Whit Honea, founder of Honea Express and author of The Parents’ Phase Book


Plus, More from The Bump:

More Toddler Books You'll Love!

When to Teach a Toddler to Read

Funny Ways Toddlers Say "I Love You"

-- Kylie McConville

See More: Toddler Basics