The 11 Best Board Books Every Family’s Home Should Have

Toddler on the floor reading a board book.

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  • Board books for babies come in many themes and writing styles. 
  • Board books are made of thick material to withstand wear and tear. 
  • They’re good for many types of learning development and bond-building. 
  • Start pulling board books out around six months old, if not earlier. 

Before my babies were born, I was gifted tons of baby books. While the intention was good, many of them ended up in the trash pretty quickly. My kids (my little boy in particular) are very hands-on, and the fragile pages couldn’t take the pulling, biting, and drool. That’s when I discovered the magic of the board book. 

Board books offer your little one thick pages to explore while giving you peace of mind that they’ll hold up against their every move. Not to mention, they have an astounding amount of educational and developmental benefits that’ll have you wanting to fill your shelves. 

If you’re new to the board book world, no worries; we have some recommendations to get you started. Stay put and learn why these books are good for kids, when to introduce them, and the 11 best board books below.

Best Choice
Never Touch the Monsters! (Never Touch a)
Best Narrative
Madeline
Best Tactile
Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals (Bright Baby Touch and Feel)
Never Touch the Monsters by Rosie Greening
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals by Roger Priddy
$8.87
$7.99
$4.70
Best Choice
Never Touch the Monsters! (Never Touch a)
Never Touch the Monsters by Rosie Greening
$8.87
Best Narrative
Madeline
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
$7.99
Best Tactile
Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals (Bright Baby Touch and Feel)
Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals by Roger Priddy
$4.70

Our Choice: Never Touch the Monsters

Sale
Never Touch the Monsters by Rosie Greening
  • Greening, Rosie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 14 Pages – 08/01/2020 (Publication Date) – Make Believe Ideas (Publisher)
Never Touch the Monsters by Rosie Greening

For a board book that truly has it all, Never Touch the Monsters by Rosie Greening is among the best board books for babies and toddlers. This author is known for writing touch-and-feel books with a twist, usually using different textured silicones, fidget poppers, and even sequins. She tells adventurous tales coupled with detailed and eye-catching illustrations. 

In this particular book, you’re starting with five monster friends, and one by one, each of them leaves. Though they all come back, it’s a fantastic opportunity for your child to practice counting down. They go everywhere, from the store to the movies, with engaging tactile experiences on each page via contrasting silicone monsters. 

Number of Pages: 14 pages | Reading Age: 0-3 years | Publication Date: August 1, 2020
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Dinosaur Dance by Sandra Boynton

Sale
Dinosaur Dance by Sandra Boynton
  • Boynton, Sandra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 16 Pages – 08/30/2016 (Publication Date) – Boynton Bookworks (Publisher)
Dinosaur Dance by Sandra Boynton

Truthfully, the Dinosaur Dance by Sandra Boynton is my favorite board book on this list. The author’s simple rhymes and illustrations give children a great foundation for these concepts, allowing them to soak in new words, images, and the like. 

The dinosaur dance assigns a dance move to each type of dinosaur, and as a parent, my kids love when I play into it. You can stomp along with the tyrannosaurus rex or “tappity tap” with the triceratops to make the read extra special. They eventually joined along with me! It’s definitely been a book that made them more excited to read.  

Number of Pages: 16 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: August 30, 2016
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Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Sale
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 36 Pages – 01/05/2012 (Publication Date) – Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Impressionist art meets straightforward storytelling in Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Though he considered himself an artist above all else, Madeline is loved for its display of emotions and narrative. 

Following a teacher and her students, one little girl Madeline stands out in the crowd as a curious and fearless character. Between Madeline’s medical emergency and her friend’s reaction after that, your child will plainly get to see compassion and care come to life on the pages. The silly ending to the story with Madeline’s classmates is the cherry on top!  

Number of Pages: 36 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: January 5, 2012
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Freight Train by Donald Crews

Sale
Freight Train by Donald Crews
  • N/A
  • Crews, Donald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages – 09/20/1996 (Publication Date) – Greenwillow Books (Publisher)
Freight Train by Donald Crews

If your little one is obsessed with trains, Freight Train by Donald Crews is a must-have. His writing is classic for short, easy-to-digest phrases that get to the heart of the illustrations, often pointing out different colors, movements, and modes of transportation.

In this book, he describes the freight train, including the names of the different types of train cars. Once the train is fully put together, he illustrates how it can move, when it can move, through what types of places it moves, and so on. He does a great job of providing clear opposites for your child, like fast and slow. 

Number of Pages: 26 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: September 20, 1996
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First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

Sale
First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
  • A good option for a Book Lover
  • Condition : Good
  • Ideal for Gifting
  • Priddy, Roger (Author)
First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

At first, you may not think you know this author, but once you see the cover of First 100 Words by Roger Priddy, you’ll likely learn you’re familiar with his work after all. Focusing on subjects like words, colors, animals, and spelling, he puts ideas into fun pages packed with colorful illustrations. 

First 100 Words breaks down each page into a category so your baby can learn that those words are related. For example, the mealtime page depicts a sippy cup, a bib, and a child eating. Each of these depictions is clear and provides the words below to continue developing their word recognition. 

Number of Pages: 24 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: May 10, 2011
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The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith

Sale
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
  • Smith, Craig (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages – 05/01/2010 (Publication Date) – Scholastic Inc. (Publisher)

I had never read The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith until recently, and as of now, I think it’s one of the best baby board books to read to my kids because of its goofy, rhythmic vibe alone. It’s so lighthearted and witty I can’t help but chuckle along with my kids. 

You start off discovering a donkey on the side of the road, and you soon discover it’s no ordinary donkey. With each page, you learn a new characteristic that’s not only unique but becomes pretty funny to say aloud as you add them all together. The reinforcement page by page can help with repetition and memorization skills too!

Number of Pages: 24 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: May 1, 2010
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Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals by Roger Priddy

Sale
Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals by Roger Priddy
  • Priddy, Roger (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10 Pages – 12/26/2006 (Publication Date) – Priddy Books US (Publisher)
Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals by Roger Priddy

Another on his list of board books, Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals by Roger Priddy is a tactile teaching tool that meshes touch and sight. 

In this book, the author combines pictures of animals with a brief description of what they might do and the things they enjoy. The best part is the touch portion of each page, offering an realistic tactile experience for your little one. From bunnies to dogs to ducks, your little one will encounter it all! 

Number of Pages: 10 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: December 26, 2006
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The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

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The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
  • This product will be an excellent pick for you.
  • It is durable and long lasting
  • It ensures you get the best usage for a longer period
  • Sandra Boynton (Author)
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Another home run for this author, The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton has a rhythm and rhyme that are perfectly balanced. With an array of fun animals and colors, it’s an excellent tool for recognition in many areas. 

As a parent, the story itself is actually constructive for little ones that tend to resist bedtime. It takes your child on the animal’s journey of getting ready for bed, mimicking many of the same actions every child takes. From bath time to pajamas to teeth brushing, it’ll demonstrate to them that bedtime can be fun!

Number of Pages: 16 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: November 30, 1982
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • 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

Written by the same author as the well-known kids’ book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic every family needs on their shelf. 

We start by seeing the caterpillar hatch, and when he does, he comes out very hungry! With each page, the caterpillar eats one more piece of food, and the kids love counting along and identifying the foods the caterpillar eats. When he’s full, he forms a cocoon and is then reborn as a butterfly, teaching them the entire lifecycle in a simple form.

Number of Pages: 26 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: March 23, 1994
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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown 

Sale
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown 
  • Subject: Fiction, Stories in rhyme
  • Subject: Children’s fiction
  • Subject: Fiction
  • Subject: Classics

A sweet board book that’s sure to take you back to your own childhood, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one you’ll often see gifted because it’s just that good. Mesmerizing readers for over 75 years, it still holds up to this day!

Written as a poem, this rhyming book is easy to follow and offers diverse illustrations that stick to a very distinct color pattern. The little rabbit in the story is all tucked into bed, saying goodnight to everything he sees. His description of his surroundings will introduce your little one to plenty of new objects, expanding their vocabulary for sure. 

Number of Pages: 30 pages | Reading Age: 0-3 years | Publication Date: January 23, 2007
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The Little Blue Box of Bright and Early Board Books by Dr. Seuss

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The Little Blue Box of Bright and Early Board Books by Dr. Seuss
  • Dr. Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages – 08/07/2012 (Publication Date) – Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

It would be hard to create any list of children’s books and not include Dr. Seuss! The Little Blue Box of Bright and Early Board Books by Dr. Suess gives you plenty of quirky characters and silly storylines as it includes four books: Hop on Pop, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think, Ten Apples Up On Top, and The Shape of Me and Other Stuff. 

Hop on Pop gives great examples of wordplay, like “PAT sits on a HAT and a CAT and a BAT,” reinforcing consistent rhymes as well. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think is a fun book that promotes creative thinking and play; for example, it says, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the Thinks you can think up if only you try.”

Ten Apples Up On Top hones in on counting and having fun while doing it. You’ll see animal friends try balancing more and more apples on their heads, counting as they go. Last, The Shape of Me and Other Stuff is just as it sounds, working to establish shapes of everything from bikes to elephants!

Number of Pages: 24 pages | Reading Age: 1-3 years | Publication Date: August 7, 2012
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Why Are Board Books Good for Children?

Board books aren’t your average children’s books. They’re a book made of thick, heavy pages perfect for young readers to navigate. Mimicking the thickness of boards, they’re super sturdy and hold up well against all the wear and tear children bring about. Parents are encouraged to read board books to their kids for a handful of reasons. 

For starters, they’re good for growing the parent-child relationship. Spending focused time on your child while showing them a book stands to fortify your bond. Board books are also good for learning development, specifically for letter, color, and sound recognition. Likewise, visual motor skills are sharpened as they take in the pages. 

A form of entertainment in and of itself, board books are a great way to play with an added educational touch. They also encourage your child to be curious simply by holding the book, turning pages, feeling the texture, and the like.  

Best Time to Introduce Board Books to Your Child

You can start introducing board books at about six months old, if not sooner. At this point, they’ll be more interested in engaging with the words you’re reading to them and the colorful pictures on the pages. Since these books are made durable, you can let them handle and explore them, knowing that’s what they’re made for.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t read board books to them prior to six months. If you’d like to, go for it! It’ll definitely help with early language development. Before this age though, you can also introduce soft, cloth books. Many of them even have teethers and material that crinkles, further engaging their senses.    

FAQs

At what age can babies start to recognize pictures?

Around nine months old, your little one will be able to recognize real-life items in books. Just because they can’t recognize them prior doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read to them, though. In the earlier months, black-and-white images really aid in brain growth, and these images are sold in board book form, too, so you can always start there! 

How many baby board books should I have in my child’s library?

There’s no fine science on how many baby books you should have in your child’s library, much less how many board books you should have. Even so, it’s helpful to have at least 5 board books with different themes and concepts on hand so you can give your child something to choose from. 

Is it better to let a child handle the board book on their own, or should parents read it to them?

Again, there’s no set rule here. You may find, at times, your child is perfectly content sitting in your lap as you read aloud. Other times they may be more adventurous, wanting to handle the book themselves. It’s fine to follow their lead! 

Keep in mind, if they’re willing to be more independent, that’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss! The acts of pointing at the pages and turning them as they go work to refine their fine motor skills.

Are board books more expensive?

Board books cost far more to create than their paperback counterparts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re sold for more. For example, the board book version of the popular children’s book Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle retails for $8.99 on Amazon, whereas the hardcover with normal paper pages retails for $13.90 in the same market. 

It’s worth noting that the price difference could be due to length. Some board book versions of a book will cut out some of the original content or illustrations in order to fit the pages requirements and formatting.

Best Board Books Every Family’s Home Should Have


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