The best books for babies

Introducing children to books early on in life can help to develop their language skills, as well as cultivate a life-long love of reading. Here are the best baby books and books for toddlers, from baby's first book to an introduction to the Gruffalo.

15/06/2020
4 minutes to read

The benefits of reading to children from a young age are well known, from helping parents and babies to bond, to contributing to improving language skills and preparing children to start reading alone. But what to look for in a baby book?

Firstly, babies and toddlers won’t just look through a book, they’ll chew it, drop it and cover it with sticky fingerprints, so the best baby books come in a durable format! For very young children, board and cloth books are perfect to explore independently without fear of ripped pages.

Secondly, the best books for babies have bright, simple illustrations that little ones will recognise, and interactive elements such as lift-the-flaps and different textures to touch to keep young children engaged.

Here, we’ve put together a selection of the very best baby books that all little ones, from newborns to toddlers, are sure to love.

Discover all our baby and toddler books here.

Soft baby books

Cloth baby books that are perfect for little fingers.


Dear Zoo Snuggle Book

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for 9781509852376

This super-soft cloth baby book comes in a beautiful gift box, and is based on Rod Campbell's bestselling Dear Zoo. All the animals from the zoo are here, from the elephant who is too big to the elephant who is too tall. Can little readers find the perfect pet?

My First London Bus Cloth Book

by Marion Billet

Book cover for 9781509881932

A very soft, very cuddly washable cloth book for babies all about London. My First London Bus has bright, simple illustrations and features a red London bus with tactile crinkly wheels on the cover. This book is makes a great gift for developing and growing babies.

Touch and feel baby books

Tactile baby books to spark curiosity.

Park

by Marie-Noëlle Horvath

Book cover for 9781509852543

Take a trip to the park in this fantastic new touch and feel book for babies aged six months or older. Feel the texture through the hole, then lift the flap to discover the animal or object behind. With something to spot or count on every page, this first colourful book helps to develop your baby’s sensory awareness.

Fluffy Chick

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for 9781509834358

This farm animal story book from Dear Zoo creator Rod Campbell is full of different touch and feel textures on every page. Follow the chick around the farm and meet all the animals, stroke the wooly lamb, feel the cow's smooth horns and lift the flap to find ou who is hiding under mother hen's wing!

Interactive baby and toddler books

Hands-on, push-pull and lift-the flap baby books to keep little ones engaged. Discover more lift-the-flap books for kids of all ages, here.

Freddy the Frog

by Axel Scheffler

Book cover for 9781529023329

Follow Freddy the frog as he squelches in slime, races his friends and croaks all day! Lile ones will love this colourful board book with sliders to pull, tabs to push and a gentle rhyming text to enjoy together.

Animal Rhymes

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for 9781529012002

Full of both classic nursery rhymes such as 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' and originals from Rod Campbell, this colourful chunky board book is full of fun rhymes to sing, flaps to lift and games to play with your little one. 

Rabbit's Nap

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for 9781529023527

Lift the flaps and join in the fun with this bestselling pre-school classic. Rabbit is trying to get to sleep, but everyone is being so noisy! Discover who is keeping Rabbit awake under each flap. Will she ever have her nap?

Rabbit's Nap is part of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's much loved series, The Tales of Acorn Wood, so if you're looking for the best baby books to keep little ones entertained story after story, Rabbit's Nap is the perfect option.

My Magical Sea Unicorn

by Campbell Books

Book cover for 9781529014549

With interactive mechanisms to push, pull and turn and a sparkly foil cover wheel, this fun board book has plenty to keep little ones entertained. Enter a magical world and go on an adventure with a helpful sea unicorn!

Say Hello to the Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for 9781509813759

The perfect introduction to the Gruffalo, Say Hello to the Gruffalo has chunky board pages and interactive peepholes through which you can meet the much-loved characters from the deep dark wood. Bright colours and Axel Scheffler’s instantly recognisable illustrations provide hours of entertainment for babies and make Say Hello to the Gruffalo a great baby book if you're looking to spark your little one's imagination.

Brilliant Bugs

by Chorkung

Book cover for 9781509855131

Explore a forest, a pond and the steamy jungle in the latest book in our popular First Explorers series for children aged one to four. Each scene has chunky push, pull and slide mechanisms for little hands, creatures to spot and fun facts to learn. Beautifully illustrated, this book encourages gentle early learning.

The London Noisy Bus

by Marion Billet

Book cover for 9781509829040

Young children aged one to four will love to press the ‘beep-beep’ sound button as they journey through the fabulous sights of London on an iconic red bus. With funny recurring characters and Sherlock Holmes to spot on every page, there is plenty to discover and talk about.

Tiger, Tiger, Time to Take a Bath!

by Jo Lodge

Book cover for 9781509842742

What do you do if your ears are dirty and how do you achieve a snappy bright-white smile? Wiggle the sliding tabs and giggle as the animals show your child how to make bath time easier and more enjoyable. With bold, bright pictures and a sweet funny rhyme, this book is sure to put a smile on your toddler's face.

Busy Baby Animals

by Ag Jatkowska

Book cover for 9781509869480

Young children can meet lots of cute new arrivals – including lambs, ducklings, piglets and kittens – in Busy Baby Animals, bringing them to life by pushing and pulling the tabs and spinning the wheel. A delightful baby book to celebrate spring.

Busy Holiday

by Sebastien Braun

Book cover for 9781509869329

Out just in time for the summer holidays, Busy Holiday is the latest addition to the Busy Books series. Pack the car, splash in the sea, whoosh down a water slide and pitch a tent in time for bed in this interactive baby book. Perfect for developing your toddler’s hand-eye co-ordination.

Sleeping Beauty

by Dan Taylor

Book cover for 9781509851683

A delightful introduction for young children to this classic fairy tale. Push, pull and turn mechanisms will bring the rhyming story to life and make children feel they’re sharing in the storytelling. Collect all the fairy tales from our First Stories series.

In the Jungle

by Axel Scheffler

Book cover for 9781509866953

Young children will love playing and counting all the jungle animals as they read this colourful board book from the award-winning illustrator of The Gruffalo, Axel Scheffler.

Bedtime books for babies

Soothing bedtime stories to help babies drift off to sleep. Discover more bedtime stories for kids, here.


I'm Not Sleepy

by Marion Cocklico

Book cover for 9781509836291

In I’m Not Sleepy, Ned and his mummy clear away his toys, have a bath and read a story even though Ned is "not a bit sleepy". There are tips on each page for parents and carers about bedtime routines and dealing with reluctant sleepers, endorsed by leading Early Years Consultant, Dr Amanda Gummer.

Bedtime Stories

Book cover for 9781447277040

Bedtime Stories is a beautiful and unique first storybook designed for older babies. Each spread is a complete story, with finger trails carefully cut into each page and textured illustrations for little hands to follow and trace. 

With beautiful, warm illustrations to capture the imagination, and a gentle rhythmic, lullaby-text, this book about sleepy people and creatures is perfect for little ones preparing for bed.