The best baby books

Books can help babies to develop their early 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.

Baby books are so important for a child’s development. 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 baby books have bright, simple illustrations that little ones will recognize, 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 books for newborns and toddlers that all little ones are sure to love.

Looking for more inspiration? Don't miss our edit of the best picture books for children of all ages. 

Interactive baby and toddler books

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

Badger's Band

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Badger's Band

Gruffalo creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler bring you Badger's Band, the latest story in the bestselling Tales from Acorn Wood preschool series. Badger is keen to start a band, and his friends want to join in. Bear plays piano and Tortoise plays trumpet, but does anyone else want to take part? Lift the flaps to find out, and join Badger and co for their important concert. With sturdy flaps and lilting rhymes, this story is a delight for both children and adults.

Dear Zoo

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for Dear Zoo

Rod Campbell's lift-the-flaps book has been a favourite with parents and children since it was first published back in 1982. Lift the flaps together, and discover a lion, a monkey and even an elephant.  Young animal lovers can also lift the flaps of Rod Campbell's Look After Us, an animal book for toddlers with a message about looking after our world.

Trains Trains Trains!

by Donna David

Book cover for Trains Trains Trains!

A rhyming school book for kids where they can follow fifty colourful trains as they whoosh along the tracks. Big trains, long trains, little trains – which are your favourites? You can even enjoy a thrilling fold-out race at the end. 

This Little Dinosaur

by Alberta Torres

Book cover for This Little Dinosaur

Based on classic nursery rhyme This Little Piggy, This Little Dinosaur follows ten dinosaurs as they dress up in bright costumes, sweep and roar, before running all the way home. Count the dinosaurs together, and enjoy the surprise fold-out ending. A bonus section at the end has reading tips for parents and carers, with extra items for kids to spot.

Katie the Kitten

by Campbell Books

Book cover for Katie the Kitten

Lots of fun for little ones, who can follow the adventures of Katie the kitten as she jumps, sleeps and mews all through the night. Pull out sliders, play with tabs and miaow along with Katie. A cheerful and colourful board book with easy verses, from Axel Scheffler, award-winning illustrator of The Gruffalo.

Rumble Tumble

by Ben Newman

Book cover for Rumble Tumble

With bright illustrations and cut-away pages, this tale of a bear and his sandwich focuses on sounds, with lots of words to share . . . RUMBLE, TUMBLE . . . OOF! All the bear wants to do is eat his sandwich, but BUMP! he falls over a rock and FLUMP! he rolls down the hill towards some unsuspecting animals. Lots of fun and lots of noise for kids developing pre-reading skills.

Cat's Cookbook

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Cat's Cookbook

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Meet a cat that wants to learn to cook in this brand new addition to Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's best-selling Tales from Acorn Wood series. With its fun rhyming story, lift-the-flap surprises, and exciting adventure for little ones to follow, Cat's Cookbook will make a great addition to any preschooler's bookshelf. 


by Stephen Tucker

Book cover for Goldilocks

Lift-the-Flap Fairy Tales: Goldilocks is a fresh, modern and wonderfully witty take on the much-loved story, retold in a playful rhyme and accompanied by bright and funny illustrations. Flaps to lift on every page bring to life the classic story of Goldilocks and her encounter with the Three Bears. Open the door to the bears' house in the woods, see Goldilocks eat their porridge, and watch her leap out of Baby Bear's bed and run away home! 

Who's at the Zoo? A What the Ladybird Heard Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Who's at the Zoo? A What the Ladybird Heard Book

Based on Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks' bestselling picture book, What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday, preschool children will love lifting the flaps to discover all their favourite characters - the sleepy elephant, the playful tiger and even Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len. With bright and colourful illustrations, this interactive board book is perfect for fans of the What the Ladybird Heard series.

Eco Warriors

by Nila Aye

Book cover for Eco Warriors

Push, pull and slides the tabs to discover the environmental heroes who are changing our world for the better. Full of fun facts and bright illustrations, this baby book will teach little kids all about Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough and more.

Busy Storytime

by Campbell Books

Book cover for Busy Storytime

One of the best baby books to introduce little ones to the joy of reading, babies and toddlers will love helping to push, pull and slide the tabs as you enjoy Busy Storytime

Freddy the Frog

by Axel Scheffler

Book cover for Freddy the Frog

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 Animal Rhymes

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. 

My Magical Sea Unicorn

Book cover for My Magical Sea Unicorn

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

Book cover for Say Hello to the Gruffalo

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 Brilliant Bugs

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.

Tiger, Tiger, Time to Take a Bath!

by Jo Lodge

Book cover for Tiger, Tiger, Time to Take a Bath!

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

Book cover for Busy Baby Animals

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 Busy Holiday

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.

In the Jungle

by Axel Scheffler

Book cover for In the Jungle

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.

Picture books for babies and toddlers

Beautifully illustrated baby books that little ones will love.

Five Bears

by Catherine Rayner

Book cover for Five Bears

Bear is walking through the forest, minding his own business when he comes across another bear. The Other bear is different. The two bears wander along, thinking different thoughts, and looking in different directions. Soon the two bears come across another bear and then another bear and eventually find a bear stuck in a tree. The bears realise that perhaps they aren't that different after all and perhaps they could be friends?

Where Has All The Cake Gone?

by Andrew Sanders

Book cover for Where Has All The Cake Gone?

"I did not eat the cake." A cake has disappeared from the kitchen – and Dad is keen to find out who took it. Albert is clear that it wasn't him. And that the cake was actually taken by naughty penguins who took him on a huge adventure involving a snowball fight with kangaroos. Dad finds this hard to believe. Do you?

I Love Me!

by Diane Ewen

Book cover for I Love Me!

Positive statements for little readers, written by Marvyn Harrison who founded Dope Black Dads, and illustrated by Diane Ewen who created the illustrations for Floella Benjamin's Coming to England. The book is full of engaging and uplifting affirmations for every day of the week, helping young children prepare for nursery and school, including useful tips for parents and carers of young children.

Dinosaur Squeak! The Compsognathus

by Peter Curtis

Book cover for Dinosaur Squeak! The Compsognathus

This is an introduction to Dinosaur Squeak, the tiny Compsognathus, in a brilliant rhyming story which is part of The World of Dinosaur Roar! series, created in association with the Natural History Museum. Dinosaur Squeak is so small that the other dinosaurs hardly notice her or even hear her. Though her best pal Dinosaur Roar wants to look out for her, Dinosaur Squeak would rather make it on her own terms.

Love Our Earth

by Jane Cabrera

Book cover for Love Our Earth

In this playful picture book, created in collaboration with, pre-school children will be introduced to the wonders of life on Earth and learn simple ways to care for our remarkable planet. Little ones will be enchanted by this colourful adventure across mountains, rivers, jungles and oceans with plenty to spot and count along the way, as well as a surprise fold-out ending!  

Beyond the Burrow

by Jessica Meserve

Book cover for Beyond the Burrow

One small rabbit – one big adventure! Beyond the Burrow is a beautiful book to inspire boldness - and encourage us all to step out beyond the burrow.


by Campbell Books

Book cover for Capricorn

This is the perfect gift book for babies born between 22nd December and 19th January. Little ones will learn all about their star sign, including the constellation in the night sky, the Greek myth their sign is rooted in and the traits associated with being a Capricorn. 

We're Going on a Lion Hunt

by David Axtell

Book cover for We're Going on a Lion Hunt

Full of David Axtell’s beautiful illustrations, this baby book takes readers on an adventure through the African savanna and is a rendition of a well-known children’s poem. Two sisters go looking for a lion that lives on the African savanna. They go through swishy swashy long grass, a splishy splashy lake and a big dark cave – but when they finally meet the lion they have to run, run, run all the way home. 


by Valerie Bloom

Book cover for Fruits

This award-winning baby book is a fun and educational counting poem from Valerie Bloom, with beautiful illustrations by David Axtell. How much fruit can one little girl eat? Count from one to ten, learning the names of different Caribbean fruits. The rhyming text helps little ones learn to count while exploring the Caribbean’s many delicious fruits.  

Woke Baby

by Mahogany L. Browne

Book cover for Woke Baby

This empowering board book by Mahogany L. Browne is illustrated with bright, playful art by Theodore Taylor III. This celebration of what it means to be woke will show your little one that they can grow up to change the world. Woke Baby wakes up bright and early and learns what it means to be a revolutionary.

The best soft baby books

Cloth baby books that are perfect for little fingers.

Dear Zoo Snuggle Book

Book cover for Dear Zoo Snuggle Book

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 My First London Bus Cloth Book

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.

Fluffy Kitten

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for Fluffy Kitten

Little ones will love discovering the different textures on each page in this story from Rod Campbell, creator of Dear Zoo. As they join the mischievous kitten for an adventure through the house, they can stroke kitten's soft fur, feel the smooth goldfish bowl and lift the tablecloth at the end to find out who is hiding underneath! 

Fluffy Chick

Book cover for Fluffy Chick

This farm animal storybook also from  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 woolly lamb, feel the cow's smooth horns and lift the flap to find out who is hiding under mother hen's wing!


Book cover for Park

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.

The best bedtime books for babies

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

Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals

by Lucy Rowland

Book cover for Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals

When it's time to head to bed, little readers can help tuck sleepy animals in for the night by turning the blanket-shaped pages of this lovely book, created by bestselling author Lucy Rowland and pattern designer and illustrator Monika Forsberg. With gentle rhymes and dreamy illustrations, Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals will help lull little ones to sleep . . .

Time for Bed Panda

by Jo Lodge

Book cover for Time for Bed Panda

A perfect bedtime book for babies, this colourful story teaches little ones simple words about their bedtime routine. Babies and toddlers will love the bright illustrations and googly eyes on the cover.

I'm Not Sleepy

by Marion Cocklico

Book cover for I'm Not Sleepy

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 Baby Cloth Book

Book cover for Bedtime Baby Cloth Book

Bedtime Baby is a soft and snuggly hand-washable cloth baby book, perfect for parents or carers to read with their little ones.

The touch-and-feel cover and crinkle page are fun for little hands to explore while Kay Vincent’s adorable illustrations of a bedtime routine are sure to engage and entertain babies!