When I started putting together the toddler Christmas gift guide, I sent some requests out to a bunch of Australia’s best publishers asking if they wanted to participate After all, Hannah loves books and I love reading them to her. The response was overwhelming! Most of the publishers knew that they had great books for toddlers and were only too willing to send a selection of their best books over for Hannah and me to test!
Due to the overwhelming positive response, I have had to create a whole supplement guide of brilliant books for toddlers this Christmas. Have a good look, I’m sure there is a book (or ten) that would be well loved should it appear under your tree this Christmas!
Disclosure: These amazing books were provided free of charge to Blog of Dad so that I could feature them in this guide. Lucky Hannah!
No One Likes A Fart – Zoë Foster Blake, Illustrated by Adam Nickel
Who wouldn’t want a picture book about a fart? If you have a similar, advanced sense of humour to me, you’ll get a kick out of reading this funny story about the plight of an unwanted fart to your favourite little person.
There’s really only one thing you need to know about this book – it includes the phrase “butt trumpet”! If that’s not enough to make you want to put it under your Christmas tree, I don’t know what is!
If you’re a bit unsure about the premise behind this book, remember one thing – kids love bodily functions! Also, underlying all the fart gags is a sweet message about friendship, difference and acceptance.
Guff – Aaron Blabey
Aaron Blabey is one of my favourite children’s authors. His brilliant Pig the Pug and Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley are on high rotation in our house already.
Guff is a delightful story of a young girl’s relationship with her favourite soft toy. Everything about the book is relatable – from the feelings of the main character towards her favourite toy, to the brilliant expressions of the hapless mother. There aren’t many words on each page, but the story is beautifully told through Aaron Blabey’s illustrations.
Once Upon A Small Rhinoceros – Meg McKinlay, Illustrated by Leila Rudge
A wonderful story about a small rhinoceros with big ideas. I love the idea of a steadfast, optimistic young female rhinoceros’ story encouraging my little girl to dream big. I can picture this book being read over and over again in my house. The illustrations are delightful and I adore the little smile on the little rhinoceros’ face as she confronts the fears of the big rhinoceroses.
The ABC Book Of Feelings – Helen Martin, Judith Simpson and Cheryl Orsini
Feelings are tricky things for toddlers to learn about. We see it with Hannah now that she is almost two – her feelings are big and often overwhelming.
This great picture book looks to be ideal for helping young children to come to terms with their big feelings. I can imagine using it as a catalyst to have all kinds of conversations with Hannah over the coming years as she learns to understand her feelings.
My Superhero – Chris Owen, Illustrated by Moira Court
This is one for the dads! Superheroes are great, but the best ones of all are the ones that can be found right at home! This book is a beautiful celebration of the way in which young kids look up to their fathers. Try reaching the end of the book and not feeling great about being a dad – I bet you can’t! Dads are great, this book celebrates that.
The Bum Book – Kate Mayes, Illustrated by Andrew Joyner
It’s described as “…a book for anyone who has a bum or knows someone with a bum.” Hannah has a bum and so do I, so I guess we are perfectly suited to reading this book together!
There’s not a whole lot of story going on in this book, just page after page of drawings of every different kind of bottom imaginable. While it’s not a narrative, it’s the kind of book that I can quite imagine will have a little toddler roaring with laughter, especially as she becomes more aware of just how funny bums are.
La La La – Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Jamie Kim
La La La is proof that a book doesn’t need to have words to be extremely powerful. I’ll admit it, I welled up a little bit when I reached the end of this book for the first time. I’m not going to say too much about the storyline except that I’m still impressed that a seemingly simple idea for a book can provoke such powerful feelings. I’m going to enjoy holding little Hannah tight while reading her this one!
Koala Bare – Jackie French, Illustrated by Matt Shanks
This book has a tactile koala on the front… I’m finding it tough to stop patting it and actually open the book…
I did eventually open the book and I’m sure glad I did. Jackie French and Matt Shanks deliver a koala with attitude! One read through this book should be more than enough to convince even the most stubborn of people to stop calling koalas “koala bears”. Trust me, you DO NOT want to enrage a koala, especially this one!
Andy & Terry’s Funny Picture Book Starring Big Fat Cows and The Cat, the Rat and the Baseball Bat – Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton
These two legendary Australians have worked together to produce some of Australia’s most-loved books for older children in The Treehouse series. Thankfully, they have also put their powers of collaborative creativity to good use in the creation of two quirky stories for younger kids. Both Big Fat Cows and The Cat, the Rat and the Baseball Bat are light-hearted, funny little stories that are likely to elicit a giggle or five from toddlers.
You can find Andy & Terry’s Funny Picture Book Starring Big Fat Cows and The Cat, the Rat and the Baseball Bat and other great picture books on the Pan Macmillan website.
The Wolf The Duck & The Mouse – Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen
A truly original idea for a story. Quirky, funny and very engaging for adults as well as children. The story is probably better suited to older toddlers, but beautiful and unique illustrations are still captivating for younger kids. The premise is that a duck lives a comfortable life inside the belly of a wolf. The story contains the great sentence “I may have been swallowed, but I have no intention of being eaten.” – Brilliant!
The Poesy Ring: a love story – Bob Graham
A ring takes a long (and wonderfully illustrated) journey from Ireland in 1830, to New York City in 1967, where it finally ends up on a deserving finger. A quality story for older toddlers and one to keep around right through childhood.
The Amazing Monster Detectoscope – Graeme Base
Graeme Base is the mastermind behind the brilliant Animalia and The Eleventh Hour. I have extremely fond memories of countless hours spent examining the incredibly intricate illustrations of those two great books in my own childhood, so I was thrilled to have his latest creation on this guide.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about this book here, except to say that Base’s artwork is as captivating as ever, that the book contains some of the most amazing transforming pages that I have ever seen.
I can picture this one becoming a favourite for Hannah in much the same way as Graeme Base’s earlier works were special to me.
Dress Up With Ted – Sophy Henn
What parent doesn’t love a board book that ends with the main character happily going to bed? Dress Up With Ted is a cute little story with pages that open up to reveal Ted’s games of dress-up. His final game of dress-up is actually wearing his pyjamas ready for bed, which is absolutely perfect for any parent looking to convince their toddler to do the same!
Most toddlers love board books with moving parts. They have certainly been a favourite for Hannah, with most of her current ones now looking a little… “well loved”. Thankfully she has a brand new one to explore this Christmas! There is plenty going on in this board book for a keen little toddler to explore. I can picture Hannah sitting and reading through this one for extended periods of time.
Charlie Chick Wants to Play – Ant Parker and Nick Denchfield
Have you ever noticed how terrible animals are at keeping track of their belongings? Seriously, flap books are full of these scenarios – an animal loses something then goes through scene after scene lifting flaps and trying to find it!
Charlie the Chick is a cute little tale with engaging pictures and a series of little flaps. It’s nice that Charlie collects friends along the way and they work together to find the missing ball.
Short Story Collections
Laugh Your Head Off Again and Again! – Andy Griffiths, Alex Ratt, Tony Wilson, Meredith Costain, Tristan Bancks, R.A. Spratt, John Marsden, Deborah Abela and Alan Brough
What could be better than a short story from one of Australia’s favourite authors? How about nine hilarious short stories from nine different authors, all bundled together neatly in the one book! Plenty of laughs in this one, especially for older toddlers.
Books About Christmas
Little Mouse’s Christmas – Riikka Jantti
A Scandinavian Christmas story about an impatient little mouse who just wants Christmas to come. It is a beautifully illustrated, relatable and down-to-earth Christmas tale.
How Many Quacks till Christmas? – Mark Sperring and Ed Eaves
It turns out farm animals are just as excited about Christmas as the rest of us! And, because they don’t understand the metric system, they have to ask “how long until Christmas?” in their own special ways! A fun way to build up excitement before Christmas arrives!
A Christmas Advent Story – Hannah Tolson and Ivy Snow
An Advent calendar inside a picture book, what a great idea! Have this one ready to go on December 1st and work through the book, one day at a time, until the big day!