Best Books for Ages 0-5 Years

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I know I’m not the only one who gets tired of reading the same book over and over at bedtime. Yawwwn……..zzzzzz.  The Rusty Key, a Brooklyn blog that is dedicated to all things Kid Lit, is helping me and you get over the book doldrums by sharing their favorite books for kids here on the blog.  The editor, Jordan B. Nielsen, a former employee of the Scholastic Store in Soho, has created a cool site that looks like a house, where parents can “unlock” the door to great book reviews, book events, interviews and articles.  One of the site’s features, the Golden Key Collection, is her selection of the best of the best in children’s literature and she’s sent the golden key to us!

Here is her “Best Book List for Ages 0-5 Years”


What’s On My Head? (Look Baby! Books)
by Margaret Miller

Prime for: Infant to 2 year olds

The research is in: babies love staring at pictures of other babies. Who knew? This collection of captioned baby faces shows a range of expressions, clearly depicted with a grin or a grimace. Child specialists believe that looking at pictures of other babies helps infants with self-recognition, focus and emotional development. Great to keep baby fascinated during long car rides.


Curious Baby My Little Boat (Curious George Bath Book & Toy Boat) (Curious Baby Curious George)
by H.A. Rey

Prime For: Infant to 2 year olds
Parents can always use a little extra help at bath time. Vinyl covered bath books are just the trick to keep young children engaged while getting clean. My Little Boat features a simple rhyme scheme to assist with early language development, and comes packaged with a miniature rubber boat so you and baby can act out the splashing. Vinyl books are also great at the beach or by the pool. My Little will welcome your baby to the world of Curious George, a character they can grow with.

How Do I Love You?
By Marion Dane Bauer

Prime for: 2 to 3 year olds
Lets be honest: At this early stage, you may as well be reading War and Peace to your child for all they’re getting from the story. What matters most is the parent-child connectivity, the shared experience of holding your child, letting them look at the pictures and hear the rhythm of your voice. These are the first bricks laid in the foundation for a later love of reading. Bauer’s sweet poem and playful illustrations make a perfect aid for some family bonding time.


Tubby (Leslie Patricelli board books)
By Leslie Patricelli

Prime for: 2 and 3 year olds
A book that can make you laugh out loud with just three or four words per page? Now THAT is impressive. Leslie Patricelli’s spare words and achingly adorable illustrations make this board book series as fun for adults as they are for the little ones. With simple depictions of bath time, toilet training, and a missing pacifier, just to name a few, it’s the touches of humor that really make these board books special.


Press Here
by Herve Tullet

Prime for: 3 through 5 year olds
Who says paper books can’t be interactive? Toss the iPad in the bag, and let Tullet’s monochromatic circles walk you through a page-by-page light show fueled by your imagination. Great for kids just learning their colors, as you press, rub and clap for the little orbs they’ll dance about, multiply and explode in size. It’s like touch screen technology without having to worry about the battery dying!


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
By Judi Barrett

Prime for: 4 and 5 year olds
For over 25 years, Judi and Ron Barrett’s collaboration has been tantalizing kids of all ages with vision of mashed-potato snowstorms, melting butter sunsets and pancake monsoons. What’s cooler than all your favorite foods raining down from the sky? Sorry mom, can’t go to school today, there’s ice cream everywhere! The tasty fantasy packed with drool-worthy illustrations is a feast for generations to enjoy.


A Sick Day for Amos McGee
By Philip Stead

Prime for: 3 through 5 year olds
It didn’t win this year’s Caldecott medal for nothing! Amos McGhee is the best of zookeepers. Lanky and spry, Amos knows just what to do to keep each of his animals happy. From sitting quietly with the shy penguins to dabbing the rhinoceros’s ever-runny nose, Amos’s kindness makes all the zoo animals feel loved and cared for. But one day, when Amos is home with a cold, the animals know it’s their turn to be the caretakers. This exquisitely illustrated tale teaches that true kindness will always be paid back.


Llama Llama Red Pajama
By Anne Dewdney

Prime for: 4 and 5 year olds
There are lots of picture books that walk children through the little troubles they might encounter, but lets face it, everything’s funnier with a Llama. With a catchy rhyme scheme that young readers will eagerly participate in, Llama Llama’s grumpy little Llama faces boring trips to the supermarket, homesickness, difficulties at bedtime and too much Christmas. They may serve as a great way to talk to young kinds about the un-fun parts of life, but Dewdney’s drawings of the petulant Llama will leave grown ups and kids smiling.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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