20 Best Books for 1 Year Olds In 2022

For this post, I have put together a collection of the best books for 1 year olds currently available. Also see my guide to the 100 best children’s books.

Our Top Picks


Reading from birth, creating that bond is just unbeatable, so its up to us to help our children to fall in love with reading from an early age. Reading to young children regularly, immersing them in sounds and rhythm boosts a child’s language skills massively and creates a great base for them all important social skills

We’ve handpicked some of the best books suitable for children from 1 years of age, covering classic stories, noisy fun books, interactive books and story collections.

In this article I’ll go over:

  • What should I read to my 1 year old?
  • How to get my 1 Year old interested in books.
  • Top tips on choosing the best books for 1 year olds.
  • My curated list of the best books for 1 year olds.

Also see my top picks for the best books for babies and best books for 2 year olds.

Let’s get going!


Stories for 1 Year Olds

  • What’s the story: Snuggle up close at bedtime with this wonderful collection of short stories divided by pages of poems and verse. Beautifully illustrated throughout, sit back and enjoy the charming stories such as ‘Whose scratching at my door?’ ‘Little Bunny’ and ‘What are you doing in my bed?’
  • Why we love it: There’s nothing better than picking up a chunky book and snuggling down to share it together, and this book is perfect for that. Young children can independently choose their own story from the book using the contents pages, encouraging independence and supporting an interest in reading. This book has gorgeous illustrations and plenty of rhymes to read over and over again. And, because its very cute, it makes for a great birthday gift too!
  • Reviews: Fantastic reviews. From 428 ratings 81% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “beautifully illustrated”, “a perfect 1st birthday gift”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3 years
  • Author: J.H Williams
  • Alternative: 5 minute Bedtime Stories

Where’s The Busy Bee?

  • What’s the story: Where’s the busy bee? Where’s the little duck? This adorable book is full of simple rhyming questions for little children to answer by looking at the illustrations.
  • Why we love it: A great hardback book, perfect size for small hands to hold. I love this book because its so much fun but focuses on children’s language skills, it really encourages the child to form sentences and talk about what they can see, its a really great book for sharing! Such a simple book, but highly rewarding to read.
  • Reviews: Really good reviews. From 7ratings 81% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “A fab little book”, “thrilled to receive this”
  • Reading Age: 0-2
  • Author: Sam Taplin
  • Alternative: Where's the Little Mouse?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

  • What’s the story: Eric Carles The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a perennial favourite with children and adults alike Its imaginative illustration and clever cutout detail charts the progress of a very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week.
  • Why we love it: Because its an absolute classic, and every bookshelf should have a copy! Based of the endless cycle of a butterfly , from a small tiny caterpillar, who grows into something wonderful is a story book to cherish. Teaching days of the week, the life cycle itself, and names of various foods, this book is not only educational but fun to read! You never get tired of reading this book over and over and I for sure have lost count of the times I have read to it a child, and yet still when its brought to me from the bookshelf, my initial thought is “great choice!”
  • Reviews: Outstanding reviews. From 19,694 ratings 90% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “Understandably a classic” and “a must-have”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Eric Carle
  • Alternative: No products found.

Fox’s Socks

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  • What’s the story: Poor old Fox has lost his socks – can you help him find them? Are they in the kitchen or under the stairs? Are they inside the clock or hidden in a chest? Lift the flaps and find out!.
  • Why we love it: This really is a delightful book to share with your little one, each page has rhyming text, and children get really excited to see what’s under the flap, looking for the missing sock! As a mum, I love reading this book, its a fun story that really engages the child making reading time extra special.
  • Reviews: Charming reviews. From 4,614 ratings 87% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “Simple but funny”, “a visual treat” and “More than just a story”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Julia Donaldson
  • Alternative: Rabbits Nap

Bird Sounds

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  • What’s the story: Little children will love hearing the birds sing as they press the pages of this enchanting book. Each beautifully illustrated scene has simple text and cut-out shapes to discover, and a sound button to press to hear different bird sounds including baby blackbirds tweeting, a magpie chattering, ducklings quacking and a cuckoo singing.
  • Why we love it: Because the bird song is so endearing. This book is different to other sound books, this uses real life bird song to create a wonderful scene and captures the sounds of nature bringing the birds to life. Gorgeous illustrations that just make you feel good as you turn every page.
  • Reviews: Amazing reviews. From 120 ratings 88% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “beautiful sounds”, “loved by all” and “a great purchased”.
  • Reading Age: Suitable to listen to from birth/ Reading Level 3+
  • Author: Sam Taplin
  • Alternative: Woodland Sounds

Peepo

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  • What’s the story: PEEPO! has become a classic for babies and toddlers. It follows a baby through the day in a style full of wit, charm and ingenuity. A series of holes peeping through to the next page gives a glimpse of the baby’s day!
  • Why we love it: It’s an absolute Joy to read. Fun with simple rhyming text which is great for language development too! The illustrations are full of detail, which gives you lots to talk about, and in my opinion, they are a little nostalgic but that’s what makes it so charming. Very simple for little ones to understand, and great fun peeking through the holes to discover the babies surroundings. Fun to read again and again.
  • Reviews: Wonderful reviews. From 2,021 ratings 89% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “a classic that’s so much fun”, “Magical” and “Every baby should have this”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Janet and Allen Ahlberg
  • Alternative: Each Peach Pear Plum

The Hug

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  • What’s the story: A very clever flipbook! both a hedgehog and a tortoise are looking for a hug. They ask all the other animals they come across but for some reason no one will hug them. Until a wise owl explains: Hedgehog is too spiky; Tortoise is too bony…And that’s when they find each other!
  • Why we love it: Its a very sweet story, with adorable characters and a very quirky layout. You flip the book to see both sides of the story. I love the moral of this story and the idea of seeing it from someone else’s point of view. A very cute book!
  • Reviews: Delightful reviews. From 172 ratings 86% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “a true classic” and “brought a tear to my eye”.
  • Reading Age: 1-6
  • Author: Eoin McLaughlin
  • Alternative: The longer The Wait, The Bigger The Hug

Monkey Puzzle

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  • What’s the story: Where is Monkey’s mummy? It’s not too much fun being lost in the jungle, and little monkey wants his mum. Kindly butterfly is keen to help, but they don’t seem to be having much luck and keep finding the wrong animals! But eventually, they find . . . Dad! It’s just as well that he knows exactly where mum is, and she’s waiting with a well-deserved cuddle.
  • Why we love it: This book will delight little children to older children! The fun illustrations and the rhyming text is really engaging. I have read this book many times, and always get giggles at the “No, No, No” part, with my youngest audiences copying the repeated refrain throughout the book. Great book to teach about the features of different jungle animals.
  • Reviews: Fantastic reviews. From 6,989 ratings 89% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “exciting and enjoyable”, “a terrific tale” and “Beautiful”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Julia Donaldson
  • Alternative: Tabby McTat

Flap Flap Ocean

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  • What’s the story: What do you get if you cross a squid with a fish? It’s a squish, of course! And how about a shark and a turtle? Why, that’s a shurtle! With over 121 possible underwater creations, silly names and strange noises, this will make you giggle. .
  • Why we love it: Endless amount of fun can be had with his book. The pages are split in two, so you can get your creative juices flowing making up your very own funny animals that live under the sea. Put jellyfish tentacles on a sharks head, or turtle flippers on a seal, there’s no stopping you! My children have the whole collection of these Axel Scheffler favourites, and the Ocean one being a particular favourite. Bright and Bold illustrations, as expected with this fantastic author.
  • Reviews: Brilliant reviews. From 233 ratings 86% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “endless amount of fun” and “very creative and enjoyable”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Axel Scheffler
  • Alternative: Flip Flap Safari

Are you There Little Fox?

  • What’s the story: Little Fox is hiding, Peep through the holes and touch the textured pages to see if you can find him. Spot a bear, and a squirrel as you try to find out where he is hiding. be careful though, not all is what it seems!
  • Why we love it: A classic Hide-n-seek style book with a twist, little holes in the book with accompanying text make you think you have found the fox, but oh no, it was just a squirrel. This book is full of joy, and brings a feel good moment to any reading time. I also love the added effect of the textured finger trail line for little fingers to follow, making it an interactive dream.
  • Reviews: Amazing reviews. From 127 ratings 84% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “a multi-sensory gem”, “lovely and colourful” and “adorable”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Sam Taplin
  • Alternative: Are You There Little TIger?

That’s Not My Zebra Colours

  • What’s the story: Zebra would like to change the colour of his stripes. Should they be green like Crocodile or blue like Parrot? Which colour would be best of all? With peep through holes, adorable illustrations and simple text, this is a delightful addition to the internationally bestselling That’s not my… series, and a lovely book to share with little ones.
  • Why we love it: This is a gorgeous book, it’s got a lovely feel to it, a good size and sturdy pages. The cut outs on the pages make it exciting for young readers , to visually see what the zebra is thinking! The large lift the Flap at the end is a great way to bring home the moral of the story, to just be yourself, and be happy with who you are.
  • Reviews: Great Reviews. From 21 ratings 4.5 out of 5 parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “Lovely bright book” and “Interesting twist on the much loved series”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Fiona Watt
  • Alternative: That's Not My Zebra

Dear Zoo

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  • What’s the story: Rod Campbell’s classic lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo has been a firm favourite with toddlers and parents alike ever since it was first published in 1982. Young children will love lifting the flaps to discover the animals the zoo has sent – a monkey, a lion and even an elephant! But will they ever manage to send the perfect pet?
  • Why we love it: With bright, bold artwork, a catchy refrain and a whole host of favourite animals, Dear Zoo is a must for every child’s bookshelf – and the thick card pages, chunky cased cover and sturdy flaps make it perfect for small hands. A book that you never grow tired of. Fun flaps make it exciting for little ones to guess what’s underneath! This is firm favourite in many families.
  • Reviews: Incredible reviews. From 20,788 ratings 89% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “a classic that’s so much fun”, “” and “essential reading”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Rod Campbell
  • Alternative: Look After Us

On The Farm

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  • What’s the story: Quack along with the ducks, moo with the cows and neigh with the horses. This is a bright and colourful board book with gentle rhyming text and beautifully illustrated by the award-winning Axel Scheffler.
  • Why we love it: This a great little book, for a bit of fun and interaction. It’s got pulls and slides that your child can move themselves to see the changes and effects, making the animals move etc. The illustrations are friendly and engaging, with lots of detail in each picture to give you plenty to talk about. This is a good book to share, where you can spend some quality time reading together.
  • Reviews: Fantastic reviews. From 1,079 ratings 79% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “Brilliant book” and “Easy to read and well designed”.
  • Reading Age: 1-2
  • Author: Axel Scheffler
  • Alternative: Cat's Cookbook

Noisy Diggers

  • What’s the story: Full of big noisy diggers for little children to discover, this title presents five sounds on the panel, one for each digger, including a rumbling bulldozer, a thudding rock-breaker, an excavator digging a hole and a tipper truck unloading rocks.
  • Why we love it: I find this to be a really robust exciting book. I expected it to be heavy, but its really not. Its got a good mixture of digger noises to keep little hand occupied. I’ve had my own copy for a while and its safe to say the batteries are still going strong. The pictures are bright and interesting so along with the sounds, its a fab book for any digger crazy fan.
  • Reviews: Incredible reviews. From 230 ratings 83% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “fun for toddlers” and “Quality enjoyable sounds”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Sam Taplin
  • Alternative: My First Trucks and Diggers

Pop Up Peekabo! Baby Animals

  • What’s the story: There’s a little elephant splashing in the lake and a sleepy sloth in the vines, just lift the flaps for a pop-up surprise! Complete with lively rhymes to make it extra fun. Follow the beautifully illustrated animal escapades through the rainforest with parents and their babies.
  • Why we love it: I love a Pop Up book, the surprises you get on each page, and seeing your child’s reaction as the page goes Pop! Priceless! This is no exception. Adorable pictures of adorable animals, that make you just want to cuddle them. Highly interactive and a great way to develop communication and learn new words, whilst being great fun at the same time. Win Win !
  • Reviews: Wonderful reviews. From 2,293 ratings 85% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “Fabulous” and “Amusing.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: DK
  • Alternative: Pop Up Peekaboo! Baby Dinosaur

Hairy Maclary

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  • What’s the story: Hairy Maclary goes off for a walk in town, followed by a few friends – and comes up against a nasty surprise in the shape of Scarface Claw! Discover the lovable rogue, Hairy Maclary, and his four-footed friends in this hilarious classic tale.
  • Why we love it: This board book will be a brilliant addition to your book collection. Really easy to read with charming simple rolling rhymes which are super easy to make fun for your child. I read this to my own children who found it humorous and appealing, and asked for it many times over. I love the nonsense style of the text along with the repetition, making it an interesting and funny read.
  • Reviews: Brilliant reviews. From ratings 89% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “A Classic must-have” and “Much Loved book”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Lynley Dodd
  • Alternative: Slinky Malinki

The Tickle Book

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  • What’s the story: Look out – there’s a Ticklemonster about! And he’s off to tickle all his animal friends, from the pigs on the farm to penguins at the zoo. Join Tom and Bear as they follow him on his adventures, but watch out – you might get tickled too!
  • Why we love it: This is a mega fun board book where you literally laugh-out-loud from start to finish. Full of witty rhymes and silly scenarios, and with the unmissable illustrations by Axel Scheffler, you will be bursting with laughter. There is a flap on every page, so your child can join in too, and you may just get tickled yourself!
  • Reviews: Charming reviews. From 3,833ratings 4.7 out of 5 parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “firm family favourite” and “creates sparks of joy”.
  • Reading Age: 1-3
  • Author: Ian Whybrow
  • Alternative: On The Farm

My First Words, Let’s Get Talking!

  • What’s the story: Can you spot the fluffy teddy bear? Where is the fluttering butterfly? From toys and farm animals to shapes and things that go. Your child will love pointing to and naming the different objects.
  • Why we love it: I love how each section of this educational book is dedicated to a different theme, such as pets, seaside, or fruits. The labels are easy to read so your little one can sound out the words with you . The fact you have to look for pictures encourages your babies observational skills, listening skills as well as their language skills when they copy the words you say. It has bright photographs, and the strong tabs at the top make it really easy for your little one to turn the pages, and hold the book. Overall I could imagine many hours spent sharing this book with a little one!
  • Reviews: Incredible reviews. From 5,829 ratings 87% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “Best book on the Market” and “Perfect first book”.
  • Reading Age: 1-2
  • Author: DK Children
  • Alternative: My First Numbers, Let's Get Counting!

Musical Play Book

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  • What’s the story: A wonderful, colourful, musical touchy-feely book that will delight babies of all ages. Each page has simple pictures with a corresponding gentle sound . Babies will love the touchy-feely patches of the jungle, under the sea and outer space.
  • Why we love it: I’m impressed with this book, it’s a good size, larger than expected with strong sturdy thick pages. There is so much to see and do with this play book, from the illustrations, to the buttons to press to the sounds you can hear, it will very much keep your toddler entertained. I love how there are textures, flaps and shapes throughout the book to stimulate your child, I seem to notice something different every time I play it! Although there is no text, you don’t seem to need it as there is so much to talk about and listen to already!
  • Reviews: Amazing reviews. From 1,021 ratings 80% of parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “Wonderful book” and “Perfect!”.
  • Reading Age: 0-2
  • Author: Fiona Watt
  • Alternative: Nursery Rhymes Playbook

Twinkly Twinkly Bedtime

  • What’s the story: Little bear needs to go to sleep, but the exciting starry sky is keeping him awake. Follow the story with little bear to see the stars light up.
  • Why we love it: It is such a wonderful, sweet book. A great concept, with the most adorable illustrations. The best part about this book, is that it has real twinkly lights on each page which really capture the readers attention. The story is short, but sweet so very appropriate for the younger readers. I feel that this is a real magical book for bedtime and I have given it as a gift many times!
  • Reviews: Superb reviews. From 222 ratings 4.7 out of 5 parents give it 5 stars. Comments include “Very Sweet” and “Well Written”.
  • Reading Age: 6 months +
  • Author: Sam Taplin
  • Alternative: Twinkly Twinkly Fairies

What Should I Read To My 1 Year Old?

Engaging, Bright and Interactive!

Babies around this age are beginning to have their own language, weather it is babble or some first words. You’ll have probably noticed your child pointing at things, grabbing things and babbling away at everything! So this is the perfect time to start to introduce some interactive books. Hide n Seek books, books with flaps, books with buttons and books filled with sensory pages are all fantastic for this age.

Keep the stories short, with plenty of rhythm to the text , and to your voice. Hearing this rhythm is how babies develop their own language and vocabulary skills.

As your 1 year old grows, you may find they have more patience, so Nursery Rhyme books are great for training your little one to listen to sounds.


How To Get My 1 Year Old Interested In Books.

Engagement!

Children of this age need to be stimulated, and engaged. The book your reading, and how you read needs to capture their attention.

Use your voice to create funny sound effects and conversation when you read, don’t be shy about being silly, your child will adore these precious moments and will probably start to imitate you, encouraging them to come back for more!

Once you child can happily hold a book, take them to the local library. Give your baby a selection of age appropriate books (board books, interactive books, flap books) and see which ones grab their interest, take the favourites home for you to enjoy together.

Another way that’s sure to gain the interest of child around 18 months, is to offer books with themes you know they will like. Does your child go wild when they see a digger? or point at the birds in the tree? knowing what your toddler likes is a great start to finding books that they will love!


Top Tips on Choosing the Best Books for 1 Year olds.

Make them fun!

  • Choose books that are relatable to your child – animals, sounds, faces etc
  • Choose books that are fun to read out loud
  • Make sure they are bright, bold and capture your littles one attention
  • Interaction is the key! Flaps, Buttons, Textures and more….

Children’s Books By Age

See our guide to Oxford Reading Tree Levels Guide

Children’s Books By Theme