TheToyZone is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

10 Best Books for 3-Year-Olds

Updated 30 September 2020

This post may contain affiliate links.

At this stage in their development, kids are commonly still not able to read independently. This doesn’t stop them from knowing which stories they like being told. When they are captivated by stories, three-year-olds learn crucial lessons about language and words and strengthen their bond with the reader. 

As this is such an important time for them, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best books for three-year-olds so you can find their new favorite fabel. To guarantee you get the best, we only took recommendations from people who have read and enjoyed the book for its story and educational value. We then got rid of any with fake reviews and chose books for a range of budgets. What will be their next adventure? Bears? Bodies? Construction? Crayons? Let’s find out.

1The Day the Crayons Quit (Best Budget Option)

As one of the best books for three-year-olds that takes a more unique approach to storytelling, this book takes on disgruntled crayons that have gone on strike. They all leave notes detailing why they’re upset and children can enjoy hearing about the various sarcastic and amusing grievances.

What we love

  • Funny way for kids to recognize colors
  • Each color features distinctive child-like drawings

We dont like this as much

  • The yellow crayon page could benefit from a different color background

2The Octonauts Explore The Great Big Ocean (Best Quality Option)

With this story, kids can dive into the popular series known as The Octonauts and go on an exciting underwater adventure. Everything is bright and vibrant in order to engage young children, especially those who are already fans of the beloved sea animals.

What we love

  • There are several cool diagrams that are educational and entertaining
  • Good variety from extended pages to glow-in-the-dark pages

We dont like this as much

  • The text might be a bit small for young readers

3Room on the Broom

The Room on the Broom story is a cute read that follows a friendly witch and her cat. They go on a quest to find her missing items after the wind blows them away. It introduces various animals that come along to help although it seems like there may not be quite enough room on the broom for everyone.

What we love

  • Gorgeous and child-friendly Halloween-themed illustrations
  • Words rhyme and flow well for better memorizing

We dont like this as much

  • Some sentences might be a little long for three-year-olds

4Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

This adorable story introduces children to recognizing various animals. There are bold illustrations with colors that pop well and kids can get excited as they go through the story, guessing which new animal is going to be revealed next.

What we love

  • Flows well enough that memorizing it is simple
  • Minimal text as to not overwhelm younger readers

We dont like this as much

  • Might be fun if the pages and animals were more engaging

5The Story of Ferdinand

This classic story has captured hearts since the 1930s and the new edition even contains the original artwork and text. The pacifist bull, known as Ferdinand, as well as the rest of the animals, are well-drawn and more realistic and the tale has a great message about the joys of staying true to who you are.

What we love

  • Gorgeous black and white drawings are detailed enough to keep a child's attention
  • Offers a good message about kindness and remaining calm

We dont like this as much

  • Younger kids might not understand everything about the story

6The Snowy Day

So many kids look on in awe at snow but nothing is quite as magical as that very first snowfall and this well-crafted book effortlessly captures that feeling. The story follows a curious and excited little boy as he undergoes various experiences in the snow.

What we love

  • Written in a way for young kids to easily relate
  • Straightforward with beautifully bold artwork

We dont like this as much

  • Story could have taught kids why the snowball disappeared at the end

7The Family Book

This is an exciting and uplifting story that highlights just how diverse families can be. There’s no shortage of differences used in the book so readers from all backgrounds can find something to relate to. It also teaches children that where they come from and the differences they have make them special.

What we love

  • Excellent tool to showcase diversity and acceptance
  • Good use of colorful imagery throughout

We dont like this as much

  • Might have to explain and clarify some of the phrases to young kids

8From Head to Toe Board Book

As far as the 10 best books for three-year-olds go, this one can get them up and moving as the various animals encourage them to mimic their actions. There is a host of different animals that get children to interact with various parts of their bodies from head to toe, as the title implies.

What we love

  • Highly engaging and interacting
  • Features simple, quick instructions

We dont like this as much

  • Some of the sentences might be a bit awkward

9 The Gruffalo

This out-there story can have kids laughing as a tiny mouse stumbles upon a creature that shouldn’t exist: a gruffalo. There are plenty of animal characters that are well-colored and this book can even be used as a tool to teach about the assorted creatures.

What we love

  • Vivid and unique illustrations
  • A nice introduction to "scary" stories while still keeping things lighthearted

We dont like this as much

  • Story could be longer

10Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

From the 10 best books for three-year-olds, this cute tale of construction trucks winding down makes for an ideal bedtime story. The happy-faced trucks appeal well to young children and the colors stand out with ease. It’s told in a calming way that allows the story to naturally flow until everyone at the construction site is asleep.

What we love

  • Can teach kids about the variety of construction trucks
  • Simple for kids to learn and memorize

We dont like this as much

  • Some young kids might find it a bit too long