Baby & Toddler


My First Poems: 12 Great Poetry Books for Kids Ages 0 – 4

by Jennifer Ridgway

Sometimes it gets lost that a lot of the amazing books we read to children, especially infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, are actually poetry. With rhythm and rhyme, the stories that unfold across the pages of these picture books are oftentimes their first introduction to poems. Reading poetry has numerous benefits for building early literacy skills, including rhythm development and recognition, voice inflection and pitch, memorization skills, self-expression, and vocabulary enhancement. I’ve rounded up 12 great poetry books for the littlest of children — some are rhyming tales with single storylines and some are poetry collections, and all make great additions to the family library.

  • Ages 0 - 2

  • Fox in Socks

    by Dr. Seuss

    Dr. Seuss's books are known for their silly words and wonderful rhymes, and this abridged version of Fox in Socks is a wonderful introduction to the classic author. With bright illustrations, simple text, and tongue twisters, the sturdy board book (perfect for little hands!) will have babies and toddlers laughing with — and at — their parents as they try to wrap their tongues around the words. (Looking for another good choice to introduce your little reader to the world of Seuss? Try Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go!, an adaptation by Tish Rabe of Dr. Seuss’s classic work.)

  • Haiku Baby

    by Betsy E. Snyder

    This sweet board book features seasonal spreads with haikus, providing a great introduction to the Japanese poetic form of 17 syllables in a 5-7-5 pattern. Each haiku features a part of baby’s natural world, including the sun and water. The tabbed format allows you and your child to quickly find specific pages.

  • Little Poems for Tiny Ears

    by Lin Oliver, illustrated by Tomie DePaolo

    This collection of 23 original poems highlights the joy and wonder of being new to the world, making it extremely baby- and kid-friendly. From DePaolo’s happy artwork to Oliver’s short poems about childhood, it is a lively read-aloud that serves as a wonderful first book of poetry.

  • Llama Llama’s Little Library

    by Anna Dewdney

    This collection of four little board books introduces young readers to the lovable character Llama Llama, created by Anna Dewdney. The books are very short and have simple, entertaining rhymes that are perfect for children under two years old. The illustrations are in the classic, sweet style of the Llama Llama series.

  • The Swing

    by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Julie Morstad

    This book features a classic poem from poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson, paired with timeless illustrations by Julie Morstad. The story perfectly captures the joy of swinging — familiar to both children and adults — and is easy to memorize. Morstad’s beautiful artwork features diverse girls and boys having fun on swings.

  • Digger, Dozer, Dumper

    by Hope Vestergaard, illustrated by David Slonim

    If your child is obsessed with trucks (as both of mine were!), this is the perfect book to read together. It contains 16 poems that celebrate both the jobs and mechanics of different vehicles. The fun illustrations feature children operating the machines, and Slonim gives the trucks personalities with his visuals of headlights, bumpers, and other parts. Plus, as someone with both a boy and a girl who loved trucks, I appreciated the fact that half of the vehicles are called “he” and half are called “she.”

Does your family have a beloved poetry book? Tell us about it below!