My toddler handed me a book and bounced on his heels to show me that he wanted up. I dragged him onto my lap, relishing this perfect moment that he wanted to spend with me.
But after one page in, he was off again.
Toddlerhood is a time of so many changes. Toddlers love something one day and couldn’t care less about it the next. Sometimes reading can be one of those things.
One of the ways that I foster a continued love of reading in my kids is by offering books about topics they’re interested in. One of those recurring topics has been dinosaurs.
When my oldest was 2 years old, I set out to find him some great dinosaur books that we’d both love reading. When he turned 3, I had to update that collection because he’d outgrown many of the ones he loved as a 2-year-old.
If your toddler loves dinosaurs, grab these books to build a collection of dinosaur books for your toddler as he/she goes through all the ages and stages of toddlerhood.
Dinosaur Books for 1-Year-Olds
If you want to introduce dinosaur books to your 1-year-old, here are a few fun ones to start with. At this age, the focus is on engaging books that will hold their constantly diverted attention. So these are fun books that don’t necessarily teach them about dinosaurs.
That’s Not My Dinosaur* by Fiona Watt
This is a cute little touch-and-feel book that teaches babies about textures. It starts out with, “That’s not my dinosaur…its body is too squashy” and continues with other textures until the correct dinosaur is found. Even if your 1-year-old has no interest in dinosaurs, he/she will love That’s Not My Dinosaur for its textures.
Dinosaur Dance! by Sandra Boynton
This is such a fun book for toddlers. Dinosaur Dance! includes a few different types of dinosaurs adding their part to the dance. 1-year-olds love these simple books because of the sounds that are included in the reading – “flap, flap, flap.” It makes for a quick, song-like read that’s perfect for any 1 year old.
Never Touch a Dinosaur! by Rosie Greening
Another book your 1-year-old is sure to love for the bumpy and spiky textures. It’s a fun book that rhymes and offers a cute story about a few different dinosaurs. The graphics are great too. Never Touch a Dinosaur! includes five different dinosaurs and is a nice quick read. Perfect for 1-year-olds.
Dinosaur Books for 2-Year-Olds
If you’ve read to your child for a while, he should start to get excited about reading around 2. This is also when they start to develop some of their own interests. So it’s the perfect time to bring those interests into reading.
These books will help teach your 2-year-old about dinosaurs without being so long and informational that their attention is lost.
Roar: A Dinosaur Tour by Michael Paul*
This book includes quite a few dinosaurs, which I was slightly overwhelmed by at first. But not my son! He very quickly started to pick up on the dinosaurs that he wasn’t familiar with, asking me what each new one was as we read, and adding each one to his arsenal of dinosaur knowledge.
The story in Roar: A Dinosaur Tour is short and simple, but it goes through each of the included dinosaurs with colorful images. Quickly a favorite.
This is one of the fun, interactive dinosaur books that I found to be great for toddlers. Dinosaurs: Touch and Explore has a few different interactive elements for kids–like touch and feel, flaps to lift, and questions for a child to ponder for hours (or minutes) about the world of dinosaurs.
One of the features that sold me on this book is the highlight of the Microraptor. My son loves the show, Dino Dana, which now has him continuously referring to the Microraptor as a nuisance in our home.
This is a unique book that your toddler will love interacting with.
Pop-up Dinosaurs: A Pop-Up Book to Get Your Jaws Into (Priddy Pop-Up)
This book stands out for the pop-up feature. For a young children’s book, the graphics on the pop-ups are outstanding.
Pop-up Dinosaurs also includes random dinosaur facts and activities on each page so this is one your child can get a lot of use out of over time. You can engage him with the pages in different ways each time you read–read the story, do the activities, or identify the images.
Little Dinosaur (10 Minutes to Bed) by Rhiannon Fielding
This is the most story-centered book on the list, which is a nice change of pace from educational and short board books. Ten Minutes to Bed Little Dinosaur follows Rubble, a young Triceratops as he avoids bedtime by having adventures. It’s a great, fast-paced story that will hold your young child’s attention even at a young age.
This book doesn’t identify the types of dinosaurs and my son likes to ask me what each one is. If you pick up others on this list that do identify the dinosaurs, it’s fun to speculate together what they may be.
This is the book that started my son’s obsession with dinosaurs. When he was 2, he loved pressing the buttons on this book and identifying the dinosaurs. (There’s also an option to buy the book with a mat and dinosaur figurines.)
Clever Creatures and Boundless Beasts – A Land of Dinosaurs is a big help in learning the correct pronunciation of dinosaur names. When we got this, my husband and I knew little about dinosaurs and struggled to pronounce their names. We quickly learned the correct pronunciation by hearing them from this book. It was the perfect introduction to dinosaurs for my son and all of us.
Dinosaur Books for 3-Year-Olds
By the time your child is 3, they know a little about dinosaurs and can sink their teeth into some of these more educational books. As a bonus, they’ll continue to love the books you introduced to them earlier on.
Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?: All About Dinosaurs (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth
This is a fun book that’s primary purpose is education. Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? is a sort of encyclopedia for very young children. This one identifies a decent number of dinosaurs and describes them in a fun Dr. Seuss way.
The thing that I love about this book is that the dinosaur names are written out to help you pronounce them correctly. Each introduction starts with a phrase along the lines of, “Can you say…?” which causes your child to answer the question by repeating the name.
This includes common dinosaurs and some less common ones. Your toddlers will quickly become familiar with those less common ones as you read this one to them.
Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp! by Margaret Mayo
This book has more of a storybook feel than many of the others on this list. Making it fun for both kids and adults to read. Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp! brings many of the dinosaurs together in a rhyme that’s easy to fall in love with.
It’s catchy and engaging, with vibrant colors, and includes a list of pronunciations in case you’re unfamiliar with some of the dinosaurs and how to say their names.
Dinosaurs Galore! by Giles Andreae
This is another colorful, rhyming book. Dinosaurs Galore! gives the name of each dinosaur and a short paragraph of rhyming description.
I like that the pronunciation is on the page with the name (and not in an appendix). Though, if you’ve been reading dinosaur books for a while, you probably won’t need it.
There are a few extra dinosaurs in this book that aren’t often covered, along with all the regular favorites. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful.
Hello, World! Dinosaurs by Jill McDonald
This is another beautifully illustrated book. Hello, World! Dinosaurs lists a number of dinosaurs, giving little bits of information about each. This one provides more information than some of the others. Bringing out relevant and little-known facts about certain dinosaurs.
It also references the fact that dinosaurs aren’t around anymore, pointing kids toward museums to see them. It’s perfect for toddlers who are starting to explore the pages and ask questions.
Usborne Lift-the-Flap Dinosaurs by Alastair Smith & Judy Tatchell
This book discusses different types of dinosaurs and gives various information about them. Even after reading many dinosaur books and watching Dino Dan and Dino Dana, this book taught us a few things we didn’t know.
Usborne Lift-the-Flap Dinosaurs includes many flaps and reads less like a story and more like bits of interesting information that you can explore through the pages. It’s great for toddlers that have trouble focusing on a story but can explore bits and pieces as they go.
Note: I bought the hardcover from Thriftbooks.com for a lot less than the $50 Amazon has it listed for. I’m not certain the board book or paperback that Amazon has listed includes all of the features that we love in the hardcover.
The 10 Best Dinosaur Books for Toddlers – Quick List
- That’s Not My Dinosaur by Fiona Watt
- Dinosaur Dance! by Sandra Boynton
- Never Touch a Dinosaur! by Rosie Greening
- Roar: A Dinosaur Tour by Michael Paul
- Dinosaurs: Touch and Explore
- Little Dinosaur (10 Minutes to Bed) by Rhiannon Fielding
- Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?: All About Dinosaurs (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth
- Li’l-Gen Dinosaurs Sound Book: Clever Creatures and Boundless Beasts – A Land of Dinosaurs
- Pop-up Dinosaurs: A Pop-Up Book to Get Your Jaws Into (Priddy Pop-Up)
- Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp! by Margaret Mayo
- Dinosaurs Galore! by Giles Andreae
- Hello, World! Dinosaurs by Jill McDonald
- Usborne Lift-the-Flap Dinosaurs by Alastair Smith & Judy Tatchell
So there you have my pick for the 10 best dinosaur books for toddlers. Pick these books up to keep your toddler engaged with reading. And to get back some of those precious moments when your child is sitting still on your lap.
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