Three Years Old

This page lists books to read to children or for them to read to themselves. For books about children and childraising, see Education.

In addition to the books listed here, an excellent source of both book lists and information about children's evolving need for books is Babies Need Books.

Many books listed on the pages for earlier ages continue to be suitable for this age, and may be appreciated with a growing sophistication.


  • A Bag Full of Pups by Dick Gackenbach. Puppies find new homes, and the luckiest of all is the puppy who finds a little boy to love him.
  • A Hole is to Dig, A First Book of First Definitions by Ruth Krauss, author; pictures by Maurice Sendak. What things are, and what they are for, from a child's perspective. E.g. "A face is to make faces with. A lap is so you don't get crumbs on the floor. Ears are to wiggle. Arms are to hug with."
  • Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman. The classic tale of separation from one's mother and eventual reunion.
  • Caps for Sale, A tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina. A peddler's caps are stolen by mischevious monkeys, but he tricks them back.
  • Emily's House by Niko Scharer, author; Joanne Fitzgerald, illustrations. Emily's house is has a squeak and a creak, and the adventure builds up as Emily adds one animal after another to the noise.
  • Frog Went A-Courtin' by John Langstaff; Reodor Rojankovsky. The traditional ballad of the frog a-courtin' a pretty mouse.
  • Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd. Jaunty rhymes and engaging stories of Hairy Maclairy, the Scottish Terrier, and his canine compatriots.
  • Hoodwinked by Arthur Howard. What sort of pet would you want if you were a young witch? Mitzi wanted something creepy. The toad, the bat and the warthogs she tried were creepy, just didn't have the right personality. But the kitten was just right, if you didn't mind that it was cute and adorable. After all, looks aren't everything.
  • I'll Be You and You Be Me by Ruth Krauss, author; pictures by Maurice Sendak. Woundrous thoughts and poems as a child would think them, with perfect illustrations by Sendak. E.g. "No More Woxes -- a short tall tale: There was a wolf and there was a fox and they ate each other up. And that made the wox. Then the wox ate himself up and that's why there are no more woxes."
  • Lily Takes a Walk by Satoshi Kitamura. Children can constrast courage and fear, reality and fantasy as Lily and her dog Nicky walk home in the dark. Lily is rational, confident and self-reliant. Nicky is more than an little high-strung, seeing fantastic monsters in every shadow. We -- but not he -- know the difference.
  • Master Track's Train by Allan Ahlberg, author; Andre Amstutz, illustrator. Master Track, though a youngster, foils the Creep Family's theft of a train. (out-of-print, see sources.)
  • Mr Putter by Cynthia Rylant, author; Arthur Howard, illustrator. Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, have charming, elderly adventures.
  • My Pretty Ballerina by Karen Backstein, author; Cathy Beylon, illustrator.
  • Noisy Poems by Jill Bennet, collector; Nick Sharratt, illustrator. Just what the name implies!
  • One Hunter by Pat Hutchins. A hunter, oblivious to the animals around him, passes two elephants, three giraffes, etc. (out-of-print, see sources.)
  • Open House for Butterflies by Author: Ruth Krauss; pictures by Maurice Sendak. Charming elements of the mind of a child.
  • Robert the Rose Horse by Joan Heilbroner, author; P. D. eastman, illustrations. Robert's allergy to roses causes him to lose job after job, but in the end, it enables him to defeat a gang of bank robbers.
  • The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward, author; Marjorie Flack, illustrator. A country bunny, because she is wise, kind, swift and brave, earns the highest honors among the Easter bunnies.
  • The Cow who Fell into the Canal by Phyllis Krasilovsky, author; Peter Spier, artist. Hendrika the cow accidentally leaves her farm and travels to town. (out-of-print, see sources.)
  • The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone. We follow the Gingerbread Boy as he escapes more and more pursuers.
  • The Three Little Pigs by David McPhail. Three little pigs leave home, but, if not for the brains and industry of one of them, all would perish.
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. A little girl befriends a tiger. He eats all the food in the house, but mom and dad set things right, adding to the adventure. An appealing story with charming pictures. (out-of-print, see sources.)
  • Thomas, the Tank Engine by W. Awdry, author; Christopher Moroney, Illustrator. Thomas is a cheeky little engine. His adventures are charming, straightforward, optimistic and engaging.
  • What Time is It?, Barbie by Nancy Parent, author. Kelly learns how to read a clock in this board book containing a model clock with moveable hands.

  • Cockatoos by Quentin Blake. Professor Dupont's cockatoos hide from him. A child can find them in the illustrations, but the professor cannot. (out-of-print, see sources.)


  • 101 Dalmations by Walt Disney. Pongo and Perdita, two dalmations, bravely save their puppies from the schemes of a wild villianess.
  • A Bug's Life by Disney, Pixar. Flick, the optimistic and inventive hero, repeatedly finds the courage to outwit and outlast his enemies, eventually triumphing over all and saving those he loves.
  • Madeline. A live-actors video combining the stories from several of the Madeline books. True to the tone of the books.
  • Peter Pan by Disney. Swashbuckling Peter Pan leads Wendy, John and Michael on brave adventures, overcoming the schemes of Captain Hook, the jealosy of Tinker Bell and even a band of pre-political-correctness Indians.
  • Robin Hood by Disney. Robin Hood, a fox, and his dashing band, outwit the cruel, thriving Prince John and his toadies.
  • Saludos Amigos by Walt Disney. From 1942, these cartoons show Mickey, Donald and Goofy touring Latin America. Cheerful and adventurous.
  • The Jungle Book by Walt Disney. Mowgli, the man-cub, raised by wolves in the jungle of India, has upbeat adventures with friends while defeating those who assault him. Great jazz soundtrack.
  • Toy Story by Disney, Pixar. Woody overcomes his jealosy and Buzz Lightyear his delusions when they realize that the values they hold in common are more important than their rivalry.
  • Toy Story 2 by Disney, Pixar. Woody discovers that a finite life full of values is better than a value-empty immortality.