17 Picture Books About Stuffed Animal Friends That Your Kids Will Love

Updated Mar. 19, 2019

My son has a stuffed dog he absolutely adores—Rufus. Rufus is an excellent adventurer, a champion owie kisser, and an all around faithful pal that makes any situation feel safer for my son. He comes on every trip and a couple weeks ago when he got lost we almost had to replace him... good thing he turned up at the bottom of a bucket of train tracks just in time. Stuffed animal friends are such an integral part of many young childhoods that we thought they deserved a special list all their own. Here's to all of our beloved soft, squishy stuffed friends!

Hop Along Boo, Time for Bed book
#1
Hop Along Boo, Time for Bed
Written by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Mandy Sutcliffe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is an AMAZING book that I never get tired of reading and my toddler never gets tired of listening to. He'll ask for this book again and again and again and when we had a couple of night stay in the hospital earlier this year, this is one of the three books we grabbed as we ran out the door. The illustrations following Belle and her stuffed rabbit Boo through the story are peaceful and dreamy (the parades of children in their pajamas are my favorite!) and the rhymes are calming and lullaby-esque.

Join Belle and her bunny, Boo, as they follow ballerinas, cowboys, pirates, and others through dreamy fantasies to a cozy bed of their own. Gentle rhymes and luminous illustrations will help little ones wind down and tuck in for a good night's sleep. This lullaby journey is as captivating and soothing as any parent or child could want — by the end, there won't be an open eye in the house! Belle & Boo is a British lifestyle brand known for original, nostalgic 'story book' illustrations of children. Visit them at belleandboo.com.

Lion's Lullaby book
#2
Lion's Lullaby
Written by Mij Kelly and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-2
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

The illustrations in this book are beautiful with a unique touch. Each page appears only half-illustrated a creative use of solid white shapes. The cadence is calming and makes for a great going-to-bed book. I can't put my finger on why, but this book reminds me of simplicity and the innocence of a child.

With the help of hugs and lullabies, a young girl tucks her stuffed animals into bed, one by one, in this cuddly good-night read. Holly Clifton-Brown's soft palette and adorable illustrations paired with Mij Kelly's comforting rhyming text set the perfect tone for bedtime.

Harry and Horsie book
#3
Harry and Horsie
Written by Katie Van Camp and illustrated by Lincoln Agnew
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

Harry and Horsie is a great book. After noticing that it features a special note from Dave Letterman, I learned that the author, Katie Van Camp, was actually a nanny for David Letterman's son, Harry, and Katie wrote the book as a gift to the Lettermans. The illustrations are adorable, and readers will enjoy venturing into space with Harry as they search for his stuffed friend Horsie. Harry is surprised to find his racecars speeding along Saturn's rings and his cat enjoying the tasty milk on the Milky Way. The book is whimsical and fun, and I really think other readers will love it.

When a boy named Harry sneaks out of bed one night with his best friend, Horsie, to play with his Super Duper Bubble Blooper -- an out-of-this-world adventure begins! Illustrated with retro-comic art, this is a charming story about the power of friendship and imagination from a talented new team.

Bear in the Air book
#4
Bear in the Air
Written by Susan Meyers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations and text in this book are both fantastic. I love the watercolor illustrations, particularly the style of the illustrated frames on the left-hand pages when each new actor in the story is introduced (i.e. "this is the seal who...") The parallel structure for much of the book (i.e. "this is the ...") is fun to read, and combined with the excellent rhyming keeps the story clipping right along and it's a fantastically enjoyable book to listen to being read aloud.

Lost by the child who loves him, a devoted teddy bear begins an amazing seaside journey home that involves an ocean swim, a flight with seagulls and a sailor's assistance. By the award-winning author of Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!

The Best Sweater book
#5
The Best Sweater
Written by Lynne Garner and illustrated by Sarah Gill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This story is delightfully sweet, and far better than it looks based on the cover, which is decidedly "meh". The preciousness and safety of a comfort object, be that sweater or stuffed animal, is relatable on many levels and the positive involvement of his family (particularly his mother and grandmother) as they seek to help him adapt his sweater as he grows up is wonderful.

A charming picture book about a little mouse and his favorite sweater. It's one little mouse's birthday and he is very excited to open his presents! He gets a lot of great gifts, but his favorite is the sweater his grandma made him. He loves it so much that he wears it all the time! But as he grows bigger and bigger, Grandma realizes she must find a different use for the sweater, so she makes him a new, big sweater he can grow into and turns his old one into a toy rabbit.

Brave Enough for Two book
#6
Brave Enough for Two
Written and illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations in this book are delightful and I especially love how Olive's hair is drawn! Olive and Hoot are fast friends, "but as you know, best friends don't always like the same thing," but they do trust each other completely. Even though Olive doesn't feel as brave as Hoot, she joins him first on a balloon adventure and then on a boat adventure before it becomes Olive's turn to be the brave one and lead the way home. The true friendship and comradery that exists between them is authentic and wonderful.

In the spirit of "Goodnight Moon" and "The Night Gardener" comes a heartwarming picture book about a little girl, her stuffed-animal owl, and their loving friendship from debut author-illustrator Voss. Full color.

Lionheart book
#7
Lionheart
Written and illustrated by Richard Collingridge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations in this book are gorgeously rich and detailed and add reality to this story of imagination and conquering fears. Richard's lion (Lionheart) was reminiscent of Aslan (of The Chronicles of Narnia) to me in his protection and empowerment of the little boy in facing his own fears, which made the story even more powerful and meaningful to me personally. My toddler asks for this book on a daily basis and particularly loves the part where all the animals roar together! The monster in this book doesn't seem to bother my son at all, but I think it looks a little scary—something to be aware of if it's something your children might be sensitive to.

Richard hears something in his room before bedtime. Is it a monster? He doesn't wait to find out and sets off running through the streets, over the hills, through the forest, and into the fields until he finds himself in a magical jungle. With the help of his stuffed lion Lionheart, Richard finds the courage he needs to face his fears.

Corduroy book
#8
Corduroy
Written and illustrated by Don Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Corduroy was first introduced to readers in 1968, and in the fifty years since, his adventures have never stopped. Corduroy has been on the department store shelf for a long time. Yet as soon as Lisa sees him, she knows that he’s the bear for her. Her mother, though, thinks he’s a little shopworn—he’s even missing a button! Still, Corduroy knows that with a bit of work he can tidy himself up and be just the bear for Lisa. And where better to start than with a nighttime adventure through the department store, searching for a new button! Celebrate 50 years of this irresistible childhood classic, a heartwarming story about a little bear and a little girl finding the friend they have always wanted in each other.

Have You Seen Duck? book
#9
Have You Seen Duck?
Written by Janet A. Holmes and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When Duck goes missing, a boy's favorite activities lose their appeal and he comes to know that he needs Duck just as much as Duck needs him.

Knuffle Bunny book
#10
Knuffle Bunny
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Trixie, Daddy, and Knuffle Bunny take a trip to the neighborhood Laundromat. But the exciting adventure takes a dramatic turn when Trixie realizes somebunny was left behind? Using a combination of muted black-and-white photographs and expressive illustrations, this stunning book tells a brilliantly true-to-life tale about what happens when Daddy's in charge and things go terribly, hilariously wrong.

Turtle and Me book
#11
Turtle and Me
Written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Tor Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This charming story details the beautiful friendship between a boy and his plush toy turtle. Turtle and Me is a charming story about the adventures a little boy has with his cuddly toy turtle. Over the years, Turtle gets covered in spaghetti, splattered by mud, chewed by a puppy, and much more—but the boy still loves him. Turtle has become his security blanket, as well as his best friend. But one day Turtle suffers a horrible rip that the boy can't repair. The boy decides he doesn't need his old chewed up, sewn up, taped up, ripped up ragggedy turtle anymore. But when he tries to sleep at night, he begins to think otherwise!

Horrible Bear! book
#12
Horrible Bear!
Written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The New York Times-bestselling duo behind Wolfie the Bunny presents a hilarious new book about accidents, outbursts, manners...and the power of saying "I'm sorry." Bear didn't mean to break a little girl's kite, but she's upset anyway--upset enough to shout "HORRIBLE BEAR!" Bear is indignant. He doesn't think he's horrible! Then Bear gets a truly Horrible Bear idea. What will he do next? As Bear prepares to live up to his formerly undeserved reputation, the girl makes a mistake of her own, and realizes that maybe--just maybe--Bear isn't as horrible as she had thought.

Never Ever book
#13
Never Ever
Written and illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Follow a little girl and her stuffed rabbit as she wanders through a meadow complaining that nothing exciting happens to her, until it does.

Sam and Jump book
#14
Sam and Jump
Written and illustrated by Jennifer K Mann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sam and his stuffed bunny, Jump, are best friends, and they do everything together. One day, on a trip to the beach, Sam meets Thomas. Sam and Thomas play together all day and promise to do the same the next day. But when Sam gets home he realizes Jump is still at the beach! It’s too late and too dark to go find him, and Sam worries all night. What if Jump is nowhere to be found? Can Sam brave the world without his best friend? Little ones with their own cherished toys will be drawn to this reassuring story about losing something dear only to gain something even better.

Little Rabbit book
#15
Little Rabbit
Written and illustrated by Nicola Killen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From beloved author/illustrator Nicola Killen comes an enchanting spring story about a magical friendship between a little girl and her stuffed rabbit who comes to life, lovingly told and illustrated in limited color with lovely foil and interactive die cut pages. Ollie and her favorite friend bunny have been waiting for the rain to stop and spring to come, and at long last the sun arrives. Ollie puts on her rain boots, wraps bunny in a warm scarf, and the two set off for exploring. Then a sudden breeze whispers past and bunny’s nose twitches and their magical adventure begins… The Little Rabbit is sure to enchant and charm young readers and is great for sharing with a friend.

The Velveteen Rabbit book
#16
The Velveteen Rabbit
Written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

By the time the Velveteen Rabbit is dirty, worn out, and about to be burned, he has almost given up hope of ever finding the magic called Real.

Moonlight Bear book
#17
Moonlight Bear
Written and illustrated by Rosie Wellesley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A gentle soothing story for young children at bedtime with lovely soft artwork by the popular illustrator of The Very Helpful Hedgehog and The Very Best Sheepdog. A special glow-in-the-dark moon on the cover adds to the fun. Eva drifts off to sleep with her favourite teddy bear. When she wakes in the night. Bear is gone. She looks all over her room only to find that her teddy has turned into a real bear.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!