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31 Picture Books With Stuffed Animals At Their Heart

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 of 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, so if you're looking for some excellent titles about stuffed animals this is the list for you!

This list contains some age-old classics you're probably already familiar with, such as The Velveteen Rabbit; some more recent hits, like Knuffle Bunny (by Caldecott-winning author/illustrator Mo Willems); and some hidden gems you may not have heard of before, like Lionheart, that nonetheless deserve a very special place on your shelves. We've also covered a variety of topics on this list. To name a few, there are children's books about lost stuffed animals (Harry and Horsie), books about bedtime companions who smooth the transition to sleep (Hop Along Boo, Time for Bed) and books about courageous friends who accompany us on adventures (Brave Enough For Two.)

Because stuffed animals can be a comfort across a wide variety of ages, this list includes board, picture and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers ages 0 to 3. Picture books are enjoyable across the entire age spectrum, but are generally geared towards children ages 2 to 6, and chapter books are recommended for readers ages 7 to 10. Feel free to filter to a single book type or browse the list in its entirety.

We've confined ourselves in this list to books just about stuffed animals, so if you're looking for children's books about dolls or some gems in children's literature about toys in general, check out our list of the best children's books about toys: https://bookroo.com/books/topics/toys.

The eternal words of The Skin Horse sum up the depths of feelings these stuffed animals friends can elicit from the young and young at heart: "Real isn't how you are made... It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." Without further ado, jump right in and discover some new favorites!

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.

The Little Rabbit book
#2
The 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.

Lion's Lullaby book
#3
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
#4
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.

The Velveteen Rabbit book
#5
The Velveteen Rabbit
Written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Margery Williams' famous story tells of a young boy and his treasured favorite toy, a splendid "fat and bunchy" rabbit, whose ears are lined with pink sateen. He carries it everywhere, talks to it, pretends with it, sleeps with it each night. The love he steadfastly bestows on his toy helps him through a serious illness and afterwards saves his beloved bunny from a terrible fate.

  1. Corduroy - 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.

  2. Bear in the Air - 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.

  3. The Best Sweater - 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.

  4. Brave Enough for Two - 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.

Lionheart book
#10
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.

Have You Seen Duck? book
#11
Have You Seen Duck?
Written by Janet A. Holmes and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A beloved stuffed Duck does everything with his boy. So when Duck goes missing, the boy looks everywhere for him. "He won't know what to do without me," he says. The boy asks the shopkeeper, the postman, the bus driver, and the dog next door. No one has seen Duck. Back at home, what's hiding between the couch cushions? Duck!

Knuffle Bunny book
#12
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.

Moonlight Bear book
#13
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.

Turtle and Me book
#14
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!

  1. Sam and Jump - 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.

  2. Little Fox in the Forest - "A wordless picture book in which two friends follow a young fox deep into the woods and discover a wondrous and magical world"--

  3. CookieBot! (Harry and Horsie Adventures) - The Problem: Harry and Horsie want cookies, but the jar is way out of reach. The Solution: Build CookieBot—the most amazing cookie-grabbing robot ever! What could go wrong?

  4. Henry & Leo - Leo isn t just a stuffed toy, he is Henry s best friend and brother. He is as real as a tree, a cloud, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the wind. But when the two are accidentally separated, no one in Henry sfamily believes Leo is real enough to find his way home. With beautiful mixed-media paintings, the Caldecott Honor winning artist Pamela Zagarenski explores the transcendent nature of friendship and love."

Horrible Bear! book
#19
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.

Poppy's Best Paper book
#20
Poppy's Best Paper
Written by Susan Eaddy and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Fans of Olivia and Lilly will delight in Poppy, a little rabbit with big dreams—and an even bigger personality. More than anything, Poppy wants to be a verrrry famous writer. She's sure Mrs. Rose will pick her paper to read to the whole class! Trouble is, she has tall ambitions but is short on effort, and her jealousy takes over when her best friend's paper is chosen instead. In the end, Poppy discovers that she has to get out of her own way if her big dreams are going to come true. Rosalinde's adorable, expressive illustrations make memorable, quirky Poppy a real star!

Never Ever book
#21
Never Ever
Written and illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Nothing ever happens to me. Never, ever. Ever, never. Nothing. Or does it? Jo Empson's debut picture book Rabbityness was published to universal acclaim in Spring 2012. Never Ever displays her inimitable sense of fun, her love of storytelling and surprise, and her delight in the magical world of the imagination.

Bear at the Beach and Other Adventures book
#22
Bear at the Beach and Other Adventures
Written and illustrated by Clay Carmichael
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In Bear at the Beach & Others Adventures, kids and parents will find a collection of three stories from writer and illustrator Clay Carmichael. The loveable and stuffed Bear is center stage, taking on adventures of the heart at home and afar. In Bear at the Beach, our plush protagonist sets out to find a father who will love him unconditionally, but learns that his little girl, Clara, gives him all the love he needs. In Used-Up Bear, time has left our favorite stuffed toy in dire, threadbare straits. Will Clara throw Bear away in favor of a shiny new toy? The surprising and heart-warming conclusion cements Bear's place in Clara's life. Bear loses Clara in Lonesome Bear, and befriends new toys on his search for his best friend. Full of emotions that young children can relate to, Clay Carmichael's endearing collection is a gentle introduction to reading

Sharkee & the Teddy Bear book
#23
Sharkee & the Teddy Bear
Written and illustrated by Ripley Publishing
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Brand new picture books from Ripley’s feature fun and engaging stories around two favorite Ripley’s Aquarium mascots—Sharkee the sand tiger shark and Bremner the pufferfish. Filled with expressive illustrations, silly situations, and lovable characters, kids and parents alike will be enchanted by each of these charming “tails”! A teddy bear has fallen into the ocean, but there were witnesses. And they want the teddy bear. Join Sharkee and his sassy sidekick as they search for the bear, stopping to ask all sorts of marine animals along the way with varying degrees of silliness. Told from Sharkee’s point of view, this bubbly tail will have young readers giggling at Sharkee’s hilarious encounters and parents entertained by the adorable ending. Will Sharkee ever find the teddy bear? There’s only one way to find out!

  1. I Don't Like Koala - What’s not to love about a cute, cuddly...creepy toy koala? This is the story of a boy and the stuffed animal he just can’t seem to shake. Adam does not like Koala. Koala is a little creepy. Adam tries explaining this to his parents. He tries putting Koala away—far away. He tries taking Koala on a long, long walk. Nothing works. Will Adam ever be rid of Koala? This darkly funny debut picture book from Sean Ferrell and Charles Santoso celebrates imagination and bravery while addressing a universal childhood dilemma: what to do about that one stuffed animal who just won’t stop staring at you.

  2. The Backup Bunny - Everybody needs a backup plan, especially when you lose your favorite toy. When Max loses his favorite toy—Bunny—his clever mom brings out the "backup bunny"—Fluffy—to save the day. Fluffy is thrilled to have the chance to play with Max, but is soon rejected by the observant child who notices that his ears are too new and perky. Can Fluffy find a way into his favorite boy's heart? The Backup Bunny will keep you laughing and inspire you to make room for another favorite story.

  3. Hoorade Day! - It is the Fourth of July, and a young girl and her parents are off to see the town's big parade--Hoorade Day! Boosted up on daddy s shoulders, the girl excitedly waves to her family members in the parade and joyfully describes each section. From the bleats and bangs of the marching band to the graceful twirls of the ribbon dancers, the little girl spots it all, reciting simple, rhyming cheers that complement the bright illustrations of the diverse community on each page. Narrated in jolly, lively verse, Hoorade Day! celebrates the birthday of a nation founded on principles of unity and hope. It will delight children and adults alike, keeping them smiling to the very last page.

  4. I Know a Rhino - One lucky little girl has tea with a rhino, plays in the mud with a pig, blows bubbles in a bath with a giraffe, sings and dances with an orangutan, and engages in other equally unusual and amusing antics with an assortment of animals. How is this possible? Read I Know a Rhino by author/illustrator Charles Fuge to find out.

Bun Bun Button book
#28
Bun Bun Button
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Paige loves cuddling with Gramma and all of Gramma's pets in the Old Blue Chair. And when Gramma makes her Bun Bun Button, an adorable homemade stuffed bunny with a button nose, this special time becomes even more cozy. Then a balloon carries the little bunny away. Bun Bun braves honking geese and a wide night sky, until luck - or love - magically brings her back home to the little girl who loves her. This heartwarming story celebrates the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren, and is perfect for children who imagine their toys have secret adventures when no one's watching.

Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! book
#29
Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

6½ stories about 2 surprising friends. Having a stuffed alligator for a best friend can be surprising. Sometimes Amanda surprises her alligator with books. Sometimes Alligator surprises Amanda by eating them. But what happens when Amanda brings home a special—and not entirely welcome—surprise? The result might be unexpected indeed. Beloved author-illustrator Mo Willems has created a funny and tender portrait of friendship that readers of any age will love.

Tell Me About Your Day Today book
#30
Tell Me About Your Day Today
Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Lauren Stringer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A boy and his favorite stuffed animals share their days with one another in this cozy bedtime picture book from Mem Fox. There was once a boy who loved bedtime. What could be more wonderful than sharing bedtime with beloved friends? The little boy in this gentle and fun story loves to talk to his stuffed animals each evening and share with them all the things that happened to him that day—and to hear about their days, too. From bestselling author Mem Fox and award-winning illustrator Lauren Stinger, here is a celebration of imagination, play, friendship, and coziness certain to touch a chord with young children everywhere.

Monkey and Me book
#31
Monkey and Me
Written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

Monkey and me, Monkey and me, Monkey and me, We went to see... A little girl and her toy monkey love imitating different animals, everything from jumping like kangaroos to waddling like penguins! Open this book and play along with them. Can you guess what animal they are now?

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!