TJ’s Favorite Children’s Books - Age 3

My little boy is very active. He rarely stays in one spot for more than a few minutes, so sitting down and reading a book has never been one of his favorite activities.

Neither my husband nor I wanted reading a book to become an activity that we forced on him, so we have never pushed it.

Thankfully, within the last year or so, he has begun showing more interest and we have been able to slowly read to him more and more. It’s now (finally!) part of our bedtime routine.

TJ is just about three and a half and he currently adores all things construction, garbage trucks, fire trucks, music, soccer, Peppa Pig, The Fresh Beat Band and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

When I was in college, I studied illustration, so many of the books on TJ’s shelf are actually books I purchased for myself years before he was even born because I was a fan of a couple of different illustrators.

I actually have a hard time letting TJ play with many of my/his books fearing he will tear pages. I know… I need to relax there. It’s a book, it can be replaced. Because of my background, I will admit that I’m kind of a snob when it comes to buying children’s books.

If I don’t care for how the book is illustrated, I usually find a reason not to buy it. I am learning how to relax a bit there if the story is good and the book engages my son. Thankfully, so far, he seems to like the same books that I do.

These are TJ’s favorite books right now:

This is the number one favorite book in our house right now. He received a copy for his birthday last October and another copy for Christmas. So one copy stays at home and the second copy stays at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. This wonderful book wishes a sweet goodnight to all of our favorite construction vehicles and is absolutely perfect to read before bed. I love the illustrations and I adore how the book ends on a peaceful, sleepy note. This book is IDEAL for bedtime.

TJ is excited about his ABCs right now, so this book has been fun to read to him. There are a lot of different construction vehicles and equipment illustrated and talked about and TJ loves pointing out the letter that is represented on each page. The fact that the construction vehicles in the story are building a theme park and the last pages show a roller coaster is just icing on the cake.

This book was a birthday gift from his Grandma when TJ turned two, (she’s a big fan of The Pioneer Woman) and it’s been a hit in our house ever since. It’s funny, the illustrations from Diane deGroat are gorgeous, and I simply adore hearing my husband read it to TJ before bedtime— he reads it in his best Texas accent and won’t read it any other way. TJ always anticipates when Charlie lets out a massive howl and it makes us all giggle. Ree Drummond has written a couple more books with Charlie as the main character, and I have added them to TJ’s wish list. I can’t wait to read them too.

I would love if this book had more words to it overall, but TJ and I love the illustrations and the references to all things stinky, sloppy, greasy and messy. We also get a kick out of the young piggies who are excitedly watching the garbage trucks from their bedroom window since TJ watches our garbage trucks with the same enthusiasm. If your child is into garbage trucks, I would recommend this book.

This book is illustrated by someone of whom I’m a big fan, LeUyen Pham. I bought this book when I was in college and taking a class taught by her. I am stoked that my son loves it, because it’s one of my favorites. We have a blast looking at and learning about the different musical instruments on each page and I love the way the story is written, almost like it could be a song with it’s rhythm. Thanks to this book, TJ can identify a violin, a concertina, a saxophone, a banjo, and more instruments that I can’t even remember.


I can’t wait to see how his tastes change over the next couple of years… or if we will still be reading the same books this time next year.

Also take a look at A’s Favorite Bedtime Stories and check back next week for another MSW child’s favorite books!

TJ’s Favorite Children’s Books - Age 3

By Alex T.

Alex is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area currently living in Utah with her hubby where she's a work-at-home-mom to her rambunctious son TJ (born Oct 09). She loves to travel, loves art and art history, soccer, photography, and is a little bit of a foodie. When she's not chasing after her son or working for Mama Say What?!, she's running her graphic design and illustration business. Check out her website ( and her Etsy shop ( to see the most recent projects she's done.

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5 Responses to TJ’s Favorite Children’s Books - Age 3

  1. I love it! Those are some great books for a little guy like yours. I’ve used many in my classroom for read alouds as well.

  2. Great recommendations! We’ll have to look into “B is for builder”. “Goodnight, goodnight construction site” is already a huge favorite around here. I love finding books that include his interests

  3. I’ve always wondered if the “Charlie” books were any good. I’ll definitely pick one up now. And Piggies in a Polka sounds great.

  4. Pingback: C's Favorite Children's Books- Age 19 Months Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

  5. Pingback: Maggie D's Favorite Children's Books - Age 17 Months Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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