If there’s one thing that can get a toddler’s attention more than a great story time, it’s a stuffed animal. What a relief for parents that many children’s books come with matching stuffed animals, literally bringing a toddler’s favorite stories to life! And what a treat for a child that they no longer have to choose between a new story to read and a new stuffed animal to befriend when picking out a gift.
Hoppy & Poppie PinkCheeks believes that the best children’s books and toys are entertaining as well as informative. Our books and toys are designed with quality in mind. Not only does this quality make playtime safer and more enjoyable for your child, but it teaches them about the value of mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence at an early age. Whether you’re a parent deciding what to purchase for your child, or you’re struggling to find a gift for a friend’s child, here are some of the best children’s books out there that come with matching stuffed animals that will entertain as much as they educate.
1. Not SO Scary by Renée Adams
$44.99 from Hoppy & Poppie PinkCheeks, also sold separately
If you’re aware of Emotional Intelligence and SEL education, then you might know that they’re most effective when started at an early age. Children latch on to emotions and intonation from the moment they’re born, but we often don’t start teaching them about their emotions until at least Kindergarten. With the Not SO Scary children’s book and matching stuffed animals, you can begin this lifelong lesson starting at birth. Through each emotional twist and turn in the story, the included Emotion Wristbands give your child a way to link the emotions of the story with a physical, color-coded association.
For a growing child, it’s important to learn to recognize each emotion and the facial expressions/internal feelings associated with them. Being able to recognize emotions is the first step towards attaining high Emotional Intelligence. With a long list of memorable characters, a slider that changes the story and helps develop fine motor skills, and two high-quality, cuddly plushies, this one is sure to become an educational and entertaining favorite.
2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
$20.99 from Culture Corner
One of the first children’s books to feature an African-American protagonist that didn’t rely on negative stereotypes, The Snowy Day remains a classic to this day. Enhancing the story is an additional stuffed figurine depicting Peter, the crimson protagonist. His adorable pointed hat and soft, fluffy mittens make the combination irresistible. If you haven’t read this Caldecott-winning story, then you’re in for a treat. The illustrations perfectly compliment the urban-yet-imaginative setting and accentuate Peter’s bright red costume.
3. My Daddy is a Pretzel by Baron Baptiste
$36.99 from Barefoot Books
With a title like My Daddy is a Pretzel, you can’t go wrong. While this one technically does not include a stuffed animal, it would be impossible to talk about great EI children’s books without mentioning this one. Mindfulness and Yoga are so important for training and strengthening your brain and the earlier in life you start working on your practice, the better your results will be. This book, while light on the storytelling aspects, is rich in instructional information on 9 different Yoga poses and comes with colorful pamphlets and cards to help a preschooler process the importance of mindfulness.
4. The Unique You by Sandra W. Baker
$19.95 from Amazon
This book is so fascinating. It offers a way to personalize it with your child’s name and the story and meaning of their name. Truly unique! Additionally, it includes a plushie of the friendly purple creature that guides the reader through the story. This is something your baby will definitely cherish and can even be appreciated later in life like a photo album.
5, 6, and 7. How Ganesh Broke His Trunk and The Curious Case of Krishna and Hanuman and His Hidden Powers by Avani Modi Sarkar
$50 each from Modi Toys
These days, parents understand the importance of exposing their children to different worldviews and cultures. The future is only becoming more global. People with a stronger understanding of cultural practices and beliefs will likely be considered an asset. This series from Modi Toys is a great introduction to Indian mythology and the Hindu religion that 15 percent of the global population subscribes to. Each story teaches about a central figure to Hinduism in a child-friendly way. Accompanying each story is a colorful plushie representation of the central character that your child is sure to fall in love with. As if this weren’t enough, you also have the option of customizing your book and plushie with your child’s name or anything else you’d like!
8. Selma’s Dolls First Day of School
$29.99 from Amazon
Another exciting entry for parents looking to expand their child’s worldview, Selma’s Dolls is a story of overcoming fear and apprehension associated with a child’s first day of school. This is something most children can relate to as the first day of school can bring unique challenges and experiences. In this story, a child learns to interact with people of different cultures, religions, and disability statuses. Also included with this story are several conversation starters to help parents turn this from a fun story into an engaging lesson on empathy. And as if that all wasn’t enough, you can also choose from one of 3 different dolls based on the characters in the story as an additional gift.
9. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
$16.99 from Penguin
This time-tested classic is now paired with a Peter plushie for maximum enjoyment. This story about a mischievous little rabbit has been a staple of children’s literature for over a hundred years and it continues to age with elegance. While the story is a little bit frightening for a young toddler, the stuffed animal that comes with it will put your child at ease. What a great pairing, making this already legendary tale that much more enjoyable.
10. Corduroy by Don Freeman
$16.99 from Amazon
Another classic children’s tale, Corduroy imagines life after dark in a department store. This miniature adventure takes Corduroy the bear on an Odyssey to find his missing button. From accidentally alerting the night watchman to finding a new owner, this book’s ups and downs will keep your child entertained from start to finish. Add a Corduroy plushie and this book is sure to become a staple in your rotation.
11. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
$15.29 from Barnes and Noble
Another children’s book featuring a stuffed bunny, Goodnight Moon is a classic that has appeared on bookshelves for decades. If you have a particularly active child and bedtime is a struggle, this book’s relaxing, lulling poetry makes for an easy nighttime transition. This edition is packed with a stuffed animal friend to accompany your child in slumber land. Perfect for beginner readers to test their reading skills on.
12. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
$25.99 from Kids Preferred
If you haven’t read this classic tale from 1969, then do yourself a favor and buy this book and matching stuffed animal bundle. Eric Carle takes the reader on a lifelong journey as a baby caterpillar eats all the way into adulthood. The transformation into a beautiful butterfly is a moment every child will remember. And how many other books can you say come with holes already included in their pages?
13. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
$36.80 from The Library Store
While bats may not be everyone’s favorite animal that perception might just change once you’ve read this book. The story of a young bat that is raised by a family of birds, Stellaluna is a tale of identity, motherly love, and the natural world. This children’s book with matching stuffed animal will bring a smile to any young reader’s face. The emotional art style will make this a very memorable story!
14. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
$16.99 from Penguin
75 years and counting, parents have been reading Pat the Bunny to their toddlers, and now with the plushie bundle, this story comes to a toddler’s life. Your young child will immediately form a bond with the lovable titular bunny. This sensory experience is sure to leave an impression on your child, especially when they see themselves in the book. There is a lot to love about this book and there’s a reason it’s been so popular for so long.
15. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri
$18.99 from Penguin
Who doesn’t like tacos? Apparently, Dragons are taco fans too and without their favorite treat, they become listless and enraged. This book is bound to become one of your child’s new favorites. It’s ridiculous and imaginative and the illustrations are out of this world. This bundle includes a red dragon toy in addition to the book and if your child enjoys this one, be on the lookout for the sequel!
16. Owl Rescue Kit by Talia Levy
$9.15 from Bookshop.org
This will not be the only owl inclusion on this list, but this is definitely one of the best. Meant to teach the importance of nature conservation at an early age, this book includes a stuffed owl friend for your child to bond with. By filling out information about the stuffed animal, your child will learn the process of ornithology and documenting animal species and gain an appreciation for the bond between animals and humans. Can’t recommend this one enough!
17. Bedtime Bunny by Sandra Magsamen
$7.99 from Target
From the Snuggle-Me Stories series, Bedtime Bunny is a beautiful gift for any toddler. The soft finger-puppet is a great inclusion and really helps bring this story into your toddler’s room. The story teaches lessons about bedtime hygiene and routines so it’s perfect if you’re just getting started on those. If you’ve had little luck counting sheep to help your child fall asleep, try using the bedtime bunny and see if you get better results!
18. Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
$15.99 from Penguin
This comforting tale of worry and relief is only complete with the addition of a stuffed animal friend. The emotional spectrum of this book is conveyed with ease and can serve as a great introduction to discussing how we recognize our emotions with your child. I particularly love the detailed illustrations that take full advantage of the nighttime setting with its muted colors and ominous atmosphere. This story proves that children’s books with matching stuffed animals are an amazing tool for entertainment and education.
19. Petit Botaniste Day in the Garden
$32.00 from Manhattan Toy
What a perfect gift for the youngest of readers. This baby book and stuffed animal bundle is beautifully crafted and will feel great in any baby’s hands. Featuring a simple story and simple language, the real draw is the stuffed bear and teething ring that accompany the story. One of the best options for ages 3 and under.
20. Why so Blue, Blue? By Anna Johnson
$20.24 from Maisonette
Learn about emotions and empathy with this tale for young toddlers. It’s the perfect way to introduce your child to many early emotional challenges and of course it comes with a soft toy. This one comes with a stuffed Corgi, a particular favorite of many children. Seeing the character from their book next to them is a great way to teach your child that books mirror reality and that some things that happen in books can actually happen in real life, too!
21. Gift Lit Cuddle Collection
Lastly, we come to the Gift Lit subscription. Gift Lit allows you to customize and create your own book and toy subscription plan. Each month a new children’s book with matching stuffed animal will be mailed right to your door. What a great way to share the joy and excitement of reading and the anticipation of receiving a new book every month. The perfect gift for a budding young reader.
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