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Make Reading Time Meaningful With These Story Books for 2-year-olds

Story books for 2-year-olds. A list of books to help make reading time meaningful for you and your 2-year-old. Recommendations from a mom and librarian.

As we sat down to read, my 2-year-old kindly handed me a book with the commentary, “you like this one.”

I laughed. “Yes, you’re right. I do like this one.” I marveled at his perception. He’d noticed that I liked books that told a story.

It’s not that I have something against books that teach colors, numbers, or how to use the potty after having more than a few accidents. I just love reading books that sweep me away into distant places I’ve only ever visited in my imagination.

women standing in snow, staring up
“I love reading books that sweep me away into distant places I’ve only ever visited in my imagination.”
Photo by Joe Yates on Unsplash

And since my son knows I’ll drop everything to read a good story book to him, he loves these books too.

Over time I’ve discovered some amazing story books that can easily become a 2-year-old’s most-loved book. If you’d like to liven up your toddler read-aloud time, these books will have you both itching to curl up and open up to the land of stories.

Make Reading Time Meaningful with These Story Books for 2-year-olds

Ten Minutes to Bed collection*

This is a growing collection of books, with Ten Minutes to Bed Little Unicorn, Little Dinosaur, Little Monster, Little Dragon, Little Mermaid, and Little Fairy. There’s something to fit every interest. We have Ten Minutes to Bed Little Dinosaur and it has always been a favorite.

The books follow the character as he/she explores or has an adventure before bed. Each setting is unique and specific to the character that it follows. They’re well-illustrated story books that are great for 2-year-olds.

*This site is reader-supported. When you buy through my links, I may earn an affiliate comission.

The Wonky Donkey

This is a fun book about a wonky donkey. There is a different, rhyming descriptor of the donkey added to each page. It’s fun to read and fun for kids.

There’s also a music video to go along with it that helps get young kids engaged and gives them so more imagery to visualize this “cranky, hanky panky, wonky donkey.”

How to Babysit a Grandma/Grandpa

This book is formatted as a “How To” guide, which is really cute. At its core though, it’s a story about a grandma babysitting her granddaughter, from the perspective of the granddaughter. How to Babysit a Grandpa is a story about a grandpa babysitting his grandson from the grandson’s perspective.

They’re both great stories that will have you laughing along as you consider these scenarios from a child’s perspective.

Little Blue Truck

This is one of my and my kids’ all-time favorites. It has a moral, it has animal noises, and it has a proud dump truck that bursts in unexpectedly. What more could you want? In all seriousness, it’s a cute story that involves a little blue truck who takes time out of his day to notice and befriend all of the animals that he encounters. And a dump truck that is a little selfish until he realizes how important others are when you get into a sticky situation.

It’s one of those upbeat story books that 2-year-olds latch onto quickly.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

A timeless classic. I remember reading this when I was a child. It hasn’t lost any of its allure. We all know the line of events. “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk, and then….”

My son immediately took to this book. There’s something about seeing all the things the mouse wants to do that’s appealing. It’s a fun journey to follow.

Llama Llama Red Pajama

This is a story about a llama who starts to worry when his mother leaves him at night. I like it because it shows how demanding the llama is towards his mother. She lets him know that sometimes she’s busy and it’s not ok to throw a fit to get her attention–a lesson every 2-year-old needs to learn.

My son immediately took to this one because of the tongue-tying alliteration. “Llama Llama Red Pajama is waiting for his llama mama.”

There’s a Monster in Your Book

I found this at the library and had to buy it so we could read it every day. It’s a fun interactive story that gets your child involved in the story.

There’s a monster in the book and the reader is instructed to perform a number of tasks to try to get the monster out. Only to realize that releasing the monster might not be the best solution.

This is really fun for both kids and adults.

A warning, though, the monster is really cute and didn’t scare my 2-year-old, but my 1-year-old started to cry when we looked around the room and called for the monster. One to save for older toddlers.

Little Critter Books

The Little Critters books offer a number of great stories that are suitable for 2-year-olds. They’re simple enough for them to understand and short enough that they don’t end up wondering off mid-story. And they teach subtle lessons about events that young children can relate too–like going to bed, growing older, and trying to help with adult tasks only to mess everything up and frustrate the very mom you were trying to help.

These are books that will grow with your child and continue to be relevant until they are in school.

Don’t Touch This Book!

This is another one I found at the library and we fell in love with. Bill Cotter is known for his children’s book Don’t Push the Button!. Surprisingly, we like this one better. Both books ask the reader to interact with the story in a fun way. I feel like this one has a little more story to it, which is probably why we like it.

The reader is asked to perform certain tasks–like shaking the book, wiggling their hand, or making a loud dinosaur roar. Each task changes something in the book’s setting for Larry (the creature on the cover). It’s fun and get’s your child involved in the story.

Giraffes Can’t Dance

This book takes a few reads to appreciate because there is so much going on. But once you start taking in the experience of a giraffe who’s made fun of because he can’t dance, you’ll see the beauty in his journey. I love that this teaches kids to find their own rhythm and to be true to themselves.

Do You Have My Quack?

This is an older, out-of-print, book that you may have trouble finding (copyright 2001). If you come across it at a used book sale or a yard sale, pick it up. I grabbed it at a library sale and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a simple story about a duck who can’t find his quack. He asks the other animals if they have his quack. Each replies with his own sound. In the end, Duck finds his quack and his mom.

As a bonus, this has slide-out pieces on each page and a large pop-up feature at the end, which is a nice addition of a few interactive elements.

Where the Wild Things Are

This is another classic that many of us know either because of the movie or because we read it as kids. It really is a great story that continues to stand the test of time.

Max is punished and sent to bed for acting too wild. While in his room, he journeys to a land where the wild things are. He tames the wild things and lives amongst them. One day, he realizes that he’s lonely and he returns home to the very day that he left.

A 2-years old, it’s a fun story book to have read to you.

I hope this list of story books for 2-year-olds helps you choose some books that you and your child will both love. So one day your child will bring you a book and you can say to one another, “you like this one.”

collage of book covers with title text "make reading time meaningful with these story books for 2-year-olds"

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