“Who!” my 2-year-old yelled as he dropped the same book in my lap for the 5th time.
“We’ve already read this one,” I argued. “Can you pick a different one?” I pointed at the bookcase next to us for emphasis.
He looked over, considering.
With an array of books to choose from, how do you know which ones your toddler will love and which ones will just sit on the bookcase? You have to find great books that both of you will enjoy reading.
One of my greatest passions as a librarian is finding books people will love. After cycling through 2, 2-year-olds in the past 2 years, I’ve got a pretty solid list of the best books for 2-year-olds.
These are all books, I think, your son or daughter will love.
This is a HUGE list of books that I’ve gathered while my boys have gone through their toddler years. Use the links in the table of contents to jump to the category of books that you’re most interested in or jump to the end to grab a printable version of the whole list.
78 of the Best Books for 2-Year-Olds
Story Books for 2-Year-Olds
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
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 Giraffes Can’t Dance teaches kids to find their own rhythm and to be true to themselves.
It also rhymes beautifully, making it a fluid and calming read that sticks with 2-year-olds.
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
This is a fun book about a wonky donkey. There is a different, rhyming descriptor of the donkey added to each page. The Wonky Donkey is 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 some more imagery to visualize this “lanky, cranky, hanky panky, wonky donkey.”
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
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, Little Blue Truck is 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 storybooks that 2-year-olds latch onto quickly.
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
This is a story about a llama who starts to worry when his mother leaves him at night. I like Llama Llama Red Pajama 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.”
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
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.
Educational Books for 2-Year-Olds
Never Touch the Bugs by Rosie Greening
These Never Touch the Books all focus on counting in a fun way. Children will count down from five as they watch each bug disappear.
Each of the books in the Never Touch the…series–Never Touch the Bugs, Never Touch the Dinosaurs, Never Touch the Monsters!, Never Touch the Wild Animals, and Never Touch the Sharks–includes counting along with the silicone touch and feel pieces that this series is known for.
Dinosaur Dig! by Penny Dale
This is one of those books that seems unimpressive to adults but hit the right age and your child will love it. It’s a book about dinosaurs doing construction. It has dinosaurs, it has counting, and it has construction sounds that your child will love to imitate. If you have a boy (or girl who loves these things too), you can’t go wrong with this one.
Dinosaur Dig! familiarizes your child with counting to 10. Even if your child isn’t ready for numbers yet, this will help make them familiar when they are.
Tangled: A Story About Shapes by Anne Miranda
This covers 16 different shapes that all get tangled in a jungle gym. Each shape comes along and somehow gets added to the mess until they’re finally rescued and order is restored. Tangled: A Story About Shapes is another fun book that will help your child learn to identify different geometric shapes.
Even if your child misses the shapes, this is a fun book that they’ll love reading.
Chick-A Chick-A Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
This fun book puts a twist on your typical alphabet book. Follow each letter as they climb up the coconut tree. Chick-A Chick-A Boom Boom has a rhyme that is contagious and will quickly have your 2-year-old (and you) chanting it, gaining familiarity with the letters of the alphabet.
Rhyme is a great way to help toddlers memorize new skills. Whether it’s the basic alphabet song or a new song like this one.
The Crayon’s Book of Colors by Drew Daywalt
The Crayon’s Book of Colors has each crayon drawing some fun, relevant, and quirky drawings in the color of their crayon. All of which will help your child think about the color of things around them.
It’s the perfect book to get toddlers thinking about the colors around them.
Hello World! My Body by Jill McDonald
This book takes body parts a little further and talks about the purpose of each part. Eyes help you see everything that’s around you. It also asks questions, like “What color are your eyes?” Hello World! My Body is great for expanding on what your toddler already knows about body parts and applying their purpose.
For more practice, help your child come up with some additional questions to ask and consider.
Interactive Books for 2-Year-Olds
Don’t Push the Button Bill Cotter
In Bill Cotter’s classic interactive book, Don’t Press the Button, kids are told not to press the button, but of course, accidents happen. Each press brings a different and more troublesome surprise. With unmatched wit, this book will leave your 2-year-old laughing with each page.
As your young kids join Larry in this button-pressing adventure, you’ll all fall in love with story time again.
There’s a Monster in Your Book Tom Fletcher
In this interactive picture book, there’s a monster in your book and you’ve got to follow the instructions to get it out. There’s a Monster in Your Book will have young readers playing along as they interact with the book to get the monster out. Things like spinning the book around, blowing the monster out, and maybe even accepting that having a monster in their book isn’t the worst thing.
This is one of my 2-year-old’s favorite books. They get so engaged with this silly story that it’s adorable. You’ll love how your child gradually learns to take the book from you and spin it around or shake it to get the monster out.
Spaghetti!: An Interactive Recipe Book Lotta Nieminen
This book asks kids to help cook. They add each ingredient and go through all the steps of making the food in the book. Includes pull tabs and lots of other interactive fun. Spaghetti!: An Interactive Recipe Book is the newest option but the collection also includes: Pancakes, Cookies, Tacos, and Pizza. Choose the one that your child is the most familiar with and they’ll have fun interacting with the cooking process.
If you have a child who wants to be involved in everything you do in the kitchen, this is a great book to help them practice some of those skills without the mess.
What Makes a Rainbow? Betty Ann Schwartz
What colors make a rainbow? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. What Makes a Rainbow? takes readers through each color as Little Rabbit asks others about each color. The interactive piece is a ribbon that runs across the top of each page, adding each new color as you turn the page. The full rainbow pops up on the page at the end of the book.
Toddlers love the addition of each new color and it’s perfect for color identification practice. I like to go through and point to each item on the page and name it with the color (for example, “blue sky,” “red strawberry,” etc.).
Find Fergus Mike Boldt
Play a game of hide and seek with a bear who’s terrible at hiding. Your child will laugh along as Fergus tries to hide his very large self behind and between very small things. Maybe they’ll even learn some tips on hiding themselves for the next time they play hide and seek.
Find Fergus is a fun and light-hearted book that isn’t afraid to laugh at itself. If you’re in for a real game of hide and seek, there’s a large pull-out at the end where Fergus is well-hidden. Can you find Fergus?
Holiday Books for 2-Year-olds
Good News! It’s Christmas! by Glenys Nellist
Good News! It’s Christmas! is a great, simple introduction to the Christmas story. It tells of the birth of Jesus in a rhythmic way that will engage and stick with young children. If your children know little about the birth of Jesus or the reason for Christmas, this is a great book to start with. If they already know the story, it will be even more helpful to refresh those memories.
Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
The Llama Llama books have a way of creating emotion with the cadence of the story. Llama Llama Holiday Drama is about the holidays and all of the crazy that can come with them. Buy the presents, decorate the tree, and bake 100s of cookies. Llama gets overwhelmed and has a meltdown because of all of this drama. It’s a great reminder for kids (and adults) to slow down and pay attention to what really matters this time of year.
Good News! It’s Easter! by Glenys Nellist
Similar to the Christmas version, Good News! It’s Easter! introduces spring-themed items in nature on each page. Each proclaims good news. Finally, the best news of all on the last page is that Jesus is risen (the story of Easter).
I love these books for 2-year-olds because they include familiar items for each holiday and always point back to the reason for the holiday. They’re simple enough for 2-year-olds but don’t neglect the story for the sake of simplicity.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
As this fearless old lady goes about her day, she runs into a few scary things. But not to fear, she is not afraid of anything and finds a logical solution to this frightening problem.
One of the things my son loves about The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything is the repeated phrases and sounds as the little old lady encounters each item. Soon you’ll both find yourself walking around repeating the whole book from memory.
This Halloween book is perfect for toddlers and those who don’t like Halloween’s darker sides.
Specialized Interest Books for 2-Year-Olds
Dinosaur Books for 2-Year-Olds
Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?: All About Dinosaurs (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth
This is another fun one that’s primary purpose is education. Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? is a sort of encyclopedia for very young children. This one identifies a decent number of dinosaurs and describes them in a fun Dr. Seuss way.
The thing that I love about this one is that the dinosaur names are written out to help you pronounce them correctly. Each introduction starts with a phrase along the lines of, “Can you say…?” which causes your child to answer the question by repeating the name.
Little Dinosaur (10 Minutes to Bed) by Rhiannon Fielding
This is the most story-centered book on the list, which is a nice change of pace from educational and short board book types. Ten Minutes to Bed Little Dinosaur follows Rubble, a young Triceratops as he avoids bedtime by having adventures. It’s a great, fast-paced story that will hold your young child’s attention even at a young age.
This book doesn’t identify the types of dinosaurs and my son likes to ask me what each one is. If you’ve read the ones above that do identify the dinosaurs, it’s fun to speculate together what they may be.
Roar: A Dinosaur Tour by Michael Paul
This book includes quite a few dinosaurs, which I was slightly overwhelmed by at first. But not my son! He very quickly started to pick up on the dinosaurs that he wasn’t familiar with, asking me what each new one was as we read, and adding each one to his arsenal of dinosaur knowledge.
The story in Roar: A Dinosaur Tour is short and simple, but it goes through each of the included dinosaurs with colorful images. Quickly another favorite.
Truck Books for 2-Year-Olds
This book includes a rhyme and action for each truck or vehicle included with colorful illustrations. Great for young readers. It covers many different types of vehicles – road machines, fire trucks, rescue machines, farm machines, etc. Dig Dig Digging describes the actions they take in a fun story about all of their work.
In the end, the machines, all get to rest from the work they’ve been so busy with.
Roadwork and Demolition by Sally Sutton
This book uses rhythmic text as it describes roadwork in a fun, rhymic way that is sure to keep a child’s attention. Roadwork uses words to describe the sounds the roadwork makes and has fantastic illustrations that include a large number of trucks.
The sequel to Roadwork comes back to tell the story of tearing down. Demolition uses the same cadence and fun, almost sign-song language as the previous book. The graphics are incredible and your young truck-lovers are sure to love seeing their favorite machines at work in this book.
This is a simple book with a few different kinds of trucks–a big rig, a monster truck, a fire truck, a digger, and a cement mixer. Each truck has a sound button embedded in the page.
My kids both love Noisy Trucks. They fight over who gets to push the sound buttons and love imitating the truck sounds they hear. Great if your little one is obsessed with all different kinds of trucks.
Note: The sound buttons are embedded in different textures on each page, which makes for more fun, but also weakens the binding and means they can fall apart easily if your child is rough on them.
Farm Books for 2-Year-Olds
Night Night Farm by Roger Priddy
Night Night Farm goes through each area of the farm as it closes down for bed. Then says “night night” to each animal. Along with the sound each makes–“Night night cat. Meow meow.” My son, at 2, loves imitating animal sounds, so he loves copying the sounds as we read. This also includes glow-in-the-dark stars in the sky on the last page (for a bonus).
Poke-a-Dot: Old McDonald’s Farm by Melissa and Doug
This book says it’s for 3+, but both of my kids loved these at 18+, so I think it’s the perfect recommendation for 2-year-olds. There so much going on in this Poke-a-Dot: Old McDonald’s Farm book. It has dots for your child to poke as they count, farm animals and their sounds, and is set to the Old MacDonald’s Farm song (be prepared to sing). So they learn the names of farm animals, their sounds, and counting.
Spot Goes to The Farm by Eric Hill
There’s no Spot book as good as the original, but this one comes in second. Spot visits the farm with his dad to find some baby animals. Follow along as Spot visits a horse, cow, pig, and other animals. Spot Goes to The Farm also teaches the names of baby animals (fowl, calf, etc.) while Spot is looking for them.
Bible Books for 2-Year-Olds
My Goodnight Bible by Suzanne L. Lingo
My Goodnight Bible is the perfect Bible to start introducing stories, lessons, and prayers to your 2-year-old. If you want to spend some time teaching your children the Bible but don’t know how, this book will help you feel more confident. It’s simple and it uses more of a poem around the story than the actual Bible story. But I found it kept my son’s attention and helped us with a simple prayer and some thoughtful questions before bedtime.
Both of my toddlers began to look forward to their “Bible story” each night after a few days of being consistent with this.
The Story for Little Ones by Josee Masse
The Story for Little Ones sticks more closely to the stories of the Bible than some others and is still simple enough for toddlers. The stories are short and written in a way that makes sense (not choppy like some other toddler Bibles). The illustrations are full-paged and vividly capture the attention of little ones.
Each story has a short lesson and application that you can build off of with your child. It’s very simple like: God helped David. God will help you too. But it gives you a topic to ask questions around and pray with them about.
The Rhyme Bible Storybook by L.J. Sattgast
The Rhyme Bible Storybook is a great way to introduce the Bible to your 2-year-old. Each story, while true to the story, is told in rhyme. This helps your toddler remember the stories and gives them background knowledge for the day when they’re ready for the full text or a slightly more complex version.
This is my favorite Bible for 2-year-olds because they’re easy to memorize and they’re true to the Bible. I wish it included some questions, a prayer, or some way of engaging your toddler with the content. But it leaves that to you.
I hope you build great memories reading great books with your 2-year-old. Use this list to make sure the books you read together are fun for both of you. Don’t spend your time begging them to choose something else to read. Grab the printable version of the full list so you can take it with you to the library and check out some of these best books for 2-year-olds.
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