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30 Best Books for 2 Year Olds (Updated 2024)

There is no harsher critic than a two-year-old. Even more so when it comes to the things that are supposed to entertain them. They love cars one day and the next they are the stupidest thing ever.

In fact, they’re very much like tiny teenagers! So it is no surprise that when it comes to books they are no different.

But when you find a book that really hits the spot it can very quickly transform your 2-year-old whirlwind into a fully focused almost normal child!

Choosing books for a 2-year-old can be a tricky experience and it is often the books that you didn’t expect them to love that in fact, they adore.

Subjects like animals, cars, dinosaurs, and real-life events are often great starting points in your search for some great books. Then in order to keep them hooked, you need to look for books that have repetition, rhyme, and messages that relate to their life.

1. The Wonky Donkey

This is a silly book for silly people. It will no doubt have you laughing in seconds as it tells the story of an endearing donkey. It has lots of rhyming and children think that the story is hilarious. If you have any doubts then you should check out the video below


2. The Gruffalo

I doubt there are many parents who have not heard of this book. It is one of Julia Donaldson’s trademark rhyming books and the story tells of how one little mouse fooled all the bigger animals.

This is one of an entire range of books by this author all are equally fantastic and children absolutely love them. My boys are huge fans of Julia Donaldson and they are firm bedtime favorites in my house.

3. If Animals Kissed Good Night

This best selling children’s book tells the story as if animals did what we did, there is a series available with other titles too. But this one tells the story as if animals kissed good night and is beautifully illustrated The book is also number 12 on the Amazon charts.

4. Press Here

A great book for little ones to learn about cause and effect, following instructions, and use their imagination.

The simple yet effective concept of this book is loved by toddlers and adults alike making it a favorite from author Herve Tullet who is also known as the “Prince of Preschool.”

5. Giraffes Can’t Dance

The bestselling book tells the tale of Gerald the Giraffe who wants to dance but isn’t as graceful as the other animals. It goes on to show how Gerald overcomes this and eventually learns to dance his own way.

With plenty of rhymes and some great illustrations, it is easy to see why children love this book.

6. Grumpy Monkey

This is a story that shows children that it is ok to have big emotions and that they are allowed to feel them.

Jim the chimpanzee is grumpy and for no reason, the story shows how many of his friends don’t understand why he is in such a mood and offer lots of suggestions to make him feel better.

Does Jim just need a day to be grumpy as people very often do? I love that this book allows children to explore these emotions and shows them that it is ok to feel like this.

7. My Magical Words

This is the first book of positive affirmations for children and teaches them to say “I am statements…” that empower them rather than point out negative things about them.

It also teaches children that words have power and what you say about yourself really matters. The book is a wonderful way to show children how fantastic they are and it also teaches them to be thankful for many things that they may take for granted. 

8. There’s a Bear On My Chair

This beautifully simple story tells the tale of Bear who is sitting on Mouse’s chair and will not get up. When the bear does eventually get up and return to his house, the twist in the tale is that there is a mouse in Bear’s house!

9. What Was I Scared Of?

This classic creation from Dr. Seuss not only tells the tale of the narrator who is scared of a pair of empty pants that happens to be just as scared of the narrator.

The story covers the message about fear and tolerance and now comes with glow-in-the dark ink. Dr. Seuss’s books are always a firm favorite with toddlers as the stories are silly and funny yet still carry a message.

10. The Wonderful Things You Will Be

This book has featured on the New York Times bestseller list, it talks about dreams, acceptance, and love that parents have for their children.

The book has beautiful illustrations and is another book that shows children the important message of how their parents see them and all the positive traits that they have. Another book that is sending out a positive message to children even as young as toddlers.

11. Dragons Love Tacos

Another New York Bestseller on our list. This book is a super funny read-aloud book that tells the tale of new friends and how much these new friends love tacos. It tells of how you should be super careful if they eat spicy salsa…..

12. Dear Zoo

This classic lift the flap book has been a favorite for over 30 years and shows no sign of losing that title. Toddlers love to lift the flaps to discover the animal’s underneath. The artwork is colorful and bold and catchy tale.

13. The Snowy Day Board Book

This magical story tells of all the possibilities of the first snow of the season, it captures the wonder and hopes that children have while exploring a new world.

New sounds, sights, and feelings. The Snowy Day perfectly captures how children adore the simple things in life and it makes us crave a break from our busy lives to just play in the snow!

14. Please, Baby, Please

Written by Spike Lee and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee as they write about the behind the scenes of getting through a day with a toddler from bedtime, to feeding and even playtime.

They tell the tale of pleading with their little to do all the tasks that they need to get done in a day. Toddlers will love the mischievous of the baby while parents will easily relate to the book.

15. We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

This award-winning classic is a favorite amongst both parents and children. It follows a group of children as they go on an adventure to find a bear. Children love this book as they follow through swishy swashing and splash sploshing!!

16. Room On The Broom

Another great book from author Julia Donaldson tells the tale of a witch and her cat as they fly around on their broomstick and all the other animals that they meet along the way.

When disaster strikes will their new friends be able to help them out? Room on the Broom follows the fantastic structure of all her books with great rhyming and a lyrical rhythm that children love. A real favorite at my house.

17. The Day The Crayons Quit

This is a fresh and funny story of how one child’s crayons have had enough. It is a New York Times bestselling book and follows poor Duncan as his crayons write letters to say why they are quitting.

The hilarious reasons range from being used too much, to coloring outside the lines. How will Duncan get his crayons back to doing what they do best?

18. Waiting Is Not Easy

Gerald the Elephant and Piggie the pig are best friends and in this book from the series, Elephant & Piggie. In this book, Piggie has a surprise for Gerald but can he wait to find out what the surprise is.

19. Strictly No Elephants

This bestselling picture book is a touching tale of how when a little boy’s tiny pet elephant is not allowed to join the pet club he comes up with a solution.

His solution includes lots of unusual animals and helps children to understand that people come in different shapes and sizes.

20. All Are Welcome 

Another great book that shows that differences are good and nothing to worry about.

It shows a school where no matter if children are different they still have a place where they are safe, loved, and appreciated. This is fantastic to show children that differences do not mean that people should be excluded or shut out.

21. The Pout-Pout Fish

This book is about how a simple act of kindness can change someone’s perspective of themselves and the Pout-Pout Fish delivers some clear messages.

Such messages as How we see ourselves can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, what we see in the mirror is exactly who we will end up being and shows that we are capable of influencing others in such a positive way by simple acts of kindness and compassion.

22. Wherever You Go

A story that is perfect for any little adventurers as it celebrates life and new experiences. Join rabbit and his friends as they travel through various landscapes and discover the magic of the world.

23. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

A book that has a simple structure making it easy for toddlers to not only follow but also to join in. As we journey with brown bear and meet all the animals that he encounters on his trip. The book helps children to learn animals, colors, and textures.

24. I Love You To The Moon And Back

A book that has gentle rhyming allowing children to easily learn what comes next. The story is a touching tale of two bears and how they love each other every day.

It shows how they show they love each other by touching noses, chasing each other, and snuggling before bed.

25. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

A book that is sure to be a hit with any truck crazy toddlers as it tells the story of a construction site and its machines.

The story shows how the machines work hard all day and then go off to sleep at night. The perfect bedtime story with gentle rhyming text and beautiful illustrations.

26. The Color Monster

This book features gorgeous pop-ups as the color monster works through his mixed-up feelings and tries to learn to feel better. A great book for helping children to talk about their feelings even when they are confusing and all mixed up.

27. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows a little caterpi9llar as he eats his way through the book one day at a time. It follows his transformation from caterpillar to cocoon and then into a beautiful butterfly.

A book that has been a favorite for generations and is still just as popular today.

28. Never Let A Dinosaur Scribble

This story is about a little boy who gets a pet dinosaur and is told that he should never let him scribble. But the little boy decides that there is no harm in giving his pet dinosaur just one crayon and very soon there too much creation and a lot of problems.

29. Turkey Trouble

It’s Thanksgiving and Turkey is in trouble as he is about to become the main course. But he has a cunning plan to alter the way he looks to try to avoid becoming lunch!

30. Chika Chika Boom Boom

A great way to learn letters and the alphabet in English. A book filled with rhymes that your child will quickly learn and start to repeat. The book will also allow your child to start to reconize letters and start building words.


Can two-year-olds read?

At this age, children are not yet able to read. They may have started to learn the alphabet song but it is unlikely that they can actually recognize any letters just yet.

You can help your child by using some useful reading strategies such as following along with your finger, sounding our difficult words, and pointing out different letters on the page.

Do two-year-olds know their colors?

By this age, most children’s eyes have developed enough to recognize different colors. So they could see that for example blue is a different color to yellow.

But it is unlikely that they could name the colors. But then again every child is different and they all develop at different rates.

So an older two years old may be able to recognize one or two colors while a younger two-year-old will not be that far in their development. 

How long should I be reading to my two-year-old?

This is not an easy question to answer as it will very much depend on your two-year-old. Some children love reading and will happily sit for an hour and read, while others will only remain interested for a few minutes.

The best advice is to do what is best for your child and your family. But do try to read at least one book a day.

The Final Thought

Books are a fantastic way for children to expand their minds and they often can help children process and deal with difficult feelings and situations within their own lives. 

Reading to your children is one of the best ways to instill that love of not only books but also for knowledge while bonding with them.

There are so many great books available for children that are interactive and capture their imagination perfectly. If I had to choose a favorite book although a very difficult task it would be a tie between two books: The Gruffalo and We’re Going On a Bear Hunt. 

The Gruffalo captures the imagination of most children and adults alike. The rhyming and lyrical sound of the story is fun to read and enables children to quickly remember the words and read along with the story.

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt is one of my favorite books as my children have always loved the story and especially love the use of descriptive words. This is also a book that allows children to get up and actually act out the story.

I hope that we have been able to provide you with a few new titles for your little one’s library – Happy reading!!