10 books your two-year-old will fall in love with (and so will you!)

It’s never too early – or, in fact, too late – to start reading with your little one. Here’s how to get them hooked!


It might sound crazy to read to a newborn, but it’s not – research consistently shows that the earlier you read to your child, the better their vocabulary skills will be later on. Plus, it’s a chance for you and your baby to bond over something simple and free that you can do every single day.

And while your child probably won’t begin to read by themselves until around age 5 or 6 – before this, researchers think that children lack the neural connections necessary to decode letters and combining them to make words – there’s still so much to be gained from reading to your toddler. Getting a little one excited about reading sets them up for a lifetime of excellent verbal and written skills, a mastery of language, and not least, a love of reading.

When it comes to the books themselves, rhyme and repetition help engage young readers. By two, though, your toddler is probably ready for simple storylines, as well. Choose books you know your toddler will love – feed their love of trucks with a book like Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, or share their love of dance with a book from the Angelina Ballerina series. And if your little one develops a preference for a particular author, run with it! Get as many books as you can by that author and feed their obsession!

When reading, be sure to involve your toddler as much as possible. Ask her what’s going on in the book. What can she see on the page? What happened at the end of the story? Was the mouse being brave, or was he scared? Was the bear in the story being good, or naughty? You’ll be surprised at how much she’s absorbed!

10 Best books for a two-year-old 

  1. Rudie Nudie, by Emma Quay: This adorable book – about two little nudie rudies getting out of the bath and ready for bedtime – will be a hit with young readers and grown-up ones alike.
  2. The Very Cranky Bear, by Nick Bland: A heartwarming tale of a “plain, but thoughtful sheep” who helps the very cranky bear have a much-needed rest is packed with whimsical rhymes and kid-friendly illustrations. Before long, they’ll know it off by heart (as will you!)
  3. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, by Mo Willems: This is such a great book to read with your little one, as it relies on their responses. A bus driver leaves your little reader one instruction: don’t let the pigeon drive the bus. When the leaves, the pigeon asks over and over and over – can he please drive the bus? It’s up to your little one to say no every time. Absurdly hilarious.
  4. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, by Lynley Dodd: Perfect for toddlers who love puppies, this iconic picture book – about a ragtag team of dogs (who are all united in their fear and loathing of the local cat, Scarface Claw) – is always a winner.
  5. I Took the Moon for a Walk, by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay: A truly magical story of a little boy who takes the moon for an early evening stroll through his hometown – then settles into bed with the moon keeping him company outside his window.
  6. The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler: With its charming rhyme and toddler-friendly message (the mouse outsmarts them all!), this is a classic for a reason. Grown-ups, you’ll love it, too.
  7. Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans: In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lives the pluckiest of heroines – Madeline! A whimsical introduction to Paris, and of course, Madeline herself.
  8. Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr Seuss: With its wonderful wordplay and kid-friendly wit – not to mention the fantastical illustrations – this Dr Seuss book will be a hit with your little one. Bonus: it’s all about giving your food a try before you decide you don’t like it.
  9. Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak: Is there a Wild Thing living in your house? Perhaps they’ll enjoy this magical tale of Max, who goes over a day and over a year to where the wild things are – but discovers, in the end, that he just wants to come home.
  10. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt: Duncan’s crayons are fed up – for all the most hilarious reasons. Kids will get a kick out of these self-righteous crayons and their postcards to Duncan.