20 Best Books for Two Year Olds: Exciting Reading for Curious Youngsters

Light up your little one’s world with the best books for two year olds that introduce them to numbers, foods, animals, the alphabet, and so much more.

For two-year-olds, books are generally designed to be read alongside them, so they can appreciate illustrations and understand how simple stories progress. Some are more educational, teaching about the world around them, and others are more entertaining, full of whimsy. The best is usually a combination of both. 

Toddlers mature at different rates and quickly develop their interests. Some may not find a lot of interest in certain books when they are two but will love them when they are three or four. Others may like certain pictures but care less about the story. There’s a reason books like these are usually labeled years 1 – 3. Check out our round-up of the best books for soon-to-be dads!

Here Are The Best Books for Two Year Olds

1. Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
A book cover with a close-up red illustration of Jim’s grumpy monkey face

Unsurprisingly, Grumpy Monkey quickly reached the number one spot on the New York Times bestselling kids’ book list. The illustrations are top-notch, hilarious, and completely relatable. So too, is the general mood of the book, designed for little ones still exploring their feelings and learning that they have different emotions. Specifically, it’s above a chimp named Jim, who’s in a bad mood for no good reason. While his friends try to help him, their attempts don’t get grumpy out of the monkey – but maybe it’s okay to deal with a bad mood now and then. 

“The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet.”

Suzanne Lang, Grumpy Monkey
Grumpy Monkey
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lang, Suzanne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 05/15/2018 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
A book cover with a colorful, slightly abstract illustration of a caterpillar

There are many good reasons that The Very Hungry Caterpillar has remained a favorite for decades. The illustrations are simple enough for your young toddler to understand but complicated enough to fascinate and help young ones learn more about patterns, colors, and shapes. Plus, at its core, the story is a counting game, helping children understand the concept of numbers in a very charming, funny way. 

“One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and -pop!- out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.”

Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Now even younger children can follow the little green caterpillar as he eats his way to becoming a beautiful butterfly in this sturdy board book
  • Great for early development
  • Children will enjoy this delightful tale
  • Ages 2 to 5
  • Carle, Eric (Author)

3. Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli

Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli
A book cover with an illustration on Yummy Yucky’s cover shows a toddler eating red soup with a smile

Yummy Yucky can withstand any amount of chewing, which is good news because your child is probably still around the age where everything needs to go in their mouth. Fortunately, this little book helps parents walk through some important basics – that some things taste good, some taste bad, and we shouldn’t put the bad ones in our mouths. The book also covers toddler-specific objects like crayons and sand, so it can make an effective teaching tool. 

“Spaghetti is yummy, worms are yucky. Sandwiches are yummy, sand is yucky”

Leslie Patricelli, Yummy Yucky
Yummy Yucky (Leslie Patricelli board books)
  • Patricelli, Leslie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 09/15/2003 (Publication Date) - Candlewick (Publisher)

4. Oh Dear! A Farm Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell

Oh Dear! A Farm Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell
A book cover with a bald child in front of a group of farm animals

Lift-the-Flap books are important for young toddlers: They teach little kids to engage in the reading activity themselves rather than just being passive observers. All lift-the-flap books can work, but with Oh Dear!‘s simple barnyard animals, this one is a sure charmer. You may have to lift the flaps for younger children at first to show them how the whole thing works, but as they grow, you can encourage them to lift flaps for themselves and find the farm creatures underneath.

Oh Dear!: A Farm Lift-the-Flap Book (Dear Zoo & Friends)
  • Campbell, Rod (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 18 Pages - 08/06/2019 (Publication Date) - Little Simon (Publisher)

5. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
A book cover with a flashlight and a small gorilla behind him, having recently stolen his key

Two-year-olds are starting to understand the nighttime routine, which can be much easier with a good bedtime story involved. While you may have your favorites from childhood, Good Night, Gorilla is an excellent addition and may become a popular demand in the future. The story follows a zookeeper saying goodnight to some mischievous animals around the zoo before heading to bed. It’s a popular option for kids who love animals, unlike traditional options like Good Night, Moon.

Good Night, Gorilla (Picture Puffins)
  • Rathmann, Peggy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 05/01/2000 (Publication Date) - Puffin Books (Publisher)

6. Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
A book cover with an illustration showing fruit balanced on a bear’s head and hand

The twos aren’t just terrible; they’re also an excellent opportunity to teach your young one more about how words work and how fun they can be. The concept in Orange Pear Apple Bear is simple and wonderful fun. The only words in the book are organ, pear, apple, bear, and there. Combining them creatively is a delight for you and your child; the illustrations help drive the concept. This is an excellent early pick when your child is still learning to talk and may not be ready for full sentences. 

“Apple, bear, orange, pear.”

Emily Gravett, Orange Pear Apple Bear
Orange Pear Apple Bear (Classic Board Books)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Gravett, Emily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 08/23/2011 (Publication Date) - Little Simon (Publisher)

7. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
A book cover with a mother llama holding her child close in bed

Llama LlamRed Pajama isn’t just a pleasant bedtime read; it’s also a great method to introduce the joys of rhyming to your toddler (and teach them about llamas, too). The art is high-quality without being too complicated for young eyes, the rhymes are fun enough that they will stay young after repeat readings, and it underlines parents’ care for their children. Expect this book to become a household favorite in no time!

“Llama llama red pajama in the dark without his mama. Eyes wide open, covers drawn…What if Mama Llama’s gone?”

Anna Dewdney, Llama Llama Red Pajama
Llama Llama Red Pajama
  • Dewdney, Anna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 34 Pages - 05/05/2015 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

8. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., et al

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., et al
A book cover of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with colorful shapes vaguely outlining a chicken’s head.

Are you ready to introduce your young one to the alphabet? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom of the most entertaining ways for both parents and kids. The book is a delightful rendition of old alphabet rhymes that’s fun to read aloud and will help introduce the concept of letters, rhymes, and how they work. Plus, there are exciting pictures for each page to help keep kids focused and interested. If it’s time to start helping your toddler recognize and sound letters, this book will be a major help. 

“Mamas and papas and uncles and aunts hug their little dears, then dust their pants.”

Bill Martin Jr., Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Board Book)
  • Bill Martin Jr. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 36 Pages - 03/23/2023 (Publication Date) - Little Simon (Publisher)

9. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen
A book cover showing a T-Rex perched on a bed with a teddy bear while a mother opens the door in the background

If your toddler is more responsive to adventurous bedtime stories, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? is an immensely entertaining option. Dinosaur-loving parents will undoubtedly get a kick out of it, while the young ones will enjoy that the dinosaurs’ raucous approach to bedtime frequently resembles their attitude. 

“How does a dinosaur say good night when Papa comes in to turn off the light? Does a dinosaur slam his tail and pout? Does he throw his teddy bear all about?”

Jane Yolen, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
  • Lively bedtime story of baby dinosaurs
  • Encourage proper bedtime behavior
  • Engaging illustrations by Mark Teague
  • Hilarious story line by Jane Yolen
  • Pictures 11 different dinosaur species

10. A Collection of Stories for 2 Year Olds by Parragon Books

A Collection of Stories for 2 Year Olds by Parragon Books
A book cover with a large number 2 filled with fairytale stories

At two, your child may need more time to be ready for the full versions of classic fairy tales, even if you have a book or two ready to go. A Collection of Short Stories for Two Year Old is made to help ease young kids into the concept, with renditions of classics like The Three Little Pigs that they can appreciate. The happy illustrations also do an excellent job of making these fantasies more enjoyable for young eyes.

A Collection of Stories for 2 Year Olds
  • Hardcover Book
  • Parragon Books (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 10/09/2018 (Publication Date) - Parragon Books (Publisher)

11. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
A book cover with a fantastical image of a bear

The unique artwork Brown Bear What You See is colorful, bold, and a delight for little ones while you are reading. It helps kids practice focus and learn more about animals, with a simple and repetitive cadence that makes the book suitable for bedtime.

“Children, Children, What do you see? We see a brown bear, a red bird, a yellow duck, a blue horse, a green frog, a purple cat, a white dog, a black sheep, a goldfish, and a teacher looking at us.”

Bill Martin, Jr., Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Martin Jr., Bill (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 28 Pages - 09/15/1996 (Publication Date) - Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (Publisher)

12. My Magical Words by Becky Cummings

My Magical Words by Becky Cummings
A book cover with a girl holding a balloon and floating in a starry sky

It’s always early enough to teach your kids about the power of words. While two-year-olds may not be old enough to separate their feelings from the world, they are at an age where they’re starting to learn how words workMy Magical Words is designed to help little ones practice affirmation and positive language while learning lots of synonyms. By reading along with your child, you’ll help them make self-affirmative statements about how they are special, loved, strong, smart, and much more.

“I am peaceful! You know how to slow down, relax, and rest.”

Becky Cummings, My Magical Words
My Magical Words (The Magic of Me Series)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Becky Cummings (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 03/05/2020 (Publication Date) - Boundless Movement (Publisher)

13. My New Baby by Rachel Fuller

My New Baby by Rachel Fuller
A book cover with a drawing of a toddler and parent holding a carrier with a baby sleeping inside

It’s not uncommon for toddlers to learn they’ll get a baby brother or sister. My New Baby is specifically designed to creatively walk toddlers through what to expect from a new baby and learn that there’s nothing to be worried about. The book outlines the basics of pregnancy, what new babies need, and how having a sibling can be a wonderful experience.

My New Baby
  • Rachel Fuller (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 12 Pages - 04/01/2009 (Publication Date) - Child's Play International (Publisher)

14. Peek-a Who? by Nina Laden

Peek-a Who? By Nina Laden
A book cover with a drawing of an owl’s face peeking through leaves

This interactive book encourages young ones to get involved in the reading experience. It offers Peek-a Who? cutouts so kids can see who is peeking out while their parents read along. It’s designed for a younger audience that’s still getting ready for a big story but still enjoys reading time with parents and likes to be surprised by exploring what’s behind every flap. Warning: It’s not always what you think!

Peek-a Who? (Lift the Flap Books, Interactive Books for Kids, Interactive Read Aloud Books)
  • Laden, Nina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10 Pages - 02/01/2000 (Publication Date) - Chronicle Books (Publisher)

15. Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres
A book cover with an illustration of a tractor carrying a baby tractor with its backhoe

Some of us are dinosaur kids, some are sparkle kids, and some are truck kids. By the time your child is two, you probably have a good idea of their preference. Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? is specifically made for truck fans. It creatively explores what bedtime is like for various construction vehicles like dump trucks, cranes, snowplows, and more.

“Where do diggers sleep at night? Do they dream of holes they dug? Do their moms reach front to backhoe when they give a goodnight hug?”

Brianna Caplan Sayres, Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?
Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? (Where Do...Series)
  • Board Book
  • Sayres, Brianna Caplan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages - 06/24/2014 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

16. Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
A book cover showing leaves and berries arranged in a man-like shape

Suppose you’re looking for something different to fascinate your youngster; look at the remarkable Leaf Man. It’s a vividly illustrated book that forms a man out of falling autumn leaves and sends him on a journey across the countryside. Using actual leaf shapes to create the illustrations is beautiful and helps children learn pattern recognition and how to use their imagination.

“A Leaf Man’s got to go where the wind blows.”

Lois Ehlert, Leaf Man
Leaf Man
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ehlert, Lois (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 09/01/2005 (Publication Date) - Harcourt (Publisher)

17. Never Let a Unicorn Scribble! by Dian Alber

Never Let a Unicorn Scribble! By Dian Alber
A book cover with a drawing of a girl holding a marker, a unicorn, and colorful scribbles above them

Is your two-year-old learning the pleasures of drawing or ready to start other kinds of artistic expression? Never Let a Unicorn Scribble! is about a magic unicorn who does all kinds of normal magic unicorn things and a brave girl that wants to teach it how to scribble. It’s not easy to get a unicorn to scribble, but ultimately they succeed, and the results are beautiful. 

“I recently got a pet unicorn, I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. And everyone keeps telling me, NEVER LET A UNICORN SCRIBBLE!”

Dian Alber, Never Let a Unicorn Scribble!
Never Let a Unicorn Scribble!
  • Alber, Diane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 02/07/2019 (Publication Date) - Diane Alber Art LLC (Publisher)

18. Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin

Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin
A book cover with a drawing of Joe playing guitar on top of a dinosaur’s head

Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs has lyrical, rhyming stanzas that are easy to chant or sing. However, there’s a lesson at the heart of this book for those paying attention: Joe keeps getting interrupted by dinosaurs who want his ice cream but ultimately wins the day through the power of sharing (and song). 

“Groovy Joe saw something yummy, Groovy Joe started rubbing his tummy.”

Eric Litwin, Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs
Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs (Groovy Joe #1): Ice Cream & Dinosaurs (1)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Litwin, Eric (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 08/30/2016 (Publication Date) - Orchard Books (Publisher)

19. You’re Two by Shelly Unwin

You're Two by Shelly Unwin
A book cover with a drawing of older and younger blue bears holding a large two

While some of our picks are more suitable for older two-year-olds with more mature needs, You’re Two is specifically made for those who have just turned two. It not only celebrates the concept of getting older but also helps little ones recognize other things that are two – things like two eyes, two arms, and more. 

“One tail on a donkey, one nose on a dog. One long tongue on a hopping frog.”

Shelly Unwin, You’re Two
You're Two!
  • Unwin, Shelly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages - 09/10/2019 (Publication Date) - Doubleday Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

20. Use Your Words, Sophie! By Rosemary Wells

Use you words, Sophie
A book cover with a mouse and a baby stroller

Little two-year-old mouse Sophie knows plenty of words Use Your Words, Sohpie! but prefers to speak in other sounds, like her own special made-up languages. However, when a new baby arrives, Sophie realizes she can use actual words to interact with her family in wonderful, unexpected ways. As you can see, it’s an important tale for little ones learning how to put their feelings and thoughts into words. Looking for more? Check out the best children’s book authors!

Use Your Words, Sophie
  • Hardcover Book
  • Wells, Rosemary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/17/2015 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

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