21 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. If you’re expecting a little one soon, check out our round-up of the best books for soon-to-be dads!

1. Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
Grumpy Money is a fun book with hilarious illustrations

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

2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a worldwide bestselling children’s book

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. You may also find our lists of the best books for one year olds and the best books for three year olds helpful.

“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

3. Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli

Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli
Yummy Yucky is a gentle book teaching kids what they can (and can’t) put in their mouths

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

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

Oh Dear! A Farm Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell
Oh Dear! A Farm Life-the-Flap Book is a stimulating book with lift-the-flap illustrations

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. You might be interested in exploring children’s books, such as these best Dr. Seuss books.

5. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Good Night, Gorilla teaches your little one about bedtime routines

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.

6. Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
Orange Pear Apple Bear is a simple but enjoyable rhyming book

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

7. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama Red Pajama is a rhyming storybook loved by toddlers and parents

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

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

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., et al
Chicka Chicka Book Book is a fun ABC book for toddlers

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

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

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? is an exciting bedtime storybook

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. If you like reading children’s books, you might also enjoy our list of the best books by Roald Dahl

“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?

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

A Collection of Stories for 2 Year Olds by Parragon Books
A Collection of Stories for 2 Year Olds is full of old classic children’s 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.

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.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a colorful rhyming book about animals

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?

12. My Magical Words by Becky Cummings

My Magical Words by Becky Cummings
My Magical Words is an ideal book for two-year-olds learning to express their feelings

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

13. My New Baby by Rachel Fuller

My New Baby by Rachel Fuller
My New Baby prepares toddlers for the arrival of their new brother or sister

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.

14. Peek-a Who? by Nina Laden

Peek-a Who? By Nina Laden
Peek-a Who? is a fun interactive book with peek-a-boo cutouts

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!

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

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres
Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night is a perfect bedtime story for kids who love trucks

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?

16. Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Leaf Man is a beautifully illustrated book about the changing seasons

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

17. Never Let a Unicorn Scribble! by Dian Alber

Never Let a Unicorn Scribble! By Dian Alber
Never Let a Unicorn Scribble! is a fun book that teaches kids about drawing and art

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!

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

Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin
Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs is an easy-read book with rhythm and rhyme

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

19. You’re Two by Shelly Unwin

You're Two by Shelly Unwin
You’re Two is a much-loved book for kids who have just turned 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. For older kids, check out our list of the best books for six year olds.

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

Shelly Unwin, You’re Two

20. Use Your Words, Sophie! By Rosemary Wells

Use you words, Sophie
Use Your Words, Sohpie! encourages little ones to express themselves with words and use their voices

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)

21. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Moon is a beautiful bedtime book and lullaby

Goodnight Moon is a classic bedtime book ideal for little ones who need a bit of help drifting off to sleep in their bedtime routine. It’s a great book to snuggle up with and share a special moment with your little one. With beautiful poetry and lulling illustrations, this picture book is a much-loved addition to every household with a newborn, toddler, or preschooler. Reading along as we follow a little bunny tucked away in its bed as we say goodnight to all of the familiar items in the little bunny’s room.

“A picture of- the cow jumping over the moon And there were three little bears sitting on chairs”

Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Moon
  • Hardcover Book
  • Brown, Margaret Wise (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 01/23/2007 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

FAQs About Best Books for Two Year Olds

Which book is best for 2-year-old?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a favorite book for families around the world, and it’s a bestseller for a reason! This beautiful and lighthearted book is ideal for parents to read aloud with their 2-year-old for an engaging and enjoyable storytime for both you and your little one.

Do 2-year-olds read board books?

2-year-olds love to read board books with their carers. Whether they are listening to you read or following along with the illustrations, board books are an excellent choice — especially if they include sensory stimulation.

Looking for more? Check out our guide with the best books for five year olds!