10 Best Books for 2 Year Olds in 2017

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best books for 2 year olds

For young children, books are like windows to a wonderful world of fantasy where everything is possible and dreaming is a must. While most two year old boys or girls still have quite a very limited vocabulary and speech and language skills, they can still benefit from children’s books that are specifically designed for them. To help you determine which one to get for your toddler, we are presenting here ten of the best books that you can ever read to a two year old.

10 Best Books for 2 Year Olds

1Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell

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Any young child who’s ever fascinated with animals will instantly fall in love with the Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book. It’s like having his or her very own zoo or even Noah’s ark right in his or her hands. As your child lifts the flap in the Dear Zoo, he or she will be treated to an amazing array of cute, adorable, and lovable zoo animals in their full color. Animal sounds also fill the air every time your child lifts a flap of the Dear Zoo. Mind you, the Dear Zoo is already 3 decades old and yet it is still considered as the leader in kiddie zoo books. And it’s not really difficult to see why the book has amassed such a throng of followers and loyal fans. The interaction children get from lifting the flaps of the book and be greeted with animal pictures and sounds is indeed very priceless. While some customers said that some of the animals are downright silly and absurd, perhaps this is what makes it a standout among toddlers. They simply don’t need anything that serious. What they need is enough stimulation to help them grow optimally.

What We Like about It – With 3 decades of stellar performance in its belt and an ever-growing population of very happy customers and young readers who are now grownup themselves, the Dear Zoo is clearly one of the best books you can ever give to a 2 year old. The mix of images, colors, shapes, and sounds make for a very entertaining and highly educational literature for very young readers.

2Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

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In case you’re wondering why Melman of the Madagascar fame initially can’t dance, only on the third installment of the franchise did he learn to dance with the aid of Gloria the hippopotamus, then you might want to get the Giraffes Can’t Dance and read it together with your child to learn more about the reason why giraffes can’t dance. Gerald the Giraffe, like Madagascar’s Melman, is one clumsy 4-legged, long-necked mammal. Because of his rather slender and quite inflexible legs, dancing isn’t really one of his fortes. Unlike the rockin’ and rollin’ rhinos and the tango-esque lions, Gerald lives a rather sad existence, having been rejected by the other animals in the story. But things did change as Gerald started to make those dance moves that can even make John Travolta and the other stars of Footloose blush. The story is all about trying to fit in. And while the recommended age of the book is between 3 and 6 years of age, we found it very helpful for young readers to realize that it’s perfectly okay to be different as well as how they can achieve something in an entirely different way.

What We Like about It – The Giraffes Can’t Dance echoes what many young kids today face when to go to school. They have to struggle on being accepted by their young peers. The book provides a great story about finding your place in this sometimes odd world.

3If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul

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We all bid our kids a good night’s sleep with a kiss. Ever wonder what animal mommies do to their own kids as they are put to bed? The book If Animals Kissed Good Night is every toddler’s dream, providing an excellent combination of childish animal pictures in a nursery rhyme-y type of bedtime chat. It’s perfect for bringing our kids to sleep while providing them with the necessary stimulus for optimum brain and cognitive development. The playful rhyming verses provide an introduction to prose which young kids may also find appeasing, mimicking the full rhythm of life itself. The read-aloud experience is sure to help in growing and enhancing your child’s vocabulary, paving the way for the optimum development in his or her language and speech skills. The illustrations are done in soft watercolors providing a calmer and more soothing ambience to reading at bedtime.

What We Like about It – The If Animals Kissed Good Night is one playful take on how the mommies of the animal world say good night to their offspring, cubs, pups, kittens, and others. The animal characters are sure to please any toddler. The rhymes itself will pave the way for a more restful sleep.

4Collection of Stories for 2 Year Olds by Parragon Books

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Toddlers are never known for having great patience. In fact their attention span is so short that reading to them a very lengthy story might only have the reverse effect: they’ll get bored and will no longer be interested in reading. As such, don’t be surprised to find the Collection of Stories for 2 Year Olds to be made of three short, yet well-loved children’s stories plus a handful of nursery rhymes. What you will get is just the right amount of words enough to stimulate your toddler’s curiosity without boring him or her to death. We found quite a number of customers who rated the book a bit negatively because of the very short stories that the book contains. Mind you, this is designed for a 2 year old and as such, Parragon is spot-on when they decided to narrow the collection to short verses and, instead, beef it up with surprisingly delightful and colorful drawings. This should make for a fabulous bedtime read for 2 year olds. You’ll have plenty of fun telling the story of Goldilocks, the Three Little Pigs, and Little Red Riding Hood. Be ready to create the appropriate sound effects yourself as you read to your tot these classic tales.

What We Like about It – The Collection of Stories for 2 Years Old is just right for children of this age. It’s a great way to carry on the tradition of telling classic tales that generations upon generations of children have learned to love and treasure.

5ChickaChicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

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How do you teach the letters of the alphabet in a way that is not really boring? How about a rhythmic rhyming book that connects each of the letters in one funny yet truly entertaining string of rhymes as they all race towards the top of the coconut tree? This is just what the ChickaChicka Boom Boom is all about. And if you think creating a rhyme between one or two letters is easy, wait until you mix the other 24 of the alphabet. The authors of the book, known for their masterpieces Knots on a Counting Rope and Barn Dance have once again created a book designed specifically for toddlers and one that is sure to bring lots of fun learning the rhythmic alphabet chant. The colorful illustrations also come as a unique surprise to young kids, enabling them to master the different colors. It may not be the storybook that you’ve wanted but there’s something in the ChickaChicka Boom Boom that appeals not only to 2 year olds but also to their respective parents.

What We Like about It – In an interesting and fun take of the classic alphabet learning book, the ChickaChicka Boom Boom provides young children with a fantastic opportunity to master the fundamentals of the alphabet. The colorful illustrations add to the sensory experience, too.

6Little Hands My First Scribble by ALEX Toys

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While it is not necessary a story book nor any piece of kiddie literature for young minds to read, the Little Hands My First Scribble nonetheless, deserves a place in our top 10. Why? My First Scribble is, as the name suggests, the very first thing that any toddlers or older babies will be scribbling on. For some parents, it might look like an overly expensive 50 page activity learning book but when you look at it from the viewpoint of a 2 year old, you’ll see that it does provide some functionality. Part of development is the ability to express one’s thoughts. Because young kids don’t have the necessary speech and language faculties yet to convey their thoughts or even to express themselves, they can do this by scribbling or even by doodling. We found many moms being delighted by the fact that their kids absolutely loved the My First Scribble. You’ll just have to buy for them a set of kid-safe crayons and let them be. You can then help them create their very own stories out of the different activities that they accomplished in the My First Scribble.

What We Like about It – First and foremost, it’s not a book that you can read to your child. Instead, it’s a book that your child will create stories with. This, in itself, is what makes the My First Scribble well-loved by many. And you should, too.

7First 100 Numbers, Colors, Shapes by Roger Priddy

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One of the developmental tasks of toddlers is to widen their vocabulary of everyday things. While this can be easily done by exposing your young kid to these objects, sometimes it’s not just feasible to do so on a round the clock basis. A more practical solution is to give them First 100 Numbers, Colors, and Shapes. This colorful book of 100 very detailed and highly colorful pictures will introduce your kid to the very first words that pertain to numbers, shapes, and colors that he or she will ever need to make through childhood in a more successful manner. And if, in case you’re wondering if the book is tough enough to take abuse, each page is made of high quality toughened board while the cover is sufficiently padded to give your little tot comfortable reading.

What We Like about It – The First 100 series from priddy baby is just perfect for engaging your young kid in learning his or her very first simple words. In no time at all, your kid will already be displaying the proficiency of a well-established orator.

8The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

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Kids always have an inherent desire to be different. Unfortunately, most of the time, their enthusiasm is dampened by what others perceive as nonconformity. The book Pout-Pout Fish is all about encouraging children to be all they can be regardless of how they look like or how others look at them. The message is quite clear: kids, no matter how young they may be, can still be in control of their very nature and that they can make a choice as to how they wish to respond. Moms and dads can take on the short readable passages as discussion points to reinforce their kids’ understanding of the value of life whereby any trait can be harnessed into goodness. Such message resonate even to parents who are always struggling to conform to what society considers as the norm. Illustrated in a cartoonish way, The Pout-Pout Fish comes with rhythm, emotion, and alliteration that even adults will find very amusing and surprisingly pleasant.

What We Like about It – Don’t read The Pout-Pout Fish as if you’re Ben Stein. Read it with heart and emotion and you will also be moved by the story of the pouting fish.

9Stories for 2 Year Olds by EwaLipniacka

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If you’re looking for a novel to read to your 2 year old then the Stories for 2 Year Olds is definitely not for you. We’re just amazed at what some reviewers think about this particular kiddie book. Did they forget that 2 year olds cannot even read yet? And yet they expect the stories contained in the book to be as complex as what they read in romance novels. Again, before you buy this book, know that it contains very simple sentences that you may find very boring to read. But think for a moment who you are reading to and you’ll understand why it’s considered as one of the best gifts you could ever give to your over-toyed kid. The messages of the various stories in the book may be off at times but it never fails to draw admiration from kids. The different stories coupled with poems to choose from make it a very interesting way to introduce children to the value of books.

What We Like about It – The Stories for 2 Year Olds is just that, stories designed perfectly for 2 year olds. So, it is very important that you understand the developmental tasks of a 2 year old before you even consider buying this.

10First 100 Animals by Roger Priddy 

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Part of priddy baby’s First 100 series, the First 100 Animals is any toddler’s favorite book when it comes to common animals, be it domesticated or those in the wild. You don’t need to bring your child to the zoo anymore as he or she will be looking at the colorful pictures of real animals complete with their names so he or she will be expanding his or her vocabulary while familiarizing himself or herself with the different forms, shapes, and looks of various animals. You will just have to learn how to add the appropriate sound that these animals make to elevate your kid’s reading experience. Just like all Priddy books, the First 100 Animals comes with toughened pages and a beautiful soft padded cover that will provide an entirely different sensory experience for your child.

What We Like about It – It’s a great way to introduce young kids to the more common members of the animal kingdom. The vibrant colors of the pictures can also help enhance sensory development.

How We Chose the Top Ten Toddlers’ Books in Our List

It was quite a challenge coming up with a selection of the best children’s books for 2 year old kids. This is because 2 year olds are not really known for having the faculty to read. The pre-reading skills typically occur much later at around 4 to 5 years of age. Of course, there are child protégés whereby at a very young age they could easily be reading verses from a Shakespearean play but this is a rarity. As such, we were left with choosing books that were easy to understand when read by mom or dad and of course, full of graphic illustrations to help drive home the point.

If the book offered some learning interaction with kids, then we evaluated just how much of a kid’s development is impacted by these features. For instance, book pages that function like peek-a-boos are generally regarded as excellent tools for stimulating children’s curiosity while also enhancing their intellectual and cognitive abilities. Textured pages can also provide for a more sensory experience. Add to these a variety of colors, forms, and shapes and you’ve got for your kid a really superb learning resource. These are the things that we have to carefully examine in coming up with our list.

We also looked at the bestseller status of such children’s books as we believe, if a title fared pretty well in the world market, then it should be an excellent choice for our young readers. We also took into consideration what other parents think about these young children’s books. It is imperative for us to understand just how well these pieces of kiddie literature were received not only by parents but, more importantly, by the very kids that these books were designed for. While we cannot say with absolute certainty that everyone will love the books in our top ten list, at least a great majority of you will.

It is the combination of developmental appropriateness, sensory functionality, and customer reception that formed the bases of our selection process.

Why Reading to Infants and Toddlers is Encouraged

In a meta-analysis conducted by the Center for Early Literacy Learning, it was found that numerous studies have already shown the many benefits of reading to young children especially infants and toddlers. These studies show that reading to our kids at a young age can help in the development of the expressive and receptive language skills. In other words, by reading to our young kids, they are able to develop their own way of communicating as well as refine their skill of understanding or comprehending what is being communicated to them.

It is in reading to our kids that we are able to provide them with the foundation for their speech, language, and communication skills. When we pronounce a word, they instinctively learn that this is how it’s supposed to be pronounced. That is why when we tell a story to our kids we always do so at a much slower pace so they will be able to pick up the correct pronunciation. More importantly, the manner in which we tell the stories will somehow create an impression on them as to the different emotions inherent in the story. For instance, if we make our voice gloomier than usual, they will gain an understanding of what sadness sounds like.

Perhaps more than just enhancing their communication skills, reading to our young children further strengthens our bond with them. As we cuddle up close, they will feel the warmth of our care and affection and this builds the trust that exists between a parent and his or her child.

The Bottom Line

There are many benefits of reading to our young children. While some parents may not agree with what we have in our list solely because of the content of the books, it should be worth remembering that these are for 2 year old girls or boys.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!
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