The 10 Best Books for 2-Year-Olds of 2019

Great reads for every home

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First Look

“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” at Amazon

"A classic story of how the letters of the alphabet climb a coconut tree."

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” at Amazon

"An unforgettable book about a caterpillar trying various foods."

“Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book" at Amazon

"A lift-the-flap book, helps kids begin to identify a host of animals."

“One Fish Two Fish” at Amazon

"A good early reading book as it contains lots of simple words."

“The Going-To-Bed Book” at Amazon

"A sweet story of how an ark full of animals gets ready for bed and more."

“New York Baby: A Local Baby Book” at Amazon

"A great way to teach kids of our nation’s significant landmarks."

“Goodnight, Numbers” at Amazon

"This book serves a great introduction to numbers and counting."

“The Way I Feel” at Amazon

"A great way to help kids identify what they're feeling."

“Potty” at Amazon

"It follows one baby’s potty training journey which kids can relate."

“A Pocket for Corduroy” at Amazon

"It brings to life every child’s dream of their stuffed animal coming to life."

Our Top Picks

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom

 Courtesy of Amazon

One of the catchiest books of all time, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a favorite of parents and kids alike. The fun, rhyming prose tells the story of how the letters of the alphabet go about climbing a coconut tree. When they all get up there… watch out. 

It’s a great, simple story to help little ones starting to identify letters, and it brings each one to life in its own special way. Parents credit it with teaching kids their letters and say it’s a must-have for every bookshelf. One word of caution though: The words of this story are so catchy, they’ll get stuck in your head forever.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of those classic, unforgettable books that bring everyone right back to their childhoods. The whimsical pictures are delightful, and the sweet story is full of whimsy. It also may encourage picky eaters to try new foods as they see the caterpillar explore various foods before changing into a beautiful butterfly. 

Short enough to read anytime and multiple times, it’s a sweet story that promotes early math skills too, as kids can count the foods the caterpillar eats—one apple, two pears, three plums, etc. This book makes a fantastic gift for new parents or any toddler who doesn’t already have it in their collection.

Check out our guide to the best gifts for new parents you can buy today.

Best Animal Book: “Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book

For more than 30 years, parents and kids have roared about Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. A lift-the-flap book, it helps kids begin to identify a host of animals, including a monkey, a lion, and an elephant. The illustrations are cute and colorful, and the text is simple and fun. It’s an even better read when punctuated by parents and/or kids making animal sounds. 

Parents say the flaps are durable (Read: Toddler-proof), and they like that they open in different directions and that they're different sizes, encouraging fine motor skills. They say it’s a favorite that kids request over and over again, and they love the interactive experience of reading it to them

Best Dr. Seuss Book: “One Fish Two Fish”

It’s hard to pick just one favorite from beloved author Dr. Seuss, but One Fish Two Fish is hard to beat. It covers colors and number through an array of zany scenarios that make it a delight to read generation after generation. There are Yinks who drink pink ink, Zans who open cans and lots of other crazy creatures to spark little imaginations and keep everyone laughing. 

As kids get older, this is also a good early reading book as it contains lots of simple words they’ll eventually be able to sound out. Parents say the illustrations and rhymes make this book a joy from cover to cover.

Check out our other reviews of the best apps for toddlers available on the market today.

Best Book for Bedtime: The Going-To-Bed Book

Getting a 2-year-old to go to bed can often be a task of mammoth proportions, but the right book, like The Going-to-Bed Book by the hilarious and brilliant Sandra Boynton, can help. This short-but-sweet book tells the story of how an ark full of animals gets ready for bed, including taking a bath, getting on their pajamas, brushing their teeth and even doing some exercises before snoozing off. 

It’s silly and fun, but also gets the message across that everyone needs sleep. Many parents say reading it is a key part of their nightly bedtime routine.

Best Book for Learning: New York Baby: A Local Baby Book

When it comes to learning about the world, we love New York Baby. Whether you live in the Big Apple or just hope to visit one day, it’s a great way to teach kids about some of our nation’s significant landmarks. Babies serve as tour guides, highlighting much of what the city that never sleeps offers. It shows kids what life may be like elsewhere and opens their imaginations to different ways of life.

Best Book for Counting: Goodnight, Numbers

This book, Goodnight, Numbers, serves a one-two punch with a great introduction to numbers and counting but also makes a sweet bedtime book. Written by actress Danica McKellar of The Wonder Years and The West Wing fame, it takes kids through the process of saying goodnight to different objects, incorporating numbers along the way. For example, "Goodnight three wheels./Goodnight, three cans./Goodnight, all trucks/and pots and pans." 

Parents give this book rave reviews, saying the story is beautifully written and a great way to get kids excited about numbers.

Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best advanced toddler toys available online.

Best Book for Emotions: The Way I Feel

Kids, like the rest of us, feel a wide range of emotions each and every day, and this book, The Way I Feel by Janan Cain helps them identify what they’re feeling.

With bright, fun images, it walks kids through times when someone may be feeling happy, angry, sad or even silly with fun rhymes. For example, "Silly is the way I feel when I make a funny face/ and wear a goofy, poofy hat that takes up lots of space.”

While some versions, such as a board book, don’t include every emotion that the original hardback book does, parents say they’re all a great way to help kids begin naming emotions and expressing themselves.

Best for Potty Training: Potty

When it comes to potty training, parents can use all the help they can get, and this book, Potty by Leslie Ptricelli, provides just that. Funny and engaging, it follows one baby’s potty training journey to which kids can relate. It ends with baby finally going in the potty and celebrating the milestone with family. Parents say kids love this book, and many credit it with their children’s toilet training successes.

Ready to potty train? Check out our guide to the best potty chairs.

Best Imaginative Book: A Pocket for Corduroy

A Pocket for Corduroy is a classic from Don Freeman in the Corduroy series. It brings to life every child’s dream of their stuffed animal coming to life. In this story, Corduroy desperately wants a pocket, but his search leaves him stranded overnight in the laundromat. Fortunately, Lisa finds him the next day, takes him home and sews on a pocket for him and a happy ending on the story. Parents say kids love all the Corduroy books, and this one is an especially sweet addition to their collection.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular books for 2 year-olds on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered more than 30 different books for 2 year-olds overall, read over 150 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 7 of the books themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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