The 10 Best Books For 2-Year-Olds of 2021

Great reads for every home

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. at Amazon

"This colorful board book puts a fun spin on learning the alphabet and differentiating lower case from capital letters."

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle at Amazon

"The bestseller tells the story of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly, inspiring your toddler's imagination."

My First Library Boxset of 10 Board Books for Kids by Wonder House Books at Amazon

"This set of board books is full of educational content you can begin reading to your child from day one to kickstart their vocab."

Press Here by Herve Tullet at Amazon

"The fun, interactive picture book teaches young kids cause and effect, movement, and spatial awareness."

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton at Amazon

"A great read-aloud book that will fill the room with animal sounds, it features a rhythmic format so your kiddo can follow along."

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle at Amazon

"Through rhyme, this pick teaches the power of friendship and teamwork, and demonstrates the rewards of helping others."

Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss at Amazon

"The timeless story raises important questions about the relationship between experiences and beliefs."

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill at Amazon

"Everyone’s favorite puppy comes to life with this flap, find-and-see book that teaches spatial concepts and independent reading."

I Love You To The Moon & Back by Amelia Hepworth at Amazon

"Perfect as a bedtime or wind-down story, it's an endearing poem about a parent's unconditional love for their child."

TouchThinkLearn ABC by Xavier Deneux at Amazon

"With super-thick pages, this option is an interactive twist on a simple ABC book thanks to its cut-outs and raised pieces."

Reading regularly to your toddler fosters early language development, logic, and creative thinking and is a great way for a parent or grandparent to bond with a child. The best books for 2-year-olds keep them engaged with fun stories and rhymes, adorable illustrations, and a touch of humor.

Choose the right book for your little one by considering their interests, the book’s length and format, and how you think they will respond to the pictures and illustrations. Toddlers love repetition, so it also helps if you enjoy it! 

Whether you’re looking for a sweet and sentimental bedtime story, an impressive gift, or just want to build your child’s book collection, below are our top picks for books for 2-year-olds.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

This colorful board book puts a fun and rhythmic spin on learning the alphabet. Your toddler will be hooked as the story unfolds with the anticipation of the lower case letters racing to the top of the coconut tree. 

Just like his popular book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, The author, Bill Martin Jr. writes a singsong story that combines humor, charm, and simple colorful illustrations. Before you know it your child will be able to recognize the letters of the alphabet, along with differentiating lower case from capital letters.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This playful story about a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly has sold over 50 million copies since its release in 1969 and is still considered a top choice for 2-year-olds. 

With captivatingly colorful collage-style artwork by acclaimed children’s author and artist Eric Carle,  the book’s sturdy die-cut pages introduce your toddler to colors, food, and the days of the week. This book, and others by Eric Carle, will inspire your child’s imagination and love for animals and nature.

My First Library Boxset of 10 Board Books for Kids by Wonder House Books

This boxed set of board books is full of educational content you can begin reading to your child from day one. It covers a comprehensive range of topics including ABC, numbers, animals, and food. The real-life images have been selected from everyday items and are great for quick recognition and recall. 

With a large number of categories and items, you will begin to notice your child’s vocabulary grow quickly. This board book set is a complete learning must-have and is a great way to kickstart your child’s book collection.

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Beginning with a simple yellow dot, you and your little one will love the surprises of this interactive picture book. The story is clever and simple and teaches young kids cause and effect, movement, and spatial awareness as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size.    

The longest-running picture book on the New York Times bestseller list, Press Here will have both you and your child cheering, clapping, and giggling from beginning to end. 

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

Get ready for serious silliness with this simple but fun board book by Sandra Boynton. A great read-aloud that will fill the room with animal sounds (including a hilarious trio of pigs that say “la la la!”), this book is a favorite among toddlers, teachers, and parents. 

This story features playful animal images and a rhythmic format that’s short and sweet—your toddler will be saying the lines right along with you.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

In this charming story, a blue farm truck calls upon his animal friends to help him and a not-so-nice dump truck out of a patch of mud.  With a perfect blend of rhyme, farm animals, and truck noises, your 2-year-old will love to join in and finish the verses.

The Little Blue Truck teaches the power of friendship and teamwork and demonstrates the rewards of helping others. Fans of the book rave about the ease of reading this story over and over with their little ones. 

Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss

A timeless story that continues to delight young readers and parents, Green Eggs & Ham's wacky rhymes, fun repetition, and whimsical illustrations will introduce your child to the eccentric world of Dr. Seuss.

On the surface, this book is about trying new things, but it also raises important questions about the relationship between experiences and beliefs. It may be time to get out the green food coloring and serve up some green eggs and ham for the family.

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

Everyone’s favorite puppy comes to life on the page with this flap, find-and-see book. Watch as your child curiously opens each flap in search of Spot, only to find all sorts of animal surprises. This board book is great for teaching spatial concepts like under, behind, and in. This book also keeps your child busy and is great for independent reading.  

The story allows for effortless conversation back and forth with your little reader as you both help navigate the hide and seek. Reviewers say “Spot is one of the essential experiences of childhood.” We agree! 

I Love You To The Moon & Back by Amelia Hepworth

If you’re looking for a sentimental book to add to your collection, this is the one. An endearing poem about a parent's unconditional love for their child, the story follows a bear and cub as they share in the delights of the day seeing friends, playing chase, and snuggling before bed.

Perfect as a bedtime or wind-down story, this book is short and sweet, with beautifully detailed illustrations that are sure to soothe and delight your toddler.

TouchThinkLearn ABC by Xavier Deneux

While this book is a little more expensive than the others on this list, it’s a superbly designed treasure your child will love for years. Plus, it would make the perfect gift for the 2-year-old in your life. 

With a hardcover and super-thick pages, this book is an interactive twist on a simple ABC book. It incorporates cut-outs and raised pieces, and has simple modern aesthetics for a complete sensory experience. This book literally adds a new dimension to learning the alphabet. 

Final Verdict

While there are plenty of fun and engaging bestsellers to choose from on this list, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar (view on Amazon) belongs on every child’s bookshelf. It’s an irresistible story with playful illustrations that introduce your child to the wonders of nature.

If you’re looking to give a book as a gift, we love the design and heft of the TouchThinkLearn: ABC board book (view on Amazon).

What to Look for in Books for 2-Year-Olds 

Format & Content

There’s no one right kind of book that will be best for your 2-year-old. In fact, it’s better to have a bit of everything: ABC books, short stories, poems, interactive books, sticker books, and more. The same goes for content. Mix it up and make it fun. They’re at an age when simplicity and variety are best. 

Length

The length of a book for a 2-year-old will depend on your child's comprehension level and interest in reading. Every toddler is different and their interest in storytime will vary from child to child. That said, stick to short stories and board books with lots of page-turning and pictures.

Pictures & Illustrations

Look for bright colors and fun characters when selecting a title. Again, to build their imagination, keep it simple and offer variety to keep them engaged. Your 2-year-old will look at the pictures in books to help them understand what you’re reading, so it helps if the pictures tie in with the story.

Why Trust Verywell Family? 

As a writer and artist, Deanna McCormack is drawn to the beauty and design of children’s picture books. She’s an avid reader and library goer and stays up to date with the latest award-winning stories and bestsellers. In addition to her research on the topic, she’s read every book on this list many, many times to her 2-year-old son.

Was this page helpful?