Books for Toddlers

AKA which books does my 2-year-old want me to read to her REPEATEDLY, and what qualities do these books share?

My daughter’s current favorite books include:

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Good Night, Gorilla
Sheep In a Jeep
City Dog, Country Frog

The first two are popular (I think) because I sing them for her. She particularly likes me to sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” in Spanish. But the real key right now is words per page. Ideally, I should read about one sentence per page. Less is okay, but more than that and she starts to lose interest. Both “Hug” and “Good Night, Gorilla” have almost no text, although I fill in the story quite a bit. Sheep in a Jeep (and by the same author, Sheep in a Shop) is one of very few rhyming books that doesn’t drive me insane, and I really like the illustrations. “City Dog, Country Frog” is a sweet but sad story that is a little bit beyond V right now, but she likes to look at the pictures and I think it’s a great story so I wanted to include it.

Thankfully, we are finally past the stage where I was required to read “Goodnight Moon” absolutely every night at bedtime. (Not that there is anything wrong with Goodnight Moon. But every. single. night. gets to be a bit much. I’ll probably be able to recite it from memory for quite some time, it is so firmly ingrained.)

For the parent-y types on my friends list, what do your kids like to read? (I’m particularly interested in preschool-age recommendations, since that’s where we’ll be headed soon, but I’d love to hear favorites for any age.)


  1. My daughter LOVED “Moo, Baa, La La La” — for a long time she called pigs “La-Las” because of it :)

  2. ones that I and/or the kids liked when reading to kdg/1st graders in the SMART beginning readers program:

    I Will Never Eat a Tomato
    All Mo Willems (there are others that might be right on for her interest right now)
    No, David
    Duck on a Bike
    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
    the Eric Carle Brown Bear, Brown Bear etc series

  3. I don’t know if you’re still looking, but Massima really enjoys But Not the Hippopotamus; the berenstain bears’ B book — though you have to read really quickly to hold interest as the building on each previous phrase gets longer; night night little pookie, and –if you like the Seuss– the board book versions of dr seuss’s abcs, the foot book, and ten apples up on top.

    She’s even come to enjoy Another Monster at the End of this Book mostly due to being exposed to it as an ebook on Mama’s iPad. I think the ebook played a role in her paying attention long enough for seuss’s abcs too, since at first, I couldn’t get past d or e.

    I really have to get crazy with the voices to keep her attention, sometimes, but her attention has really built up over time. We’ll see if that changes, though! I hear toddler-hood really gets those engines running….

    Repetition, rhyming, alliteration and short, short pages are all great in holding her attention. I think the silly voices help, too. It’s just fascinating trying to figure out how to capture their interest at this age! Would love to hear more books that Valerie’s enjoying….

    • Ooops! Haven’t been to the blog lately, so I missed your comment :( Let’s see, what else is V reading these days? She’s actually starting to get into some longer/wordier books:

      Blueberries for Sal
      Make Way for Ducklings
      Robot Zot
      AlphaOoops the Day Z went First

      Books that feature animals remain popular as well (and these are probably more appropriate for those with younger/shorter attention spans):

      Is Your Mama a Llama
      The Little Gorilla
      Where is the Green Sheep
      Duck Loves Rainy Days

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