Best Books for the 18-24 month old

I've been on a baby/mothering theme for my past few posts (I wonder why?), so I thought I'd continue today, before moving onto other topics more specifically related to writing.

And so, a LIST. (Do all writers love lists, or just obsessive ones like me?) (And what about parentheses? Can there be a parenthesis club? :) Someone recently asked me to recommend books for an almost 2-year-old, so I jotted down a quick list of our home's fail-proof books for the 18-24 month old. With the exception of Hop on Pop, which Zoe loves and the rest of us yawn through, these are the books that we all enjoy when we sit down to read together—many are still requested by our four-year-old...or her papa. :) I'm always looking to expand upon something good, so feel free to chime in in the comments with your favorites, too!

 Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, by Al Perkins (Zoe's #1 favorite)

Many of Dr. Seuss's books: 

Dr. Seuss's ABC's

Hop on Pop (though that one gets really old to read aloud!) 

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?

The Foot Book

Kevin Henkes' books for toddlers: 

Kitten's First Full Moon

Little White Rabbit

A Good Day

We're Going on a Bear Hunt, by Helen Oxenbury

Each Peach Pear Plum, by Alan and Janet Ahlberg

Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert

Mo Willem's “Cat the Cat” and “Pigeon” books—and Knuffle Bunny, of course!

I Love You as Much, by Laura Krauss Melmed (my personal favorite)

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson

Time for Bed, by Mem Fox

Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney

Goodnight, Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr.

Pretty much anything by Eric Carle, especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Mixed-Up Chameleon

Drummer Hoff, by Barbara Emberly

Freight Train, by Donald Crews

Curious George, by H. A. Rey

Look, Peter Rabbit! (with Beatrix Potter illustrations)

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by Erin Stead

Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt

Matthew Van Fleet's pop-up books, including: Heads, Tails, Alphabet, and Cat

Who's That Baby? by Sharon Creech (especially if your 2-year-old has or will soon have another sibling, baby cousin, etc.)

Chickens to the Rescue, by John Himmelmann

Drum City, by Thea Guidone

This is by no means a comprehensive list...but I hope you find one or two titles you'll get to know and love!

UPDATE: If this list was helpful, you might enjoy my new post on the Tried-and-True Board Books all SIX of my children love!

(Note: If you click on the images, you can buy the books directly from Amazon. I'm an Amazon Affiliate, so I'll get a small percentage from each sale.)


  1. I love a lot of these. The Empty Pot by Demi is one of my very favorites!

  2. I was so glad to see Time for Bed and Chicka Chicka on there...definitely Malley's favorites! Although, "Are You My Mother" by PD Eastman just might be at the top of her list.

  3. I am always looking for new books to read to my toddler. Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. I can't tell you how many times we read freight train when my oldest was about 2. We have/love a lot of these. Great list! We also started to like some of the Bernstein bears, spooky old tree, and bears in the night around 2yo.

  5. Several of these are our favorites, too! Hand Hand Fingers Thumb was one my brother and I loved as children, which he gave my daughter for Christmas when she was 7 months old; she took to it right away and used to drum on the cover whenever she happened upon the book!

    Another of my favorites for this age group is Bear on a Bike: charming, rhythmic rhymes by Stella Blackstone, with very colorful illustrations by Debbie Harter.


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