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The 14 best books for two-year-olds: brilliant books toddlers will adore

Two is a wonderful age for children to really engage with books. From fun rhyming stories to classic tales, here are some gorgeous books to snuggle up and enjoy with your toddler.

By Poppy O'Neill | Last updated May 12, 2023

best books for 2 year olds collage

At the age of two, children can get so much out of reading books. Whether it’s a cute bedtime story to read while cuddled up with their best doll or teddy, or a fun lift-the-flap book, reading can be a really calming activity to do together and it can help develop their language and learn more about the world. If you're looking for the very best books for 2-year-olds, we've got you covered.

While your home might be packed with the most exciting and best toys for 2-year olds, nothing beats a good book. Through stories children learn empathy and they’re great for encouraging their imagination and aiding their cognitive development. Books are also a great tool for helping children with milestones like potty training or learning to brush their teeth, and can come with fun flaps to lift, textures to feel and even sounds that make storytime even more fun.

Because we understand how important story time is for both children and parents, we wanted to find a range of well-loved and highly recommended books for you to read with your two-year-old. We scoured the Mumsnet talk boards for authentic recommendations from real parents and checked these with expert review sites to bring you a collection of stories that will keep your toddler entertained and help them develop a love for reading.

Here are 14 of the best books for 2-year-olds.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Guess How Much I Love You

Price on writing: £4.00 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Calming bedtime story
  • Gorgeous illustrations
  • Lovely story about family and love

What Mumsnet users say

My 2-year-old loves Guess How Much I Love You, Whistle for Willie, Fox’s Socks, Bear on a Bike.” (Loved by Mumsnetter Averytiredmom)

Our verdict

If there’s a story that’s sure to bring a joyful tear to the eye of Mumsnetters, it’s the simple, yet moving, Guess How Much I Love You. This beautiful tale follows Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare as they explore different units of measurement in order to express how much they love one another. 

With sweet illustrations as well as heartfelt prose, this book is a wonderful way to let your little one know how loved they are (just make sure you've got tissues on hand). The short, repetitive text is easy for your child to follow along - in fact, they’ll soon be reciting it back to you - and is perfect for reading to your child at bedtime.

Supertato by Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet

Supertato by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

Price on writing: £4.00 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Part of a series
  • Laugh out loud funny
  • Easy World Book Day costume

What Mumsnet users say

"Supertato is fab." (Recommended by Mumsnetter SleepingStandingUp)

Our verdict

Silly, funny and bound to become a favourite, Supertato is the first in a series and now a TV show too. Using simple text and bright illustrations, little ones will love the eccentric characters and their madcap adventures. 

If your child is a fan of the Supertato TV series, a book featuring the same characters can be a great way to get them engaged in reading together. Thanks to an engaging storyline and witty writing, it's pretty fun for adults to read, too. 

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Press Here Herve Tullet

Price on writing: £9.36 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Interactive and engaging
  • Entertaining for a wide age range
  • An activity as well as a book

What Mumsnet users say

"Press here is fantastic & fun for a wide age range." (Loved by Mumsnetter Waddlelikeapenguin)

Our verdict

A lovely, innovative book that uses simple illustrations to create an interactive experience. Press the yellow circle and see the dots move and multiply. Two year olds will love seeing how the pictures change, seemingly in response to their touch. 

While story books are of course a magical thing to share with your child, books that double as an activity can really engage your child's imagination and forge connection between the two of you. 

Pip and Posy: The Bedtime Frog by Axel Scheffler

Pip and Posy: The Bedtime Frog

Price on writing: £6.50 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Tough boardbook
  • Part of a series
  • Fun, colourful illustrations 

What Mumsnet users say

Pip and Posy is perfect for this age. There's loads to choose from.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter wonderingwhatsnext)

Our verdict

This series of books about best friends, Pip and Posy, comes highly recommended by our Mumsnet users for children of this age. With fun, colourful illustrations, these simple stories reflect a toddler’s life, in this case forgetting a much-loved toy when going to a sleepover.

In The Bedtime Frog, Posy goes to stay at Pip’s house but when it’s time to go to sleep, she realises she’s forgotten her favourite frog toy. Eager to make his friend happy, Pip offers her lots of his toys to try and help her sleep. This is a lovely story about friendship and one both you and your child will be able to relate to!

Noisy Train by Sam Taplin & Stephen Cartwright

noisy train by sam taplin and stephen cartwright

Price on writing: £4.52 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Lovely big book
  • Lots of buttons to press
  • Good range of sounds
  • Part of a series

Our verdict

Whatever your little one's interests, there's bound to be an Usborne Noisy book to suit them. From Noisy Zoo to Noisy Bottoms, and of course the classic Noisy Train, each chunky board book comes with a story and buttons your two-year-old can press to make sounds. 

Featuring cosy illustrations by Mark Cartwright, kids can follow the simple story of the Boot family as they ride a steam train through the countryside. Reviewers say the sounds are clear and realistic, if a little short. 

Got a train-mad child? Check out our guide to the best train sets, according to Mumsnetters

Oi Frog by Kes Gray & Jim Field

oi frog by kes gray

Price on writing: £5.03 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Great rhyming text
  • Genuinely funny
  • Part of a series

What Mumsnet users say

"In our house we love the Oi Frog/Dog/Cat etc books for funny and a bit of word play." (Loved by Mumsnetter TwinkleWings)

"The Oi! Books are great, 'Oi Frog', 'Oi Duck billed Platypus' are funny." (Recommended by Mumsnet user InDubiousBattle)

Our verdict

With its clever word-play and great ending (which we won't spoil for you), Oi Frog is a funny fave among Mumsnetters and their toddlers. With over a million copies sold, this simple but hilarious book is bound to be a hit with your 2-year-old.

Like many of the books in our round-up, Oi Frog is part of a series, so if your little one does end up requesting it every night (several times), you can get some variety in the shape of Oi Dog, Oi Cat and Oi Duck-Billed Platypus. 

Pirate Pete’s Potty by Andrea Pinnington

Pirate Pete's Potty

Price on writing: £6.33 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Story for aiding potty training
  • Board book
  • Button for adding fun noises

What Mumsnet users say

Pirate Pete. Even though it gave me the boak, the kids loved it and it introduced them to the general idea.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user LaTomatina)

Our verdict 

If your child is at the potty training stage, Pirate Pete (or Princess Polly) is a story that will add some fun to this important milestone. Follow Pete as he makes the move from nappies to big boy pants and learns how to use the potty. 

The story is simple and easy to follow with fun illustrations, showing Pete’s fears about using the potty and how he overcomes them. The story will help encourage children in their own potty training journey with a button that cheers to celebrate both Pete and your own child’s toilet training achievements!

If you're embarking on potty training, we salute you! Our guide to the best potties has got you covered. 

Hey Duggee: The Tooth Brushing Badge

Hey Duggee The Tooth Brushing Badge

Price on writing: £4.99 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • A fun story for encouraging tooth-brushing
  • Colourful pictures
  • Includes characters from the hit BBC show 

What Mumsnet users say

I also like the Hey Duggee brushing your teeth book.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter MrsLeclerc)

Our verdict 

Do you have a tooth-brushing refuser? If so, read this fun story to them about how they can earn their tooth-brushing badge with the much-loved character from the hit CBeebies TV show Hey Duggee.

Whether they are a fan of the show or not, they’ll enjoy reading about a lion with very smelly breath. Duggee and his friends the Squirrels teach him the importance of brushing his teeth, with a fun song that children can sing along to, which helps the lion learn how to brush his teeth for two minutes. The bright, colourful pictures make this a fun read and will hopefully make bedtime tooth-brushing that bit more fun!

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt

Price on writing: £6.99 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Fun peep-holes to look through
  • Great rhyming text
  • Engaging story

What Mumsnet users say

"Nick Sharratt has done a few great ones, so I highly recommend him, especially love What’s in the Witch's Kitchen, You Choose and Shark in the Park." (Recommended by Mumsnetter Luckyleprechaun80)

Our verdict

Is there really a shark in the park? Look through Timothy Pope's telescope with your toddler to find out. Using cut-out peep holes, this engaging story is full of surprises and red herrings. Illustrated by the much-loved Nick Sharratt, Shark in the Park comes highly recommended by Mumsnetters. 

Another great story that's been turned into a series, 2-year-olds will also enjoy Shark in the Dark and Shark in the Park on a Windy Day

The Tickle Book by Ian Whybrow & Axel Scheffler

The Tickle Book

Price on writing: £5.99 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Fun flaps to lift
  • Gorgeous illustrations
  • Rhyming text

What Mumsnet users say

DD is almost 3 and loves anything Julia Donaldson (Stickman, The Gruffalo, The Snail and the Whale), Dear Zoo, The Tickle Book…” (Loved by Mumsnet user Faithtrustandpixiedust)

Our verdict  

With a flap to lift on every page, The Tickle Book will provide plenty of fun for your toddler at storytime. Following Tom and Bear, the book is about a Ticklemonster who goes to tickle all his animal friends. After all, who doesn’t love being tickled? 

Illustrated by The Gruffalo artist, Axel Scheffler, the pictures are fun, featuring animals such as pigs and penguins. Children will enjoy the silly rhymes and interacting with all the fun flaps on every page.

Very First Book of Things to Spot At Home by Fiona Watt & Stephen Barker

very first book of things to spot at home by fiona watt

Price on writing: £6.99 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Great for developing speech
  • Kids will love matching pictures from the book with items in their home
  • Bright, appealing illustrations

What Mumsnet users say

"My two year old loves this book at the moment. It’s not a story book, just lots of pictures that she likes to look at and describe what she sees. It’s really helping with her speech development." (Loved by Mumsnet user NeverTheHootenanny)

Our verdict

Perfect for any time of day, Very First Book of Things to Spot at Home is filled with bright, simple pictures of objects commonly found around the house. Books like this one help develop speech and pre-reading skills, as young children can connect the images in the book with items in the real world. 

Just because this one doesn't have a story, doesn't mean it can't be a favourite for little ones at bedtime. Two-year-olds typically have between 50-250 words, and they'll love spotting and naming their favourites in this lovely book. 

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Room on the Broom

Price on writing: £4.00 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Brilliant rhyming text
  • Fun illustrations
  • Series of brilliant, funny books 

What Mumsnet users say

We also love the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom.” (Loved by Mumsnetter MrsAlbertaWhisker)

Our verdict  

A children’s book collection wouldn’t complete without at least one or two Julia Donaldson stories. Her easy-to-read, funny and engaging rhyming text makes her books a hit with both parents and children alike. A story about a friendly witch and her new friends, the cat, dog, bird and frog, Room on the Broom is a favourite amongst our Mumsnet users. 

Telling the tale of the witch and her hat, which keeps being blown off in the wind. When she goes down to collect it, she meets her new friends who want to join her on her broom. She kindly lets them on, but it gets too heavy and when the broom eventually snaps, they come face-to-face with a dragon who wants to eat them. A brilliant tale of friendship, kindness and bravery, you will love snuggling up with this one at bedtime - and thanks to the catchy text, your child will soon be reciting it back to you.

Lost My Name by Wonderbly

The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name by Wonderbly

Price on writing: £24.99 | Buy now from Wonderbly

What we love

  • Makes a gorgeous keepsake
  • Kids love seeing their name in a book
  • Preview all pages before buying

What Mumsnet users say

"If you want a really special book look at Wonderbly The Girl Who Lost Her Name book. They are personalised with your dd's name inside. There's more options too but truly beautiful and personal. You can get codes for money off." (Recommended by Mumsnetter nocutsnobuttsnococonuts

Our verdict

For something special that will last a lifetime, Wonderbly's Lost My Name is a lovely, if pricey, choice. Simply add your child's first name, choose a character from a small selection, and each letter for their name becomes part of the story. 

You can double-check the whole book before parting with your £24.99, and the story is genuinely engaging. Kids will enjoy being read the story - and later, reading it themselves - up to the age of around 8, but these special books are designed to be treasured forever. 

There's a House Inside My Mummy by Giles Andreae & Vanessa Cabban

there's a house inside my mummy by giles andreae and vanessa cabban

Price on writing: £5.99 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Age-appropriate and easy for young children to understand
  • Mixes metaphor with factual information
  • Demystifies pregnancy and birth for toddlers

What Mumsnet users say

"We really like ‘there’s a house inside my mummy’ although I have to change the words for a baby sister and skip the last lines as there will not be any more!" (Recommended by Mumsnet user DrWhy)

Our verdict

Preparing a young child for the arrival of a younger sibling is a challenge many parents in the Mumsnet forums struggle with. There's a House Inside my Mummy is a gentle, age-appropriate explainer aimed at children aged 1-3 that helps demystify pregnancy, birth and becoming a big brother or sister. 

Using the metaphor of a house, the book helps soothe young children's confusion and worries about a new baby. Mumsnetters advise changing the last line of the book - which suggests there might be more babies to come - if you plan on this pregnancy being your last! 

Do you have a baby on the way? Take a look at our newborn essentials shopping list

How can I encourage my 2-year-old to enjoy books?

If your toddler isn’t a natural bookworm then there are things you can do to help encourage their interest in books. 

Make sure to read to them regularly, both at bedtime and throughout the day if possible. This helps them get used to sitting down and reading a book together. Make sure that the books you choose are easy to follow, with small amounts of words on the page and pictures to help tell the story. Funny stories will keep them engaged and repetitive and rhyming text will make it easier for them to join in with the story, as they are easier to remember.

Get them to choose the books you read together by putting out a few stories for them to pick from, including any books about topics that interest them. This will help them get more excited about reading. At this age they will enjoy learning about animals and practising their alphabet and learning to count, so find books that make this fun.

You can also lead by example. Does your toddler see you reading? If not, make sure they see you reading regularly too and they may feel more interested in their own books.

What kinds of books are good for a 2-year-old?

At this age, there’s a huge range of books that will cater for a child’s interest and development. The main types of books are:

  • Board books: These are good for this age group as they are more robust and easy to handle for toddlers. 
  • Rhyming stories: These are fun for a toddler as all the words rhyme, making it fun and easy to engage with the story.
  • Picture books: For this age group, this will be a short story with small amounts of works on a page accompanied by illustrations to help tell the tale and engage their imagination.
  • Interactive books: These may have fun flaps to lift up, textures to feel or sounds to listen to.

About the author

Poppy O'Neill is a Content Editor at Mumsnet and a mother of two. She's been researching and reviewing baby and child products for 2 years, with a particular focus on baby essentials, toys and books for toddlers and outdoor play equipment. From potties to paddling pools and bunk beds to bedtime stories, she loves to deep-dive into research and find the best products out there.

Poppy is also the best-selling children's and parenting author of books such as Don't Worry, Be Happy, The Extraordinary Book That Makes You Feel Happy and Mother Power. She specialises in children's mental health and her books are used by therapists, teachers and SENCOs across the UK. She won the Kate Betts Memorial Prize in 2019, her books have been translated into eight languages and her writing has featured in The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The Sun.

After earning a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Leeds and a PGCert in Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism from University of the Arts London, she worked in fashion for most of her 20s. When her children were young, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester and re-trained as an author and freelance writer. When she's not working, Poppy enjoys Pilates, hunting for sea glass on the Sussex coast and playing with tarot cards.

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations from real parents

To start our research for the best products to recommend to you, we head to our Mumsnet forums to find out which ones our users rate the most. There’s over 7 million users each month so what better place to start our search? It means that every product recommended has been put through its paces by a family at home and caters for a range of different needs, budgets and lifestyles.

Expert advice 

We always want to be able to recommend a range of tried-and-tested products so to get to the bottom of which ones are the best, our trusted and experienced parenting journalists research each category thoroughly. Once we have a list of products from our Mumsnet forums, we check them with the experts to make sure that each one comes highly recommended.

To do this we use a variety of sources, including consulting independent review sites, such as Which?, to ensure we are bringing you the best products on the market right now.

Consumer feedback 

How often have you used online reviews to help you pick a product? This is a great way of finding out how well it lasts when put to the test at home by the consumer. We scour the internet to consult reviews on websites such as John Lewis, Amazon and Argos, to make sure the products are worth your hard-earned cash.

We don’t just look for positive reviews, negative feedback also helps us work out which products perform well across the board.

Celebrated best products 

Finally, we want to include any products that have received industry awards as we know this means they stand out from the rest. We cross-reference this information with the rest of our research to help us recommend a variety of books for 2-year-olds that will engage and entertain your toddler.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

With two young children, now aged eight and six, our writer Gemma has enjoyed reading many books at storytime. She knows what kind of books engage and encourage a toddler to enjoy reading - in fact, she used to be able to recite Stickman and Room on the Broom word-for-word they were read so often!