Toddler’s Picks — Board Books Your 2 Year Old Will Sit Still For (Sometimes)


It is 8 o’clock in the evening and I marvel at how I find myself here when it seems just minutes ago I woke up at 7 o’clock in the morning.  Time flies when you are having fun and time flies even faster when you have a 2 year old.  There is never a dull moment in my life with Gertrude, my strong minded, stubborn, independent toddler.  She amazes me each day.  If you have ever spent even a moment with a 2 year old you know they are go go go until the moment they fall asleep so you can imagine how difficult it may seem to get them to sit for a story.  Still, reading stories to Gertrude is one of my favorite past times even if it means we can’t get through even one page without a “why” or “look!”; after all, inspiring curiosity is one of the many benefits of reading to a child.  I started early with Gertrude, reading out loud while I was pregnant then continuing that tradition as I nursed her.   She is now 2.5 years old and knows every letter of the alphabet and can spell her name, at least the first half.  I’d like to think that the time I’ve spent reading books to her has something to do with that. Below are a list Gertrude’s favorite books and the reasons we love them.   Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list.  We also love all things Sandra Boynton, Karen Katz, and many more.  Enjoy!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Eric Carle Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
By: Eric Carle

This is a predictable story in which children see a variety of animals, each one a different color, and a teacher looking at them.  This has been one of our favorites from the start.  I don’t “read” this to Gertrude.  I have always sung it to her to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “Old MacDonald”.  She has known this story by heart since she was able to talk.  I attribute her knowledge of colors to this story as well.  It doesn’t hurt that the teacher at the end of the book has blue glasses like “Mama” and she gives woman on the page a kiss each time.

Chu's Day By Neil Gaiman Chu’s Day
By: Neil Gaiman

A sniffly little panda worries that his enormous sneezes will be disruptive when his mother takes him to a dusty library and his father takes him to a diner where other customers use plenty of pepper.  Since before Gertrude could talk this was a favorite and she was able to imitate the sneezing sound.  This is a great story to introduce your child to all sorts of animals and is amusing for the adult reader as well as the child who is listening.

Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle Little Blue Truck Leads the Way
By: Alice Schertle

A country truck feels out of place in the speedy, noisy city until he comes to the rescue during a giant traffic jam.  Just when you think there is no way your toddler will listen to a book with this many pages and words Little Blue Truck will surprise you.  The sing song rhythm of the text and the cute illustrations will keep your toddler’s interest.  Every book in this series (Little Blue Truck; Little Blue Truck’s Christmas) is an everyday read in our home and has helped us teach Gertrude kindness, animal sounds, counting, and more.

Owl Babies By Martin Waddell Owl Babies
By: Martin Waddell

Three owl babies whose mother has gone out in the night try to stay calm while she is gone.  This is the first story I remember reading to Gertrude where she started asking “why?”  “Why is Bill sad?”, “Why did their Mama leave?” .  Her curiosity is only one reason we love this book.  It helps to teach about different emotions and has always been a favorite at storytime at the library as well.

From Head to Toe By Eric Carle From Head to Toe
By: Eric Carle

An interactive picture book encourages young readers and listeners to mimic the movements of animals in the story.  I love this one at home with Gertrude and in the library at storytime because it promotes exercise and helps to develop listening skills as well as learning how to follow directions.  There is nothing cuter than a toddler pounding their chest like a gorilla.

The Bunny Hop The Bunny Hop
By: Sarah Albee

In a tale told in rhyme, little bunnies begin turning up in the strangest places all over Sesame Street early one Easter morning.  Honestly when I bought this for Gertrude it was only because it had Elmo on the cover and in no way struck me as quality literature.  But as soon as I read it to her I changed my mind.  The rhyming story is fun and the illustrations encourage listeners to pay attention and find the bunnies.  We even practice counting with this book.

No No Yes Yes By Leslie Patricelli No No Yes Yes
By: Leslie Patricelli

A small child learns the difference between No No things, such as running away, and Yes Yes things, such as holding an adult’s hand.  We love Leslie Patricelli and get a kick out of all her stories so it was hard to pick just one for this list.  I chose No No Yes Yes because it was the first book that Gertrude “read” to me.  She is able to look at the illustrations and tell me the story.

The Snowy Day By Ezra Jack Keats The Snowy Day
By: Ezra Jack Keats

A small boy discovers that he can throw snowballs, make angels, and slide down hills in the fascinating world of snow.  This is a new favorite and I love it because we can mimic the story when we are playing in the snow.  We make angels like Peter and walk like Peter and drag a stick to make tracks like Peter.  

Dear Zoo By Rod Campbell  Dear Zoo: A Lift-The-Flap Book
By: Rod Campbell

Each animal arriving from the zoo as a possible pet fails to suit its prospective owner, until just the right one is found. Movable flaps reveal the contents of each package.  Such a fun book to read with a child who is able to lift the flaps and even to an infant that isn’t able to yet.  We practice our animal sounds with this book. 

Steam Train, Dream Train By Sherri Duskey Rinker Steam Train, Dream Train
By: Sherri Duskey Rinker

In this book with rhyming text, the dream train pulls into the station and all the different cars are loaded by the animal workers, each with the appropriate cargo.  We came across this book by mistake when buying a gift for my nephew.  I am glad we did.  Not only does it help teach with colors which would be the obvious purpose but it also is great for prediction.  Gertrude is the one who picked up on the fact that you can see the color of the next train car on the previous page.  


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