Guest Post: More Books for the Under-Two Crowd

Yesterday we enjoyed a guest post from Elsa, who shared her favorite books for babies.  Today she’s sharing book ideas for older babies and toddlers.

Activity Books

Books for the under-2 crowd at

Touch-and-feel, lift-the-flap, pop-up, and scratch-and-sniff: every baby loves book that appeals to his fingers and nose as well as his eyes.

A’s favorite: Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

My favorite: Tails by Matthew van Fleet, an animal book with some unusual creatures in it.

We also like the Usbourne Touchy-Feely series of That’s Not My… books. A loves the mirror in That’s Not My Baby, but there’s a version for every interest: cats, puppies, trucks, dragons, snowmen, pandas, fairies, donkeys, monkeys, even That’s Not My Reindeer.

You don’t need special books to add actions to your reading, though. A will copy me if I do things like make onomatopoeic noises, give a big shrug with “Where’d it go?”, or pat a picture of a puppy. We have a First Little Golden Book edition of The Three Bears and we always knock on the door, blow on the porridge, and give a big bump when baby bear’s chair breaks.

First picture books

First Picture Books

Shortly before A’s first birthday, we started reading some paper picture books. I quickly discovered that the ones she liked fell into two categories. First, books with rhyme and rhythm. Second, simple stories with aspects that were familiar to her, perhaps about family or food or going to bed.

Rhyme and rhythm:

A’s favorites: Cat in the Hat and Oh the Places You’ll Go (which I hid because it is annoying)

My favorite: Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle. I picked this one up at the library when A was quite small. She didn’t care for it then because the pictures are low-contrast. I, in contrast, was taken by the Hopkins-esque sprung rhyme text with lots of alliteration, and the illustrations, while not appealing for babies, are beautiful. I checked it out again this week, and to my great delight, she loves it. We read it eight times today.

Relatable stories:

A’s favorites: the Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer, Thanksgiving at the Tappletons by Eileen Spinelli. I’m honestly not sure why A loves Tappletons so much. It’s one of those not-that-great books that I have an emotional attachment to, but we have read it over and over until I am heartily sick of the the turkey going PLOP! SPLASH! into the pond. Actually, I think the attraction is in all of the noise in this book: GLUMP! AH-CHOO!

My favorite: Geraldine’s Blanket by Holly Keller

One book that hits both the relatability and rhyme aspects is the classic Madeline.

What books do your babies and toddlers love? What books do you wish they loved?

Elsa's family

Elsa is a mother, a wife, and a reader. She lives in the Sonoran desert and dreams of moving back to the Midwest.





(This post contains affiliate links.)

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One Response to Guest Post: More Books for the Under-Two Crowd

  1. Donna Johnson says:

    “If we want students to develop a devotion to reading, we need to show them evidence of our devotion to it.” Lucy McCormick Calkins

    Instead of “students,” read “our babies.” Reading this post and the one yesterday fills my heart with joy, not only for the enormous difference a very early interest in books will make in A’s life, but for the extra special bonding she has with her parents because of their shared literary experiences. Also very proud of Elsa as a mom (and for lots of other reasons :o)

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