Best books for under 2

Inspired by Jaime’s great list of Scarlet’s favorite books at 1, here is a list of Clare’s favorite books but I’ll go with age 12-24 months just to mix things up. When I pulled her “best books” together in a pile I was surprised to see how many were classics. Take a look at the list after the jump and let us know what we’re missing from your favorites!
Big Board Books Colors, ABC, Numbers (Bright Baby)
I’m convinced that this book is the reason Clare learned her ABC’s so early, because it couldn’t possibly be genetics (just kidding husband.) She loves to go through ALL of the pages… letters, numbers, colors, shapes etc… it has it all. I suspect that Clare picks this book when she wants to drag out storytime. There is alot of interaction. Nearing 3 years old, it’s still a weekly pick.

Good Night, Gorilla
We have the oversized version of this classic. Clare liked all of the animals and the little toys in their cages and is amused by the mouse’s undying devotion to the gorilla, following behind him just carrying that banana. She enjoys a good “Did the mouse or the gorilla eat the banana?” debate in which she always plays the devil’s advocate.

Whoops! (Sparkle Books)
Andy ant and Lucy ladybug’s adventure through a rain storm. It’s a sparkle book. Need I say more?

This book is also sparkly. A lonely whale is looking for a mysterious friend and meets a bunch of new buddies along the way. I always enjoyed making up ridiculous voices for the band of underwater pals. It has a little pop-up on the last page, Clare goes nuts for anything pop-up to this day.

The Cat in the Hat
You’ve heard of it? It’s a bit long but so much fun to read. And when, out of the blue, your 18month old starts reciting “Thing Two and Thing One! They ran up! They ran down! On the string of one kite we saw Mother’s new gown!” in the back of the car, it might be the cutest thing you’ve ever heard.

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!
Jaime gave this one to Clare for her first birthday, introducing us the the genius that is Mo Willems. This is our favorite of all his books! The favorite of all OUR books! Don’t hesitate. It’s the best!

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (Brown Bear and Friends)
Wonderful Eric Carle illustrations and, as an added bonus, you learn that flamingos flute, zebras bray and walrus’ bellow.

Pajama Time!
This one has gone out of fashion here at the Boneau house (I didn’t hide it, I swear) but I can still recite EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. a year later. That Sandra Boynton sticks with you. It’s really cute for celebrating bedtime, baby will love it!

Good Night San Diego (Good Night Our World series)
We have “San Diego” and “Rhode Island.” It’s really fun to introduce baby to the landmarks of a favorite state or hometown. The illustrations are just ok but Clare was crazy for the San Diego book. Somewhere deep down I guess she will always be a California girl. Sigh. I think they have all major cities and the states. Check for yours!

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Classic Board Books)
This former favorite still pops up as a request. Unarmed bear hunting, in general, seems like a pretty bad lesson for kids but who am I to judge. You will be nestalgic for the old camp song by the same name. The illustrations are quite pretty.

Guess How Much I Love You
This is a very sweet book. And cuddly and warm and zzzzzzzzzzzz. No, it’s cute and a nice message of a parent’s limitless love (or oneupmanship.) No, it’s sweet, really.  And it was wonderful that baby Clare adored such a lovely little book. This makes a nice shower gift, in my experience pregnant people are quite sentimental.

First Sesame Street Library 12 Volume Boxed Set (Board book)
And I have to end with the awesome little set of miniature Sesame Street board books that Clare picked out herself with Grammie. Clare was so attached to these books that she carried 2-3 of them around in a little purse at all times for a whole year. They cover great lessons like, Sharing, Counting, Music, Opposites etc. These days, she pulls them out for potty reading although lately she has taken to yelling “Get me my magazine!” from the bathroom. She’s a 43 year old man.

How about you? Favorites to add to the 12-24 month set?

And as for me, I’m off to pick up Jaime and Scarlet at the airport and couldn’t be more excited!!




Around our house, Ten Little Ladybugs, Goodnight Sweet Butterflies, and Eight Silly Monkeys have been favorites from birth on up. My oldest is 4 1/2 and she's been through multiples of each as kids can be rough on books.


My 2 year old niece loves to read and has all along. I posted a list on the Best Books for 1 year old, but I'll add some here:

Polar Babies
Praire Babies
any Disney Babies books
anything by Karen Katz
Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Polar Bear, Polar Bear
Goodnight Moon
What Shape?
Elmo Loves You
Mickey is Happy, Mickey Esta Feliz
Counting 1,2,3
Moo, Baa, La La La
Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs
Baby Beluga
Eco Babies Wear Green
In the Garden
any Biscuit board book
My Car
Urban Babies Wear Black
Beach Babies Wear Shades
Elmo and Abby Want to Play
Big Bird's Color Game
DK Colors
My First Color Board Book
Runaway Bunny
Funny Bunnies
Biscuit's Pet and Play Easter
Peekaboo Alaska
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Chicka Chicka ABC

and oh so many more. Her favorites change all the time, but we have read these many many many times!


We have Goodnight, America and Goodnight North Carolina. And as of yesterday we have Goodnight, Washington, D.C.! (A friend sent it as a thank-you gift. I think she thought the books were cool when she came to visit.) My little boy loves the first page with all the baby animals.

He loves ANYTHING with Courduroy or Spot the Dog, and he loves the books where you simply read the words and he finds all the items, animals, etc. (We have a few from Disney, and while the pages are movie-specific they don't delve into the characters or stories.)


"Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb" by Al Perkins is my favorite. It has a rhythm to it that makes it so much fun to read out loud. My 10-month-old son might not be as into it as I am, but he bops his head every once in a while.


My boys both loved I Know a Rhino by Charles Fuge and anything by Byron Barton, especially My Car at that age. Another favorite was Go, Dog, Go. And they LOVE Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton. Still at 4 and almost three, they bring that one to me over and over and giggle over the goofy turkey. We've had to replace Dear Zoo and are almost to the end of the life of our copy of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Another favorite at two was And the Train Goes by William Bee.

Mommy Meen

A huge hooray for having a Pigeon book in there! Being a grade 1 teacher and a HUGE Mo Willems fan (my son's nursery is actually Pigeon themed- such an easy character to appliqu) I make it my yearly goal to put forth a new group of Mo groupies 🙂


Tails Are Not For Pulling
I Love You Through and Through
Get Up and Go

and I always check the dollar aisle at Target for board books. they seem to always have something.


Any book that makes noise, has pop ups or textures is popular in our house, but my DD's absolute favorite is a book called Moo, Baa, LalaLa. She brings it to me at least once a day, and she loves it when I make the animal sound effects.


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