The 52 Best Books For 2 Year Olds Learning To Read

Laura Savage
Dec 12, 2023 By Laura Savage
Originally Published on Feb 24, 2020
Two year old learning to read

World Book Day is coming up on March 5th to celebrate all the wonderful tales that have shaped our lives and our children’s and to help us remember the importance of reading at every age.

Sharing stories with your little ones is one of the best ways to inspire, teach them and ignite those imaginations from their earliest years, and there’s tonnes of great ways to celebrate World Book Day this year in London from nursery rhyme workshops and Children's libraries to storybook tours and ultimate Harry Potter experiences.

Of course, one of the best ways to celebrate World Book Day is just with some good old-fashioned reading.

Here’s a list of our favourite books for toddlers as they learn the joys of storytelling themselves...

The Tiger Who Came To Tea - Judith Kerr

An unexpected guest arrives for tea in this children's classic, now a smash-hit family show.

Zog - Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

In Julia Donaldson's story, clumsy Zog tries his hardest to be the best student in dragon school. Now live on stage!

Little Red Riding Hood - Mandy Ross (Ladybird First Favourite Tales edition)

Discover this toddler-friendly version of the classic fairy tale, and experience Mill Hill Library's immersive reenactment.

Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

Follow the adventures of the Hundred Acre Wood gang and everyone's favourite silly old bear. Have a read of their timeless quotes here!

Mog the Forgetful Cat - Judith Kerr

This forgetful cat is always getting caught in a  flap - quite literally!

Each Peach Pear Plum - Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Introduce your little ones to a world of classic storybook characters with this beautifully illustrated picture book.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter

Follow the scrapes of mischievous Peter Rabbit in this charming classic.

Dogger - Shirley Hughes

Grab the tissues for this touching tale of a lost toy dog finally found.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury

You can't get around this classic! Follow this family's hunt for a misunderstood bear.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle

This ingeniously designed icon is the perfect board book for a 2 year old learning to read.

Peepo! - Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Peep into the life of a baby through this interactive picture book.

The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Walk through the woods with the lovable Gruffalo in this rhyming delight.

The Cat In The Hat - Dr Seuss

Take part in the tradition of this seriously-silly, unforgettable rhyming fun.

Owl Babies - Martin Waddell

This adorable tale of three baby owls missing their mother will warm your hearts and your children's.

Where’s Spot? - Eric Hill

Spot the dog and his animal friends in this adorable pop-up book!

The Elephant and the Bad Baby - Elfrida Vipont

Learn a lesson with this adventurous elephant and naughty baby!

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes - Mem Fox

Toddlers from around the world realise they're not all that different after all in this touching moral story.

The Snowman - Raymond Briggs

Go walking in the air with this delightful Christmas classic and one of the must-read toddler books.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be - Emily Winfield Martin

This beautifully interactive picture book celebrates all the wonderful personalities and potential that your little one has in them.

If Animals Kissed Goodnight - Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker

A young girl wonders how members of the animal kingdom would kiss their own parents goodnight in this touching bedtime story.

I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree - Fiona Waters

This charming poetry collection for kids offers a nurturing nature poem for every day of the year and introduces poetry books to young children.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse - Charlie Mackesy

A new emerging classic, Charlie Mackesy's gorgeous illustrations are stealing adults' hearts as well as children's across the world.

Press Here - Hervé Tullet

An interactive, colour-changing board book that invites the reader's imagination as well as the touch of their fingertips.

Giraffes Can’t Dance - Giles Andreae

In a story about being yourself, Gerald the giraffe defies the stereotypes and follows his heart to join the fun of the Jungle Dance!

Dear Zoo - Rod Campbell

Lift the flaps to discover the many animals of the zoo in this beloved pop-up book!

There’s a Bear on My Chair - Ross Collins

Mouse's chair isn't big enough for the two of them!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Bill Martin

This uniquely illustrated storybook is intended to help toddlers associate colours and meanings to objects.

WOW! Said the Owl - Tim Hopgood

A curious owl discovers what the world is like by day!

Dinosaur Roar! - Henrietta Stickland

Thrill your toddlers through the world of dinosaurs and these raucous rhymes.

Have You Seen Elephant? - David Barrow

Let your little ones work with the characters to try and find Elephant through this game of hide and seek to read!

Bear On A Bike - Hannah Shaw

Try out a tonne of transportation with Bear on this whirlwind adventure.

A Busy Day For Birds - Lucy Cousins

Fly high with the busy birds of this singsong nursery rhyme!

How to Brush Your Teeth with Snappy Croc - Jane Clarke

Your toddlers will love learning alongside Little Croc in this genius educational picture book.

Fox’s Socks - Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Help poor old fox find his socks through this lift-the-flap pop-up book.

This Bear, That Bear - Sian Wheatcroft

A glorious celebration of bears in all their fuzzy shapes and sizes!

Guess How Much I Love You - Sam McBratney

Big and Little Nutbrown Hare express their love for one another in a beloved tale that has been warming hearts worldwide for generations.

Whistle for Willie - Ezra Jack Keats

Determined little Peter longs and learns to whistle for his pup, Willie.

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? - Brianna Caplan Sayre

Discover the surprisingly familiar bedtime routines of every kind of truck, tractor, digger and plow!

Adventures with Barefoot Critters - Teagan White

Make the most of every season with this cosy group of forest friends.

Use Your Words, Sophie - Rosemary Wells

Bridge the gaps of language as little Sophie learns to navigate animal, parent and baby talk!

Duck & Goose - Tad Hills

This bestselling collection is an egg-citing addition to your Easter reading!

A Little Stuck - Oliver Jeffers

How will Floyd get his kite out of the tree? Read along with his struggles in the hilarious classic.

Up, Up, Up, Down! - Kimberly Gee

This delightful Dad and toddler tale is full of energetic (and literal!) ups and downs.

Grumpy Monkey - Suzanne Lang

Learn the all-important lesson that feeling your feelings is OK with this bestselling picture book.

Just for Me - Jennifer Hansen Rolli

Sharing is caring - little Ruby learns that "just for us" is miles more fun than "just for me"!

Elmer - David McKee

Celebrate individuality with Elmer the elephant in this charming patchwork of perfection.

Books for 3 year olds and up to look forward to...

The Old Bear collection - Jane Hissey

Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? - Martin Waddel & Barbara Firth

The Alfie Collection - Shirley Hughes

Kipper - Mick Inkpen

Where The Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

Grrrrr! - Rob Biddulph

This World Book Day why not head to the Barbican Children’s Library, who host a heap of free reading groups and daily story times, or the wonderful Rug Rhymes sessions at Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library for some poetry sharing and nursery rhyme singalongs with your toddlers.

For more storytelling events and fun for under fives, head to

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Written by Laura Savage

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Laura Savage picture

Laura SavageBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Growing up in the bustling city of London, Laura has always had a passion for exploring everything it has to offer. From trips to the theater and Science Museum to leisurely strolls in the park, she loves immersing herself in the culture and diversity of the city. Laura's love of travel, writing, and art exhibitions has taken her around the world in search of inspiration. She also enjoys discovering the latest food and drink hotspots in London. With a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Birmingham and a Masters's degree in Publishing from the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London. In her spare time, she also likes to flex her creative muscles by designing eye-catching graphics for Kidadl's social media platforms.

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