Two Dozen Picture Books for Twos and Threes

This post is for my friend Sarah (sorry it took me so long to get around to it!) who asked me if I had a list of some of my favorite children’s books.  So I thought I would make one for her and share it with everyone.  I don’t know that these are my favorites, but they were favorites of Mushroom and BalletBoy were about two and three years old, before they could appreciate longer stories, but when they had outgrown the very simplest board books.  They’re all books I fondly remember reading many times from that age.  Interestingly, while I can remember that we began reading longer books at that age – books with more plot such as fairy tales and picture story books – many of the ones we liked best were the simplest.  Books that focused on imagination were some of our especial favorites.  In making a list, I tried to pick favorites that were classics and many are very well-known, but I also tried to remember a few of the lesser known titles we enjoyed just as much.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Owen by Kevin Henkes

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo by Rosetta Stone

Bears in the Night by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel

When Sophie Gets Angry Really Really Angry by Molly Bang

Titch by Pat Hutchins

Clara and Asha by Eric Rohmann

Breakfast for Jack by Pat Schories

Whose Mouse Are You? by Robert Kraus

Piggies by Audrey Wood

Voyage to the Bunny Planet by Rosemary Wells

The Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendak

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young edited by Jack Prelutsky


4 thoughts on “Two Dozen Picture Books for Twos and Threes

    1. I really like Mem Fox, but none of her books ever entered our really heavy rotation back then. I can name a bunch of others that I really love as well for that age that got left off.

  1. Someone gave Max a couple of the Max and Ruby books when he was very very small, and we all became quite devoted to them. We even quote from certain books: “Max screamed. It was a teenager.” or “I can see you Max! But, she didn’t.” I read Max’s Christmas and Morris’ Disappearing Bag to the twins every Christmas, while Max listens in from another room, pretending to be deeply involved in his Touch.

    Did MacDuff the dog ever enter your repertoire? He encouraged Max to eat rice pudding. Never with sausages though.

    Ages ago we saw those EJK stories on video, and I still remember A Snowy Day, with that lovely soft female voice…”So he made a smiling snowman.” Memories!

    1. Ooh, yes, MacDuff. Those are good, but they were never the favorites. But we love, love Morris’s Disappearing Bag. Max and Ruby are one of those that have been half ruined by their cartoon, which is okay, but much more sappy than their books. I wish more people knew the Bunny Planet stories since they’re even more poetic and sweet.

      I don’t know if those EJK’s books are actually set in DC, but they always look like they could be near our neighborhood, which gives them an added value to me.

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