30 Of The Best Books For Children Aged 2 to 6

Posted by on Dec 2, 2017 in Parenting | 0 comments

Anyone who knows me well (ok, at all) knows that I loooooooove books. LOOOOOOOOVE them. And the fact that we have spent the first six years of our children’s lives living in places with no English-language libraries has cost me greatly.

(I’m speaking literally here, because I’ve basically dealt with my longing for a children’s library by buying a gazillion children’s books online and having them sent to Mike’s parents to bring out when they come–a habit which has racked up some fairly hefty overweight baggage fees along the Washington DC-Laos and Washington DC-Vanuatu routes.)

Gulp. Moving right along…

With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to share my kids books picks with you. If you’re going to live life by the “when in doubt buy books” mantra for any and all occasions, you might as well be buying winners. So here is my take on books that have TOTALLY been worth all those excess baggage fees…

(Hey, guys, some of the links below are affiliate links. That means that if you click and buy I receive a small referral fee at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your contribution to my overweight baggage allowance!!)

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GOOD BOOKS FOR KIDS AGED 3-6

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The Circus Ship

This is SUCH a fun book, with vivid illustrations that are both gorgeous and clever. The double-page spread of 15 hidden animals in the middle of the book is pure genius, and kids will have a ball trying to spot them all. The Circus Ship is one of my favorite kids books of all time, and one I’ll be keeping in my collection when my two outgrow it.

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If I Built A House and If I Built A Car

Chris Van Dusen is so ridiculously talented he belongs on this list twice, and after The Circus Ship these two would be my picks, with If I Built A House being my favorite of the two. Dominic was enthralled by this book the first time we read it–three years ago–and it’s been a favorite ever since. The text is a joy to read aloud, and the illustrations are vivid, inventive, and imagination-stretching. Both of these books are just so much fun.

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Hairy Maclary and other books by Lynley Dodd

All the Hairy Maclary books (and, for that matter, the Slinky Malinki books) by New Zealand author, Lynley Dodd, are so, so good! She has a gift for packing her stories with great vocabulary words without ever losing young readers. You read these books aloud and you feel the rhythm and the atmosphere of the story–these funny tales lilt and sing. This collection has five different Hairy Maclary stories it in and is a total bargain.

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The Snail And The Whale and other books by Julia Donaldson

We own almost everything Julia Donaldson has written and I’ve enjoyed most of them. They are engaging, clever, and fun to read. She’s most famous for The Gruffalo, but I would especially recommend The Snail And The Whale, Monkey Puzzle, Tiddler, and Zog (which has a nice pro-powerful-and-independent-women twist).

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Those Darn Squirrels

I’ll be honest. I don’t entirely understand WHY my children love these books so much, but they sure do love them! Those Darn Squirrels (and Those Darn Squirrels And The Cat Next Door and Those Darn Squirrels Fly South) are wacky and weird and wonderful and the boys think that grumpy Old Man Fookwire with his favorite snack of cottage cheese and pepper is hysterical. Go figure.

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Dragons Love Tacos

This is another strange and quirky offering from Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri that the boys (and Mike, I must say) really love but I just don’t get. Dragons Love Tacos is one of the few books the boys will take off me and carry to Daddy. They reckon Mike reads it better than I do.

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The Book With No Pictures

I delayed buying this for a while because I just didn’t see how it could be as good as all the reviewers made it out to be. Guys, this is so much fun, and SO funny, and reading it aloud or hearing it for the first time is a real experience. Dominic would tell you that this is his all-time favorite book.

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The Rhyme Bible Storybook

This book contains 35 Bible stories told in rhyme and paired with colorful illustrations. We’ve tried a few different Bible Storybooks (including VeggieTales… what is up with that weirdness?) and this one is by far our favorite.

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Have You Filled A Bucket Today?

This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior by using the concept of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love by “filling buckets.” We read this book regularly and (more importantly) talk about filling buckets on a regular basis. It’s one story metaphor that’s translated into day to day life around here.

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We’re All Wonders

In this book, the author of Wonder, shows young readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. A good book to help you talk about empathy and kindness with young kids.

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Boomer’s Big Day

Boomer’s ready for his morning walk. Here’s his leash. There’s the door. But try as he might, he can’t get anyone to pay attention to him! The simple text and heartwarming pictures charmingly depict Boomer’s confusion, anxiety, concern, and ultimate delight on moving day. We’ve got a lot of books about moving on our shelves, and this is the one the kids have enjoyed the most and still ask me to read.

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The Enormous Crocodile

There are no two ways around it–Roald Dahl was a strange man and this is a strange book. I would not have picked a tale about an enormous crocodile trying to eat children as a read-aloud-to-kindergarteners book, but Dominic’s teacher this year did. And Dominic LOVED it (at least, he loved it after he got through the first terrifying reading). He begged me to borrow it over the weekend, and then we had to read the whole thing four times, and Alex loved it too. I bought all of Dahl’s books and tried some of the others since (whatever you do, stay away from James And The Giant Peach until your kids are at least 12–that was a huge mistake) but this seems the best of the lot to start kids off on.

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The Magic Faraway Tree

Emboldened by our success with The Enormous Crocodile, we moved onto chapter books. This was the first series that snagged Dominic’s attention immediately and kept it throughout all four books. The Magic Faraway Tree collection really is magic. It gets a bit tedious to read aloud after a while–Blyton has her favorite words and phrases she uses over and over and over again. But if you cut yourself loose from having to read every single word you’ll enjoy it as much as the kids.

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GOOD BOOKS FOR KIDS AGED 2-4

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Giraffes Can’t Dance

We’re starting to get into some of the books the boys really loved when they were younger, now. Giraffes Can’t Dance is a sweet, bright tale about about a giraffe who finds the courage to put on his own, unique show. Beautiful illustrations. Heart-warming message.

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I Love You, Stinky Face

This is a weird and wonderful take on that classic, The Runaway Bunny, but the boys love it–green skin, centipede burgers, banana birthday cakes, cyclops lullabies and all.

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Steam Train, Dream Train

The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, bouncy kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls. This book is cute and fun and perfect for kids who love trains and animals.

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I Have Feelings

I was so excited to find a book about feelings that Dominic liked! I Have Feelings was a total winner with both kids when they were 2 and 4, and also provided an entree to talk about anger, jealousy, etc.

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Harold And The Purple Crayon

“One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Both my kids have gone through extended phases of being obsessed with this book. So simple. So clever.

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A New House For Mouse

Bright colors and clever use of cutouts in the page layout make this story especially appealing for young readers. Wander with mouse as she tries to find a house big enough for her and her apple.

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The Little Yellow Digger

If your kids love diggers as much as mine do, you need to buy The Little Yellow Digger. This is another one that both boys have loved equally (and it’s quite something to keep a 1.5 and a 3.5 year old entertained simultaneously). They have asked for it over and over again and can recite it out loud.

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The Little Blue Truck 

The Little Blue Truck is a lovely pick for kids aged 2-4. Full of truck noises and animal sounds, this clever rhyme also packs a clear message about friendship and helping others.

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Kisses For Daddy

Kisses For Daddy is a sweet tale about a grumpy baby bear who does not want to go to bed. I particularly appreciate that daddy is the one who is jollying him along through the bedtime routine.

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Good Kids Books For Grownups

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And to finish off the list, here’s a book the kids don’t particularly adore–but I do. I love this beautiful and exuberant book of endless good wishes. It’s full of wishes for curiosity and wonder, for friendship and strength, laughter and peace. It’s one of those kids books that is just as beneficial (probably more) for grownups to read out loud than it is for kids to hear.

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I Wish You More

Wherever you are in life and love this holiday season I wish you love, joy, and peace. I wish you lots of good books. I wish you… more.

Related posts:

Puppy lessons in parenthood
Introducing Dominic McKay Wolfe
Dear Dad, Love Dominic

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