Kid’s Corner: Birthday Books (Age 2)

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My mother-in-law got word (and spread it) that I would love for my son to get books for his birthday, and I, of course, got him a couple books (among other things), so he had a rather bookish birthday this year. (Are you surprised?)

I consider books that he owns to be bonuses for me, since I have to read them every night. I’m glad I really like them all!

First, I found two books for my son at the bargain shelf at the library the other week. One was Pooh’s Bedtime Book, which has a few poems and a few chapters excerpted from the Pooh novels, of course illustrated with Shepard’s pictures. Since I don’t let my son touch our nice hard copy of those books, this one is for him to love until it falls apart.

I also found a used but still in fairly nice shape board book with pop-ups: My First Jumbo Book of Things that Go, published by Scholastic. Again, because it was inexpensive and used, it may fall apart, but he loves it. The day I bought it, he sat and played with it for 10 minutes; then I took it and wrapped until his birthday celebration. I was also looking for a used but nice condition copy of Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. When I find it, I’ll get it for him as well!

The new Little Engine
The new Little Engine

My favorite book that he got is, hands down, The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, illustrated by Loren Long. It is not the original illustrations, and I’m a sucker for originals, so at first I was wary: spin offs just usually aren’t as good. My sister-in-law said, “I looked for the other and couldn’t find it, but this one is pretty too!”

The original Little Engine
The original Little Engine

In fact, the illustrations are so gorgeous, I love them more than the original ones. It’s a large-sized hardcover book with bright illustrations and lots of white space. I’ve heard people complain that The Little Engine that Could could use more white space: it has way too many words! Well, this “remake” has so many pictures and nice spacing that I don’t mind reading it! My son likes to look for the trains on each page. Further, I don’t mind rereading it to find details in the gorgeous paintings on each page. It is truly a work of art. I love the landscapes!

Those same cousins also gave my son The Little Red Caboose, a favorite Little Golden Book. Now I realize why it was I always looked for the caboose of trains! I think it was a subconscious part of my childhood, because I don’t remember reading this book as a child. There is enough in the illustrations to allow me to read it five times a night without losing my mind. (On the first read through, I read the words. On the second, I read a few words and point to pictures. On the third, I point to pictures. After that, I don’t read it: my son does. I think three is my limit.)

Speaking of Little Golden Books, my mother-in-law also got my son Baby Animals. I admit, this one has kind of scary animals (their eyes all look a little vampire-ish). But she insists that my husband loved it as a child, so I’m willing to give it a try. I’m hoping my son learns his animals because I want to take him to the zoo!

Big Dog, Little Dog by P.D. Eastman is one that my husband loved as a child, so now it’s on the shelf of the next generation too. It covers all sorts of opposites: Fred and Ted are friends, but one is tall and the other short; one wears red, the other green; one plays flute and the other tuba. It’s a cute story, although my son hasn’t requested it reputedly yet. (There are no trains in it.)

And then there are the “big” books. Some cousins gave my son My Big Truck Book and My Big Animal Book which my son simply loves. It is an extra large board book and it has  pictures of actual trucks/animals! About 8-10 trucks or animals per page! He loves it, especially the truck one, and seriously squeals his excitement about the school bus and the car transporter (his truck favorites) and the puppies and the ducks (his animal favorites). This is just feeding his addiction to riding in the car: “Bus! Truck! Car!” is the running commentary from the back seat.

And that’s it for now! What books does/did your two-year-old read?

What are you reading with your kids this week?

Were any of these favorites of your when you were a kid?

Reviewed on October 8, 2009

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • I had the Little Engine that Could book and liked it very much. I also had a close-and-play record player and a record with the story on it. I think I can, I think I can, I find I chant it to myself now and then still 🙂

  • The Little Engine that Could was my brother’s favorite book as a child. He would have my mom read it to him over and over again. I always got bored with a book after the first reading.

  • Oh how I love The Little Engine that Could. I love reading it to my little cousins because I can still hear my mother doing the tired engine’s voice: I am soooo tired. I must rest my weeeeary wheeeeels. 😛

  • My kids had a few favorites when they were two years old, but I really can’t remember which ones we had to read over and over. Although, “Goodnight Moon” definitely was a favorite. I wish I had been blogging (or at least journaling) when they were younger to record for posterity!

    But, of the books you mention in this post, my younger son really liked “Big dog, Little Dog” and used to read it often. He still likes to take it (and a few other childhood books) out to read now and then, even though he’s an ahead-of-himself third grader.

  • Stephanie, Cara, Jenny, I love the new illustrations to The Little Engine that Could! I wonder if those with fond memories from their childhood would love it too. I don’t recall reading the original as a child, but I love the new illustrations as an adult!

    Bella, I dislike the commercialized Little Golden Books (i.e., the Thomas the Tank Engine and Barbie ones) but the originals are pretty fun!!

    Claire, I have mixed feelings about Dr. Seuss. I think I need to revisit them and write up my thoughts about them. I have a hard time reading them out loud!!

    Valerie, I think it’s great that he still has a favorite picture book, even in third grade! There’s something comforting about going back to a favorite book!

  • We have My Big Animal Book and My Big Dinosaur Book. The baby (18 months old now) is a big fan of both. The dinosaur one is just turns pages and says “Rarrrrr” on every one. It’s insanely cute.

  • Boys start with trains and trucks and move on to dinosaurs. My boys are huge fans of the new PBS show Dinosaur Train — whoever came up with it really understands the pull of both topics! I am not sure where robots fit in, but I think they are in the mix too….

    Little Engine that Could is one of our most favorites. I love the original and can’t imagine loving another version more.

    Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books

  • Karen, he hasn’t had much interest in the dinosaur books I’ve gotten him, but I guess it sounds like maybe there is time yet! I’ll have to see if that PBS show is at the library yet! My son would probably love it.

    I didn’t think I’d love a different version of Little Engine, but the white space and gorgeous illustrations make it, I believe, far superior to the original illustrations!

  • I’m trying to think of dinosaur books that have clicked at our house, and honestly I’m not sure we have a winner yet. We have just a few dinosaur books, one is called Hide and Seek dinosaurs (I think) and the other is called something like the Mystery of Dinosaur Jane. I won one at the Well Read Child and the other in a charity auction. Nonetheless the boys enjoy dinosaurs very much. We have a few dino toys from Target that they also love.

    I’d be curious if you find a great dinosaur book. They must be out there but I haven’t actively looked yet. The boys love several nonfiction books, particularly DK Readers, they enjoy books about space, volcanoes, bugs, and frogs.

    Have fun!

    Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books

  • Karen, thanks for the suggestions. We’res still not into dinosaur’s yet, so it may be a while. I’ve enjoyed all the DK Readers we’ve seen so far, but haven’s sought them out much yet! Thanks for the ideas!

  • My daughter loves books and reading her bedtime story is something I look forward to as she really gets into it. She doesn’t have a favourite book as such but some of the ones she enjoys are the victoria plum books, thomas the tank engine books, angelina ballerina books. However we have also tried reading some older stories like black beauty which uses a lot of victorian style language and she enjoyed that also.

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