I look for books that strike that nearly impossible balance between being simple enough for a two year old to understand and books that prevent me from going stark, raving mad when I read them for the 32nd time in a single sitting.
I find a fair number of them each time. But so that readers can more authentically appreciate the chaos that our trip to the library entails, I have also included the Head of Demolition's self selected titles in this list.
Also, as a DISCLAIMER if you choose to buy through my Amazon link, Amazon will pay me. That's the idea at any rate. I wouldn't know, because it's never actually happened that someone clicked on the link I recommended and bought something. But the chance is there. Apparently.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
A very pretty and clever book. The book is basically a list of greens (jungle green, pea green) making it simple enough for a two year old. But the illustrations are gorgeous (thus the Caldecott honor) and each one has a cut out that shows through to part of the next page. Very enjoyable, at LEAST the first seventy five times.
The Case of the Missing Donut by Allison McGhee
The Head of Demolition chose this book herself and has since refused anything to do with it. It's cute enough and might be good for older kids. But all in all it doesn't bother me that she hasn't picked this one back up.
To the Beach by Linda Ashman
Another one selected by the Head of Demolition and since abandoned. It's not bad. It rhymes, so that's always nice. The illustrations are the cartoon kind and cute. I can't really say if I'd get sick of it after several hundred readings, because like I said, the Head of Demolition abandoned it right away.
Blue Sky by Audrey Wood
I have to admit that I really like Audrey Wood. I chose this book because of its simplicity. It goes through a series of skies (dark sky, cloud sky, etc.). I wouldn't really say it's my favorite of her books (in fact, it would be hard to pick a favorite!). But it's serving it's purpose as a bedtime book quite nicely and I can read it a LOT of times without wanting to accidentally on purpose lose it under the couch.
Welcome Song for Baby by Richard Van Camp
Chosen by the Head of Demolition, this book is subtitled "A lullaby for newborns" and is quite sweet. I think both her and I would like it better if there were a tune to the lullaby and/or I knew the tune. It has a lot of "Hey ya"s in it, but there's no shaking like a Polaroid picture, so it's hard to tell where to go with that. Still, the sentiments are absolutely beautiful, and Head of Demolition likes looking at the baby pictures. So there you go.
Pierre by Maurice Sendak
I checked this out because Really Rosie was a childhood favorite of mine, so I DO know the tune to it. The Head of Demolition loves any book that has singing, so it's an easier one for her even though it is fairly long for a two year old. I get to not only relive my childhood while reading it to her, but remember a time when feeding children to lions was considered suitable punishment for not minding one's parents.
Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell
I like the illustrations in this book, and the story has that kind of feel good "child as part of a community" quality. It's a little disorienting that the trucks and vehicles have names right away while the occasional human remains unnamed. I'm not sure the Head of Demolition really kept up with the plot the whole time, but she had fun looking at the trucks.
Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley
Yet another Head of Demolition pick thrown by the wayside the second we got it home. It is a really cute one though. It rhymes and has a story that is probably just a tiny bit over her head. I think another few times through though and she'll be able to understand that the mouse made the mess.
Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas
Much better than I expected. I got this book out because I figured that the bold illustrations would attract my young cowgirl. I was right about that, but I wasn't expecting it to be so delightfully silly. I don't think the toddler quite understands, especially since to her a wolf is not necessarily scary (wolf = woof = dog). She enjoys it and understands at her own level. And I've read it a number of times and am not sick of it yet.
Good Night Spot by Eric Hill
Another Boonga pick, obviously. And if you've seen one Spot book, you've seen them all. Still, there's probably a reason they're so popular and I really don't mind reading this one seventy million times. Mercifully, there are no little lift the flap things in this one.