Our favorite children’s books: Books to say “no” to

Pretty much the day Peeper turned two, she rediscovered the word “no”—and all its power (to refuse, to state her opinion, to frustrate her parents…). Nowadays, one of her most used responses is the “no-yes,” an expression unique to toddlers who simultaneously refuse and demand things like popsicles and bunny crackers.

It makes sense, then, that Peeper delights in books that give voice to this milestone. Here, then, are some titles your little one can say “no” to again and again.

Favorite Children's Books to Say No To


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15 months

The world is a wacky place, and at 15 months old, Peeper is really starting to grapple with it.

First off, it’s confusing. I’m always feeding Peeper mushrooms and berries at home, but when she tries to eat them when we’re on walks outside, I freak out. What gives? And she throws dirty diapers in the pail, but I take out the toys, magazines and my hairbrush that she oh so helpfully tosses in, too. All these arbitrary rules are hard to follow.

Secondly, it’s scary. Nana got Peeper a book that makes animal noises when you open the flaps, and my bug started crying at the first electronic “moo.” She ran away—and came right back. She seemed to be torn between fear of and fascination with it. I had to cut her off when she started whimpering when we looked at animals in other books.

She’s also pretty intimidated by other kids. When we recently got together with the One Weekers—a group of baby friends born within a seven days of each other—Peeper was a bit out of sorts. The other toddlers just had to look at her sideways to set her off. She required a lot of cuddling when the other kids ran around and fought over blocks.

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Yet Peeper is also overcoming her fears—at least, in one case, with the help of noise-muffling headphones. We went to a Timbers game knowing we might have to bail early, considering Peeper is terrified of loud noises. But once she got used to the cushy headphones covering her ears, she didn’t mind the soccer match. I spent most of it chasing her around the restaurant, but I counted it as a huge win.

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