Recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors have shown promise for use in liver-targeted gene delivery, but their effects have not been extensively investigated in the immature liver. Understanding the impact of liver growth on the efficacy of transduction is essential, because many monogenic liver diseases that are amenable to gene therapy will require treatment early in life. Here we show that rAAV2/8 transduces the neonatal mouse liver with high efficiency. With just one doubling in liver weight, however, there is a rapid reduction in vector genome numbers, irrespective of form, and the loss of episomal vector is almost complete by 2 weeks. Stable transgene expression is observed in a small percentage of hepatocytes, often in two- to eight-cell clusters, suggestive of genomic integration. Delivery at serially older ages was associated with progressively improved episome persistence and transgene expression. Vector re-administration was possible following initial neonatal administration, albeit at reduced efficacy because of an anticapsid humoral immune response. We also found that intraperitoneal (i.p.) delivery of rAAV2/8 was highly effective at all ages, and that promoter selection is the critical determinant of the intensity and pattern of transgene expression across the hepatic lobule. We conclude that successful use of rAAV to treat liver disease in early childhood will require optimally efficient vector constructs and probable re-administration.