BOOKS FOR BABIES TO AGE 3
The best help adults can give kids is to let them read what gives them pleasure or desired information. Kids will read, if the material meets their needs. (Of course, adults must read to their children every day until the child the takes the book and says, "Let me do it.")
Please, read only Good Books -- ones with bright, clear, excellent (not cutesy) illustrations and uncluttered pages. No text, or at most one line, is fine. Board books are perfect because tiny hands like to touch things. Babies LOVE to see pictures of other babies and young animals. Babies are doing a lot more thinking and mental processing than most people give them credit for.
***Many "toys" in the playpen should be board books or cloth books. The baby will "read" more and more as she is able to sit up and select playthings.
Read to your growing baby at least 2 or 3 times a day--always before naps as a good way of calming him. Ten minutes or so are enough at first. Be consistent if you want to create a reader.
And you do want to create a reader, because jobs for non-readers are nearly non-existent. I don't care how cuddly this baby is, you won't want him lounging around the house at age 25. You will want him well-educated and gainfully employed. Thus, he must become a reader. THIS is the time to start.
Baby is fussy??? Try some beautiful music in the background. Growing up with the sounds of orchestras and bands and rich voices enlarges the soul.
Still fussy? Give in and treat the baby to one of the Baby Einstein videos that combine classic music with just-right illustrations.
STILL fussy? If he isn't hungry or tired or stinky, then he is bored. Take him outdoors unless the weather is beastly. Push him in a stroller or wear him in a backpack and go for a hike. It'll make you healthy and calm the baby…at least most days it will. If you can't walk outdoors, walk around an indoor mall.
Ages 18 months to 3 years
Keep on reading. At a year and a half, and for months to come, your child will enjoy simple books with good illustrations and very little text--a line or two per page is enough. You may "talk your way" through most books and the baby will love it.
By age three, most children will listen to a brief story that is full of action and well illustrated. Draw the child into the story by saying things like, "Oh, look at that rooster. He has a fancy tail, doesn't he?" Soon, the child will take over and point out that fancy tail to you.
Many kids want to hear favorite books over and over. I drove my mother nuts with my adoration of Little Black Sambo. I still love it. My daughter wanted to hear The Story of Ferdinand (the Bull) several times a day for a month until she was finally satisfied. Then once a day was enough.
As kids grow, listen and watch for cues to tell you what books to offer. Often boys are interested only in factual literature. Right now many little girls are ga-ga over stories about princesses. Whatever the interests are, surrender to their preferences. You are demonstrating that books = pleasure. Books meet their needs and answer their questions. Also, once your child has satisfied his curiosity about trapdoor spiders or pirates, he'll be content to move on to another topic…and you'll be ready. Hoo boy, will you be ready.
Forge the link between books and pleasure. Create a reader.
Gradually read aloud longer and longer stories. You are helping your child to develop the attention span necessary for kindergarten and first grade.
There is so much good children's literature that you don't have to read books you detest or object to. I refused to read about a boy and his purple crayon because I was fairly sure my kids would then color on the walls, just like Harold in the story. Maybe that's dumb, but parents have rights, too.
BOOKS FOR BABIES TO AGE 3
A word about BOARD BOOKS AND FABRIC BOOKS. Please offer your infant as many books to play with as toys! Babies start by chewing on the books-this is good!-and move on to looking at the pictures, then turning pages to find their favorite pictures. Because children will go only as far in life as their language takes them, I believe that the more books a child can interact with, the better! You cannot read to them too much.
Reading With Babies, Toddlers, and Twos, A Guide to Choosing, Reading, and Loving Books Together by Susan Straub and KJ Dell’Antonia.
Babies and toddlers can often look at and listen to the same book over and over, until the parent is ready to cry with boredom. Young children really enjoy knowing what’s coming! Of course, the parent has to enjoy reading time also, or it won’t be repeated. This book suggests many strong titles and encourages parents to keep on reading even though the child appears not to be listening. Some kids do somersaults or peek at a page and run away, yet they really are listening! As they get older, they’ll sit for longer and longer periods.
This book is just full of great ideas for stories and for story time.
Hello, Toes! Hello, Feet! by Ann Whitford Paul, Ill. Nadine Bernard Westcott. The delight on a baby’s face when she first discovers her hands, then her feet, is unforgettable. What wonderment! This colorful book capitalizes on the importance of those useful, amusing, amazing appendages and what they can do, all day long. Enjoy! And please check out Little Monkey Says Goodnight also by A.W. Paul.
Corduroy Lost and Found by B.G. Hennessy, Don Freeman, and Jody Wheeler. Of course, Don Freeman is the original creator of the Corduroy books, but he is sadly gone. The art director for A Pocket for Corduroy is the storyteller here, with art by Jody Wheeler, a prolific illustrator. As with all of these books, the bear is the star, and in this one the bear is lost…so it’s a tiny mystery. Toddlers LOVE all the classic Corduroy books, and will love this one, too!
Chicken Bedtime is Really Early by Erica S. Perl, Ill. George Bates. Great book, that’s all there is to it, combining great wit and warmth. Kids and parents enjoy the rhyming language, moms enjoy the illustrations that show Dad helping with bedtime, and reviewers enjoy every aspect! Very young children will select this book repeatedly, which says volumes. This is also a book that children will cherish for many years to come. Please try Perl’s other titles, such as Chicken Butt! and Ninety-Three in My Family .
Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks from A to Z by Richard Scarry. Just looking at Lowly Worm on the cover of this chunky book makes me grin. Our daughters and son always loved the books by Richard Scarry. Those books were so well loved and used, they didn't survive. That's a testament to greatness. Enjoy!!
Curious George at the Zoo: A Touch and Feel Board Book (2007) by H.A. and Margaret Rey. George the monkey debuted many years ago and still has a strong claim on kids' affections. This sturdy book is a good way to begin the Curious George stories that will later suit a child from three to seven or eight. As always, the colors are bright, the art direct and uncomplicated, making Rey's books immediately accessible to young children.
Dimity Duck by Jane Yolen, Ill. Sebastien Braun. Yolen's many books fill bookshelves all over the country and this is a notable addition to the list. Dimity Duck and her friend Frimity Frog tickle the toddlers at bedtime and become a read- again favorite. Check it out! Also, read Yolen's How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and Off We Go! In addition, Yolen edited a book of poetry and song: This Little Piggy and Other Rhymes to Sing and Play: Lap Songs, Finger Plays, Clapping Games, and Pantomime Rhymes.
My Little Yellow Taxi by Stephen Johnson. Anybody at your house who likes to say "Vroom! Vroom!"? If so, this is a perfect book. Kids can check under the hood, inspect the windshield wipers, and generally get to know what a car is all about. This interactive book follows My Little Red Toolbox , also by Johnson. What fun!
Move Over, Rover by Karen Beaumont, Ill. Jane Dyer. This book could inspire a strong wish for a dog, because Rover is totally wonderful--in looks and personality. One after another, he allows many creatures into his doghouse, each one escaping the rain. Except one critter is NOT welcome. Echoing the folktale about the expanding mitten that accommodates one animal after another, this funny story is on target for very small people who will giggle and ask to hear it again.
A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa. This classic book is a collection of mainly English poems that Fujikawa has illustrated beautifully in black and white as well as color. Included are Robert Louis Stevenson, Longfellow, and Kate Greenaway, among others, writing on a variety of topics you can enjoy at nap and bedtime, or anytime your baby will sit with you. Editors of children's books are not always happy about rhyming texts, but babies and kids love them. My brother, at three, recited Eugene Field's poetry that our mother read to us. "…and the Dinky Bird is singing in the amfalula tree!" he would chant gleefully.
Mole and The Baby Bird by Margorie Newman, Ill. Patrick Benson. I keep a copy of this book always in my house to give as a "new baby" present along with Goodnight, Gorilla , by Peggy Rathman. The artwork in both books is charming! In this story, young mole brings home a baby bird and cages it in his dark, underground home. Grampa Mole sees the sad little bird and takes his grandson for a walk on which they admire the free, soaring birds. Little Mole runs free…and realizes that his baby bird should be free, too. Letting him go makes mole sad and proud of himself at the same time.
Baby Danced The Polka by Karen Beaumont, Ill. Jennifer Plecas. Baby is not in a mood to nap. Instead, let's dance! This is another rhyming text about a normal family, their frisky baby, and some stuffed animals-with the added bonus of folded treats waiting to be UNfolded. This is a large board book, with bright, cheerful illustrations.
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell. Another great board book and another oldie. A child looking for the perfect pet writes the zoo. Problem: the zoo sends a camel, who's too grumpy, so the child sends him back…and so on. You'll get to read and re-read this book many times as it is a dependable favorite. Yes, eventually the flaps wear out, and you may have to get another copy!
When a song you love comes on the TV or radio, pick up the baby or toddler and dance around the room. Good fun, good exercise—all make for a happier parent and baby. Musical toys make terrific gifts. Xylophones, flutes, recorders, plastic saxophones—all are fun. Musical videos also help, especially when you need a little peace so you can prepare dinner or visit with a friend. *** Check out This is your Brain on Music, by D.J. Levitin.
From Dawn To Dreams, Poems for Busy Babies by Peggy Archer; Ill. by Hanako Wakiyama. Charming, nostalgic art and simple, amusing poems will please both you and your baby. You may be sitting still reading, but these babies are all over the place—up, down, on the swings, and everywhere else that babies like to go! Your child will easily “see” himself or herself on these pages and delight in the rhyming words.
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett.
This disarmingly simple book is most appealing because of its simplicity, I think. The title words are the only words used. The bear is the only critter in the book. You’ll all laugh as the words “orange bear” appear and poor Bear contemplates his oddly-colored fur. Eventually the bear eats each piece of fruit, of course. He’s a bear, after all. A most delicious creation.
Dog and Bear—Two Friends Three Stories by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Speaking of bears…this book about a multi-colored, stuffed bear and his dachsund buddy won the Boston Globe Horn Book award as best picture book of 2007. The colors, stories, and charm of this small book are obvious on page one. Like the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel, these stories are about friendship. Bear is reticent and thoughtful. Dog is ebullient and chatty. Both are just plain fun. An emerging reader in your house will enjoy reading this book to a younger sibling, too.
Tiny Tadpole by Judith Nicholls. How about a bit of science for your toddler? This board book tells the story of a tadpole who graduates into frogdom. The textured art begs to be touched and the rhyming text is fun to learn, easy to remember—something toddlers love to do. This interactive book is part of a new series from Scholastic—carefully designed to suit the interests and capabilities of toddlers. Try one! Kids love to learn “real” stuff!
Tails by Matthew Van Fleet. Just give me a Van Fleet book and I’ll be happy. The art and simple texts of all his books are just exactly right. In Tails, the fascinating animal appendage that people do not have, is front and center…and often furry. “Tails long. Tails stumpy. Pulling tails makes snoozers grumpy.” This is a touchable, lovable book that you’ll be glad to read and re-read with your child. Also, please read Dog, by this author, One Yellow Lion, and Monday the Bullfrog. If I had a baby now, we’d have all of Van Fleet’s books!
Quiet Loud by Leslie Patricelli As mom to a toddler, this author simply writes down what goes on in her house, or so she says. After saying “Yummy” or “Yucky” to her child for a year, she wrote Yummy Yucky. These two titles are opposites, as you probably guessed, and the star is an obliging bald-headed toddler who acts out the opposite terms. Parents and kids are big fans of all of Patricelli’s books. Look up Big Little ; Blankie; Binky ; and The Birthday Box for more fun reading.
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman. Here’s a terrific new-baby gift, and a gift for each of your own children, as well. It celebrates the unique person inside each human being. The art is enchanting, and women reading this book for the first time tend to weep a little at the beauty of it. A huggable, lovable book.
How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. This title is part of a series of dinosaur books for very young children by prolific author Jane Yolen and talented artist Mark Teague. The colors are bright, the illustrations amusing, and the brief rhyming text is on target. This series is out in board book format, too. Enjoy!
OTHER RECOMMENDED BOOKS:
Baby Einstein: Violet's House by Julie Aigner-Clark.
Here’s another winning series, this one from the developer of the Baby Einstein videos. This board book features a mouse who invites readers into her house where they can touch things, even join her in brushing their teeth. This particular title in the series seems especially appealing, but all of them are excellent offerings for young children.
So Sleepy Story by Uri Shulevitz.
Shulevitz has a fine reputation and this book showcases his memorable art. When the sleeping boy is awakened by music drifting into his darkened room, all the inanimate objects there come to vibrant life…and into full color. A great deal of revelry takes place until the music and notes gradually fade away, the colors dim, and the boy is ready to fall asleep again. You and your children will want to read and re-read this imaginative book.
Adele and Simon by Barbara McClintock.
After school, Adele picks up her little brother, who has many possessions, including his coat, books, scarf, crayons, and most especially a picture of a cat that he drew that day. She cautions him not to lose his things this time, so we know he’s a child who regularly misplaces stuff. And so he does again! Children will delight in watching Simon as he mindlessly wends his way through 20th century Paris, heading toward home, but becoming sidetracked along the way. The pen and watercolor illustrations are exactly right.
Baby Faces #1, Peek-A-Boo, Ill. by Roberta G. Intrater.
No doubt about it, babies are interested in other babies. My grandchildren adored books with baby faces. They would smile back at the smiling baby in the book, view with suspicion the angry or frowning baby, and so on. Seeing other babies’ faces helped them to make sense of the world of people, I believe. This particular book rhymes and plays peek-a-boo—what more could any baby want?
If you want a project for all your spare time—-yuk, yuk—-cut out some babies’ faces from magazines or extra family/friend photos and make your OWN book using cardboard that you’ve covered with contact-paper or wrapping paper.
Little Gorilla, by Ruth Bornstein.
This 1976 favorite is now a board book with its absolutely wonderful, memorable art and a very brief text. I never tire of this tale of the wee little gorilla whom everyone adores, who gets VERY BIG at the end, but is still beloved. That’s a subltle message, and one that’s just right for folks of any age!
Snoozers, by Sandra Boynton.
While not deathless prose, this little board book is fun for babies. Its rhymes appeal and so do the color combinations. I enjoyed the layout and the humor, and I think the baby did, too!
Little Lamb, from Emma Books Ltd.
I fell for the illustrations here, and the simplicity of the text. When this lamb-shaped board book sits on the shelf, the face of a lamb looks out at you. The brief story tells of a bored young lamb who looks around the farm for an exciting place to live and discovers in the end that the pasture with other lambs is actually the most interesting. That’s a most unoriginal theme, but this sturdy, well illustrated book is still worth your time.
Little Duck, a finger puppet book. This board book originated in the Netherlands, with art by Klaartje Van der Put. Babies and toddlers find this book highly entertaining as the small yellow duck head with its orange felt beak and black-button eyes is always peeking at them, maybe nodding, looking one way or another—-all depending on your skills as a reader-puppeteer. Combining action with reading works well.
Fix-It Duck, by Jez Alborough.
Highly popular in Britain, the Jez Alborough books are big favorites here, too. Poor Duck is disaster on duck feet, having always the best of intentions and the worst of results. This rhyming text floats along from one humorous picture to another as Duck, in attempting to fix a small leak in this roof, drops his box of tools at Sheep’s house, knocks a hole in the skylight at Sheep’s house, has a flat tire…well, you get the idea. This is an excellent read-aloud for just one child or a group of toddlers. Others in the series include Duck in the Truck; Hit the Ball, Duck!; Duck's Key, Where Can It Be?
Also, check out Yes, by Alborough. You’ll recognize Bobo, the winsome chimp from HUG, and you’ll be happy to see him again.
Baby Unique: Record Book, by David Ellwand.
This is a treasure, a yummy book, a perfect gift. It has the graphic design (drop-dead gorgeous pages) that Candlewick Press is famous for, plus charming quotes.
My First Christmas Board Book from DK Publishing.
Just as its title says, this book portrays our major Christmas items--baby Jesus, the tree, Santa Claus, mistletoe--all the basics of a contemporary holiday in vivid color. A clean, simple presentation.
'Twas The Night Before Christmas (board book), by C.C. Moore, Ill. Bruce Whatley.
What fun to share this timeless rhyming story with the newest ones in the family! Moore's poetry is part of our American heritage, besides being a charming window into Victorian America. Whatley's illustrations are just right, seems to me. This book is a keeper.
Signing Time Videos (Vol. 1: My First Signs; Vol. 2: Playtime Signs; Vol. 3: Everyday Signs).: An article from: Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities from Two Little Hands Productions. The first three DVDs in this series are by R. Elizabeth Bowers; other videos by several different authors. I can attest to the value of teaching sign language to infants. Our second granddaughter was clearly frustrated by her inability to communicate-even before her first birthday. Clearly, she had things to tell us! Her brilliant mother taught her American Sign Language and voila?, she began to communicate-a joyful thing for all concerned, especially the baby, who was no longer fussy without reason. We think that knowing sign language speeded up her acquisition of English. Now, research proves us right. Knowing sign language DOES speed up learning speech. Is it hard to teach? No. Is it fun to teach? YOU BET!
Good For You! Toddler Rhymes For Toddler Times by Stephanie Calmenson, Ill. by Melissa Sweet
Very good for toddlers in groups or in a play period with others. While the book itself is rather large, the material for rhyming, dancing, singing and having a good time is all here. Toddlers get to play peek-a-boo, make animals sounds, have a parade with the letters, and lots more in the 24 original rhymes. Plenty of actions to do with the rhyming here, so this title meets several toddler needs.
Little Quack by Lauren Thompson, Ill. D. Anderson
This beloved old story features Widdle, Waddle, Piddle, Puddle, and Little Quack--ducklings old enough to leave the nest. Yet Little Quack is afraid, as any sensible duck would be. What's out there? Just so does a toddler worry when he or she is suited up for the first days away from Mom or Dad. This book is just right for children around 9 months to 2 or 3 years.
The Cow Who Clucked by Denise Fleming.
Your toddlers will love this mixed-up cow who lost her moo. She hunted everywhere for it, but since she was clucking, she should have gone directly to the hen, right? Your listeners will figure this out, making them feel extremely bright, long before Ms. Cow understands. A fun and funny book. Also, a fine read-aloud that lets your listeners identify the animals and make all the right sounds to help that poor, confused bovine.
Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin , Ill. Betsy Lewin.
Yes, I like cows, and kids do, too, so let's just enjoy these cows while we've got them, okay? This humorous barnyard tale is from the author who gave us Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, so we know already we're going to like it. Lewin's illustrations enhance the text, to everyone's delight.
Look, Baby! -- series by Margaret Miller.
Babies love looking at other babies. Miller's photographs tailored perfectly to babies are the reason babies enjoy peering intently at her books! They know that each picture is of someone like them, and that's all they need. Along the way, they'll learn about dozens of other things, depending on the book. Consider: Boo! Baby; Peekaboo Baby; and I Love Colors for starters.
Dancing - This is not the title of a book, as you may have guessed. Instead, it is a suggestion for exercising the baby, amusing the baby, and incorporating poetry and rhythm into life. Even before they can walk, babies love to be “danced with,” as you whirl around the room to music or march to the sounds of the March King, Johann Strauss—and they love to boogie! You can dance to Mother Goose rhymes—just pick a rhythm that suits the poem. I used to do a nifty number to “Old Mother Hubbard.” You can too. Then, as your baby begins to walk, you can boogie him or her around the house, dunk the kid in a nice warm tub, and that baby will SLEEP so you have some time off. Or time to sleep yourself. I have never met the young child who did not LOVE to dance.
Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells
We all love Max, the rabbit created by Rosemary Wells. In this story, Max and Ruby shop for Gramma’s present, but their money doesn’t go very far because Max keeps spending it on other things. There’s a good lesson here, some math practice as their purchases cause their precious savings to dwindle, and at the back of the book, pages to photocopy so your kids can have “Bunny Money.” Two other Max and Ruby titles sure to entertain are Bunny Partyand Bunny Cakes.
What Can You Do With A Shoe? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, Ill. by Maurice Sendak
Originally published in 1955, this book has new life, with Sendak’s art in full color this time. This wacky, whimsical book illustrates how much fun our imaginations can be. What can you do with a shoe? Or a hat, a cup, or a broom? Surprising answers for these mundance objects lead to smiles all around.
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Ill. J. Chapman
“The cold winds howl / And the night sounds growl / But the bear snores on.” Great pictures, funny story. As the fierce winter takes control of the forest, many creatures crawl into the bear’s cozy cave. The other creatures really enjoy the cave, but bear wakes up snarling when their peppery food makes him sneeze. A party is happening, in his own house, and they had left Bear out!
I enjoy the rhyming here, so appealing to younger listeners. This sturdy, well-illustrated board book should have wide appeal.
Because I Love You So Much by Guido van Genechten
The illustrations are justification enough, but the text is also charming in this book for age 2 and up. Snowy the polar bear is soft to the touch because of special flocking, and he asks the questions most youngsters ask their mothers. Her reassuring answers are the ones all children long to hear: a mother’s love is steady and unconditional.
Animal Kisses, by Barney Saltzberg.
Babies like this touch and feel board book because it introduces them to various textures and the art is bold and clean. This is a nice book for playpen or crib, and also for “discussions” about animals with your baby.
Toes, Ears, & Nose, A Lift-the-Flap Book, by Marion Dane Bauer.
Babies enjoy finding fingers in mittens, ears unders hats, and so on, as they contemplate various body parts. Lifting the flap makes the book a participatory experience, more engaging for some babies determined to participate. Bright, uncluttered art is good for even the younger babies.
Big Fat Hen, by Keith Baker.
I love the jewel-tones in this board book that cheerily takes us through the familiar old counting rhyme beginning “One, two, buckle my shoe.” The various critters are appealing and so is this rhyme that has taught countless children how to count to ten, often before they can walk.
Max and Ruby (series) by Rosemary Wells.
All the titles are winners. I can’t even say “Max and Ruby” without grinning, in fact. Although Max and Ruby are drawn as rabbits, we know they are “every boy and his sister.” Some of my favorites are Max's Dragon Shirt, Max's Chocolate Chicken, and Max and Ruby in Pandora's Box These books stand up to many readings, and that’s what you’ll be doing when you get them.
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag.
The story begins when an elderly couple decide to get a cat. After a bit, home comes the husband with “millions” of cats because he couldn’t decide which was the prettiest one. Now, the cats themselves will have to decide. This is a beloved classic, and you understand why as soon as you read it.
‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, by C.C. Moore, Ill. by Tasha Tudor OR by Bruce Whatley.
Current favorite presentations of this classic Christmas poem. I LOVED the version illustrated by Cheryl Harness, but you may have to track down a used copy. In each case, the illustrators showcased the story-poem at the right place in time—the Victorian era—when moms and dads wore headgear to bed (kerchiefs and caps), and children dreamt about sugarplums. In all three versions, the marriage between text and art is exceptionally good. Of course, everyone in the family will gather around when you read this book.
Hug, by Jez Alborough.
A gem of a book, much beloved by kids, moms, and teachers. As a baby chimp observes hugs, it dawns on him that HE needs a hug, too. Sadly, Mom is not around. At last, from up in a tree she calls, “Bobo?” Hallelujah! we think, as they are reunited with a giant hug.
Mother Goose Rhymes, from Scholastic.
A great job on a sturdy board book. Again, the art looks “old,” as seems right for these classic poems. Older children will enjoy reading this selection to the baby of the family.
Munch, Munch! Who’s There? Ill. by Karen Jones.
In this interactive book, your child’s finger pushes out the hungry critter who has eaten the apple…or the cheese, and so on. This is a bright, sturdy book with minimal images for children under two.
Trucks Board Book, by Byron Barton.
Trucks is just one in a series of just-right board books for babies up to 2 years old. The images are simple and brightly colored. The people look like toys. Other super titles in this series by Barton include Boats; Dinosaur, Dinosaur; I Want To Be An Astronaut; Machines At Work; Planes; Trains, etc.
Count Along Songs, from Sesame Street, guided by “The Count”
Here are 5 songs to sing along with Elmo in this interactive songbook. The child presses a giant note on one side of the book to get the song, while the board book pages appear on the left side.
Bear Hugs (Set) by Martin Waddell includes:
1. Kiss Goodnight
2. My Friend Bear
3. Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?
It’s never too soon to expose children to fine illustrations, and Waddell offers some of the finest. This is a lovely and loving set of books, perfect for bedtime.
Rhinoceros Tap, Ill. by Sandra Boynton, with songs by Adam Bryant.
Some dancing and singing and laughing stuff here. I just sent this book to my younger grandson so he and his parents can jump around the room to music. The musical scores are included, along with a CD.
I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullen (board book)
This hilarious, accurate, fascinating book went in the same mailing as the above. The garbage truck is the narrator, and a most original character in children’s literature. “Know what I do at night while you’re asleep? Eat your TRASH, that’s what.” (Ages 2, 3, and 4)
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.
This board book is one I keep on hand, in multiples, so I can whip over to someone’s house the minute a baby is born and present it. It’s practically wordless, so as children grow more verbal, they can tell you what the funny, naughty monkey is thinking when he gently lifts the keys from the zookeeper’s pocket and lets out all the animals, one by one. I never tire of turning the pages of this charming book, appreciating the wit and the art anew, each time.
Boo to a Goose, by Mem Fox.
You’ll be happy with all of Mem Fox’s books. This one has silly, wonderful rhymes and a predictable, interactive repeat so that your listener can chime in on a repeat basis. Young kids love to do this. The bright collage art works well with this poetry for our youngest age group.
Doggies, A Counting and Barking Book, by Sandra Boynton.
Okay, this is not heart-stopping, great literature, but it IS appealing to little kids and you can pick it up at Target or Wal-Mart. The various dogs are all dopey, lovable, and funny, especially the great big one who says WOOF! I could read and bark my way through this book every day for a few months, making the point the books are an awful lot of FUN.
What Shall We Do With the Boo-Hoo Baby? by C. Cowell. Illustrations by I. Godon.
Great board book. All of this month's books are great board books! In this irresistible story, Duck, Cow, Cat, and Dog have some good ideas about what to do with the bawling baby, but you know how a baby can cry! Anyone who's ever been an infant or lived with one will appreciate this book.
Freight Train (Caldecott Winner) and Truck Board Book, both by Donald Crews.
Talented Donald Crews knows what appeals to babies and toddlers. His eloquently simple art is just right, and so is the matching text in both of these titles. His images remain in mind long after the page is turned.
PeekaBook Zoo (from Lamaze: Infant Development System), by S. Hood. Illustrations by S. Abel.
This is a strong lift-the-flap title for babies and toddlers. The bright, cartoony art is not too busy, and the introduction to zoo animals is timely. Kids enjoy all animals, of course, but zoo critters like long-necked giraffes seem to have a special appeal.
Usborne Chunky Jigsaw Books: Emergency!: With Four simple Jigsaw Puzzles (Chunky Jigsaw Books); Trains (Chunky Jigsaw Books); and Tractors Chunky Jigsaw Book (Usborne Chunky Jigsaw Books) (3 books).
Again, just right for small hands. Each book has 4 easy-to-work jigsaw puzzles. Babies can touch and see the wonderful vehicles promised by their titles. You can call me an old gramma if you want, but I'm predicting that BOY babies will be crazy about these books.
Also from Usborne, First Fun With French and First Fun With Spanish.
These introductions to languages other than English are just right for anybody wanting to be part of the modern world, which is multi-lingual. Speaking biologically, our "language window"--the time when we learn languages most quickly and easily--is open widest from birth to age seven. (How silly that the U.S. so often waits to teach "foreign" languages until high school. Aargh.)
Thus…if you want a bi-or tri-lingual family, you don't have to wait. In fact, the longer you wait, the harder it is to learn another language.
These selections are DVDs, each one lasting 40 minutes--a super change-up for late-day entertainment while somebody makes dinner.
The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn.
Illustrations by R.E. Harper and N.M. are warm and wonderful, making the animals seem deliciously real and fuzzy. In this story, the mama raccoon plants a kiss in small Chester's paw so that "his mother's love would go with him wherever he went." What a great idea!
Look and Say Farm, from Usborne Books.
This extra-sturdy board book is illustrated with people and animals that are toys—a clean, simple presentation with a limited number of items on a page, just right for babies. Colorful, too! Check out other Usborne books on this level as they are well done.
Peek-A-Who, by Nina Laden.
Here’s a real winner, a great concept for any baby who likes peekaboo—and they all do. On page one we glimpse black spots on a white background. Peek-a-who? Turn the page and Moo! It’s a cow with black spots. Page three shows us eyes on a chartreuse background. Peek-a-who? Turn the page and BOO! It’s a chartreuse ghost. What a fun book!
In Sea Star Ocean, from Reader’s Digest Books, Ill. by E. Gatt.
One of a series of books with good illustrations, factual content, and only 2 to 4 lines per page. Many children prefer “real” material in their books, even when they’re very young. Fortunately, more than half of the books published currently for children are factual literature.
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, by Al Perkins, Ill. by Eric Gurney
Good color and intriguing concepts…if you're a baby! The appealing rhyming sense of the author and the nonsense sounds are just the ticket for tiny kids. Eric Gurney is one of the very best illustrators.
The Touch and Feel series from Dorling-Kindersley (DK)
Tractor (Touch and Feel), and Touch and Feel: Kitten Pictures in this series are bright, simple, and realistic, adding up to great fun for babies to age 2. Just a few objects per book, which is fine for our youngest readers. I particularly enjoyed Tractor (Touch and Feel),, with its chunky tire and bale of straw. Series includes: Touch and Feel: Farm; Touch and Feel: Dinosaurs; Touch and Feel: Pets; Touch and Feel: Puppy; Baby Animals, Touch and Feel: Kitten ; and Touch and Feel: Home…and maybe more by now.
Count With Maisy, by Lucy Cousins. If you don't already know Maisy, well, you should. She's the white mouse all kids love in the Maisy titles that make all toddlers chuckle. That's just the response to a book I most love to hear. Check out Where Is Maisy? and Where Is Maisy's Panda?
The Lady With The Alligator Purse, by N.B. Westcott.
I love this book with its irresistible rhyme. Now it's a board book, just right for 18 months and up. You may recall: "Miss Lucy called the doctor/ Miss Lucy called the nurse/ Miss Lucy called the lady with the alligator purse." Well, that's what HAD to happen in this wacky story after baby Tiny Tim drank all the bath water, and ate the soap. What the lady with the alligator purse prescribes will have everyone laughing.
My Love For You, by Susan L. Roth.
Here's a warm and memorable experience (ages 18 months and up) from a distinguished collage artist and author. You'll enjoy turning the pages in this imaginative counting book any time of day, but especially at bedtime. "My love for you is loftier than 10 lovebirds soaring high above the clouds."
My Little People School Bus, and My Little People Farm, both by Doris Tomaselli, from Fisher-Price.
These lift-the-flap playbooks are perfect for small hands. They seem "busy," but Richard Scarry proved to us that toddlers like busy books. Both are brightly colored, showing kids how much fun we can have with books, making a great early impression. They're part of a series of large board books.
Baby Einstein (Video). Either buy, share ownership of, or check out from your library these imaginative, beautiful videos. They are magic if you have a fussy, colicky baby. Also…try the many Baby Einstein board books! Remember the song, "I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly"?? Little children love it. Try it, you'll see.
My own kids were happily absorbed by records with accompany books that set the nursery rhymes to music. That still works if you've got the equipment. Today, kids love the tapes and CDs from their favorite TV shows. Try some Sesame Street Tapes (or CDs.
Bright Baby Series including First Words; Colors; Trucks; and Animals by Roger Pritty.
Super for babies only a few months old up to 2 years, as the pictures are clean, bright, and unencumbered by text. Usually only one word or so to a page. For example, in First Words, babies see a picture of a girl, with the word girl, and that's it. The lack of context is okay in a few books for very young kids, but in general, I think more context helps understanding.
Where's SPOT, (and other SPOT titles) by Eric Hill.
All the SPOT books are great favorites of kids and parents. Lift-the-flap books are always popular, of course, but Hill's humor and charming art elevate this series above many.
Baby Beluga, Ill. by Ashley Wolff, with songwriter and singer Raffi's lyrics as text.
You can sing this book or read it. Both ways are wonderfully successful. If you haven't yet purchased a Raffi tape or CD (home and car entertainment), you might do that as a gift for the upcoming holidays.
Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, Ill. by Lois Ehlert. Irresistible rhythm and illustrations. Kids LOVE this book. Our youngest grandchild adores this book--probably it's the compelling rhythm.
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle
--all good, all the time, for all kids
Olivia Owl, by M. Pledger
Charming all the way. Olivia is a just-right critter.
Baby's Home; Baby's ABC; Baby's Friends; etc., all by N. Ricklen. Three of an eight-book series featuring real babies that your baby will find fascinating.
Sheep In A Jeep and Sheep in a Shop by N. Shaw. Look at the pictures now. Read the funny text later.
Animals, Animals and A House for Hermit Crab and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book, by Eric Carle Classic books that appeal to all. Wonderful art!!
Prayer for a Child , R. Field. Exquisite art and text. Caldecott, '45.
Swimmy, and other titles by Leo Lionni.Again, charming illustrations.
The Rainbow FishKids love the play of colors in this book., by M. Pfister.
Dr. Seuss's A B C , by Dr. Seuss. Never too early to start the alphabet!