At the baby shower for my first child, I received a children’s book from each of the guests, most of them beloved classics that are near and dear to everyone’s hearts (think Goodnight Moon, I Love You Through and Through, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and I Love You, Stinky Face). I also had my own collection of classics neatly stacked in the baby’s room: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and Mary Engelbreit’s Mother Goose: One Hundred Best-Loved Verses. Over time, other books were accepted into the more or less permanent reading rotation. Below are a few of my children’s (and my) favorites:
Caps for Sale Board Book: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business (Reading Rainbow Books) by Esphyr Slobodkina: This book has been one of Brynn’s favorite books since she was about 6 months old. Sound effects for the peddler’s caps piled on his head keep her engaged until we get to the middle of the story when the caps suddenly disappear, swiped by a band of monkeys who mock the peddler’s attempts to get them back. When Brynn was about 9 months old, she began shaking her little finger, waving her chubby fist, and stomping her tiny feet back at the peddler, just like the monkeys. Luke loved this book, too, and “The End” so boldly printed on the last page was the first phrase he ever read. We read the board book version because it’s quite a bit shorter than the original hardcover.
Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson and Sam Williams: Super cute rhyming text that has parents nibbling toes, kissing noses, bouncing baby, and hugging oh so tight. From now on, I will be buying Baby Cakes for any expecting parents that I know. Brynn and I both love it!
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes padded board book by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury: Brynn has been entranced with this book since she was teeny tiny. The text rhymes and repeats throughout the book, so very quickly, babies learn what to expect while reading it. Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to babies from all over the world, growing up in all kinds of circumstances, but “each of these babies, as everyone knows, has ten little fingers and ten little toes.” Brynn loves examining the different baby faces, and we spend a lot of time talking about where each of the babies lives. The illustrations are beautiful; the babies’ faces are full of expression and delightfully cute and cuddly. We have the lap book version, and if you can find it, I’d highly recommend it because the pages, and thus the pictures, are huge.
Lick! by Matthew Van Fleet: Ok, so while the AUTHOR of this book isn’t “off the beaten path,” this particular book is one of his newer offerings. Lots of creative touch and feel bits, pull tabs, and funny illustrations along with a rhyming text make Lick great fun for babies. Brynn had a hard time with the tiny touch and feel elements when she was younger and less dextrous, but at 12 months old, she loves them. She still can’t quite manage the pull tabs, but she’s happy watching me work them for her…for now.
Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox (Mar 16 2009) by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek: “Here is the red sheep. Here is the blue sheep. Here is the bath sheep. And here is the bed sheep. But where is the green sheep?” And so begins the toddler-length quest for the feisty green sheep. And what a fantastic quest it is! I didn’t come across this book until Luke was too old for it, so the first time I took Brynn to the library, I snagged a copy to see if she’d like it. She did. A lot. Great for teaching opposites and colors, the funny, rhyming text and expressive illustrations are very engaging for the baby set. And in the end, the mystery is solved peacefully and satisfactorily. Brynn and I both love this one!
-Erin and Brynn (13 months old), blog co-authors
Clicking on a book will take you to Amazon.com, and if you decide to buy the book, a portion of your purchase comes back to me. I, in turn, will use the profits to purchase books for our local library or for a children’s literacy project.