Babies should be exposed to books as soon as possible. This should be an on-going process throughout childhood as children develop their brains and thinking skills. It’s been proven that the earlier a parent continually reads to their children, the better that child is able to comprehend and analyze the world around them, as well as communicate and socialize successfully. I’ve gathered some outstanding books for babies, toddlers and siblings. I’ve grouped these books into books geared for babies, then toddler books and lastly books for new families and siblings.
There is a publishing company in Layton, Utah that makes the most adorable books that highlight classic literature by bringing out the main characters and incorporating them into a learning book. For instance, The Jungle Book: An Animals Primer, by Jennifer Adams, and wonderfully painted by Alison Oliver, showcases the animals that are featured in Kipling’s original story. Each colorful double-opened page has a different animal along with enlarged text labeling that animal along with a few words describing that animal. “Bear-Baloo…eats only nuts and roots and honey.” Other classic BabyLit books include The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Jane Eyre, Moby-Dick, Romeo & Juliet, Alice in Wonderland and Pride & Prejudice. (The last book is also a counting primer book and play set that includes the characters from the book that are free-standing, enabling youngsters to make up their own stories.) You can find these at BabyLit.com.
Pete the Cat, by James Dean, is very popular with pre-schoolers probably because the illustrations are lively and funny of Pete, along with a wash of brilliant color covering entire pages. Also, this series has now come out with board books. The ones I like best promote singing to babies while looking at the books. They include The Wheels on the Bus. There is also Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Old MacDonald Had a Farm but these are not board books.
Board books with tabs that stick out are easy for babies to turn the pages. Five Little Monkeys, by Natalie Marshall, is a cute little board rhyming book that features fingers and toes. There are a series of smallish sized board books that have a handle for baby to grab onto: Carry and Learn. “Shapes”, illustrated by Sarah Ward, is the newest in this series.
Babies like books that have interaction like tabs or flaps. Nosy Crow publishers have a Can You Say It, Too? series that features large flaps to lift. Hoot! Hoot!, by Sebastien Braun is one of many. The Bizzy Bear series features little sliders as well as pull tabs for fun and engaging books. Zookeeper is their newest book.
For toddlers, Scholastic has a new lift-the-flap board book where you learn what road signs mean by lifting a flap on every page. Red Light, Green Light, by Yumi Heo, has bold pictures and simple sentences. Counting Dogs, by Eric Barclay, is a clever story-box book. The animals to count lay inside a box with numbers up to ten on each colorful flap. Ten Playful Penguins, by Emily Ford, have adorable embossed penguins on the cover. As you turn each page, one penguin disappears making this a counting backwards activity. My Barnyard: A Read and Play Book, by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin, and illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello, cleverly places animals featured on the cover inside in their appropriate shape. There’s a ribbon attached so you don’t lose the animals.
Flip Flap Safari, by Axel Scheffler, is a blast for toddlers as they flip the top half or bottom half of the book and create unusual beasts from common African animals. The humorous rhyming text and the name you create by a flip of a flap will make you laugh!
Bear Counts, by Karma Wilson, and painted brightly with acrylic by Jane Chapman, is a counting book with a rhyming text and pattern for children to enjoy guessing what bear is counting next. The counting is up to five.
Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep!, by Lucy Cousins, has the reader lift the flaps as they count to ten. “Maisy” is another popular book series with toddlers and pre-schoolers because the pictures are vibrant and Maisy is so endearing.
For families anticipating new members or dealing with siblings, here are books good for them. Little Miss, Big Sis, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and wonderfully illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, is the perfect book to help big sister celebrate the new baby that will soon be in the family.
Maple & Willow Together, by Lori Nichols, showcases the strong bond between siblings. Not only are Maple and Willow sisters, but they are best friends who enjoy each other and share together. The sweetness glows from the pencil drawings and digitally colored illustrations.
…And Nick, by Emily Gore, and painted with acrylic by Leonid Gore, is a story by this daughter and father duo that has little Nic at the end of four brothers. He’s never quite sure of himself until the right moment comes and he seems to blossom.
Mission: New Baby, by Susan Hood, and delightfully illustrated by Mary Lundquist, is written like a guidebook to siblings, or “special agents”, to train their “new recruit”, (baby). There are 16 different tasks to help train this new arrival. For example, #2 requires that you “Test gadgets and gear” which means to make sure the new crib and stroller works properly. The involvement for all the tasks will not only ensure a great bond with the new baby but there will be giggles along the way.
Wish, by Matthew Cordell, is a sweet story that would be perfect for parents who adopt. An elephant couple are living by the sea enjoying life. They decide to begin their family but it doesn’t seem to be happening for them. The soft illustrations done in pen, ink and watercolor propel the story as you see confetti swirls get smaller and smaller as their dream of conceiving diminishes. However, when a baby elephant arrives on a boat, there is a spectacular array of confetti everywhere.