Monday, August 24, 2009

Books for Babies

I'm a huge proponent of reading to children at a young age. In fact, the earlier the better. When my oldest son was born I read to him right away.

I wasn't sure WHAT I should be reading to him and how much he would take in, but I wanted to read something to him (figuring something was better than nothing!). Below is the list of books we started out with. We tried a large quantity of books, but these are the ones that really stuck out as being ones that we enjoyed and successfully connected with - from as early as three months old!

I enjoyed being at home with my little one and cuddling up with him while reading picture books. Now we are adding another one to our family via an adoption and I'm looking forward to "starting over" with a new little boy on my lap, rereading some of our favorites and picking up new ones.

So what are some of our favorite baby books? Here is our list:

Our hands down favorite series is Roger Priddy's Happy Baby series. (See my review of Happy Baby Series at 5 Minutes for Books.) We have made good use out of the entire series. The reason I love them so much, as I testified to before, is because of the real pictures which these books utilize. When trying to explain the world to a young child, I find it helpful to have real pictures on hand. Cartoons can frequently be confusing, as it sometimes difficult for young children to distinguish between illustrated animals. We're all for making things as clear as possible as we learn and so these books were most excellent. I wouldn't raise a kid without them! They are simply the best and quite affordable as well.

There are many titles in the series. Our favorites are Happy Baby ABC, Happy Baby: 123, and Happy Baby Animals. You can also buy a Happy Baby set which includes animals, words and colors and is priced very reasonably. Out of all the other books that are out there, if I had to choose to own only one set - this would be the one! They are a fabulous introduction to books and the world around them!

A similar series that uses photographs to teach is the Baby Eye Like Series. These are smaller and easier to stick in a purse or backpack for times when you need a good distraction.

You can't go wrong with any book written and illustrated by John Butler. He encourages interaction with both his writing and his illustrations. My oldest just loves growling like a bear, cuddling like a koala, slinking slowly by things (like a leopard), etc., I haven't run into one Butler book that I have not liked. One of the latest titles I have had the pleasure of reading with my son is Bedtime in the Jungle which you really must take a look at if you get the chance! Terrific books and easy to spot because Butler has such a unique style. Love his work, love his books, would love to buy them all for you if I could afford it. Good stuff!

For some additional titles that are also easy to identify (because the illustrator is classic!) check out books by Gyo Fujikawa which I recently reviewed. Her book Baby Animals is sure to delight any youngster who likes soft, cuddly looking animals!

Speaking of classics, you can't forget to include some of the body books that are part of the Beginning Reader series (with the Cat in the Hat symbol on them.) (See my review of Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb here.) Told in rhyme, these books are a perfect and FUN way to introduce children to their noses, ears, hair and even teeth! The monkeys drumming on drums is still a top favorite. We've even incorporated the idea of drumming the beat of the words out while reading. It was a very fun activity and really drew my son into the book.

Dum ditty, dum ditty, dum, dum, dum!

Lastly, an individual title that I'd like to highlight is Tumble Me Tumbily which I was lucky enough to pick up at a library book sale. This book is fabulous for cuddling. It's a soft, gentle rocking you to sleep sort of ride. It's told in rhyme and is super sweet and adorable. The illustrations by Sam Williams are so whimsical and gentle and the way the words that Karen Baicker wrote just tumble over one another in such a lyrical way make me want to read and reread this book! I absolutely adore it. (I wrote a blurb about it awhile back and I still love it!)

It sure is hard to narrow down good books to read when your children are small but these are all titles that we tested and can testify to be engaging and fun from very early on. We grew up and into some of these more than others but this is the basic list of where we started and where we've come from!


tmu said...

ok, george and i can STILL recite the Suess ABC book and the one about monkeys and hands and drums!

Stephanie Kay said...

Hands, hands, fingers thumb, dum ditty dum ditty drum drum drum.

As if I didn't have enough clutter in my brain already. :)

Liz said...

I saw a cute book the other day that the second comment reminds me of -- i can't remember the title but it was all about thumbs. It looked cute.

I, too, am a HUGE proponent of reading to babies -- read to mine when they barely knew they were alive. And two are completely avid readers and the third is now getting there. And there are so many great books out there for kids (lots of dreck, too, and believe me, we've had them all.) Now we're selecting books for 2 young babies in the family, which is loads of fun. My newest acquisition, which will be given out soon, is a wonderful picture book, a board book, actually, called "Dear Baby, What I Love About You" by Carol Casey. It's part of a series. Has endearing little baby faces and poses, with catchy rhymes, and bright retro-style illustrations. (My kids always loved absorbing the pictures of other baby faces, which is one of the reasons I like this one so much.)

Happy reading.

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