Crack, But for Babies!

We all have those books that sort of make us wish our children—or we—had never laid eyes on them. Books that need to be read to them, not one time, not two times, but billions and billions of times, until we want to run screaming out of the house, or throw the book out the window. The book can be hidden at the top of the tallest closet in the house, but the child's incessant begging will always somehow get it down and into their sweaty little hands to crawl or walk over to you and make you READ IT AGAIN.
Why would I write a post about these evil books?
Because the truth is that these books are also—well, I wouldn't exactly use the word love, as it's too weak,—they're needed, they're adored, they are solace. When Diana was 1, she so profoundly addicted to the Paul Zelinsky version of Wheels on the Bus that when she was felled by a horrible case of Coxsackie's she would lie there on the couch, breathing lightly but rapidly through cracked lips, her eyes shut, her face flushed, while I read it over and over and over. And if I stopped, she would try to lick her parched lips and rasp out "Bus." And we'd go again.
The weird thing is how many of these books seem to have that effect on all babies. So, in the interests of comforting the afflicted (or torturing some parent whom you wish ill), a list of the most (in some cases, really inexplicably) powerful:

What is its eerie power?
 9780525446446[1]
We had to hide this, then surreptitiously throw it out.
9780394826813[1] 

This has multiple versions.
Neubecker_bd_web[1]

I actually sort of love this book, but really, enough it enough.

9780690045321[1]

What are yours?

25 thoughts on “Crack, But for Babies!

  1. My kids loved: Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Dogs Go…; Where is Baby’s Mommy?; Stinky Face; Barnyard Banter; Owl Babies; Goldilocks and the Three Bears; and More! More! More! Said the Baby.
    I am sure that I have missed some, my youngest kids are five, but these were the ones that came to mind immediately. Oh, and Pat the Bunny. And The Very Hungry Caterpillar….ok. I am done.

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  2. I feel that I may have mentioned this on this blog before… If I never have to read another Berenstain Bears book again IT WILL BE TOO SOON! I can’t stand them, and it’s all my daughter wants to read.
    Also, Winnie-the-Pooh. Now, I don’t actually hate poor old Pooh – who could? But I know exactly how many pages each chapter is, and wouldn’t you know, she always wants to hear the one about the Expotition to the North Pole, and Unbouncing Tigger, and I’ve read them so many times I might actually be able to recite them from memory at this point.
    She’s also wild about The Children of Noisy Village, but those are pretty easy to read aloud so I don’t mind so much.

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  3. My 20 month old is obsessed with Good Dog Carl, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Pat the Bunny. I only hate Carl. The others I read over and over without complaint as long as we don’t have to read Carl.

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  4. My boys were both equally obsessed with Richard Scarry’s Things That Go — it got to the point where I would firmly say, “No. That’s not a story. You can look at it on your own.”

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  5. My one-year-old loves Goodnight Moon. Good lord, does she love Goodnight Moon. (Note: We had heard that book was a particularly potent brand of crack for many babies, so we avoided reading it… until some well-meaning friends gifted it to us. Oh well.) My four-year-old loves Richard Scarry’s Things That Go, and fortunately her dad loves reading it to her. Both girls have had bouts of infatuation with the Sandra Boynton board books — Pajama Time and The Belly Button Book being biggest hits — which I honestly didn’t mind. As long as they’re not clamoring for Disney movie synopsis books, I’m happy to read and re-read the things that make them light up.

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  6. The same Wheels on the bus book for us. Plus, a godawful Dora book a friend gave her. Thank goodness the other favorite was In the Night Kitchen. I never got tired of it. She did before I did.

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  7. My middle child was full-on obsessed with “Goodnight Moon” for a while, but it was sweet more than annoying. One of my favorite photos is of him curled up, asleep in his crib, clutching a giant copy of that book.
    And we’ve had to acquire new copies of “Brown Bear” and “Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing,” because they got loved to death. But I actually kind of like both of those.
    There are many books that are held together mostly with packing tape, including “100 Things You Should Know About Sharks” and “I Spy Funhouse.” I can’t believe how much time I’ve spent in front of those books, and how much time I’ve spent wondering what on earth the attraction is.

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  8. Mu daughter loves Richard Scarry’s ‘What Do People Do All Day’ – fortunately there’s enough going on in the pictures to keep us entertained time after time, but I’m starting to think she’s using it to pick her future career!!!

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  9. Oh yes we love Please and Thank You. We even call each other Pig I Will and Pig Me Too when appropriate….I’d never heard of anyone else who was familiar with it–it was mine as a child and I’ve never seen it anywhere else!!
    My 4-y-o loves these bizarre books from the 80s about twin cats named Tim and Jim. One where they go to the doctor called Dr. Cat and one where they ride on a plane called Tim and Jim Take Off. The whole plane experience is very different now (no looking in the cockpit, no food, no one meeting you at the gate….) so it’s a bit of a relic…. SHe also loves Grover Sleeps Over (theme–she likes the “kids experience X” books!). Her other go-to books are all Dr. Seuss, esp the Grinch, Horton Hatches the Egg, Green Eggs and Ham, and the Cat in the Hat. (I do find that if I have to read over and over again, I prefer rhyming stuff….)
    When she was younger–any Max and Ruby book (or any Rosemary Wells), any book about Bartholemew (the bear), Little Bear books….

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  10. My kids liked Tumble Bumble when they were babies. Eventually, I had it memorized. It was kind of a fun book but by the time it lost favor, I needed a break from it. My kids also liked Beatrix Potter books which I couldn’t stand.

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  11. My boys loved the Sandra Boynton books too which I didn’t mind. Moo Baa La La La in particular. There was one book about animals taking an airplane to various locations (desert, mountains, jungle) with a button to push that made the sound of the airplane taking off. I seem to have blocked the title out of my memory but man I hated that book. There were also revolving infatuations with Wild Things, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (not a favorite). Oh, and for a while my youngest loved A Sound Like Something Trying Not to Make a Sound. I think he’s the only one. It’s not your standard kid fare.

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  12. The only book I’ve ever hidden is A Very Hungry Caterpillar. It was evil of me, but I did it to protect my sanity.
    My youngest was adicted to Mo Willems Knuffle Bunny for quite some time. I read it several times daily and I still giggled every time Trixie “went boneless.” We’ve since added Knuffle Bunny Too to our household because we all want to be best friends with Trixie too.
    You really can’t go wrong with Mo Willems.

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  13. There was an incredibly insipid book about quintuplets that my oldest child got when my youngest was born. All 3 girls LOVED that book (we kept it!), but it was so incredibly stupid. All I remember is that the quints’ names all started with “A.”
    And we loved the Berenstain Bear books! I’m still trying to buy the ones we don’t own.
    Makes me very nostalgic for well-loved books — which we’re now buying for two great-nephews. Time for Bed is another good one, and one I just recently came across, and is ready for the next gift-giving occasion: What I Love About You (www.dearbabybooks.com) by Carol Casey. It’s got bright colors, retro style illustrations and catchy rhymes — what more could you want?

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  14. Everything by Sandra Boynton. Most especially Not the Hippopatomus and the Going to Bed Book (can recite those from memory). And Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman. (can’t do that one anymore, but could at one point).

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  15. Remember the Day the Babies Crawled Away, by Peggy Rathmann. (But I loved that one, too.) Good Night, Gorilla, though–that one I had to hide for awhile–the no words was harder to coast through when _I_ was tired.

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  16. Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever. I kind of love Richard Scarry but he freaks me out a little bit seeing as he envisions a world in which a bear can wear clothes and own farm animals and a pig can buy bacon at the store and eat turkey. He’s a bit weird.
    I love the Polo books, but as they don’t have any words, describing in detail what is going on in each panel gets old after the first three hundred readings. I’ve been saying I’m on a Polo break for the past 2 months.

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  17. That’s a fun question… My oldest loved, loved “Curious George goes to the Hospital,” which is such a long book. I didn’t mind it too much, but it got to the point that my husband refused to read it. Also, it was kind of funny that she would go to kindergarten talking about drinking barium. The youngest is currently obsessed with “Go, Dog, Go!” which isn’t too bad. When I’m tired, I really can’t stand Eric Carle (sorry, Mr. Carle!). All the repetition is exhausting — see “The Very Lonely Firefly,” “The Very Grouchy Ladybug,” etc.

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  18. Oh, eta, I love The Day the Babies Crawled Away. I completely forgot about that book. I’m not sure where we got it but I thought we were the only ones who had it. I think it’s sweet. But Not the Hippopotomus was another favorite in our house. And Yummy Yucky.

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  19. Doobie, Doobie, Moo — which is a hilarious book once, or twice, or even six times. But, approximately 23906347 thousand? …..
    highly recommend the CD version, as well. 🙂

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  20. We had an incredibly tiresome book called The Truck Book and no matter how much we hid it, it just never went away.
    Then we moved and realized there were two copies, thus pointing to a guilty grandmother as the source of the poison.
    I read that book 4 or 5 times a day for two years. Dreaded.

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  21. I’m on board with you guys on Richard Scarry – I loved him as a kid, but reading him repeatedly to my daughter is tedious to say the least! I also end up censoring/rephrasing a lot because there is some stuff in there that is just not quite PC enough for me. Plus the weirdness mentioned by the poster above about the animals doing decidedly non-animal things (like the Dreaded Berenstains!).
    Also, Doobie Doobie Moo – hard to read aloud, though I think it is hilarious. We had a serious Goodnight Gorilla phase which was also hard because of the no-words thing. I’m not good with no words, which is why Carl is tough for me too.

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  22. I could divide the ones my baby liked into the tolerable ones and insanity-inducing ones. We all liked Jamberry, the Carl books, The Runaway Bunny, Home for a Bunny, Freight Train, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Monster at the End of This book, and My Many-Colored Days. Awful ones they loved: a Fisher Price Little People farm book, Go Dog Go, countless truck and train books (Let’s read about steam engines vs. diesel engines when Mama is super-tired!)

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  23. My nephew had this book called The Clonky Bonky Donkey…and it has a hand puppet in the front, and it’s all rhymey, and SO annoying!!! He also loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but I also love that one…

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