It's We Recommend, in which we use our superpowers to find readers the perfect book. Got a kid who needs a recommendation?
Write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the age,
reading tastes, favorite books, and any other relevant (or irrelevant)
information, and we'll give it a shot. And really? All the good
suggestions are in the comments.
This email came at a particularly opportune time for me, because Diana just turned…14. As in, 14 years old. As in, far closer to 20 than to being a baby. As in, I am not fully adjusted to this yet, because I am not so super-spectacular with handling change, and by the time I adjust she will be out of the house and Oh God!
I wish I were wiser.
At any rate, here is something delightful! Bear witness:
I have a 5 month old who loves to be read to. We spend a lot of our
day reading board books (Eric Carle, Sandra Boynton, counting books
galore) and I could desperately use some new material. He loves pop up
books, lift the flap books and books with simple, colorful pictures. I
thought Dr. Seuss would be good but those are a bit too long. Most of my
go-tos for early readers don't have the right illustrations to really
capture his attention (bright, bold). Any suggestions for this very
Remember? Picture books? Silliness? When your kid greeted your arrival with a look of utter surprise and bliss, even if it was just that you'd gone in the other room for a minute? (OK, and yes, had diapers and woke up in the night, and vomited copiously. And couldn't talk. True, true.)
Anyway, yes, Dr. Seuss is a lot of words for a five-month-old. And, full disclosure, in letting this writer know we would be addressing this email, I already gave the awesome Byron Barton a shout-out (though at that link they don't have his most awesome book, which is Machines at Work. I love that book so!
The only problem is, there are so many! Pat the Bunny (Daddy's scratchy face! Still sort of freaks me out!), Goodnight, Moon, The Big Red Barn, Goodnight, Gorilla—it goes on and on and on, and those are just the classics! Oh, and Duck Is Dirty! Diana was a big fan of Jamberry, too, and really anything with awesome, silly words. But for the one pick (before we rightfully dive into what I hope are the wide and deep array of suggestions in the comments), I have to go with the one that Diana "read" to Chestnut when Chestnut was tiny, the perfect and strange book we all loved. And it's about babies!
This book is so excellent! And the last page (spoiler alert!) is a silvered circle for a mirror, so the baby can adorably try to eat its own face.
But OK, enough gushing. If I promise not to complain about how I have a teenager anymore will you offer even better options in the comments?
24 thoughts on “We Recommend: It’s for Babies, You Guys!”
All Sandra Boynton! But most especially But Not the Hippopotamus. We also love Babies by Guy Fujikawa and Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein. My seven month old daughter likes Little Gorilla best of all.
Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell. This is one of the only board books we didn’t tire of reading to our babies over and over, and flaps are pretty simple and sturdy.
Ditto for Sandra Boynton! My favorite was The Going To Bed Book (The sun has set not long ago…). Martin Waddell’s Owl Babies was good, too. Oh! And Usborne’s That’s Not My… series. Great colors, fabulous textures. Welcome to Merriweather Farm is chock-full of flaps for him to lift too. Oh, gosh. I’m suddenly painfully aware of how big my nine and six year olds are. *sniff*
Our boys loved “Happy Dog Sad Dog” by Sam Lloyd. An energetic expression and funny voice would crack them up as babies. Other favorites were any of the Leslie Patricelli books: Quiet Loud, Yummy Yucky, Big Little, etc.
Tickle the Duck by Ethan Long. The silliness is fun for years! My Cat is Fat by Katrina Streza works for babies through beginning readers and is super cute when baby gets a bit bigger and starts saying “No!” to the little boy in the story’s questions. Not that I don’t miss that from my boy who is most certainly not a baby anymore…
I want to second your suggestion of Byron Barton, and throw in Denise Fleming, Freight Train by Donald Crews, the Tom and Pippo books by Helen Oxenbury, books by Rachel Isadora, Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, and Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!
my eight year old still likes Freight Train!
Big Little: Flip A Face.
That one was a big favourite of both my kids and everyone we gave it to 🙂
Oh, yes! what everyone said, especially Sandra Boynton! I’ll throw in the Nina Laden board books: Peek a Whoo, Ready Set Go, and Grow Up! They are clever and simple and remarkably un-tiring to read over and over. And they have nice little holes in the pages so babies can look through them themselves. And each one has a nice little surprise at the end.
I’d recommend anything by Leslie Patricelli – Yummy Yucky, Big Little, Quiet Loud, Blankie, etc…
The pictures are great and the text allows for dramatic and fun voices.
My boy loved “Picture This”, “Alphabet”, “Counting” and “Welcome to the Zoo” by Alison Jay — beautiful pictures with lots to talk about. Oh, and he also loved one that *I* loved as a baby 40-odd years ago: “Rosie’s Walk” by Pat Hutchins — one sentence and a series of fantastic pictures tells the story of oblivious Rosie the hen, chased by a hapless accident-prone fox. In fact what am I saying — I still love it!
My kids loved Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz. She has a bunch of these, and they were definitely a favorite. We also loved I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Barn Yard Banter by Denise Flemming. Oh! And Peek-a-Zoo by Marie Torres Cimarusti! We had all the classics you mentioned as well, I am trying to think of the different ones…How about books by Tana Hoban? All pictures and really great ones! We had one about trucks, but there are a bunch. And, pretty much anything by Mem Fox. I should stop, right. Sorry.
I can still recite all of The Going to Bed Book, Moo Baa La La La, But not the Hippopotomas and several other Boynton classics. The Karen Katz ones were also favourites. “Where is Baby’s Mommy” was the one we owned. Also good was a Lamaze one we had called PeekaBoo Zoo. Though I found the sequel, PeekaBoo Park, to be frankly derivative and lacking in some of the emotional depth of the original 🙂
Some of the Barbara Reid ones illustrated with plasticine might also be good. Zoe’s Rainy Day is colourful and was popular around here.
10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes by Mem Fox with beautiful illustrations by Helen Oxenbury (sp?). Our daughter’s “first word” was a fake sneeze thanks to that book!
Great suggestions, all of them. Especially Good Night Gorilla. How about Knuffle Bunny? And maybe the Pigeon books by Mo Willems? Gotta love Mo Willems. The one board book the boys still love is Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson I think.
C LOVED “Squishy Turtle and Friends.” Tactile, bright colors, shiny stuff–just perfect. There’s a whole series of them now.
And yes, any book with a mirror is great for babies. Sigh. Babies…
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom?
Where Is The Green Sheep?
Richard Scarry? (Talking about the pictures more than reading a story–Best Word Book and Cars & Trucks, though Goldbug did drive me round the bend…)
And even at 4 months my kids loved the illustrations in Rathmann’s The Day the Babies Crawled Away, though I had thought they might be too intricate for them that young. I can still recite that whole thing, & it’s been years since they’ve been young enough for me to read that one to them.
Also–Jan Brett? for those margin-y pics.
I might be skewing too old with some of these suggestions. It all fades too fast!
Press Here, by Herve Tullet; it’s interactive. :>) The Ox Cart Man… The Runaway Bunny? No flaps or pushing bits, but short and sweet. Our library has a nice area with nothing but baby books/board books, that don’t have to be put back neatly. I loved that square of floor for a few years. oh babies. sniff.
I second the Nina Laden recommendation. What came to mind first, though, were the “Carl” books…..the ones that have no words and giant dog Carl is called on to mind the baby and instead they have adventure s. I want to say the author’s name is Alexandra something….i didn’t look it up.
My baby is now 21 months old, but some of our favorites with her are Bear Snores On, 10 9 8, The Gruffalo, I Am a Bunny, City Babies, Owl Babies, Dancing Feet, Old Hat New Hat, and Are You My Mother. Those are the ones that she brings me over and over to read to her.
Happy Dog, Sad Dog is a big favorite around here too. We also love Curious George goes to the Zoo (the board book touch and feel version). I’m also going to suggest There’s a Monster at the End of this Book, which isn’t a board book per se, but is short and very fun to read. Especially once baby starts turning pages.
Thank you for all of the recommendations! I totally forgot about Denise Fleming, she was one of my favorites when I was a teacher and I think he would live her illustrations. I wasn’t familiar with Nina Laden but looked her up and she seems fantastic! I’ve already bought some of these suggestions and I could easily spend my life’s savings buying more so it’s off to the library for us!
I’m so thankful he’s caught the reading bug early, every night when we read Goodnight Moon he smiles and screams and looks up at us with a look that says “isn’t this just the best?” So glad I found this site!