Top 5 Books For Babes That You May Not Have Heard Of

Monday, August 9

After meeting a teen mom who knew little of reading to babies, I got to thinking: What are the best books to keep parents engaged in this essential parenting activity?

Who better to answer this question than moms who read to babies? On this blog, my friend Crystal, a children's books publicist gives her list of good books for babies. Elsewhere in the blogosphere, Amber Strocel and Mama in the City give their lists as well. Later this week, I'll post a few of my own favourite books along with some books from other mamas, including Blush mom Desiree Daniels.

Giveaway: Crystal is giving away a Little Books Boxed set! To enter simply leave a comment with your favourite kid's book. The deadline for the draw will be midnight on August 30, 2010.

Growing up I loved books. One of my first memories is of climbing into bed with my parents and proudly reading to them 'Bears On Wheels'. Their opinion was that I begged to have it read to me so many times that I had simply memorized the words, but I know better. ;)

Reading to your child is so important and serves several purposes. First, it gives kids information and promotes language development and literacy. It also raises reading levels and increases attention spans. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it also promotes family relationships (Adapted from Love To Know Kids).

The great news is that if you haven't started reading to your child yet, it's never too late to start. Here are a few of my favorite gems that build on classics like 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?', 'Goodnight Moon' and anything by Sandra Boynton.

Crystal Allen's Top 5 Books that You May Not Have Heard of for Babies

1. Little Books Boxed Set by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Jen Corace. 

For years parents have been asking for these adorable tongue-in-cheek picture books to be turned into board books. At last here they are in a boxed set and they pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Little Pea: Our friendly Pea doesn't want to eat his candy for dinner but his parents tell him he can't have any vegetables for dessert until he finishes all of the candy on his plate. 

"If you want to grow up to be a big, strong pea, you have to eat your candy." Papa Pea would say.
"How many pieces do I have to eat?"
"Eat 5 pieces and you can have dessert."

Little Hoot:  This little owl just wants to go to bed but his parents tell him that he has to stay up longer.
"Can I stop playing now?" pleaded Little Hoot.
"Ten more minutes of playing, Mister. And please don't ask me again" responds his mother.

Little Oink:  This little piglet wants to clean, clean, clean all day long. His parents tell him that in order to be a respectable pig, he has to learn to make a proper mess.
"Have I messed up enough?" asked Little Oink.
"I still see toys in their bin, mister. Please- Not another word until this room's a total pigsty!"
"Fine," whined the swine.

2. My Friends by Taro Gomi. 

This was one of the first books we ever read to my daughter Isabella and my husband read it to my belly every night while I was pregnant. Taro Gomi's illustrations are bright and beautiful and his story is sweet and engaging. What makes this book cool is that you can take this book so much further than just the words on the page. Let's face it once you read a book a hundred times you need to be able to change it up a bit for your own sanity.

In 'My Friends' a little girl tells the story of who her friends are and what she learned from them. The way we read it is something like this.
"I learned to sing from my friend the bird."
For which we ask questions like this, "What sound does a bird make Belles? Tweet, tweet, tweet."
With so many different animals in it and all the lovely illustrations this is one of my favorite books to read to my little girl.

3. Amazing Baby Baby Boo by Beth Harwood. 

While I love all of the books in the Amazing Baby Series this is my daughter's favorite book to read to me. Babies and toddlers LOVE to see images of other babies and toddlers. This book has simple text with wonderful rhythm and rhyme and the big, beautiful, life size photos of the cutest baby faces around.

The text shows babies sleeping, babies kissing and babies playing peekaboo -  all activities that little ones love to mimic as you read them the text. The last page features a mirror in the shape of a baby face so that your little one can see their own image inside of their favorite book!

Bella at almost 2 years old "reads" this book to me now. She'll see the baby with the kissy face and say "Kiss Baby" then give the baby a kiss. On the page where the baby is playing peekaboo and hiding she asks "Where are you baby?" It's so much fun to watch her grow and interact with this book.

4. In My... Series by Sarah Gillingham

With titles like 'In My Meadow' and 'In My Pond', these are the prettiest finger puppet books you will ever see. If you are a fan of Etsy then you will fall in love with these. The author, Sara Gillingham, is a mama who lives in BC.

Each book features a different baby animal finger puppet that pops through the cutouts in the book. The featured animals talk about their home and where they live. The bear, for example, talks about collecting leaves, pinecones and twigs for his den and then curling up to sleep for the winter with his family.

The finger puppets will make the book come alive for your little one and they will beg to be tickled and kissed by the animal as you read the book.

5. Birdscapes by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Yes, you are probably thinking "What the h...?" But I assure you that this book is fantastic and is my daughter's favorite book in the whole world. While it isn't the type of book that you would normally buy for a little on, with parental supervision I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy it.

This book features seven elaborately engineered full-color pop-ups portraying dozens of bird species as well as extended recordings of the birds' calls and songs.

Sit your child on your lap and flip through the beautiful pages of this book. Listen to the incredible bird calls that come out of the two speakers built into the book. I guarantee that you and your child will be intellectually stimulated and engaged. We keep this book on the very top shelf so that there is no way that Isabella can get to it on her own. And yet, daily she walks over to the bookshelf, points to the top shelf and ask for the "Bird book, please."

Ask the grandparents or aunts and uncles for this one for a gift... you won't be disappointed.

Crystal Allen is mama to almost 2 year old Isabella, wife to Rob, a Children's Book Publicist and the owner/designer of Lilikoi Lane an online store selling one of a kind appliquéd shirts for kids. Visit her on Facebook at or online at her Lilikoi Lane shop.


18 thoughts and opinions:

Anonymous said...

My daughters Favorite as a baby was "Thats not my Teddy" by Fiona Watt, a touch and feel book. There is a line of them as we recently came across "Thats not my Fairy". (I think they have monster, monkey, etc) My favorite to read to her was "The very hungry caterpillar" by Eric Carle. She is now 3 and we have 2 bookcases in the house dedicated to her. If someone tells you that reading to your baby does nothing b/c they are too young, I have a 3 year old that will prove them all wrong. Her love of reading grows everyday and I could not be more proud!


Ashley said...

My favourite growing up was "We Help Daddy", a book that's been out of print for years and that I'm currently waiting to arrive from an ebay find for my daughters. But in our house there are many favourites, but the top of the list is "SleepyHead" it's such a sweet book and my girls pack it around everywhere.

Mama in the City said...

I've posted my link up for your book post!

TheGirl said...

My daughter is just under 1 year, and we love reading. At my baby shower I asked that everyone bring a book for her library and we haven't stopped buying books since. Our favorites are "On the Night You Were Born" and "Forever Young" which is a story book version of the Bob Dylan song.

Christina said...

My daughters favorite book was "Everyone Poops", all about the facts and gives kids a good outlet :) My 3 year old son loves Where the Wild Things Are, he is every bit as wild as Max and we love him for it. My oldest loved Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. My youngest just loves books in general. I am definitely looking into purchasing the books listed here, they look awesome!

Vancouver Island Momma said...

Both of my daughters fave book is My Goodnight Book.

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

My almost 2-year-old daughter's fave series at the moment is the Gossie and Gertie series by Olivier Dunrau. We have Little Hoot. My son really gets a kick out of that one.

Julie said...

Our favourite is Little Blue Truck. My little guy is always clamoring for "beep beep beep"! Also, any books with life the flap pages are a hit too.

Gillyweeds said...

"Goodnight Moon", a classic

carol said...

My granddaughter loves the book Ladybug Girl at the Beach by Jackie Davis.It's all about Lulu and Bingo and her pudgy Basset Hound sidekicks first trip to the ocean.She also liked the Dr. Suess book Green eggs and ham!

Sara said...

We have many favorites. Currently my favorite book to read with my son is: I am a Bunny by Richard Scarry. He loves interacting with the pages, especially when we 'blow dandelion seeds INTO the air!' :)

Anonymous said...

My daughter loves books. Thanks for some new reading ideas. Her favourite book right now is Goodnight Moon.

Sarah D

kd said...

One of my daughter's favorites is the Brown Bear series.

Kristen said...

One of my current joys is watching my 6 year old read to his 6 month old baby sister. His favorite to read to her is Say Goodnight by Helen Oxenbury.

Jill said...

I am expecting my first child on October 1st, and I am really happy I came across this post. I now have a great list of books to pick for when baby arrives. I absolutely loved The Velveteen Rabbit when I was a child.

Isdanish said...

Oh, how cute! I loved reading as a child and I am hoping my children love it as well!

LauraJane said...

I loved the Velveteen Rabbit as a child, I love the quotes even more as an adult (I'm a sentimental fool, what can I say?)

I am due with my first babe in January, and would love to start a little library collection! :)

The Accidental Pharmacist said...

And the winner of the draw, via is numero 8 - Julie from West Coast Mama. And Julie - I also love The Little Blue Truck. Definitely one of our faves. Contact me at kellygrindrod at gmail dot com so we can arrange to have your books shipped to you.

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