We started reading to our children when we put our bedtime routine in place at about 4 or 5 months old. Sometimes little ones don’t have the patience to sit as you read the pages, but that’s OK! Just get them familiar with the concept of reading and you’ll see over time they are more interested in letting you read each page as they look at the pictures. Eventually, you will find they are turning the pages for you! I’ve had some pretty heavy posts lately so thought I would do a fun, light one for a change. So here are my ‘Top Ten Books for Babies’.
First of all, I love board books because they are so durable. They won’t rip as your children are learning to turn the pages and are easy to wipe down if they get dirty. All of the books in my ‘Top Ten Books for Babies’ list are available as board books.
Lift the Flap Books
This is the first book I read to both of our sons. It’s a ‘lift the flap’ book, meaning you are looking for pictures under the flaps on each page. So while your child will learn to turn the pages, it’s even easier for him to learn to lift up the flaps on the pages to see what’s underneath! There are several books in this series, but this one makes my Top Ten Books for Babies list since it also teaches your child about the parts of the body like the eyes, mouth and hands.
In this story, a child asks the zoo to send him a pet. While the zoo sends the child several animals, he returns them all for different reasons. The lion is too fierce, the monkey is too naughty and on it goes. I found this book really helpful to teach my children about different animals and the sounds they make. The flaps on each page are cute – you are lifting the crate each animal was shipped in so you can see the animal that was sent.
This is actually a combination lift-the-flap and pop-up book. This one takes place on the farm, with your child looking for missing animals, but all the books in the series are entertaining. While my sons love these DK Pop-Up Books, I do try to keep an eye on them since they can get ripped easily. While the pages are thick, I find that little curious hands tend to rip the pop-ups right out of the book. These books are very well done with big, bright illustrations and lots of fun items for your baby to learn and identify
Monday the Bullfrog is a very hungry bullfrog who eats something different each day of the week. Each day gives a clue as to what the meal will be. For example, “Thursday was crunchy and yellow” (a caterpillar)! The book is also tactile – each day has an item representing the day’s meal attached (purple wings on the day Monday eats a butterfly). The surprise comes at the end of the story: when Monday wants to eat something sweet, he eats YOU (and there’s a mirror on the page)!
What parent can’t resist telling their baby what they love about them in fun rhyming cadence? Likely the cutest baby and teddy bear ever drawn, “I Love You Through and Through” is a love poem to your child. It has lots of cute pictures and rhymes for your to read as your baby flips the pages and ends with the best rhyme ever: “I love you through and through. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow too.” I dare you to not get teary-eyed at some point when reading this to your baby.
This book makes my Top Ten Books for Babies list because of its simplicity and illustrations. A fun game of peek-a-boo, this book has colorful images depicting words that rhyme with ‘Boo’ (peek-a-moo, peek-a-choo choo…) The picture of the zoo is particularly colorful and engaging. The surprise comes at the end with a mirror on the page and a final rhyme of peek-a-YOU!
“Cows say moo, sheep say baa, three singing pigs say la la la!” After reading this one a few times, I found myself reciting it to my son at the dinner table in an attempt to keep him entertained while we were eating. Another good book for helping your children learn about animals and the noises they make. Cute cartoon-like illustrations make this one a winner for me and the cadence created by rhyming animal noises makes this one particularly fun to read.
Eric Carle Books
For a period of time, both of my sons would flip through the pages of this book as fast as they could until they reached the page where the caterpillar eats everything but the kitchen sink. The illustrations are works of art and the food the caterpillar eats through are totally random (things like a piece of chocolate cake and a sausage). My children also liked poking their fingers through the holes where the caterpillar ate through different foods.
Another Eric Carle book with beautiful illustrations, Brown Bear, Brown Bear is great for helping your child learn about animals, animal sounds and colors. The repetitive cadence of the book makes it easy for your child to retain information about the names of the animals and their colors. “Brown bear, brown Bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me. Red bird, red bird, what do you see…” My kids wanted to flip through super fast to the last page with all of the brightly colored animal illustrations. We play a game of “find the red bird” or “find the yellow duck” when we reach the last page. It’s hard to believe this book has been around for 50 years!
After reviewing this book with your child a few times, you’ll be surprised how many pictures your child recognizes. The pages are organized into themes such as ‘things that go’ and ‘clothing’. The photos are clear and easily recognizable. Before you know it, your child will start repeating the words as she points at the pictures you are asking her to find. A great addition to your baby’s library.
Have a favorite book that you like to read with your baby? Let me know what would be in your Top Ten Books for Babies by leaving a comment below.