Get ready for some of the most unique, informative and entertaining books geared for, and about, babies. And with spring right around the corner, which symbolizes new birth (plus my son and daughter-in-law will soon be having twins), this subject seems most pertinent. There are so many outstanding new books on the market today that I will have to limit this review or it would take pages and pages. I will organize these books into several categories beginning with unusually packaged books. My selections all have simple texts with words labeling the central object on each page. This is an important prelude to reading and reading readiness!
David A. Carter is one of the best paper engineers in the business. He now has new pop-ups that are actually geared for babies to touch. Colors and Up & Down both display the cutest little bugs popping out everywhere to teach simple concepts that the very young will adore.
Bosco’s Busy Morning, by Chuck Murphy, is another “hands-on” version of a pop-up book geared for tiny hands. Bosco is a cute dog who invites you to enjoy his day with pop-ups, pull-tabs and lift-the-flaps.
Scholastic’s Big Bug Little Bug, by Paul Strickland, is an oversized book teaching the concept of opposites. I love the fact that each page has just one very large insect along with just one or two very large words making it easy to engage baby. The final page displays all the bugs afore-mentioned in a glorious pop-up explosion.
Baby Einstein is one of the best publications in the business helping to teach simple concepts to babies and toddlers. Moving Circles has an innovative circle shape that moves from one die-cut to another, creating a new picture from the shape that moved. I See Shapes has 5 basic die-cut shapes for youngsters to explore and discover.
Disney Press has a wonderful new board book to last your child’s life. All About Baby, by Sara Miller, and photographed by Anthony Nex, has baby sitting up, crawling and eating. But you get to place a photo of your baby doing these activities under each flap so baby gets to enjoy seeing himself, or herself, doing these by lifting the flaps. When You Look Up, again by Miller and Nex, teaches “up” direction in an inventive way: it has sliding panels on every page that baby pushes up to discover the surprise.
Little Scholastic has a new clever board book for toddlers. Who Am I?, by Salina Yoon, has a shadow of an animal that youngsters can discover after pulling the tab on each page. There is great contrast from the black shadows to the bright color of each animal.
Animal Soup, by Todd H. Doodler, is an engaging board book that will not only engage your little ones but make them laugh! By lifting flaps, 2 animals previously shown, become a hilarious combination. So a crocodile and an octopus becomes a croctopus!
Are you traveling and space is an issue? Candlewick Press has mini board books packaged in “book towers”. The Very Best Mother Goose Book Tower and Baby’s Took Tower both have four engaging and tiny books for baby.
And anytime traveling in the car, don’t put on a movie, put a CD on for youngsters to listen to while they look at a book. Disney’s Nursery Rhymes is just one of many read-along storybooks with CD’s.
Karen Katz creates brilliantly bright books that the very young seem to love to look at. Where Is Baby’s Puppy? and Peek-a-Baby both have flaps to lift revealing more bright objects to see.
Lucy Cousins is another author / illustrator that is known for her dazzling colors. Maisy’s Seasons, and Go, Maisy, Go!, are both over-sized books that teach as well as having fun flaps and wheels to turn. Maisy’s Show, and Maisy’s Book of Things That Go, are both books with interactive fun with simple and easy tabs to pull throughout.
What Does Cow Say?, by Joan Jolub, and vividly illustrated by Janie Ho, has eight bright farm animals, each with a mouth that opens displaying the sound they make.
Now for books with texture for baby to touch: I Like Toys and I Like Vegetables. Both of these board books are by Lorena Simonovich and have texture to touch on every page.
Here are two board books with pieces to press-out. Hey, That’s Not Trash!, by Renee Jablow, and illustrated by Mike Byrne, teaches recycling with press-out pieces that youngsters can place in correct bins located at the bottom of this inventive board book.
10 Items or Less, by Stephanie Calmenson, and illustrated by Jana Christy, helps youngsters understand different areas of grocery shopping.
The last books deal with subjects often of high interest to read to children. Will It Be a Baby Brother?, by Eve Bunting, and illustrated by Beth Spiegel, has an older brother anticipating the new arrival of his sibling. Samuel’s Baby, by Mark Elkin, and illustrated by Amy Wummer, has Samuel discussing this big event in his kindergarten class. If Babies Went to School, by Barbara Lock, and illustrated by Gus Tatantino, discusses what goes on at school while younger ones are left behind. Love is You & Me, by Monica Sheehan, celebrates the bond that holds families together. And lastly, Feelings, by Kristen Balouch, shares the major feelings that we have to help little ones better understand themselves. All five stories have nicely painted scenes and scenarios to help open sibling discussions.