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Springtime and babies seem to go together. Here are some of the very best books geared for babies and families of young children ages zero to four. Except for the last five, all are small board books made sturdy and thick for little hands. I’ve grouped them into four sections: concepts, beginning reading, uniquely packaged and specific lessons taught. The last five books are picture books.
Scholastic has a new series geared just for the very young called Scholastic Early Learners. Some of these outstanding books include: Lift the Flap: Look Who’s Talking is a brightly photographed book that includes flaps, simple signing that babies easily grasp and ten sound buttons. When youngsters press a picture button, they’ll hear the word. They can lift the flap and see the sign. My First book of Colors features a clever see-through window whereby the child can mix colors and see how secondary colors are made from primary ones. Touch and Feel ABC is an interactive book with each letter having a specific textile to touch that goes along with that letter. Slide and Find Animals is an interactive book that both parents and child will enjoy! The book is actually an alphabet book and uses an animal for each letter. By sliding the letter, more animals can be found with each letter.
Ashley Evanston (who is originally from Utah) has a new series of books youngsters can learn from that teaches a bit of geography along with simple concepts. These books include: New York (A Book of Colors), London (A Book of Opposites), San Francisco (A Book of Numbers) and Paris (A Book of Shapes).
Houghton Mifflin has a series called Picture This. Each book is the subject of a concept and includes: Homes, Shapes, Colors and Numbers. Each double page spread has vibrant colors and spectacular photographs.
Penguin Publishing has the familiar classic “Corduroy” made into simple concept books which include: Shapes, Seasons, Colors and Numbers. They’ve also used the beloved classic “Peter Rabbit” and recently published P is for Peter using Peter throughout this alphabet book.
Lift the Flap: First 100 Words, published by Scholastic, has the perfect blend of rich, vibrant photos and interactive flaps to increase learning of words. The categories include: transportation, food and animals.
Reading familiar songs (as well as singing these songs) is an excellent way to teach beginning reading because of repetition and a simple rhyming pattern. Old MacDonald Had a Farm (Sing Along With Me!), illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang, and is a Nosy Crow publication that includes moving parts, pull tabs and a rotating wheel. The “Bizzy Bear”series, by Benji Davies (also a Nosy Crow publication) is similar to the previous book with movable parts on every page. The rhyming text is simple and fun for youngsters to learn. The newest book, Bizzy Bear Deep-Sea Diver, doesn’t disappoint.
Count-and-Sing series, by Scholastic, follows this concept for easy to learn and read books for youngsters. The newest in this series, by Priscilla Burris are The Ants Go Marching and Five Green and Speckled Frogs. Both books are brightly colored and completely fill the pages.
We Love to Sing Along! (A Collection of Four Preschool Favorites), by Caroline Jayne Church, includes “Rain Rain Go Away”, “You Are My Sunshine” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. The illustrations are adorable and rich with color. Crocopotamus: Mix and Match the Wild Animals!, by Mary Murphy, is a fun and ingenious book to change the look of animals and thereby create your own animal. This is a terrific book to help your child’s imagination and possibly create their own story.
“Peppa Pig” is an endearing character that youngsters adore. Peppa’s Busy Day: A Magnet Book is another book that encourages your imagination. Peppa and her family are visiting many places in the book. Your youngster can place these magnetic characters onto the pages to complete their own story. Peppa Pig and the Year of Family Fun has flaps, pop-ups and moving pieces for youngsters to enjoy.
Little Simon publishers has two new books that youngsters can relate to. Go, Go, Grapes: A Fruit Chant, by April Pulley Sayre, is rich with brightly photographed fruit. The text is a delight as well and begs to be read (or chanted) as your mouth may beg for a taste. There are lemony lemons, orange tangerines and much more. Nest, by Jorey Hyurey, is a simple exploration of the life of a bird. It begins with a nest and an egg. It ends with two birds meeting and another nest. Each open-page has just one word making this an easy and quick read.
The last few books have to do with teaching a specific lesson. My Little Sister and Me, by Maple Lam, is about sibling relationships in this touching story about a boy and his little sister. Babies Don’t Walk, They Ride!, by Kathy Henderson, and illustrated with double page pictures by Lauren Tobia, showcase how families utilize strollers throughout the day. Silly Wonderful YOU, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, celebrates how life has completely changed for the better in the household when a child is born. Blocks, by Irene Dickson, is about sharing and learning to get along. Skip to the Loo, My Darling!, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, and sweetly illustrated by Anita Jeram, is helping toddlers learn about using the potty.