A friend of mine, who is not a book lover, likes reading my book reviews. She knows the importance of reading to her child, but she has no idea which of the MILLIONS of available children’s books to choose. Since she just had her first child a few months ago, she asked me to suggest some good books for babies.
While I was pregnant with our first child, my husband and I read aloud to each other from The Runaway Jury, by John Grisham. Shortly after he was born, we finished reading it to him. Now, I’m not suggesting that you read John Grisham or Stephen King to your children; but I am saying that when children are very young, it doesn’t matter what you read to them as much as THAT you read to them. So if you aren’t into children’s books, you can get away with reading them something you like when they’re really really young (unfortunately that changes as they grow, and they are likely to choose your least favorite book as their all-time-have-to-read-it-every-night favorite!)
As they get a bit older and you want to begin drawing them into the world of books, a popular choice for years has been Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt. When I received this book at our first baby shower, everyone else seemed to recognize it as THE children’s book to have. I felt like I’d been living under a rock somewhere for the last decade - “what kind of mother is she going to make if she doesn’t even know about Pat the Bunny???” Well, that’s what they said in their minds . . . if nothing else, perhaps this review will save you from that embarrassment.
Pat the Bunny is an enjoyable little interactive “touch and feel” book, there are several others in the Pat the Bunny series that I enjoy more (for varying reasons). I think one of my favorites is Five Red Apples. There are five plastic apples across the top of the book that slide back and forth. Presumably for counting, but I love how they entertain my youngest in the car! Another in the series, called Butterfly Roundup, is also great for entertainment value - there is a plastic bunny that swirls around up and down a little pole, so the butterfly seems to be fluttering around.
Another Pat the Bunny series favorite is Sweet Dreams. This little book has a extension attached to the book that has a plastic bunny with a push button. When you push the button, the bunny lights up! One of our children enjoyed sleeping with this book in their bed - if she got scared, she had control of her own nightlight (in addition to the three that were already on, of course!).
Within this same series, we also received a fabric book, called Sleepy Bunny. It has a stuffed bunny on a string that you can slip into a pocket so he looks like he’s “in” some of the pictures in the book - all of course while working his way to bed! Several of my children like to sleep with books, and soft ones like this make it easy to say, “yes!”
If you’re looking for more books with textures, we really like DK Publishing’s “Touch and Feel” series. We have the Baby Animals book, but I’ve seen others that are equally good. The bunny fur feels so real to me, and I love the leather for the baby elephant’s ears. And of course you can tell your little one, “They are all babies, just like you!”
My favorite tactile book is That’s Not My Puppy by Fiona Watt ( Usborne books ). This book goes through all these different dogs with, “That’s not my puppy!” and then says why it’s not (its coat is too hairy, or its collar is too shiny, etc.). The various textures presented combined with the repetitive nature of the story, makes this such a fun read for children AND adults!
Enjoy these and may others and snuggle up and read tonight!