Thursday, November 26, 2009

Favorite Children's Book Recommendations: Age 0-12 months

Happy Black Friday everyone!!  Are you hitting the stores today?  I considered it, but I'm such a targeted shopper... I think I'll do better just shopping from home, so I'll probably spend a good bit of the day scouring Amazon's Black Friday deals.  I'm getting just a little bit obsessed with their "lightening deals."

Today I want to share a review of a board book that we read this week that has gone right onto my list of favorites for the very youngest readers:

Fisher-Price: Look at Baby!: Fun with Faces (Board book), by Emily Sollinger. When I saw the mirror on the cover, I knew we would love this book. One of the Infant Bibliophile's favorite books when he was younger was Nina Laden's Peek-a-Who, which had a mirror on the last page. We would prop it open on a quilt on the floor, and he'd practice crawling toward it. Later, he got into the habit of kissing the mirror every time he turned to that page. "Look at Baby!" has not one mirror, but four! The playfully illustrated pages ask little readers if they can wave hello, play peekaboo, blow a kiss, wiggle their noses, and wink.


"Frog likes to blow a kiss! / Can you blow a kiss?"

Bookworm's interest at 24 months: At two, he loves to read the book and follow the instructions (he's still trying to figure out how to wiggle his nose!). We must have read it at least 5 times in a row the first time. He would have loved this at a much younger age too, I'm sure.

Source: Review copy from publisher.

This book got me reminiscing about the first books to really catch our little guy's eye.  So, I decided to put together a list of the top 15 books -- 10 was too hard! -- that we recommend for ages 0-12 months, according to the Infant Bibliophile.  If you're a parent of a newborn or know someone who is expecting (or recently conceived), these books are fantastic gift choices.

1. A B C Board Book (Board book), by DK Publishing. This very small, sturdy book was the first free book we got at the doctor's office through the Reach Out and Read Program. The images are actual photographs, and our bookworm loved it.

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: In addition to reading it, he always loved teething on this more than any other book, but it has held up well to the abuse.

2. Baby's First Library - Words (Hardcover), by Yoyo Books. The images in these First Library books are bright and simple.

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: The bookworm really enjoyed flipping the thick pages himself, and he'd sit independently "reading" them (what a gift!). As he got older, he began to make connections between the items in the book and our house, like the globe and drum, and he liked to practice some of his sign language with the images too (like "hat").

Parent's Peeve: Why is there a banana in the fridge?

3. Big Board First 100 Words (Bright Baby) (Board book), by Roger Priddy. This large board book, which features nine objects per page, was one of his favorite books to flip through by himself while we ate breakfast in bed with him. The pages are full of a wide variety of fun photographs, organized by topics like "things that go," "bathtime," "bedtime," etc.

Bookworm's interest at 13 months: Now he loves to point to and identify objects in it, practicing his words or sign language.

4. Cloth Book Fluffy Chick (Touch and Feel Cloth Books), by Roger Priddy. This (and Fuzzy Bee and Friends, by the same author) were the only cloth books he liked much. The rhymes are cute, the cover is nicely crinkly, and the pages contain different tactile sensations, like a springy pigtail and a cushioned cow's nose.


"When the duck is swimming in the lake, "quack, quack," is the sound she'll make."

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: He'd sit and play with this one while I made lunch when he was an infant.

Parent's Peeve: Fluffy chick isn't actually in the book.

5. Curious George at the Zoo A Touch and Feel TV Board Book (A Touch and Feel Book) (Board book), by H. A. Rey. This cute book about George hiding in various places around the zoo (and the animals around him) is full of fun textures. He seems to enjoy locating little George on each page (hiding behind a plant or in a basket, etc.) even more than the textures, with the exception of the last page. This has been pretty consistently one of his favorites.

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: The "bumpy basket" on the last page was extremely appealing for awhile.

6. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book (Board book), by Rod Campbell. A fun tale about a boy who asks the zoo to send him a pet. The zoo sends all sorts of different animals (covered by flaps), each of which is sent back due to a slight flaw (the monkey is too naughty, the lion is too fierce, etc.). Each flap page explains, "they sent me a..." and makes the reader open the flap to see the next animal. The flaps are nice and thick.


"They sent me a/[Lion] He was too fierce! I sent him back."

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: This is one of our favorites.

7. Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! (Board book), by Dr. Seuss. We have the board book and full versions of Dr. Seuss's A, B, C, and mom and dad know both versions by heart. This is quite possibly the book we've read the most since our bookworm was born.


"Big A, little A, what begins with A? Aunt Annie's Alligator, A, A, A."

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: At times, we've had to hone our speed reading skills to keep pace with the frantic page turning, but it has remained a consistent hit in our house.

Parent's Peeve: I'm not a big fan of the Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz. Why not a zipped up zebra zooming through the zoo? But I love the rest.

8. Itsy-bitsy Spider (My First Taggies Book) (Board book), by Jill McDonald. This is a short, simple book with text that will be familiar to every parent already. The bookworm has always liked this book.

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: He doesn't pay any attention to the tags.

9. Fisher-Price: Look at Baby!: Fun with Faces (Board book), by Emily Sollinger. See review above. Definitely going on my list of books to buy for new babies.

10. My Little Word Book (My Little Books) (Board book), by Roger Priddy. Much like First 100 Words, My Little Word Book is stock full of photographs. The little guy really enjoys flipping through it. Categories include "food and drink," "your body," and "things we wear," among others.

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: Everything.

11. Open the Barn Door (A Chunky Book(R)) (Board book), by Christopher Santoro. This was the first flap book we owned. The book itself is very small (perfect for tiny hands), and the flaps are even smaller, so parental assistance was definitely required to operate them for awhile. But that didn't damper his enthusiasm for this book, which we read over and over (and over and over and over...) again.


"Who says 'Moo?'"

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: He loves the whole thing.

12. Peek-A Who? (Board book), by Nina Laden. Peek a Who was an instant hit. The rhymes are cute, the images are simple, the pages are thick and perfectly sized for small hands, and best of all, the last page contains a mirror. Just keep a washcloth handy in case your bookworm develops the habit that ours did -- a kiss on the mirror after every read. And there were MANY reads of Peek a Who.


"Peek a/ZOO!"

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: All, but especially the mirror at the end.

13. Peekaboo Playtime (Board book), by DK Publishing. This was one of the first flap books we bought, before he was born I think. The "flaps" are large, like fold out pages, and they're holding up well despite a LOT of wear. Parental challenge: making an elephant noise, which is apparently spelled "Braloooo!"

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: He likes the whole thing, and especially the flaps of course.

14. The Pudgy Peek-a-boo Book (A Pudgy Board Book) (Board book), by Amye Rosenberg. A cute, short board book - perfectly sized for tiny hands - with colorful drawings of cats and bunnies playing peek a boo.


"Look inside the basket./Look behind the door./Find a peek-a-boo friend./ And then find some more."

Bookworm's interest at 14 months: He especially likes the drawing of the cat hiding under the blanket at the end (since he likes to hide under a small quilt). But he smiles the whole time we read this one.

Parent's Peeve: Whoa is me. I've turned into someone who praises a book about bunnies and cats playing peekaboo. But he loves it, and that's what counts.

15. Where Is Baby's Belly Button? (Board book), by Karen Katz. Karen Katz is the queen of lift the flap books. Her "Where is Baby's..." catalog now includes everything from "Where is Baby's Mommy" and "Where is Baby's Valentine" to "Where is Baby's Dreidel." We should pick up a few more, because he really enjoys "Where is Baby's Belly Button." Each page highlights a different object, hidden beneath, under, or behind something else. The flaps are on the thinnish side, but are holding up fairly well.


"Where is baby's belly button? Under her shirt."

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: He seems to like the whole book equally, but has become fascinated by mom's belly button since reading this book.

Note: numbers 1, 11, and 15 are small books that would fit well in a stocking.

I'll try to suggest book recommendations for different age ranges and interest areas throughout the coming month, to help with holiday shopping.  You can access a full list of all of the books we have reviewed by clicking here.  If you're looking for any book ideas, feel free to leave a comment, and we can all help each other.  

Are you buying any books (adult of children's) as gifts this year?  Are you hitting the stores for Black Friday?  Camping out by your computer, today or on "Cyber Monday"?  Leave a comment and let us know.

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Amy Starr said...

Of course, I'm buying books for Christmas - my kids love them! I've bought them each one from Kohl's, and a bunch from Scholastic. I'm on my out to hit CVS for Black Friday and hopefully Toys R Us, but otherwise, I'm doing my deals online! Thanks for this great run-down - looking forward to the other ages!

Raising a Happy Child said...

Nice list - we read and loved some of the books mentioned here. We shop mostly online - much better than braving Black Friday crowds.

maryanne said...

My kids are getting books from our library sale for Christmas this year =)

Great book list - We've only read a couple of the ones you listed, so I'll have to check ou the rest to read with Lily. I love books with mirrors for very young readers.