Well, I haven’t blogged in a coon’s age. But let’s all be thankful that the Age of the Coon has passed and I am blogging right now!
I was on Vancouver Co-op Radio’s It Takes a Village parenting show today talking about books for babies: why to share ’em with your little one, how to choose ’em and ones that particularly tickle me. Here is my list of favourites, in no particular order.
1. I Like it When… by Mary Murphy. Harcourt.
When I was a student librarian at Vancouver Public Library, one of the librarians there pointed out the beauty of this book to me. Because the penguins are genderless, there are so many possibilities for their relationship. They can be mom and tot, dad and tot, grandparent and tot, big sibling and tot, foster parent and tot – it’s totally multipurpose and applicable to any family situation. Plus, I love that their bellies look like scrambled eggs.
2. Hickory, Dickory Dock & Other Mother Goose Rhymes by James Marshall. Out of print 😦
Every baby needs a Mother Goose book. Sadly, it may not be this one because it’s out of print (don’t forget Abebooks, people!). I love this book because I think the illustrations will tickle adults and, as I mentioned on the radio, it’s really important for big people to enjoy the books that they’re reading to babies. This book also has wonderful potential to grow with baby and remain a favourite even until Kindergarten when they can really laugh at the pussycat who has gout.
3. Bow Wow board books by Mark Newgarden & Megan Montague Cash. Harcourt.
I found out about these on Phil Nel’s blog and fell in love with them. This is another one adults and older siblings will appreciate while still remaining totally baby friendly with their flat, bright colours and thick outlines.
4. I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy. Candlewick.
The black and white contrasting images are obviously perfect for babies, but I love the back-and-forth dialogue in this book. Without realizing it, you start doing voices and intonation and it becomes a lil’ lesson in conversation with babies. It’s also fun to ask the “Did you kiss the baby?” question to your baby, pause, and await their babbling response. It also makes a nice, very simple felt story for the 2-3 year old crowd.
5. All of Baby Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler. Illustrations by Hiroe Nakata. Dial.
I was insane over this book when it came out in picturebook format and I was so pumped last year when it came out as a board book. I love to share this one at babytime because there is so much room for interaction. It ends up being a bit of a massage session as almost every part of the body is rubbed or snuggled or kissed. So lovely.
6. Any board book by Hervé Tullet. Phaidon.
He’s simply the bomb. A total original. Love.
7. Black on White (or White on Black) by Tana Hoban. Greenwillow.
I think these books are boring, but that is because I am not a baby. Looking at these books for a baby is akin to watching Jurassic Park for adults – it’s exciting, captivating and really awesome.
8. Welcome Song for Baby by Richard Van Camp. Orca.
This is one that will be old news for British Columbians as it was in the Books for BC Babies bag a few years ago. But for anyone who doesn’t know it, it’s the ideal baby face picture book. The images are beautiful and inclusive and the text has the most wonderful rhythm. Tried and true, this book is.
9. Any of the Simply Small books from Simply Read Books
Beyond the ridiculous cuteness factor, these are the some of the best baby books with a light narrative. The stories are short and simple, the outlines are clear and bold and little makes me happier than a big-eyed beaver named Bitsy.