The Most Awesome Baby Book Basket
[/box]Do you remember way back, in early February of this year, what you were doing? Chances are, if you lived in north Alabama, you were sitting in three or four feet of snow, something unheard of this far South. And chances are, now that it’s eight months later in October, you’ve received an invitation to a friend’s baby shower, to celebrate the impending arrival of the souvenirs of that fateful Snowpocalypse.
When I worked in Youth Services at the local library, I liked to encourage new parents to practice every night what I called the “Four B’s” – Bath, Bottle/Breast, Books, Bed. The routine of winding down each night was important to my own boys, and when they learned it, even as babies, it made bedtime so much more enjoyable for all of us. To my surprise, many new parents didn’t know HOW to read to babies, and it’s a reasonable question for those of us who didn’t have younger siblings or babysit as teenagers. I encourage you to talk to your local children’s librarian for tips and methods. Once you find your reading style, a book at bedtime with your baby will be the best part of your day!
Here are some titles that will make your Baby Book Basket the star of the shower…
Black and White by Tana Hoban
Newborn – 12 months
This is my favorite board book to give to newborns, and the perfect starter book for new parents – they can begin reading to their little one as soon as early as the first week after birth! Black and white colors (as opposed to color graphics) actually sharpen a baby’s vision by helping the ciliary muscles in their eyes focus on specific pictures. When your baby is old enough for tummy time, position this book about eight inches away to give him something to focus on and eventually crawl toward. Of course, his favorite thing will be your face!
Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
2 months – 12 months
No must-have baby book list would be complete without a little something by Sandra Boynton, and with very good reason. Lots of aspects make Boynton books perfect to read to babies – they’re short, have cute, goofy animals, and have a sing-song quality that makes them easy for little ones to remember. My personal favorite is this selection because it is SO much fun to read with lots of silly voices (especially the “LA LA LA!” part) but you can never go wrong with a Boynton box set if you’re in a baby shower pinch.
Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown
6 months – 18 months
Everybody knows Goodnight Moon and Pat the Bunny, and chances are high that the parents-to-be will end up with multiple copies of this one already. Be a rebel and go for this lesser-known classic board book with illustrations by the beloved illustrator, Garth Williams. The resilient little bear cub explores the woods before getting tucked in by his mama and papa, who sing him to loudly sleep. It’s poetic. It’s quirky. And there’s a “rub-the-tummy” version that gives baby that tactile experience.
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
6 months – 18 months
A condensed board book version of the original Russian folktale, this book has all the ingredients to make it one of your baby’s favorites: a naughty monkey, a frustrated cap peddler, lots of word repetition, and fun, bright colors! Hipster parents will remember this title from Reading Rainbow, and will hopefully want to share the full version with their baby as she grows older.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. (Slide & Find version)
10 months – 18 months
This board book is the same as the original in content, but with a great format twist that will help older babies interact with the book even more. As Eric Carle’s bright and cheerful animal illustrations parade through the book, you and your little one can preview the next page by sliding a panel. The animals provide the perfect opportunity to teach sounds and colors, and the predictability the sliding panel provides will make babies excited and proud that they know what’s coming next.
It’s a Little Book by Lane Smith
Just what is a book for, exactly? This tongue-in-cheek board book by the zany picture book author of The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs answers that question in the simplest fashion. A baby donkey and baby monkey try out many uses for a book, ultimately deciding on the best one. Released this past August, you get brownie points for introducing a title that is fresh and new.
Giving a book basket is a practical, personal, fun way to provide parents-to-be with a gift that literally keeps on giving, especially if you include a library card with a list of storytimes in your basket!
Image used under Creative Commons from urbanworkbench.[box type=”success”] Want to win all these books? You can! The Madison Friends of the Library have generously donated all of the books listed here. This will make a great shower gift or just a special treat for you and the little one in your life. To win the books, just visit the Madison Friends of the Library Facebook page and tell them that RCM sent you. While you are there, share your favorite children’s book. You have until next Monday, October 10th at 6 p.m. to enter. We’ll announce the winner in next Tuesday’s article. [/box]
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.
Great suggestions! I’ve bookmarked the article to use as reference for baby showers.
My “token” baby shower gift is a basket of Sandra Boynton books because they were our favorites. Our kids loved them (still do) and we liked reading them because they’re fun and very sing-songy. My favorite though is Barnyard Dance. 🙂