Something rather miraculous happened a few weeks ago, and most of the world didn't even acknowledge it: Clark finally started to love books. Before that blessed day, he would usually only tolerate one or two pages at a time. Now he will happily sit through an entire (six-page!) book and then ask for it again. Miraculous, I tell you. I always expect my kids to enjoy books much sooner in their young lives, but with all of them, something finally clicks around their first birthdays (or shortly thereafter).
In light of this development, I thought I'd share six of his recent favorites. It should be noted that many of the books he loves right now (What Does Baby Say?, Simms Taback's Farm Animals, and Chomp) have already been reviewed on the blog, so definitely go back to some of the other board books posts for more ideas.
1. Hi! by Ethan Long
Can I just tell you how much I love a book without flaps? Not that they don't have their place, but sometimes it's just so nice to be able to sit and read a book without a million little hands touching the page and trying to get to the flap before anyone else. This book doesn't contain a single flap, but it does have all sorts of animals saying "hi" in their own language: Meow, Bow-wow, Moo, even Slurp (for an anteater). Clark loves animal books right now, and I always love Ethan Long's illustrations.
2. Letters Are For Learning by Andrew Neyer*
There are very few alphabet books that I gush over because I feel like the children's book market is absolutely saturated with a million that all seem almost exactly the same. So although I'm not going to gush over this one, I will say that we do like it. The letters correspond with action words (M is for Marching, J is for Juggling, R is for Racing, etc.), and then the pictures show an animal that begins with that same letter engaged in the activity. The thing I like about this book in particular is that the illustrations hint at many more words that begin with the featured letter. Clark, of course, doesn't pick up on any of this cleverness, but my older kids do. (For example, "I is for inviting" shows an iguana writing out an invitation with ink. He has an icy drink nearby and a little inchworm for company.)
3. Wiggle! by Taro Gomi
Sometimes I wonder why I waste my time on board books with fancy textures or tempting flaps or delicate pop-ups when a book like this is much more simple and a lot more fun. The book has a hole going all the way through it, just the perfect size for a little finger to poke out of. And so, your finger becomes the star of the show. First, it's the tail on a cat, then the trunk on an elephant. There's nothing to bend or rip or tear, but it's still really interactive. I'm sold. (P.S. I also really love Taro Gomi's Hide and Seek, even though it doesn't have a hole in it.)
4. Baby Happy Baby Sad by Leslie Patricelli
I have ulterior motives here. I'm dying to hear Clark say "baby," and I'm convinced if I read him this book enough times, the word will somehow make its way out of his mouth. So far, it hasn't worked, but this book is adorable nonetheless (as are all of Leslie Patricelli's books). In it, two similar activities are paired side by side. One makes the baby happy (like holding onto a balloon), the other makes the baby sad (like watching the balloon float away). I particularly like the page where the happy baby is giving the kitty some love, and the sad baby is watching the (happy) cat escape. That is a daily scene in our house.
5. How Fast Can You Go? by Kate Riggs, illus. Nate Williams
The cover art is what made me pull this book off the shelf for a closer look. I love the retro colors and the spattered texture. It immediately won Clark over because not only does it showcase a different vehicle on every page, but a dog and cat are featured very prominently throughout, and Clark is a bit obsessed with dogs and cats, especially when he can find and point to them. (Also, I don't know if you noticed, but this is the only book on this list that has both an author and an illustrator. It seems like most board books are written and illustrated by one person. Forgive my sarcasm, but I guess I'm wondering how much time and effort it takes to come up with, "The car zooms down the road." Apparently, enough effort to earn a spot for your name on the cover.)
6. When? by Leo Lionni
I cannot look at the little mice in this book without getting flashbacks to my own childhood. We had the one (also a board book) where the mice turn different colors. I always loved the elegant page where they turned black and wore fancy top hats. So looking at this book with Clark is very nostalgic for me, but I'm almost certain I would love Leo Lionni's simple, collage-style art even if this were my first time seeing it. This book is part of series (the others are Who?, Where?, and What?). Each one explores common childhood questions.
Since we now seem to be on a roll, I'd love to hear about your favorite books for your littlest ones (not that I'll be able to get them from our library though since they won't let us put board books on hold . . . so frustrating!).
*I received a copy of Letters Are For Learning from the publisher. All opinions are my own!