Baby books get filtered over time: they come into the house via shopping and gifts, and then some of them become favorites and others get donated to the library. Here are the ones that have been most successful at our house (through FIVE children now), and which I may or may not have purchased for my impending niece (she was due YESTERDAY, and doesn’t seem to care about the 10-cent-a-day overdue fee):
Maisy’s Bedtime, written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins. We’re on our second copy of this one: the first copy finally fell apart. Maisy puts on her pajamas, loses and finds her stuffed Panda, reads a story, and pees on the potty. Heart-stopping drama!
I am a Bunny, by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry. Flashback favorite: I had this one myself as a child. It’s the one about the bunny Nicholas, who lives in a hollow tree. He observes butterflies and birds and frogs and etc., depending on the season.
Blue Hat, Green Hat, written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton. The animals are putting on clothing, and the turkey keeps screwing it up: “Blue hat, green hat, red hat….oops.” Some babies listen to this book soberly: “Ah, yes, I see: he stands in his hat rather than putting it on his head as the other animals do.” Other babies choke and gasp with laughter and you have to pat them on the back a bit to settle them down.
One Red Sun, written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. The title implies that there are descriptive words in the book, but each page contains only the number in numeral and word form, plus an illustration. I have my own way of reading it: “Three babies in red snowsuits; one, two, three,” for example, when the page only says “3 three”.
Baby Faces, by Margaret Miller. You would not think that such a simple book (each page has a photo of a baby’s face with a one-word description of the expression) would be so mesmerizing to children, but YOU WOULD BE WRONG. Even my GRADESCHOOLERS still pay attention when I read this one.
Maisy’s Colors, written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins. Pretty much all the Maisy books are hits at our house.
Country Animals, written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins. There are four books in this series (the others are Farm Animals, Pet Animals, and Garden Animals), and it would be hard to say which was our favorite. Well, I picked Country Animals for the photo, so I guess that’s our favorite.
Everywhere Babies, written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee. This is my own personal favorite baby book, and the only one I didn’t have for all five kids (it wasn’t published until 2001). I’ve linked to the board book version, but maybe should have linked to the hardcover, since sometimes board books are abridged versions of the originals and I don’t know if this one is or not.
I love how this book reflects my own “some people do things one way, some people do things another way” child-rearing philosophy: babies are fed by bottle, breast, cup, and spoon, for example. And when Henry was a newborn, I found particularly comforting the exhausted appearance of many of the parents in the illustrations: they look like they love their babies, but they’re wearing sweatpants and they can’t keep their eyes open.