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Top 10 best books for babies from birth to 18 months

10 best books for babies birth to 18 months

Reading to babies plays a crucial part in developing their language and literacy skills. But with so many books on the market, finding something that will be a hit with your baby can prove a bewildering and frustrating experience.

The books in this list are in no particular order.


First Cot Book Ladybird

Baby Touch First Cot Book

by Ladybird

This fabric “book” is aimed at the very youngest babies, and folds out so it can be inserted in a pram. Featuring bold, simple pictures in black, yellow and white, it is designed to stimulate babies who have yet to develop their sense of colour.


Touch and Feel Baby Animals

Touch and Feel Baby Animals

from the Dorling Kindersley range

Children explore with all senses, and this “touch and feel” board book from Dorling Kindersley lets a child’s hands do the talking. The roughness of the elephant’s ears contrasts with the velvety smoothness of the calf and the furry gorilla hair.


Peek-A-Boo book cover


by Jan Ormerod

What child doesn’t enjoy a game of peek-a-boo? This simple “lift-the-flap” board book features children hiding behind recognised objects – a bib, a towel, a dress and hands – with a twist at the end that sets the scene for bedtime.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Eric Carle

A ravenous caterpillar hatches from an egg and proceeds to eat his way through anything and everything, leaving holes in the book as he goes. Children will love following the caterpillar’s journey until his transformation into a ravishing butterfly. The board book format will particularly appeal to younger children who like chewing books themselves.

Dear Zoo

Dear Zoo

by Rod Campbell

A letter to the zoo requesting a pet prompts all sorts of unsuitable choices, but finally a solution is found. This lift-the-flap classic gives young readers a sense of anticipation on each page.


Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown | Illustrated by Clement Hurd

First published in 1947, Goodnight Moon remains as captivating as it was six decades ago. A tiny rabbit bids goodnight to everything around him, from the kittens and mittens to the woman saying hush and the bowl full of mush. Eventually, as night falls, the rabbit dozes off too and only the restless mouse keeps watch. The text is incredibly soothing, while the detail of the pictures provides a new discovery for the reader every time the book is picked up.


My Mum book

My Mum

by Jeannette Rowe

Jeannette Rowe’s books feature simple pictures in bold colours, and deal with domestic themes such as family and the home. The repetitive text helps early language development, while the lift-the-flap format encourages child participation. Others in the series include My Dad, My Pet and My New Baby.


We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

by Michael Rosen | Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

We’re going on a bear hunt, and we’re not scared. Well, maybe just a little. The repetitive chant in this book, as the father and his children journey through a grassy field, mud, a snowstorm and other obstructions, ends when the bear is found. The group flees home to bed, evading the bear by a whisker. They have had enough bear-hunting for a while, but your child may not have.


Old Macdonald Had a Farm book

Old Macdonald Had a Farm

Illustrated by Pam Adams, from the Classic Books With Holes range

In board book format, this is sure to become a favourite. Holes in the pages draw readers through the book, each time highlighting a new animal to sing about. An easy one for children to start “reading” themselves.


Roadworks book cover


by Sally Sutton | Illustrated by Brian Lovelock

Who knew there was so much to building a road? The workers have to plan it, shape it, cover it, seal it, mark it, light it, green it. Not to mention finding time for lunch (gulp, slurp, crunch) and tidying up! Finally, they get to use the road – toot, honk, vroom! Bold and appealing illustrations and great sound effects that twist your mouth in funny directions, plus a glossary of different machines – each one has a different job, can you work out who does what? The bold pictures of recognisable vehicles and the simple text mean children can enjoy this book from an early age. However, they will continue to enjoy it and find more to discover as they grow older.

About Carolyn Batt

Carolyn Batt is a former business journalist with The Age, The Daily Telegraph (UK), and The West Australian. After having children she made five international moves in a decade, and her freelance writing covered a ...

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