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.
Baby Touch First Cot Book
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.