I am super weird. I heard that just having books in the house means kids read more. It’s probably a case of correlation without causation (as my husband likes to say. Yep, that’s how we roll round here). But I put her moses basket next to a full bookshelf (secured to wall, I’m not thaaaaat bad of a parent), so she saw them last thing at night and first thing in the morning. I freaked out when she reached 2 weeks and I realised I hadn’t read to her since birth (she got the joy of Dante’s Inferno, in Italian and the Twilight series whilst in utero. Nice combo right?). But I did amass quite a collection of kids books before Weasel was born. This meant I bought the books pre-becoming a mother. This resulted in some seriously bad choices and some unexpected hits. This is a collection of positive, early books.
Any Usbourne books are just plain awesome it turns out. Some are more educational, so we just look at photos right now and talk about some basic facts (weather, butterflies, space, etc.). But their That’s Not My …. range seems to entrance them. I wasn’t a big fan of these until Weasel started picking them up herself and I realised how much she loved them. The penguin one is her favourite.
Cloth books aren’t quite as good as they fade and washing and drying takes longer, but they are still great. The pages are easy for them to turn once they get the coordination. The best one ever, and still favourite book, is My Cow Book – the actions and rhymes make it the perfect book. Other greats are Fuzzy Bee, Jungly Tails (great for texture, although trying to come up with noises for some of the animals is challenging!) and Fish (doesn’t read quite as well).
We were bought some black & white baby books, but to be honest, Isla was never that keen on them. And tailored as they were to her newborn needs, we found it difficult to engage with her on them. Maybe others have had better luck!
The Baby Touch range of books looked horrendous to me as a non-parent, and thought Weasel would never go for that after having been given one as a gift. But she adores that book and we’ve had to add to the collection.
The key in hindsight seems to be rhyming. It sounds simple, but you get more into the reading yourself and I think the kid seems to get more enjoyment out of it in the time when, although they quite like your voice, they have got a flippin clue what you’re rabbiting on about. Anything with animal noises to make and/or silly movements are always going to go down well. There’s definitely an optimum number of words on a page too, which I would put at 4 rhyming lines at this age, as it will be their attention span for looking at the picture. Anything more they get bored, anything less and you get bored. You will be reading these about 1000 times in a row, so it’s best to find a happy medium! They’ll continue to read these books once they’re older too so the thick pages mean less will be torn out (invest in a lot of tape for the normal-paged books….).