Four on Friday: FAVORITE BOOKS FOR A NEW BABY


Time-For-Bed-CoverGoodnight, GorillaQuick as a Cricket  jamberry_cover

Four FAVORITE BOOKS FOR A NEW BABY on Friday
A former student of mine just had her first child and it got me thinking about baby books.  I loved the baby board books; their sturdy design made them great for holding in chubby little fingers . . . and perfect for chewing.  We had a large collection of baby board books that were enjoyed by all three of our children.  It was always a bit bittersweet for me when my kids moved from the board books to paper books.  It was nice to be able to read something new but I missed the comfort of those durable books.  My “go-to” new baby gift has always been books and these four of some of my favorites.

Time for Bed by Mem Fox
This is probably my all-time favorite children’s book.  The beautiful illustrations by Jane Dyer are done in soft, cool watercolors.  The text is lilting and soothing, perfect to help a baby fall asleep, always an plus!  The story takes the reader through a number of mother-child animals with each saying good night.  “Time for bed, little mouse, little mouse.  Darkness is falling all over the house.”  Each animal has a unique rhyme and pattern; it is almost like a lullaby.

When my babies were little, up until they were school age, we read Time for Bed every night as our final story before lights out.  The rhythm of the story is like a song and very easily remembered, so it was a perfect book to read while a child is falling asleep.  I remember not even opening the book some nights because the baby was slowly falling asleep and I didn’t want to disturb him or her!!  I would just recite the verses from memory, sometimes skipping a few pages to get them into bed quicker!  As they got older however, they would correct me when I tried to pass by a few of the animals.  Mem Fox is an Australian author whose other books we have also enjoyed.

Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Goodnight, Gorilla was another read-every-night book.  I know that Goodnight Moon is very popular but my kids and I enjoyed Goodnight, Gorilla so much more.  The zookeeper is saying goodnight to the animals, but a mischievous gorilla swipes his keys and embarks on a sweet adventure before bed.  I love the few words and bright, colorful illustrations.  The lack of text made it a perfect read to talk about the pictures and tell the story of what was happening.  Some nights, we said “good night” to all the animals; some nights we lingered on the pictures and created personalities for the characters and pondered their stories.  As my children got older, this book became a great starting point for telling their own stories.  The Carl books by Alexandra Day are another great example of stories that require the reader to tell her own story through the pictures.  The former teacher in me loves the limitless options for creativity and imagination.

Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood and Don Wood
I love the sing-song quality of this book as the descriptions take the reader through all the character traits a person can have – “I’m as quick as a cricket, I’m as small as a mouse.”  We loved reading this book with voice and personality, using a soft voice for “quiet as a mouse” and a powerful voice for “loud as a lion.”  My kids would get quite upset if I didn’t read the phrases with the proper voices!  The board book for Quick as a Cricket does leave out some things that are in paper book; of course since we started with the board book, we didn’t find that out for quite a while.  Audrey and Don Wood’s other books are favorites in our house, especially King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub and The Napping House.

Jamberry by Bruce Degan
“One berry two berry, in my canoe berry.”  This is another delightful book with a catchy rhythm and colorful pictures.  A bear, a boy, and a brassberry band have a rollickingly journey through strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and all the other berries of Berryland.  Every time we would eat berries, my kids enjoyed revisiting some of the silly rhymes from the book.  It is a fun, silly book and both the reader and listener have a great time reading faster and faster as the excitement of the story progresses.  If you live near a place where you can go berry-picking or have your own berry patches, this book is a great one to read while enjoying the fruits of your labor!

These four books are my typical gifts for a new baby’s library.  What other books have you enjoyed with your children that you think are essential to any newborn’s library?

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One thought on “Four on Friday: FAVORITE BOOKS FOR A NEW BABY

  1. Brianna Larsen

    One of our favorites was also Time for Bed! I miss the picture book bedtime stories phase with my children! A couple other of our all time favorites are Little Nutbrown Hare. As toddlers my children loved to have a competition about who loved who the most after reading this book each night. Not board books, but we loved How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight, which always ended with our own made up number of a ‘bazillion’ bedtime kisses. (Who doesn’t like a bedtime book revolving around kissing baby animals?!). Another favorite has been Bear Snores On. A bit lengthier, this was the favorite after about age 3. This is a great book to let the kids help ‘read’ the repetitive line of “the bear snores on” in incrementally rising voices to match the print style of the line on each page. These are books that will always hold special memories of bedtime!

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