Saturday, April 14, 2012

Six First Picture Books for Baby

Our good friend Anna from Wise Owl Baby dedicates her blog to reviews and recommendations of children's books. She's here today to share with us some of the best books to get for that brand new little one. 

I'm Anna from Wise Owl Baby: Chubby Cheeks and Picture Books! I'm a freelance editor and writer who loves to blog about children's literature and the sweet cheeks of my baby sunshine. I'm most likely to be found dancing with my baby, laughing with my husband, reading a magazine (of paper!), or talking to an old friend. And I'm probably eating an Oreo with milk while doing these things, so you might say I'm a multitasking expert. 

There are so many ways to set up a nursery library and so many wonderful books to choose from, that baby book shopping can be dizzying! 

So, I created a fun and simple system that ensures a well-rounded collection for those very first snuggly reading times. Just choose a book (or two or three) for each of the senses, and add them to your registry or must-buy list.

Newborns will be excited by bold, chunky pictures, and black/white/red. It won’t be long until their vision sharpens, though, so you could choose any book with illustrations that appeal to you.

The myriad benefits of reading aloud to baby include the development of baby’s understanding of language patterns and expression, and the strengthening of an attachment to your voice. Choose a book that you won’t mind reading over and over again, because of fun sounds or poetic words.

You got me! If there are edible books for babies, I do not know about them. But tongue-tickling books will have to count. One of the first pre-literacy skills is an interest in books—which includes mouthing them. I’ll admit, I never let my baby suck on her board books (and certainly not her paper books), but there are books designed especially for that early curiosity about texture.

Textured books apply here, too. And don’t forget about bath books, because what could be more fun than splashing bubbles and reading at the same time? Most of baby’s first books should be designed for chubby fingers. Board books and cloth books are great for the very first attempts at page-turning.

There are books that have smelly features—basically, scratch n sniff. They usually smell like dryer sheets. There is a series with quality aromatherapy smells and themes: Mo’s Nose. But baby’s first smell association to reading will probably be your smell, which is one reason reading from the earliest age will promote bonding between baby and you, and between baby and books.

No ghosts necessary. Choose a book that is emotionally meaningful to you, because you associate it with a happy memory, or because it reflects a value you hope to pass on to your child. If the book itself has sentimental value to you, keep it out of baby’s reach—but don’t forget to bring it down often for a read.

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