Babies, toddlers and older children are all fascinated by babies. Babies love to look at faces, but are especially drawn to those of other babies (or even their own in the mirror). Toddlers, many of whom are or are about to become older siblings, are proud that they can do more than babies, yet also so maternal and paternal. When I walked my firstborn down the streets of New York I often felt like the Pied Piper of Hamelin; she was usually crying, resulting in a constant parade of concerned toddlers following us saying, "Baby cry! Baby cry!" And even my soon-to-be-six-year-old loves seeing her friends' new siblings.
Although I have a pretty standard set of books I choose from when I give new baby gifts, the one that every parent has told me was a hit with their child, without fail, is DK's Baby Talk. The photographs (not illustrations) of babies of different ethnicities doing every day things such as eating and sleeping combine with the large flaps just-sized for little fingers to add up to a perfect first book.
For baby-obsessed toddlers and preschoolers, my new favorite is Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee (yes, I'm on a Marlee Frazee jag). The rhyming text is simple, describing different kinds of babies and the different things they do (crawl, splash, laugh) and follows them from birth through their first birthdays. The illustrations, which also show babies of different ethnicities, are just detailed enough to reward repeated readings but not too detailed as to be too busy (or oongapotchka, as we say). It's my three-year-old's new favorite, too - she asked me to read it four or five times today. In a row.
What are your favorite books for and about babies?