Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Best Books for Babies Are Books About Babies

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?


  1. I remember that my eldest liked "Eat!" which was photos of babies with food-covered faces. It was also a hit with my youngest, who loved Mem Fox's Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes.

  2. My daughter loved Fiona Pragoff books which have photos of babies and I had read Dorothy Butler's 'bible' Babies need Books in which she had said she did not recommend books with photos. I was in a quandary, but my daughter won. She took her Pragoff photo books everywhere and would sit in the shopping trolley, car seat etc reading. She is a very keen photographer now and I wonder if that was also sparked by Pragoff's bright, close-up photos of babies. The board board Global Babies from the Global Fund for Children also has lovely baby photos- from all cultures!

  3. Surely I was the one to tell you about Everywhere Babies? Rebekah and Ellie both went through a phase, when they were about 18 months old, where they were OBSESSED with it. The illustrations are awesome, esp for kids who love cats and dogs!!

  4. @Victoria: I'm so glad you followed your daughter's lead!

    @My Sis: Actually, I discovered it when looking up Marla Frazee books, then soon after found an old letter from Rebekah where she told us she loved it.