When my good friend had her first baby two years ago I knew exactly what gift I wanted to give her. Since we met we’ve shared a love of “a good book”. I take her book recommendations seriously and have enjoyed some great reads as a result (“Gillespie and I” being one that immediately springs to mind) and as soon as either of us starts reading a good book we email the other to recommend it. A good book needs to be shared.
So, I wanted to initiate her little girl to the world of fabulous baby books as her welcoming gift. Now she has another baby girl I’ll have to get my thinking cap on to expand the collection.
Baby Muireann received some of these books from us to start her off, and we’ve given them to lots of other babies over the years. I love to add a book to a baby gift. I’m surprised how many people tell me that it’s their baby’s first book, and love that it is:) Books aren’t just for baby gifts, they’re great to give a baby for Christmas, instead of an Easter Egg, or to tell them how much you love them.
Here’s a quick list of some books that are much loved in our house, and that have been regulars at bedtime for five years now. I really hope my little miss L likes them as much as her brothers have. When buying for babies you’re best to buy board books rather than paper so that they don’t get torn.
Baby’s First books
That’s not my…
This series are great first books. We own about eight I think, bear, puppy, robot, pirate, snowman, car to name a few. The boys loved them and they make a great baby gift or Christmas present. The stories aren’t up to much but babies love the touch and feel aspects and later finding the little white mouse on each page.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Food and Biology in the one book, all bases covered. The illustrations in this book are colourful, there’s counting, lists, and a hole to poke your finger through. A great crowd pleaser.
I’d never heard of this book until I spotted it in a bookshop and bought it for Ciarán, but it’s been around since 1947.
It starts off listing the contents of “the Great Green Room” and then proceeds to bid them all goodnight. It has a lovely rhythm and concludes sleepily. A perfect bedtime story. Although Ciarán does point out every time that (in our copy at least) the “red balloon” is in fact orange.
Babies like to chew and snuggle and these taggie books are perfect for both. And you can read them too.
We’re going on a Bear Hunt
This is the type of book small children love- lots of repetition and great noises to make “swishy swashy”. The family embark on a bear hunt, encountering problems like a river in the way that they have to overcome. Then, they find the bear and flee. The ending is quite humorous and bedtime themed too. I won’t spoil it for you.
Guess how much I love you
This sweet, end of. The big nutbrown hare and the little nutbrown hare have a chat (competition?) about how much they live each other. The big one wins. Let that be a lesson to children everywhere. Winning aside, there’s some lovely narrative in the story which has planted the phrase I love you “to the moon and back” into the modern vernacular.
Calm Down Boris
Probably better for the middle of the day as opposed to as a wind down bedtime story, the Boris books star Boris, an orange fuzzy haired monster puppet whose catchphrase is “kissy kissy” and reading this book leads to lots of tickles.
Any buggy book- one that attaches to the books with a plastic cord, can’t be lost and means there’s something to entertain baby. My favourite.
(Aka Bran as Gaeilge)
They may not be literature, but the Spot board books have flaps to lift, a sure winner in baby’s eyes. There are many in the series, with the same characters throughout the series, like Helen the Hippo. “Spot says Goodnight” and “Where’s Spot?” are our favourites and they’re still chosen as bedtime stories by the boys.
Our Bookclub got together a list of our kids’ favourite books here including some baby books.
What books would you recommend for babies?