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Best Books for Infants

Best Books for InfantsI’ve been reading to my daughter since a few days after she was born. I even packed a few picture books in my hospital bag, but we were too busy trying to get the breastfeeding thing working that I didn’t read to her in the hospital.

Just the other night, my 15-week old daughter realized that the stories I’ve been reading to her come from books. She noticed that there are neat, colorful pictures to go with the words. I first caught her looking at the pages when I read the classic bedtime story, Goodnight Moon.

Bibliophile that I am, this milestone was even more significant to me than when she rolled over for the first time. I was so intrigued by her reaction to the connection between the pictures and the words that I read her four bedtime stories that night!

Now, as I read her the same stories I’ve been reading to her for four months, she is seeing them for the first time. And it makes story time so much more fun for both of us.

So, I’d like to share with Babies Online readers a list of my daughter’s favorite picture books. The criteria? She likes short, snappy sentences with not too many words per page. She seems to prefer animal characters, and a story where I can really put some enthusiasm into the lines, meaning they are fun for me to read, too!

And yes, I can tell her favorites already by her reactions and how long the story will keep her attention. Maybe I’m raising a book review blogger!

1. Goodnight Moon – This classic by Margaret Wise Brown is the perfect bedtime book, and because it was the first book my daughter “noticed,” it goes first on our list. It’s got a great rhythm and simple pictures that hold a child’s attention—even an infant’s. By the time I am whispering “Goodnight noises everywhere,” my daughter knows it’s time to go to sleep.

2. The Foot Book – This interactive story by Dr. Seuss is shorter than many other Seuss books, making it perfect for infants and young readers alike. My daughter loves when I grab her foot to show her “left foot, right foot.” The cats don’t like it so much when I use their paws to demonstrate “fuzzy fur feet.” Best of all, you can get two free Dr. Seuss books, and a tote bag, right here through Babies Online’s special offer.

3. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – Author Laura Numeroff has an entire series of “If You Give…” books, and each one is a great addition to any children’s library. The adorable mouse, cat, pig and moose characters endear Mom and baby alike. With one fun sentence per page and great illustrations filled with details, these books just don’t get old, even after the hundredth or so reading. Watching the smile on my daughter’s face when I ask her, “What happens next…?” simply melts my heart. I’m sure when she’s older she’ll begin to narrate the books along with me.

4. The Hat – I’ve always been a Jan Brett fan, and The Hat is one of my favorites. It’s a lot of fun to read, and the ironic ending will make adults chuckle. Brett’s detail-rich illustrations bring every page to life, and the plot progresses with just enough repetition that children love it but parents won’t find it tedious.

5. The Monster at the End of this Book – Originally published in 1971, The Monster at the End of this Book (starring lovable furry old Grover) was one of my childhood favorites. When I found a beat-up copy at a garage sale while I was pregnant, I pounced. Then my aunt bought Ashley her own, brand-new copy, and I can’t think of a more perfect gift. This title is fun to read with enthusiasm and always makes my daughter giggle. Yes, we all know Grover IS the monster at the end of the book, but that doesn’t make it any less suspenseful for little ones.

There are so many other great books available to foster a love of reading for your child, this list is just a very small sampling. I know I’ve left out many notable authors, including Karen Katz and Eric Carle.

Really, there’s no excuse not to read at least one book a day to your child. When your baby gets to the “grabby” stage, sturdy board books are a great investment and are priced lower than their hard cover counterparts.

Readers, what are you favorite children’s books? Please share!

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