It’s a simple truth that it is important to read to children right from infancy. A child seated in its mother or father’s lap, listening to a story or clutching a sturdy, colourful board book, learns to associate books with happiness and comfort. Traditional nursery rhymes are not only fun, but help in language acquisition.
(Left: All of Our Favorite Books by Amariah Rauscher. To buy this or other sweet nursery prints from Amariah, have a look at The Extent of Silence on Etsy.)
This category includes everything from board books that won’t drive parents to bored distraction, to unique concept books, and even just some beautifully written, simple stories appropriate for the youngest children. I’ve even included a few books that encourage movement and playing along, for those kids who still have difficulty sitting through most stories.
I hope that you, and the infants and toddlers in your life, enjoy these as much as I have!
Plop! Plop! Plop! Plop! Plop! Plop!Kerplop!Knock, knock on the trunk,Then stop.
If you’re a fan of Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (and really, who isn’t?), you’re going to love Tap the Magic Tree.
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Where are you hiding?What are you doing?
It’s no secret that I love concept books which challenge toddlers and explore things beyond basic letters, numbers, colours, etc. So it’s always a thrill for me to find a book that not only reaches beyond the basics, but is beautiful and engaging to boot.
Push, pull, pedal, tow
Wheels help to make us go
When it comes to board books, sometimes something as simple as an uncommon theme can be enough to make one worth grabbing.
What Do Wheels Do All Day?, in a new, bilingual English/Spanish edition, is a great example of this. Kids (and parents) who are tired of farm animals, number/colour/alphabet/shape concept books, and cutesy images of babies doing all the usual stuff, are sure to get a kick out of this simple, rhyming exploration of the wheel and its uses. From the abstract “wheels whiz, wheels whir,” to familiar real-life examples like “wheels parade and wheels patrol” (showing police on motorcycles in a parade), it’s a fun, rhythmic read, enhanced by Giles Laroche’s detailed, three-dimensional illustrations. Read the rest of this entry »
A single word, in two different voices, prompts a heart-warming exploration of optimism vs. cynicism in Linda Ashman’s Rain!
I’ll admit it: I have a particular fondness both for intergenerational picture books and crotchety old people (at least, in writing—maybe not so much in real life). I’m not at all a fan of the treacly or saccharine in children’s literature, but I do love a story that reflects the real-life magic that often happens when the very young connect with the elderly. Read the rest of this entry »
An Alligator, a Bird, a Castle . . . Can you guess what comes next?
I love words. I’m just that nerdy. I love the look of them, the sound of them, the way there are so very many of them and they convey so very many different ideas. But sometimes . . . just sometimes . . . there is real magic in a book without any words at all.
William Wondriska’s A Long Piece of String, first published in 1963 and now back in print, is that oddest of creatures—a wordless alphabet book. And it is indeed magical. Read the rest of this entry »
Okay, so the line above isn’t so much an introduction to this story as it is the sound at the heart of it—the sound of Earl the dog’s tail wagging.
In Wag!, cartoonist Patrick McDonnell has taken the beloved characters of his comic strip, Mutts, and used them to create a sweet, uncomplicated picture book about love and what makes us happy, framed by the simple question, “What make’s Earl’s tail wag?” Read the rest of this entry »
Best. Baby. Book. Ever.
Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But not by much. So let’s just put it this way: if I was trying to help new parents build an essential library for their babies of the most spectacular children’s books out there (which I sort of am), Press Here would be at the top of the list. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been said before, but bears repeating: Hippopposites is exactly the sort of book for which Noodlenuts was created. In an endless sea of baby board books full of cutesy farm animals, with stock illustrations that all start to look the same, it’s easy for a parent to give up and assume that this is one area in which they’ll just have to suck it up and live with the tediousness. And after all, it’s not like one ought to expect entertainment from something the toddler mostly chews on, right? Read the rest of this entry »
Three hamsters with a pear Four hamsters in the air
I admit it: I just love a bit of well-executed randomness in a children’s book. I can’t help but feel like sometimes the most fun to be had with a book for really little kids is in a story that is a little bit wonky and odd, but in that sort of clever way that never veers entirely into the completely chaotic or incoherent.
It’s because of this that I love author/illustrator Kass Reich’s first book, Hamsters Holding Hands, a counting board book that is ridiculously sweet and fun. Read the rest of this entry »