Our Favorite Baby Books, Old and New Classics Alike

baby book: child reading inside a library

Teaching your child the ways of the world is a difficult task. But, baby books act as an essential way to pass on information. From the newborn baby to the three-year-old, baby books serve a much greater purpose than entertainment. What some see as a mere diversion to get the child to sleep can also educate and entertain.

Think back to your favorite baby books. Sure, you remember them for their warmth and their familiarity. But, believe it or not, you probably learned some values and morals from these books. Some books focus on the act of giving and why giving and sharing are important. Kids pick up on this and slowly internalize these messages. As the years go on, the books themselves may be forgotten, but the morals and lessons learned stick with them.

Besides learning morals, babies begin to learn everything from pictures to words. As you read with your baby, they may try and formulate words. After a while, they recognize pictures and put together that these pictures are linked to words. Baby books are essential to a cognitively developed baby.

Lastly, reading baby books to your child strengthens the bond between you. The child feels the closeness, and it'll matter for the rest of their lives. It may not lie on the conscious level, but it sure makes an impact as the child grows up.

What Makes a Good Baby Book?

Everyone has their own tastes when it comes to books. But, overall, what makes a popular baby book? What is it about certain books that capture the imagination?

One of the things that makes a baby book good is the pictures. Pictures capture a baby's attention like no other. Before they speak or even mumble, pictures are their only form of communication with the outside world. It's how they learn what things are.

Next, a good baby book entertains. Sometimes, it's difficult to keep a baby's attention. But, a good baby book knows how to do this. Whether it's the picture or the flow of the story and words, entertainment is hard to capture.

Finally, baby books that are renowned almost always have some sort of educational value. Whether that's teaching kindness or counting, the best baby books combine all these factors into a product that babies love.

Our Favorite Baby Books

Using the criteria listed above, we have selected 10 of our favorite baby books. They span generations. Some came out decades ago and some just a few years ago. Each of these books encompasses special magic. They captivate, educate, and make the baby happy.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle

This book is a classic, released in 1969. Your parents may well have read it to you. Author Eric Carle probably had no idea this book was going to blow up the way it did. But there are good reasons it's remained popular for almost 50 years. First, the illustrations are fantastic. They're out of the norm and are perfect for capturing a baby's attention. The book also has parts of the pages “eaten” by the caterpillar, which makes the baby happy. And finally, the book helps the baby learn how to count. Baby books look up to this one as the granddaddy of them all.

“Press Here” by Herve Tullet

At first glance, you may think this is an electronic book. After all, it's 2018 and babies are now learning off iPads. But, this book delivers interactivity without the electronic portion.

A book focused on imagination and wonder, the Press Here story urges baby to press the dots on the page. Following the instructions, the subsequent pages make it look as if these presses have a real impact on the dots. Shaking a page full of dots throws them all around on the next page.

Author Herve Tullet is on to something with this 2010 release. Hopefully, they'll release more types of this book in the future. This is a shining example of a baby book created in the 2000's that doesn't need technology to be appreciated.

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin and Eric Carle

Another 1960's release and another masterpiece by Eric Carle (this time strictly acting at illustrator), the artwork of this book mirrors that from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Although this book doesn't have a plot, you don't necessarily need a narrative to create compelling baby books.

The child learns all about animals when they're asked to look at a picture of an animal. The animal responds with seeing another animal, which is on the next page. Learning about animals is crucial to a baby's development, and this baby book is an excellent choice if you have a baby who loves animals.

“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr.

Learning to spell is something that gives many people trouble early in life. It's one of the most difficult things to learn, so getting acquainted with proper spelling early helps later in life. If you're looking for baby books that focus on spelling, then Chicka Chicka Boom Boom could be the perfect book for you.

In this book, anthropomorphized letters all climb up a tree. Once they all get into the tree, the tree can't hold the weight, and all of the letters fall out of the tree. The rest of the book describes the letters' injuries. Not only does this book hone in on spelling, but it also focuses on empathy. These types of emotions are just beginning to take shape in the mind, so nurturing them is crucial.

This excellent baby book from 1989 is still essential and entertaining years later.

“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

The imagination is a terrible thing to waste. And, for some people, it seems that their sense of imagination never seemed to develop. While everybody has an imagination, some use it more than others. Stimulating the imagination is seen in Where the Wild Things Are, which puts forth a fantastic story and illustrations that captivate both the baby and the accompanying adult.

Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, the book tells the tale of monsters who are misunderstood. One of the things that stands out to adults about the book are the illustrations. The monsters in the book are recognizable today, even if you haven't read the book in 30 years. With a beautiful combination of intriguing images and a great moral message, it's no wonder this is considered a classic.

And every kid loves a story with a slightly naughty hero.

“Corduroy” by Don Freeman

It seems the 1960's were the heyday of children's books. 1968 was a tumultuous year for the world, but that same year also brought children Corduroy. Focusing on a small teddy bear, the story is what takes center stage. Not a lot of baby books focus on exploration, but Corduroy puts exploration center stage. In the story, a teddy bear named Corduroy spots a young girl at a department store.

However, she doesn't have enough money to buy him. After the store closes, Corduroy (who is missing a button) goes in search of a worthy replacement for his wardrobe. He explores the entire department store but ends up empty-handed. Luckily, the next day, the young girl buys Corduroy, and they live happily ever after.

Deemed a classic and still read to children today, the charming tale of Corduroy still captures the mind and spirit.

“How Can You Dance?” by Rick Walton

The imagination is something wonderful. It takes you to places that never existed and impacts your life in an extremely positive way. Tapping into a child's imagination is one of the best things you can do for them. And, if you get across the message of “individuality,” then you're doing the right things. Combine those into a book, and you have a hit. How Can You Dance? gets kids dancing like all types of animals.

In a society where individuality is becoming more and more accepted, children should know that it's OK to be themselves. And this baby book hits that right on the head. Not to mention the fact that more kids should dance since it's both a performance of creativity and exercise.

If you're looking at baby books, this is one that checks all of the right boxes.

“Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney

Love is a powerful thing. And it's something that every child needs. However, some children don't get the love they deserve. Love not only is the right thing to do, but it also affects the child's brain. It also affects their happiness and well-being for the rest of their lives.

Guess How Much I Love You taps into the powerful emotion of love and shows, in a charming and heartfelt manner, how much two beings can love each other. The story focuses on two hares that try to outdo each other in showing how much they love each other. It's a simple premise, but one that's happy and keeps the child's attention. It also shows the child how love is important.

Overall, a solid choice when looking for baby books.

“Busy Penguins” by John Schindel

Business is a part of the world. It seems everyone is doing something all the time. But, in the eyes of a child, seeing a bunch of penguins run around is one of the funniest things you can imagine. In Busy Penguins, the penguins are doing everything. They're jumping and splashing around and having a great time with their friends.

While it may not seem like much, the book hits on a couple of important points. Seeing the penguins interact with each other promotes socialization. And seeing the penguins goofing around instills the idea that fun is important in life.

The book is a fantastic choice for your baby.

“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats

A classic, this baby book captures the magic of the first snowfall. For a baby, the snow is a completely world-changing thing. It's foreign and alien to them. However, they almost always tend to react to it with a sense of wonder. This is exactly what happens in The Snowy Day. A child experiences the first snowfall, and they explore the world around them.

A book focused on exploration and the magic of a snowy day, this book is one you shouldn't pass up. It's a classic that every parent should read with their child.

Our Favorite Baby Book: “How Can You Dance?”

How Can You Dance
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Rick Walton
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
  • Hardcover: 32 pages

It may surprise you, but this is our pick for a couple of reasons. First, it's something that sticks out from the crowd. Sure, the classics are classics for a reason. However, it's time for something new. And this is the perfect book for new generations of kids.

Individuality is important, and this book makes that known. It gets kids out and about, shaking and grooving, and being themselves. When you take those two factors into account, choosing this book is a no-brainer.

Baby Books for Everyone

Whatever your tastes in baby books, there's a baby book for everyone. All on this list educate and entertain. And, if you make your child happy, then you're doing an excellent job. From teddy bears to interactive books, there's an adventure out there for everyone.

Do you have a favorite baby book that didn't make this list? Tell us about it in the comments

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