In many families, there are well-known books like Goodnight Moon that they often reread with their youngest children. Newer titles and reissues are here for both of us, so you and your child will both enjoy these.
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox. Illus. by Helen Oxenbury. 2008.
A great book for you and your baby to read together! To make a multicultural book about something all babies have in common: ten little fingers and ten little toes. Mem Fox used rhyme and repetition to make the story. “There was one little baby / who was born far away. / And another who was born the very next day. / And both of these babies, as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers and ten little toes.” Mem talks about interesting things, like sneezes and chills, and being truly divine. She and the illustrator Helen Oxenbury make it seem like there is something special about those fingers and toes and that all babies are so cute. No, I don’t. I have 10 fingers and 10 toes. Let’s figure them out.
Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?by Bill Martin Jr. Illus. by Eric Carle. 2007.
40 years ago, Martin and Carle came out with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. Baby Bear is the fourth book in a series that began then. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? is the second book in the series. It talks about the sounds that animals make and how they move. There are a lot of endangered animals in the third book, Panda Bear. Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? A baby bear and its mother are shown in Baby Bear. Your kids will love Carle’s big, double-page animals and Martin’s text, which is full of interesting words (striped skunk, screech owl, gliding, hooting). Readers who are very young like books that have a lot of repetition, andBaby Bear has the same word patterns as other books in the series. Try saying something to your own child in the same way that the words are written. I want to know what you see. Your mom might be reading to you. I think so.
Global Babies, from Global Fund for Children. 2007.
The way babies and toddlers like to look at pictures of other babies is probably something you’ve seen before. In this beautiful multicultural board book, babies from all over the world are shown in their best clothes, which aren’t too fancy. And their faces are even more interesting than their clothes. From Mali to Afghanistan, these babies from all over the world look like they’re “talking” with the camera. A great book for your very young child to look through.
I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom. Illus. by Richard Scarry.  2004. The Rooster Struts, by Richard Scarry.  2004.
Tall, thin, reissued board books by Richard Scarry have vivid illustrations that come to life. Art by Scarry is warm, expressive, and clear. I Am a Bunny shows how the animal’s habits change as the seasons change and the year goes on. the duck waddles and the chicken moves around in simple sentences in The Rooster Struts The goose wags its tail. Both books have poetry in them because they use word repetition, rhyme, and a steady pace. The illustrations show a lot of detail and show a sense of balance and order in nature. These are some of the best nonfiction for kids who are very young. A new action line: “The baby moves its arms and moves its legs.”
Mommies Say Shhh!by Patricia Polacco. 2005.
Farm life can be loud. Polacco shows different animal families and the sounds they make with lilting language and beautiful watercolor illustrations. “Dogs say “buff, buff, buff” all the time.” sheep yelp and yelp and yelp. There are a lot of geese that say honk. None of the bunnies speak at all. In this case, what happens when all the animals start yelling at the same time? “Mommies say shhh,” says one of the people. A good read-aloud where you can let your child join in.
Bears, by Ruth Krauss. Illus. Maurice Sendak. 2005.
Ruth Krauss wrote and illustrated the book Bears in 1948. Then, Maurice Sendak was still an unknown artist at the time. He and Krauss soon became close friends and worked together. In this new edition of Bears, there are new illustrations by Sendak. Krauss’s story about bears and their weird habits now has a new twist. Max, the white-suited character fromWhere the Wild Things Are, can be seen looking for his dog, who has taken one of Max’s teddy bears. Sendak added a story to the bears, too: Children will enjoy this book because it is a piece of literary history and a good story.
¡Pío Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes[Rimas Tradicionales en Espanol], selected by Alma Flor Ada & F. Isabel Campoy. 2003. English adaptions by Alice Schertle. Illus. by Viví Escrivá.
When Alma Flor Ada, who helped write one of the book’s editors, was a child, “the words of nursery rhymes and songs gave me both wings and roots in my soul.” Po Peep! is a collection of 29 rhymes and nursery songs from Spain and Latin America that have been carefully chosen as the best examples of their cultures. With the help of English translations, both English and Spanish translations of the rhyme are poetic and rhythmic, just like nursery rhymes should be. One rhyme per page, with beautiful illustrations by Viv Escrivá, is a good way to keep things simple for kids. Each of the watercolor illustrations has just the right amount of detail for young children to enjoy. You and your child will have a lot of fun when you show them these nursery rhymes.
Families, by Rena D. Grossman. 2009.
This is a nonfiction board book that talks about how humans and animals take care of their babies. Families all say “I love you,” kiss each other and eat snacks together. They also take baths and nap together. Each double-page spread shows a human family and an animal family doing the same thing at the same time. The photos are clear and expressive, and who doesn’t like to see families taking care of their babies, no matter what kind of animal they are. Families is a great way to learn about how all the animals in the world work together.
Peekaboo Bedtime, by Rachel Isadora. 2008.
In Peekaboo Bedtime, a follow-up toPeekaboo Morning, you turn the page to see who all the people a boy sees on his way to bed are. It looks like my mommy is peeking out. Peekaboo! I can see… Each page has a picture that tells him what he’ll find on the next one. Bright pictures show a three-generation family, with a lot of pets, too. The book includes some of the things that make for a good bedtime routine, like waving to the moon, taking a bath, and replacing shoes with slippers. When it comes to getting ready for bed, this book is full of things that make it feel good: the family and the process. You can use the book’s theme song to describe what you see: “Peekaboo! I can see the blanket grandma made for you.
Hello, Day!by Anita Lobel. 2008.
Nobody does color like Lobel, and she spends a whole page illustrating each of the farm animals featured in this day in the country on that one page alone. A painting of a cow, a sheep, a horse, and more are shown next to simple words that describe what each animal “says” (moo, baa, neigh). As you read to your young children, they can make animal noises to help them learn how to read. Lobel tells the reader what the animals are really saying, which adds a sense of discovery and wraps up the day in a colorful way.
Mother Goose Picture Puzzles, by Will Hillenbrand. 2011.
With 20 well-known rhymes on 40 pages, this Mother Goose collection does a lot more than just cover the basics. There are two double-page spreads for each rhyme, giving young children a lot of space to see all their favorite Mother Goose characters. Peter, the pumpkin eater, is shown in a happy-go-lucky, disheveled, shocked, and oblivious state in the illustrations. Jack and Jill roll down the hill, Little Miss Muffet is shocked, and Little Boy Blue is oblivious. Rebus puzzles are fun for older kids, too. In each rhyme, about one word per line is replaced with a picture that must be “read” as part of the text, so older kids will also enjoy this part of the book. Little Boy Blue’s first line says, “Little Boy Blue, come, blow your horn!” Instead of the word horn, there’s a picture of a horn. Rebus puzzles and picture-based illustrations make this book fun for everyone, even if you don’t know how to solve them.
My Farm Friends, by Wendell Minor. 2011.
“Welcome to the farm,” Wendell Minor writes in the beginning of My Farm Friends. He warmly welcomes his readers. One or two farm animals are shown each time the page is turned. They are shown with humor and rhyme to teach you interesting things about them. This is how they stay cool: “Pigs can’t sweat or jump in the water.” So they roll around in the mud. When you read the book’s dedication, Wendell talks about how much he loved living on his family farm as a child. Children will be able to see how much time he spent drawing each animal. Sheep nuzzle their lambs, pigs look at each other, and goats eat bandanas with soft lips and drooped eyes. If your kids are young, you can tell them more interesting things about the animals at the back.