I love a good board book. One that lives up to being chewed, drooled on, and pulled almost apart. After checking all the different book baskets in our house, looking through those in the car, and digging our favorite ones out of the diaper-bag, I have compiled a list of our favorite board books that we've read with Eli during his first year. He is now at that stage where he can turn all the pages in the book, and is beginning to sit longer and listen to complete books now. He mostly hears us read to his big brother, but when it is just him he often gets to hear one of these stories.
I Love You Through and Through, by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak. This is a good one for teaching the body parts. I know that we were "late" teaching these to Theo according to our old pediatrician. She really made us feel like we messed up big because he didn't know his parts at whatever age that was, so I'm making sure we don't mess up on that again.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See; The Very Busy Spider; and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. I was so surprised when we were at a school a few months ago, and my husband didn't recognize the work on the wall as being Eric Carle's. He has such a distinctive style, that I thought pretty much everyone knew about him. But for those like my hubby, he is definitely one of the best things to happen to early literature since Dr. Seuss. I love his books. These are my favorite versions of these classics. The Brown Bear book is a slide and find, which keeps Eli interested in each new page because he gets to slide over a square and uncover the next animal. The Busy Spider has a nice touch aspect to it as the spider web is raised on each page. And this cloth edition of the Hungry Caterpillar is not the full book, but a beautiful touch and feel modification that is best for the youngest bookworms.
Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book, by Dr. Seuss. So I'm actually not a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. I like to buy those on CD actually, so they can be enjoyed by the kids but I don't have to read them. But this one has always been my favorite to perform (I say perform because you really can't just read a Seuss book).
I Like Bugs, by Lorena Siminovitch. This is a beautiful book that was just gifted to Eli from a great aunt recently. It is very pretty, works on counting and the bugs are raised off the page so they are interesting to touch as well.
Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle. So I actually meant to grab the sequel to this one, "Little Blue Truck Leads the Way" but accidentally used the original. They are both great, but the second one just has this great cadence to the lines that makes it especially fun to read. It is long enough to have all the elements of a story (building action, climax, resolution) but not too long that I lose Eli's attention. I don't think I will ever tire of this book.
Next in the photo is Oh My, Oh My, Dinosaurs, by Sandra Boynton. You can't actually see this one because Eli would just not sit still without holding one. This author has several great books for babies, but I especially like this one since it identifies opposites. It's one that Theo can pretty much read to his little brother all on his own.
Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell is pretty much a classic that was new to me a few years ago. Eli is now at the age where he can lift all the little flaps to see what animals were sent from the zoo. Any time he has something to interact with there is that much more of a chance he will stay interested until the end of the book.
That's Not My Plane, by Fiona Watt. We picked up this one at one of the Smithsonians recently (with our discount from being zoo members). It's fun because it talks about all the parts of a plane (I really need to learn these so Theo stops correcting me) and has touch features as well.
Where is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz. This is my favorite lift-the-flap type book. The flaps are designed well so little baby fingers can actually use them.
Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden. The feature I like with this one is the opening in the cover that changes the images throughout the book. I also love that this one rhymes.
Quiet Loud, by Leslie Patricelli. A popular book about things that are quiet, and things that are loud. Theo likes to help with this one, as we get to whisper some pages and yell on others.
Simon Says, Roar Like a Lion, illustrated by Sarah Vince. Like most babies, Eli has always been pretty interested in mirrors, so he really seems to like this one. He hasn't really started to say any animals sounds yet, other than "Hisssssss like a cat." He's good at that one (because our cat is so unfriendly toward him).
In My Tree, by Sara Gillingham. Like "Peek-a-Who", this book has a cut out that the other pages are based around, but in this case it is a finger puppet. The book kind of disturbs Theo since there is no big brother in the family, but Eli loves the puppet.
Mirror Me! by Baby Einstein: "Like Roar Like a Lion", this one is great because of the interactive mirror. There have been many times we find Eli literally with his nose in this book, as he'll hold the mirror right up to his eyes and mouth.
Open the Barn Door illustrated by Christpher Santoro: This one is great because it is so small, it can easily be slipped into a purse. Combining farm animals sounds, and lift the flaps, it is always sure to please in a pinch when baby needs some distraction.
Octopus Opposites, by Stella Blackstone. This one is interesting to me, because it combines animal identification, rhymes and opposites (three popular themes in board books) in a novel way. Most of the animals in the store are not your typically included ones. It's fun to get to say pack-pony and kookaburras, rather than just more cows and pigs.
I'm sure there are other great ones out there, but these have been our favorites through both boys we've had. Mostly favorites because they'll catch the boys' interest, and entertain us as well.