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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Recommend Me Board Books for My Young

Librarians like to recommend books.  Sort of their raison d’etre, if you will.  Then WHAMMO!  Stick a fetus in their belly and suddenly the tables are turned*.  Because now I’m under the distinct impression that there are some gaps in my knowledge.  Specifically, the baby knowledge.  I’m good at picture books and middle grade but board books are this strange new land.  A land I’m eager to explore, but I need some help first.

Yesterday I received the following comment from Ed Spicer of Spicy Reads: “I think you need to have a blog post requesting essential board books for Betsy; Moo Baa La La La would be on my list.”  Well as it just so happens I recently finished reading A Family of Readers: The Book Lovers Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature by the esteemed Roger Sutton and Martha Parravano.  In the course of the discussion they recommend a variety of different bb titles, many of which I shall be adding to my Christmas wishlist, you bet.  The only problems come when they recommend books long out of print like John Steptoe’s Baby Says (a good candidate for a board book reprint if ever there was one) or Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s Peek-a-Boo!

I need help filling in the gaps.  So help me out!  What are the must-have board books that you cannot help but recommend?  How did kids respond to them?  What definitely didn’t work?  Let me know and maybe I’ll be able to construct a list of must-haves.  At the moment, here’s what I’m hoping to get at some point:

  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet Ahlberg
  • Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews
  • Gossie by Oliver Dunrae
  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
  • Where Is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox
  • Black On White by Tana Hoban
  • White On Black by Tana Hoban
  • Smile by Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz
  • Let’s Make a Noise by Amy MacDonald
  • I Love Colors by Margaret Miller
  • The Baby Goes Beep by Rebecca O’Connell
  • Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli
  • Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  • You and Me, Baby by Lynn Reiser
  • Max’s First Word by Rosemary Wells

More black and white board book recommendations welcome.

*Note: I have written more elegant sentences than this in my lifetime

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. It has been a while, but my favorites were: Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton, Old Hat, New Hat by Jan and Stan B., Cars and Trucks: A-Z by Richard Scarry, and Jamberry by Bruce Degen. Baby’s favorites were: Touch and Feel books by DK – any of them! Mrs. Mustard’s Baby Faces, Doggies and The Going to Bed Book – both by Sandra Boynton, and I Love Colors. At some point we both loved Go to Bed Fred. It’s probably not the book, but the repetition, enthusiasm, and love.

  2. Here are just a few that were favorites of mine when my kids were little…

    But not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton…one of my kids’ favorites!

    Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle

    Chicka Chicka boom Boom by Bill Martin

    Jamberry by Bruce Degan

    Time for Bed by Mem Fox

    Dinosaur Roar! by Henrietta Stickland

    Anything with close-up photos of other babies

    Also, I highly recommend the magazine Babybug–it’s like a little board book you get in the mail each month. Outstanding quality and very fun to get something new each month!

  3. Board books get a lot of lovin’ at our house.

    And yes, Madame Boynton is empress of the format. My 2-year-old’s favorite book by far is “Snuggle Puppy.” Our other Boynton faves are “Blue Hat, Green Hat” and “But Not the Hippopotamus.” But, BUT, you must track down the original BNtH for the great line: “A hog and a frog cavort in a bog.” The book was later reborn — redrawn illustrations and everything — and that awesome line of text was changed to something lame like “dance” in a bog, I think it was.

    My 2-year-old’s other favorites (she pulls them off the shelf at least once a day) are Christopher Wormell’s “New Alphabet of Animals” and “Teeth, Tails & Tentacles.”

    Although I am 32 years older than my daughter, I do have to put in a plug for MY favorites: Cliff Wright’s “Bear and Ball” and “Bear and Kite.” Crisp, clean, perfect little jewels.

  4. Tatiana Granoff says:

    “Everywhere Babies” by Susan Meyers with wonderful illustrations by Marla Frazee came along after our children were grown…but a grandchild, due just one month before Baby Bird, will enjoy it, I’m sure. And I will benefit from this board book list!

  5. I’m glad to see Boynton being recommended so much, but be aware that you will have those lines permanently etched into your brain– “Dinosaurs early, dinosaurs later, dinosaurs crammed in an elevator”! My children had wonderfully plebian tastes and were huge fans of Little Golden Books from the start, but did like Martin Waddell’s Owl Babies, which is still available in board book format. Really, my children read anything, and most of our books came from the thrift store.

  6. Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
    Little Gorilla, by Ruth Bornstein
    Good Dog, Carl, by Alexandra Day
    And I agree with the first commenter: Anything with brightly colored photographs–of babies and just about anything else–is going to be a hit. DK Publishing has a good series of these. My daughter used to walk around with a travel book for Tunisia, because of its pretty color photos.
    CONGRATULATIONS, by the way! My apologies for neglecting to send those good wishes earlier!

  7. KISS GOOD NIGHT by Amy Hess (and all of her “Sam” books) is a quiet, snuggly wonder.
    I love SNUGGLE PUPPY, too, and GOING ON A BEAR HUNT (both have a great rhythm and are ones that allow you to physically involve your baby as you’re reading).

  8. Ooh! Ooh! Turns out that board books are the biggest sellers at the bookstore where I now work!
    These are among my (and customers’) faves:
    Carry Me, Babies Everywhere — Starbright Books,
    (Starbright also has a reissue of Brian Wildsmith’s ABC, which I adore — I was raised on Wildsmith books);
    Global Babies, The Global Fund for Babies — wonderful images of babies all over the world;
    Haiku Baby by Betsy Snyder

    and there is an adorable little black & white book whose title is escaping me. I’ll post more after I check the shelves at work.

  9. Also, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is in board book.

    Please skip the board book biography of Thomas Jefferson; I don’t care *how* brilliant a little one is, some things just don’t need to be done as a board book.

  10. Sorry (sheesh! her again?) here’s the black & white — nice to have some options other than Hoban, although those are still the classics:
    Hip hop, by Catherine Hnatov, also Star Bright Books:
    (plus, it starts off with a bird!)

  11. Alas, what with now working with grades 5 – 8 and with my youngest is now 18, I am sadly out of touch with board books, except that my go to baby gift is Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar board book with a large caterpillar and butterfly added to the gift bag.

    I was glad to see a Max book by Rosemary Wells on the list. I own all her Max board books (plus many more other Max titles) because I had my own Max nearly 24 and 1/2 years ago. At 18 months, he ate them up, he loved them so. Well, he tried to. I still have them and several have teeth marks and bites taken out of them.


  12. I almost forgot:
    Sheep in a Jeep, by Nancy Shaw
    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen
    Oh, this is bringing back such nice memories!

  13. Two other kinds of books for baby help, once they get droolin’ & can be book-grippin’, thus, thwackin’ other babies in book disputes.

    Cloth books – (one kind is not for babies, but for kids, so they can unzip the zipper, etc.) The other cloth book is the softie with a story.
    Books to immerse – suitable for wetness, drooliness that accompanies a certain age reader.

    (The above two categories no doubt, are not, legally, books. But I’ll wager you will be calling them that at home.)

    Board books – We liked the bb versions of picture books that are treasures:
    On the Day You Were Born
    Guess How Much I Love You
    Goodnight Moon
    & all the many greats, etc.

    * joy to you & congratulations!

  14. All the Eric Carle’s are lovely but The Very Lonely Firefly was a big favourite with my guys because of the light-up surprise at the end.

    Also, the Zoe board books by Barbara Reid are very bright and appealing:

  15. My 18 month old grandson as well as my great nieces and nephews have always loved THE NAPPING HOUSE by Audrey and Don Wood as well as FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED by Eileen Christelow. I can see a Betsy Bird video par excellence reading these two!

  16. Happy to see someone recommended Sheep in a Jeep – that was my baby cousin’s favorite book a couple of years ago.

    Also happy to see that someone recommended Global Babies and I’d add American Babies, also from the Global Fund for Children. If you’re going to have books with photos of babies, why not make them multicultural babies? :)

  17. Little Lamb, Little Duck, Little Chick, and Little Bunny – four books in the “My Sparkling Springtime Friends”;
    The Snow Ball, The Witches’ Ball, The Turkey Ball, The Bunny Ball, and The Beach Ball all published by Price, Stern, Sloan. And the latest/last by illustrator Liz Conrad – The Baby Hustle (it has a little baby wiggling rear end that will make you laugh out loud)! All of these were illustrated by the fabulous cut-paper artist, Liz Conrad and they are treasures for little hands.

  18. “Hug” by Jez Alborough! My nieces adored this almost-wordless book (in fact, one of the youngest girl’s first words was Bobo) and I unfailingly give it as a shower gift when the opportunity arises.

    Also, Barbara Reid (she of wonderful clay illustrations) has a board book entitled “Sing a song of Mother Goose” which is a compilation of nursery rhymes popular and some not-so-popular.

    My belated congratulations to you and Matt! :)

  19. I always buy Goodnight, Gorilla, Jamberry, and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed for baby showers. Watch out for picture books with little toddler appeal inappropriately smushed into board book form–there are quite a few out there.

    Hopefully you don’t mind singing, because little kids love it when you’ll sing them board and picture books. Some well-known musicians for kids like Raffi have put their story songs into board book form.

    And, board books aside, I recommend the two volumes of Rosemary Wells’s Mother Goose books. (Well, these were available as four board books, but I think they’re out of print in that format now. You could look for them used on Amazon, I suppose.)

    For a titch older, Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peter’s Here’s a Little Poem.

  20. I love the Usborne Touchy-Feely series by Fiona Watt – That’s Not My Tractor and That’s Not My Tiger are my particular favorites, but there are tons of them. They have great, simple and colorful illustrations and different textures on every every page (“That’s not my tiger, his nose is too rough” with a sandpaper-y nose, etc.)

  21. Melissa S. says:

    Higher and Higher is great, but the Patricelli favorite at our house is Yummy Yucky. Her newest ones, Tubby and Potty are also fun, but really, just get all her board books. The touch and feel series “That’s Not My..” (dragon, dino, snowman, etc.) was also a favorite for my boys. One of the sweetest bedtime books is Good Night by Claire Masurel. And Goodnight Gorilla is available in a board book format as well. Congratulations!

  22. Chris in NY says:

    “Watch out for picture books with little toddler appeal inappropriately smushed into board book form–there are quite a few out there.”
    Yeah- what she said. I like having more board titles available but some really are not for little ones. I think you are not a fan of Goodnight Moon? But don’t deprive the chickadee…. It was always one of our favorites. 😉

  23. Lee Nichols says:

    In addition to Moo, Baa, La La La, my favorite Sandra Boynton’s were One, Two, Three and The Going to Bed Book, which is just about perfect. Also loved the Dinosaurs series by Jane Yolen, How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, etc–with wonderful illustrations by Mark Teague and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

  24. You have a Leslie Patricelli on your list, but I want to put in a plug for her opposites series: Yummy/Yucky, Quiet/Loud etc. Cute illustrations, great vocabulary, and funny for mommy and daddy too.

    And in addition to the Mem Fox titles you’ve got, how about Time For Bed? Gorgeous illustrations of animals (and baby).

  25. Big Dog and Little Dog, and their sequels, by Dav Pilkey
    I See and I Touch, both by Rachel Isadora
    Big Fat Hen, illustrated by Keith Baker
    Max’s Toys: A Counting Book by Rosemary Wells is one of my favorite counting books, but obviously it’s no good until your kid is old enough to be interested in counting
    Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a work of genius! and available in board book form. Barton’s four vehicle books (Trains, Boats, Planes, and Trucks) are also good.
    I second the recommendation for anything you can sing, especially Raffi’s Five Little Ducks, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey.
    I also second the recommendation for the Rosemary Wells/Iona Opie nursery rhymes, many of which can be sung.
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar is good to have in board book form so a very little child can mess with the different-lengths, different-number-of-holes pages yet not destroy them.
    With especially beautiful books like the Snowy Day, you might rather have a full-size picture book than a board book that shrinks and crops the pictures.

  26. JMyersbook says:

    I didn’t fret about your self-professed inelegant sentence, except to hope that that’s not REALLY where Little Bird is currently lodging. Sounds sort of cannibalistic! (grin) And, while I can’t think of any fabulous board books to recommend, just THINK how happy you’ll now be that they re-published The Noisy Counting Book! 😀

  27. The board books that get read the most around here, most of which you have already listed (I currently have a four-year-old and an 18-month-old). I go through love-hate cycles with the books sometimes; having to read it several times per day sometimes wears on me, but then after a few months’ break I usually love it more than ever. I try not to keep around books I hate because I know I’ll have to read them over and over and over.

    Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
    But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
    Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz
    My Little Book about God by Eloise Wilkin
    The Mitten by Jan Brett (the board book is shorter than the original to fit Baby’s attention span and I actually like it better; I think the text is more elegant)
    The Going-to-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    Good Dog Carl and Carl’s Afternoon in the Park by Alexandra Day
    Peek-a-Moo by Bernard Most
    Bear at Home by Stella Blackstone
    How Big is a Pig? by Clare Beaton
    Doggies by Sandra Boynton (parents hate it, kids love it)
    Richard Scarry’s Early Words
    Inside, Outside, Upside-Down by Stan & Jan Berenstain
    The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear/illust. by Jan Brett
    What’s Up Duck? by Tad Hills
    Maisy’s Favorite Animals by Lucy Cousins
    Spot: My Day at Home by Eric Hill
    I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis
    How Loud Is a Lion? by Clare Beaton
    Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
    Bear and Kite by Cliff Wright
    Baby Beluga by Raffi
    Mother Goose

    You know what I have a hard time finding? Touch-and-feel books with text that doesn’t make you want to hurl. It seems like all books with special features (eyes, fur, shine, etc.) seem to be written just for the illustrations and they’re hard for me to read. Usborne books in particular are very well constructed with a good variety of things for kids to touch, but the text doesn’t impress me.

  28. At four months, the favorite board books at our house are The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy (primarily b/w illustrations). I also recommend Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton, which I’ve completely memorized because I read it before all naps and at bedtime. I think Goodnight, Gorilla and some of the Max books by Rosemary Wells will be good when the resident baby is a little older. Right now he’s too little to understand why they’re funny, and he seems to generally like more rhythmic/repetitive text.

  29. Honestly? Babies don’t need a giant stack of board books. Half a dozen is PLENTY. I don’t think we had more than two or three.

  30. You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t…board books (if they’re not a Sandra Boynton book) go out of print quickly, it seems.

    I’m not a fan of the picture book squeezed into board book, and you already know those titles anyway, so I won’t recommend them.

    DK has good board books. Touch and feel, lift the flap stuff, etc. Lots of “My First .” Can’t really go wrong with those.

    Amy Wilson Sanger has some fun food-oriented board books (Let’s Nosh, A Little Bit of Soul Food, Yum Yum Dim Sum etc).

    There’s a series of board books called Busy . Cute photographs of baby animals doing some sort of action. There’s Busy Pandas, Busy Bunnies, Busy Bear Cubs, etc. They’re by John Schindel. Big hits.

    In addition to black and white (when they are very young), babies love looking at photographs. Babies are fascinated by faces, so anything with faces is great. Photographs of animals are great. In addition to creating a great collection of some wonderful board books, creating your own using photographs of you, your husband, your family, familiar things around your house/apartment, picture where mommy works, etc is another idea. I know this isn’t an original idea; I probably got it from Jim Trelease’s book. It’s also a nice thing to bring if/when baby goes to day care or is with nanny.

  31. i loved Sheep in a Jeep; my kids did not. I concur about Boynton books (that woman has an AMAZING hit record among actual children) and books of baby face photos. Rebecca, “BOBO!” was also a sure laugh line in our house and one of both kids’ first words. the Grouchy Ladybug scared the living crap out of my older kid but both loved the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. the other Carle books were pretty meh for them. Good Dog Carl did not work as a board book for either kid. my younger one just looooved Maisy books; my older one was indifferent.

    here are some board books that worked for both girls, haven’t been mentioned so far, and didn’t make me want to kill myself:

    Planes by Byron Barton, The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow, Hush Little Alien by Daniel Kirk (cracked me up every time, too), If You Were My Bunny by Kate McMullan, Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins, Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann, First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger, Hola Jalapeno by Amy Wilson Sanger, Busy Monkeys by John Schindel, The Foot Book by Dr Seuss, Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss.

  32. Genevieve says:

    Almost all of my favorites have been recommended: Everywhere Babies (my go-to shower gift), Goodnight Gorilla, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Global Babies (also a go-to shower gift), the Patricelli books, the Usborne “This is Not My ___” books. And Yum Yum Dim Sum.

    But no one mentioned The Monster At the End of this Book! I guess it’s more toddler than baby. And did anyone say More More More Said the Baby?

    My favorites that weren’t recommended: Boynton’s “Snoozers,” which was a giant bedtime hit at our house (so rhythmic), and “Barnyard Dance,” and also “Dinosaur’s Binkit,” which lets you and later the toddler do different sad roars of “WHERE’S MY BINKIT? I NEED MY BINKIT!” Lisa Lawston’s sadly out of print books “Can You Hop?” and “Can You Sing?,” which were the first books my baby really noticed me reading to him, around 8-10 weeks I think, presumably because of the bold outlines and simple pictures. Nola Buck’s also out-of-print “How a Baby Grows.”

    Books that are too recent for me to have read to the kiddo, but which I have in my “to give” list because of great reviews: “Kiss Good Night” by Amy Hest, the Begin Smart books (black and white). Good baby face books I’ve given: Baby Senses by Miriam Stoppard.
    For young toddlers – Bear on a Bike, and the other Barefoot books by Stella Blackstone.

  33. My kids both loved I know a rhino by Charles Fuge, Where is baby’s belly button by Karen Katz, Ready set go by Nina Laden and Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. I know three of these are lift the flaps, but man at about 6 months old they start paying attention and love the flaps.

  34. Bridget Heos says:

    If you have a boy, I recommend Byron Barton’s Trucks and Trains (two separate titles.) They’re beautifully written…and you can’t beat the subject matter for little guys.

  35. My almost two year old daughter still reads mainly board books because of durability, so I disagree slightly with the earlier post that you only need 6 board books. She will sit for 20-30 minutes looking at books by herself so we have a huge selection of toddler-hands-friendly books.
    That said, Little Blue Truck is her favorite right now. She also likes the five little monkeys and also five little lady bugs.

  36. Linda Urban says:

    Ms. Yingling is right about the Boynton words etching in your brain. This is especially true if you sing Moo, Baa, LaLaLa a la Gaga’s Bad Romance. Consider yourself warned.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Linda Urban, you may have just done me some serious mental damage. I now find it impossible to even see the title of Moo Baa La La La without turning it into “Bad Romance” as you say. Aw man. Baby’s gonna be sooooo confused.

  37. I see lots of classics and old favourites up there, but not a lot of new books.
    I love:
    Monkey & Me by Emily Gravett
    Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
    How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
    (All fab to read aloud and big hits with the kids.)

    If you do want to kick it old school, then I have to put my weight behind:
    Peepo by Allan Ahlberg
    Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
    Sandra Boynton and Karen Katz are also winners in my book.

  38. I second the Going to Bed book by sandra Boyton – it was my kids favorite and it is one of my favorites to give as a baby shower gift!

  39. Irene Fahrenwald says:

    You, in particular, must have Boynton’s Barnyard Dance. From seeing your video renditions of storytime favorites, I can tell that you would love to share this rollicking, rhythmic romp.

    Oxenbury’s Tickle Tickle and All Fall Down are also particularly fun. They are very simple and can be sung (they lend themselves to simple tune-making).

    And I third, if I’m counting correctly, that you must have the Opie/Wells Mother Goose. A must have from the moment the baby is born.

    If you can get your hands on Come Along Daisy, by Jane Simmons, the baby will love it, beginnng sometime between 6 months and a year old. Something about the artwork on the big page. (Don’t get a board book, or the sequels, they are not as mesmerizing as the original). Plus you get to say “Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, BONG, BONG!” while bouncing your child on your knee.

    Have fun.


  40. Our daughter’s FIRST favorite board book was I LIKE IT WHEN, by Mary Murphy. It’s perfect for babies 6-12 months.

  41. Such a collection! We are almost beyond board books in this house, but even still a few sneak out from time to time. In addition to many mentioned above (Everywhere Babies, Boynton, Mem Fox, “That’s not my…” series, Goodnight Gorilla, Brian Barton) I would add:

    – One Duck Stuck in the Muck
    – George and the Dragon (much better than the picture book version, in my opinion)
    – Snow Bears (assuming you get snow)

    Black and white is tricky. I did make a bunch of books of black and white closeup photos of friends and family and other babies from the neighbourhood and put them in a cheap 24 photo book. Similarly, the homemade “Who loves ____?” book with photos of baby with parents, grandparents, siblings, etc, got a LOT of reading.

  42. In addition to the Karen Katz books and Hug by Jez Alborough already mentioned, I would like to add more Boynton. Snuggle puppy, Belly button book, Horns to toes and in between (monster body parts!), and one that is still used in our house of big chapter book reading girls, Birthday monsters!
    Two other faves in our house not already mentioned are I love you with all my heart by Noris Kern and my personal Quack and count (with hidden ladybugs!) by Keith Baker. Congrats!

  43. Hah! A couple years back maybe, YOU reviewed that chew-on board book, Books are For Reading, and I always thought I should have told you that my daughter (8 mos. at the time) got it for Christmas last year, and it was a big hit. She APPRECIATED being able to eat her books for sure! (Now she is a book lover of the looking-and-turning-pages rather-than-eating variety).

    I also want to put a word in for Goodnight Moon. I know it’s hard to see the beauty of it now, but I never did either until I actually put it to use with real toddlers at bedtime. It WORKS. It’s a genuine lullaby in book form.

    Don’t underestimate the power of those books full of pictures with labels under them, also. When they start learning words, identifying pictures is way more fun than it ought to be.

  44. So thrilled about your news!
    In addition to many of the books mentioned above, my son loved TUMBLE BUMBLE (Felicia Bond) and JESSIE BEAR, WHAT WHILL YOU WEAR? (Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrations by Bruce Degen). He also enjoyed the board-book versions of THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT (illustrated by Jan Brett) and THE HAT (Jan Brett).
    You and Baby Bird are going to have so much fun.

  45. What amazing recommendations! You’ve opened up a huge can of books today! What fun! I agree with lots that has been said to avoid the board books that are condensed picture books favorites – just because it’s a board book doesn’t mean that it’s meant for the littlest readers.

    Here are some favorites:

    My Car by Byron Barton
    The Maisy series by Lucy Cousins
    The Gossie series by Olivier Dunrea
    The Nicky series by Cathryn Falwell
    Hiding by Shirley Hughes (also Noisy and Bouncing)
    Peekaboo Morning and Peekaboo Bedtime by Rachel Isadora
    Max and Ruby series by Rosemary Wells
    I Went Walking and I Went Visiting by Sue Williams

    Best wishes!

  46. Mary Murphy’s I Kissed The Baby! is the book I always give to new babies, and it is in board book form too, I believe. It is just delicious.

  47. Irene Fahrenwald says:

    Ooops. Can’t forget: More, More, More Said the Baby.

    And, yes, odd as it seems, it is quite an accomplishment to identify a photo in a book as “cat” or “cow” or “duck” and make noises. And there is such satisfaction in seeing pictures of babies and naming the body parts, or gleefully noting that the pictured children, too, have highchairs, bottles, cribs, etc.!

    If you’d like something nice to listen to, too, there is a great Teddy Bear’s Picnic board book with a CD of the song by Jerry “Grateful Dead” Garcia and David Grisman! The two of them used to have a CD of children’s songs available, though I’m not sure if it’s still around. But don’t get me started recommending CD’s you should own…


  48. Yes, yes, yes, to Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb!

    “One thumb
    One thumb
    drumming on a drum.
    Dum diddy dum dum
    dum dum dum.”

  49. After a quick scan I ddn’t see anyone mention it yet — Readertotz is a fun boardbook blog:

  50. Favorites in our house (my girls are in K and 1st grade now):
    Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
    Jamberry by Bruce Degan
    Good Night, Little Bear by Richard Scarry
    My Friends by Taro Gomi
    Barnyard Dance (our favorite Boynton)
    Brown Bear, Brown Bear
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar
    Runaway Bunny
    Goodnight Moon
    Hands are Not for Hitting (truly, my 2nd child’s favorite book for at least 6m)
    Dancing with Degas by Julie Merberg

  51. Babies by Gyo Fujikawa was a favorite when I was a baby! My youngest sister had to get a new copy as the middle sister and I had destroyed it by the time she came along. These were republished a few years ago after being OP for quite a while, and only with the repubs did I discover Baby Animals and Ten Little Babies. I had no idea there were more Fujikawa books!

  52. Most of my favorites have been mentioned, so I will just add:
    Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang

    Congratulations! Have fun!

  53. Hug by Jez Alborough
    The Napping House
    Little Mouse, Red Ripe Strawberry & Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
    Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury

  54. Load up on Boynton board books, they’re guaranteed baby goodness. Doggies, The Going to Bed Book, Pajama Time, But Not the Hippopotamus, Blue Hat, Green Hat, Snoozers, and of course, Moo, Baa, La La La. My first girl loved them so much we almost wore them out. My second girl loved them so much she ate them.
    Eric Carle board books, like – Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Hungry Caterpillar;
    Oh – I forget who wrote it, but Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed was a hit, too.
    Dr. Seuss – Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?; Left Foot Left Foot, Right Foot Right.

  55. Busy Toes
    Busy Fingers
    both by C. W. Bowie

    Has 10 little fingers and 10 little toes been put into board book, yet?

    Several of the Rosemary Wells nursery rhymes board books.

    Eric Carl is reissuing his set of matching books: Colors, etc. (flip the color on the bottom to match something on the top.)

    Should he be a little boy, some of the Trucktown series books come in board.
    Many Elmo books come in board

  56. If you get nothing else, you gotta have at least one good, complete nursery rhyme book.
    Perhaps you should ask people to recommend these, too.

    Mary Engelbreit’s silly Mother Goose comes in board book
    Rosemary Wells’ two large books plus her many board book individual rhymes.

    I read My first nursery rhymes / pictures by Bruce Whatley to my grandchild over and over and over, again. (stiff pages with maybe 10 nursery rhymes)

  57. Look for “Hand Hand Fingers Thumb” by Al Perkins. My three boys couldn’t get enough of the infectious rhythm and funny monkey pictures.

  58. These are favorites from my kids:
    To Market, To Market by Anne Miranda
    Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden
    Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
    A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
    Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle
    Olivia by Ian Falconer

    My favorites are the Gyo Fujikawa board books.

    Indestructibles are newer books that feel sort of paper like but are meant to be chewed and drooled on and explored by babies. They’re dishwasher and washing machine safe I believe.

    It is hard to find good board books that are enjoyable to read aloud and have wonderful pictures. There seems to be a phase where baby (at least my babies) just want to turn the pages as fast as they can.

  59. Alyson Whatcott says:

    I have to add Jamberry by Bruce Degen and Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan and Janet Ahlberg. I think these are also picture books, but we had them as board books and loved them.

  60. Alyson Whatcott says:

    Sorry, didn’t see Each Peach Pear Plum on the top of your list!

  61. We love Jamberry by Bruce Degen, and I’m hoping that Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig makes an appearance as a board book soon. We’ll be snatching it up when it does.

  62. Hush Little Baby, by Sylvia Long has been a favorite at our house.
    Snuggle Puppy was our first “favorite” book — it’s another Sandra Boynton.
    Not a board book, but since you’re buying all these Sandra Boynton books, you’ll like to know how to sing them, so you’ll need Philadelphia Chickens — it comes with a CD that you will find yourself secretly listening to in your car even when the kiddo is with Daddy!

  63. Byron Barton Books. Particularly the recently out of print lap editions of Boats, Planes, Trains and Trucks. And of course his My Car. We wore through two sets of these at my house.

  64. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton was a big hit with us. There are several good board book versions of Mother Goose–I think Tomie DePaola has one. The very best MG collection is by Rosemary Wells and Iona Opie. Get a full-sized copy TODAY! It’ll come in handy when she’s bigger. I think there are board book versions of the RW/IO collection. BTW, Dawn aked who did the Five Little Monkeys–it’s Eileen Christlelow. Also there may be board book versions of Paul Galdone’s books or at least some of his nursery rhymes.

  65. In addition to many of the above, my 18 month old granddaughter gives high fives to Peek-A Who, Peek-A Moo, anything by Helen Oxenbury, and the pop-up, Chick by Ed Vere.

  66. I’ve always loved “Sheep in a Jeep” (well, any of Shaw’s sheep books, really) and “The Napping House”. Also, the Usborne “touchy-feely”, “That’s Not My…” books are a must. My personal favorites are “That’s Not My Monster” and “That’s Not My Monkey”.

  67. Here are a few more I haven’t seen above:
    Haiku Baby
    Everywhere Babies
    Urban Babies Wear Black
    Amy Wilson Sanger’s international foods series (Mangia! Mangia!, Chaat and Sweets, Let’s Nosh! etc)
    Pat the Bunny
    I Know a Rhino

    Have fun making your list!

  68. Ten Little Fingers, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes…over 6 board books illustrated by Anne Kubler with the song on the back. G
    and Helen Oxenbury’s board book series…Tickle, Tickle, Say Goodnight, All Fall Down and Clap Hands=quickest board books ever! Interactive and fun!
    Begin Smart has a huge new series, Books for Smart Babies. I love the two Peek-a-books, Look at ME! and Who Am I?

  69. Tomie dePaola’s Tomie’s Little Mother Goose is a perfect little stroller-sized nursery rhyme book, along with his Baa Baa Black Sheep and Other Rhymes. Both of these were designed as board books, not picture book derivatives, and are quite charming.

    I’m also fond of Sally Mavor’s individual nursery rhyme board books. Like her just-released anthology of nursery rhymes, the board books feature intricate embroidered fabric and found-object illustrations. I love the part of Wee Willie Winkie that shows the little children sleeping in beds made of seashells!

    I also love Tracey Campbell Pearson’s series of board books featuring gentle watercolors of multi-ethnic children celebrating nursery rhymes (personal favorite: Diddle Diddle Dumpling).

    Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson (illus. Sam Williams) makes for excellent bounce-on-the-lap rhythmic play.

    And if you’re interested in introducing a little bilingual English-Spanish gusto into your reading cycle, I love Rebecca Emberley’s series (like My Garden / Mi Jardin) or Libby Ellis’ itsy-bitsy Buenos Dias, Baby! (it’s so tiny and cute!).

    BUT — hands down, my favorite book for babies isn’t a board book but Karen Beaumont’s stellar Baby Danced the Polka (illus. by Jennifer Plecas). It’s got an incredibly addictive rhyming text and wonderful lift-the-flap action. It’s a great read-aloud for the toddler/preschooler set as well.

  70. Sam Bloom says:

    Some of our daughter’s old favorites:
    * Babycakes – Karma Wilson / Sam WIlliams
    * Everywhere Babies – Susan Meyers / Marla Frazee
    * How Kind – Mary Murphy
    * More, More, More Said the Baby – Vera B. Williams

  71. Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse was a particular favourite in our house. And I still love it, even now that our copy has been thoroughly read, reread, and chewed.

  72. Author/Illustrator mommy of 2-yr old and 7-yr old here. Reading to babies and reading to toddlers are tooooootally different activities, as you will find out. Some of the above mentioned will be great when your baby is around one or two and can follow a simple story trajectory. I think for babies you need the high-contrast colors and simple shapes so prevalent in the Eric Carle books. Very bouncy rhyme can catch them too. Books with photos of other babies are also great — but unfortnately the bland text that often accompanies the photos is not so terrific for the adult reader, but oh well.

    Our favorite first books were by Cheryl Christian (Star Bright Books), lift the flap books that replicate everybaby’s favorite game of peek-a-boo:

    “Where’s the Puppy?”
    “Where’s the Kitten?”
    “Where’s the Baby?”

    And must recommend my own from Star Bright:

    “Read to Me,” by Judi Moreillon, ills by Kyra Teis (an inter-gen rhyme about reading)
    “Look!” by Kyra Teis (abstract colors & shapes designed to interest babies in particular – tested on my own who was 8 months when I created the artwork for this book)

    Also love for babies specifically:
    “My Many Colored Days,” by Dr. Seuss
    “Goodnight Gorilla,” by Peggy Rathman (because you can make up your own words which will be appropriate for whatever attention span you baby has at any given time)
    “Doggies,” “Pajama Time,” and “Moo, Ba, La, La, La,” by Sandra Boynton (actually any book by her will be a hit)
    “Yummy Yucky,” by Leslie Patricelli (she has others too)
    Any of the food books by Amy Wilson Sangers, because her rhymes are so alive and you won’t get tired of reading them for the 700th time
    “Daddy Kisses,” by Anne Gutman (because you can’t forget Daddy in all of this)
    “Baby Loves,” from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is illustrated with painting by Mary Cassat and has a minimalistic text. Both my girls loved this as very young babies.

    Ahhh, babies. Love, love, love!

  73. I give Brown Bear to every new parent! I also love the pigeon board books because how can you not love pigeon?? My niece has a board book that’s a version of No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed only with monsters (I forget the title) but it’s her favorite book-she can’t get enough of it.

  74. The Center for Early Childhood Literacy puts out a particularly good “Best Books For Babies” list every year. Google them and then click on the “books” section.

  75. I love many of the books mentioned (Boynton, Nancy Shaw, Liz Conrad…).
    My far and awey favorite when my youngest was tiny: I LOVE YOU AS MUCH, by Laura Krauss Melmed, about moms and babies. Beautiful watercolor art by Henri Sorensen. It’s simple and sweet and of course the perfect message.
    Lately I’m taken by these new ones, Indestructibles — they’re perfect for when baby’s still gnawing on things.
    FLUTTER! FLY!, and WIGGLE! MARCH!, CREEP! CRAWL!, PLIP-PLOP POND! — They’re awesome! Fun collage art, and no matter how much they’re chewed or pulled, they won’t rip or shred. I’ve bought lots for the babies around me.
    Congratulations on your good news! Best wishes for a speedy delivery 2 days before your due date.

  76. klonghall says:

    Goodnight Gorilla was the favorite of all 3 of my kids. They looked for the balloon in every picture and loved the page with just the zookeeper’s wife’s eyes. We’d all yell out, “UH_OH!!!” Such memories of my babies!

    I’d also add Silly Sally by Audrey Wood. I can still quote the entire thing after reading in many times a day to my first child, who is now 13. He also insisted on “Moo, Baa, La La La”almost as much, so that one is embedded in my brain, as well. He loved language and rhyme. He’s still my kid who incessantly quotes movies, TV shows, commericals…anything catchy.

    The Olivia board books are simple, and fun. My middle son couldn’t get enough of the Wibbly Pig books by Mick Inkpen. I haven’t thought about those books in years. Oh, we had such fun reading those! Gosh, when did these kids here grow up? You have such adventures to look forward to!

  77. Christine Bird says:

    Reposting what I posted when you wrote about St. Jerome, patron of librarians,
    Christine Murphy Bird said September 30, 2009 at 11:20 am
    Odd tidbit: Your husband Matt’s grandparents, Jack and Catherine Murphy, were married at St. Jerome’s Church in the Bronx on December 5, 1942. They went on to raise a whole houseful of readers. We then raised two readers of our own. I have the feeling that in the future you and Matt will find yourselves raising yet more readers.

    Tag, you’re it!
    2010 update: You are now, truly, it. Congratulations. Love. Mom and Dad

  78. Stephanie S. says:

    You probably already have most of these recommended, (I am a bit late to the game) but these are the absolute must-haves:

    Anything by Sandra Boynton, especially Doggies, Blue Hat Green Hat, and yes, Moo Baa La La La, I have a video of my best friend’s daughter (my pseudo-niece if you will) reciting the entire story when she was 18 months.

    The Napping House is a must, but it truly is better in full picture book form.

    Piggies also by Don and Audrey Wood, this one I know comes as a lap book.

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.

    Olivia was the first book I gave my pseudo-niece Emma (see above) and I now give her an Olivia book for every birthday.

    Big Red Barn and Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Moon is also better in picture book form but it never hurts to have two copies.

    Start with Chicka Chicka ABC and then you can graduate to the full picture book version.

    Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman and Freight Train by Donald Crews are good, as is Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, but I prefer them in picture book form.

    Books for chewing and grabbing, board books work but they dissolve quickly, I would recommend a few cloth and vinyl; and have you seen Indestructables? I give these out for my job (I am an early literacy outreach associate, I teach families about early literacy at our local WIC clinic) and families really love them. They feel like paper but are incredibly strong, I can’t tear them apart at all and babies can chew and grab all they want and they won’t come apart. I’ve had families pull them out of a diaper bag six months after I gave them one and they are in perfect condition.

    As far as books that don’t work as well, there are lots of picture books that are now done in board book form, but they lose a lot of their appeal in such a tiny format. Also, they WILL be pretty close to destroyed eventually, so if it is a book you are truly in love with, just get it in picture book form and keep it on the ‘mommy reads’ shelf, not the ‘baby play’ shelf. I hope this helps!

  79. A lot of the picture books in board book form are really too advanced for very young babies – make sure you get some photographic ones for the very beginning. There are lots of good series, I particularly like the Intrater’s series, Baby Faces.

  80. Only board books? If you want a great read-to collection, try Stephanie Calmenson’s WELCOME, BABY!

  81. All mine have been mentioned, so I’ll just say this: my seven-month old particularly enjoys books with sound effects (like Doggies by Sandra Boynton) and ones with sing-song rhythm (like Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins). But any book I read often enough for her to recognize (like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown or The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton) is guaranteed to bring a smile to her face.

  82. Others have mentioned my kids’ absolute faves (Boynton books and Oxenbury’s Going on a Bear Hunt) but I must say that all three of my kids LOVED the Anne Geddes board books filled with pictures of babies. I am convinced that almost nothing gets a baby’s attention like another baby.