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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Baby Board Books

April 5th My teacher friend Susan Vaughn gave birth to Alexander – one of the most beautiful babies – and I cannot wait to hold him. I’ve been preparing for his arrival by gathering baby books for Susan and Ryan. Here are some of my recent favorites:

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: A Counting Nursery Rhyme by Salina Yoon. Robin Corey Books, 2011. 978-0-375-86479-7

The classic nursery rhyme comes to life in a circus in its board book format. The bright colors and abstract objects that are carefully placed in each scene become something circus related as each page is turned. This will be a fun lap time story and the shapes range in sophistication from circles to feathers so there is much to grow with.

I’ve carefully saved four Golden Baby books based upon the original Golden Books. My favorite will always be The Poky Little Puppy, but I’m pleased to add three illustrated by Garth Williams: Baby Farm Animals, Home for a Bunny, and Baby’s First Book. These were released by Random House Children’s Books in January as soft board books and I’ve been clutching them close to my chest to share.

“Five little puppies dug a hole under the fence and went for a walk in the wide, wide world.” So begins one of my favorite Golden Books from my childhood. I read the publishers blurb about the low cost of these books:

More than 65 years ago, Golden Books revolutionized the publishing industry by producing high-quality picture books at affordable prices. Not only were they affordable-priced at a mere 25 cents per book – but they were also widely available in bookstores, drug stores, and grocery chains. Quality books became available to children everywhere, not just the privileged few. Today, almost 70 years later, many of the titles upon which Golden Books was founded are now available in this new Golden Baby format.”

Aha! That explains why I had so many Golden Books. They were affordable and my family in a small town in Iowa could pick one up for me whenever they went to the big “town” of Cherokee (population 4,663) for groceries. These soft board books have survived me dropping them and spilling coffee on the cover and at $6.99, they are affordable for readers like me who want to share our love of books from our childhood with this next generation. I wonder if I could irritate my four sons by reading The Poky Little Puppy to them again. At least they grew up knowing that none of them wanted to be the puppy who was so poky he lost his dinner.

While I agree with Jen Robinson’s review that these are text-dense, I also know that there will never be a better opportunity to start reading these favorites.

Chick by Ed Vere. Henry Holt and Co, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9168-7.

I had to wrestle the next book out of Susan Norwood’s hands to include because she kept playing and laughing with Chick by Ed Vere. Chick is a pop-up book that advertises itself as being a “sturdy playful pop-up” … “perfect for sharing with your littlest chick!” It is both perfect and sturdy. Susan is not the only teacher or student who was fascinated with the page “chick poops.”  So many people have opened, re-opened, twisted, and giggled over this book that I’m sure it will become one of Alexander and Susan’s favorites. Plus, it’s still in great shape.  Chick won Best Baby Book at the Booktrust Early Years Awards.

I put two Clackers in Alexander’s box even though I spent more time reading books to my children than just clacking the pages together. I had Crocodile and Monkey, both illustrated by Luana Rinaldo. I still need to pick up Bunny and Duck to include.

Little Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010.

Little Penguins is a pop-up book to share as Alexander grows.  I love the rhyming words and the story contains enough details to entertain kindergartners studying penguins each year. The arrows to tug, twist, and pull will entertain babies, but I wouldn’t place my bets on unsupervised usage lasting. One of the quilting bloggers I follow reviewed it at CreativeMadnessMama, but I’d like to suggest you read all the reviews at GoodReads.

Actually as an adult, I watched in horror as a penguin would “disappear” on a page containing, for example,  the dreaded enemy of penguins – the leopard seal. Surely the author and illustrator have a twisted sense of humor to torture and tantalize the more morbid of us mothers with the pending doom of our offspring.  Relax, mothers, all works out in the end – unless you were rooting for the leopard seal.

The last book I’m putting in this box for Alexander is my copy of the 50th anniversary party edition of Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman.  Can you believe that Go, Dog. Go! has sold over 8 million copies since 1961? While using only 75 different words, the illustrations still entertain me enough to keep a copy for babysitting emergencies. I find myself debating whether to include the Go, Dog. Go! Party Book in the box for Susan and Ryan to plan a party down the road. Party Hats, Snack Cups, place cards, poster, board games, and reusable stickers are pretty tempting to keep around. There are six hats and snack cups in each book so this would be the perfect size for babysitting parties.

Rats! I’m out of copies of Pat the Bunny. I’m going to have to hope that someone else has provided this favorite sharing title already. As I seal the box, I wonder what I’ll do now with the special board books publishers share with me….. Oh, wait, another teacher on my staff is pregnant – even though she hasn’t announced it. I can start saving special titles for her.