This topic is a little silly, but I have been spending quite a bit of time lately reading children’s books, so it seemed appropriate. Adeline doesn’t really like to sleep, so each nap and bedtime requires a soothing ritual before she’s calm enough to even potentially sleep. We read three stories before each nap and three stories at bedtime. And then there are all of the fun books that she likes to play with throughout the day. Basically, we spend a lot of time with books, which I’m obviously ok with. So here are my thoughts on the books we’ve been reading.
I definitely don’t claim any expertise on this topic. I realized what a huge industry this is when I walked into a Barnes & Noble children’s book section and it was almost as big as all of the rest of the sections put together. In my mind that’s a sad commentary on the state of American reading. On the other hand, children’s books have to be in hard copy, whereas a lot of adults may be getting their reading on Kindles and Ipads at this point. I can’t bring myself to give up the book, though, so the demise of the bookstore is heartbreaking to me. At any rate, I digress.
I walked into the children’s book section and was instantly surrounded by bright colors, cartoon animals and a plethora of abc’s. It would be pretty easy for a person to get overwhelmed with all of the options. Luckily for us, David’s sister runs a children’s bookstore. For Christmas this year she and her partner sent us a big box full of beautifully wrapped books and a bookshelf to put them on. Awesome!
Upon opening all of the books, I discovered an unusually large number of books by one Sandra Boynton. I was skeptical. Clearly this woman has a children’s book empire, and I tend to be wary of anyone who seems just a little too popular. But, it turns out, they actually are pretty great. Our favorite is Moo, Baa, Lalala, which involves lots of animal noises and singing pigs. I’m also partial to But Not the Hippopotamus, which is about a hippo who doesn’t get asked to do anything and then finally does get asked. Poor hippo. But then there’s a happy ending. Yay! (I won’t even get into what my liking of this book says about my popularity in high school.) The Going to Bed Book is also a favorite for bedtime. The silly animals brush their teeth, get in their pajamas, and then go exercise. What? But then they go to bed, so it all works out. We have a bunch of other Sandra Boynton books as well. She throws in some humor for mom and dad, which makes them more fun to read.
Of course there are a lot of other good ones. One of my favorites is a Spanish/English book called Lola about a hen who decides that she’s not happy being one of many hens clamoring for the rooster’s attention, so she goes off on her own to find true love. You go girl! (Not to mention that Lola is Adeline’s middle name, so it’s especially fun for us.) It’s a little bit long for Addie right now but I still read it to her a lot. Her favorite part is when the rooster crows and I make a funny face and do the Spanish rooster sound – “Kikiriki!” She rewards me for that with her adorable little laugh. Come to think of it, her favorite part of any book is animal sounds and the faces I make when I do the sound. Another Spanish book we have is La Arana Muy Ocupada (The Very Busy Spider) – every page has another animal making its noise and she giggles with every sound. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. At least in my humble opinion.
I’m also partial to a book called Peek-a-Boo. I like it because it’s actually a poem and I feel like it’s nice for Addie to get exposure to the rhythm and meter of poetry. A lot of the other books have rhyming as well, but this one is a little more sophisticated. The other thing babies like is repetition, and for repetition there’s nothing like the Brown Bear series of books. I know they’re classics and they are adorable, but after asking “What do you see?” for what feels like the hundredth time in a day, I start to wish we didn’t have these books. I’m sure that feeling will only get more intense as she gets older and starts demanding that I read the same book over and over and over again. Fun times!
I know I’ve only scratched the surface here. Do any other parents have favorite books that I should check out?