Best Baby Books (0 – 12 Months)
|White on Black||Peek-A Who?||Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book||My Big Animal Book||Indestructibles: Jungle Rumble!|
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|Type||Baby Books||Baby Books||Baby Books||Baby Books||Baby Books|
If the littlest one just came home for the first time, deciding what books to read them might not be at the top of your to-do list. A child’s reading skills will not typically begin to develop until four or five with an early start, but the vocal element to parent-child bonding is integral to healthy development. Sharing your voice with your child in tandem with bright colors and interesting imagery can be an excellent first step to ensuring quality engagement with the newest addition to the family. There are a lot of books perfect for bonding time with baby, so let’s take a look at the five that have risen to the top of the market!
BEST OVERALL | White on Black, by Tana Hoban
When it comes to an infant’s developing eyes, too much information can be confusing or distracting. From author Tana Hoban comes the aptly named White on Black, a book of simple silhouettes for your littlest one to explore and enjoy. While bright colors have a time-honored place in children’s literature, it’s worth exploring one of the many other options that have appeared over the years. This board book is sturdy and well designed, filled with high contrast images that beg the development of creative thinking and interpretation for both parent and child. Without the interruption of words or pre-destined narrative, you and your child can explore the graphics at your own pace, creating your own story as you go or just explore. While the images might seem simple to adults, there’s no denying the curious rapture a child finds in the elegant silhouettes presented by Tana Hoban, whose photography can be found in galleries all around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The book’s design makes it an excellent choice for both bonding and free time, and can easily stimulate your child’s interest in the world around them. If you prefer, there is a partnering book called Black on White, featuring the same (or similar) images in inverse colors. White on Black by Tana Hoban has an MSRP of $6.99, but check the current White on Black – Amazon price here.
BEST DESIGN | Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden
Vocal engagement and visual stimulation are top priorities when choosing a book to share with the youngest member of the family. This playful board book plays with perception by using cut-out windows, bright colors, and cheerful illustrations to entertain and delight. Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden is a great travel-size option for families that are looking for an enjoyable exploration of animals and guessing rhyme games when the reliable peek-a-boo hand games have gotten a bit old hat. The thick board pages and solid spine construction ensure survivability over the years and through a great deal of punishment, even when the little one grabs a hold of the peek-a-boo windows. Animals are still a popular subject for infants, and you’ll find no lacking variety among these pages, including a cow, elephant, peacock, and even a spooky ghost. Being able to combine visual and auditory stimulation with engagement via games and interaction put this baby’s book at the top of the list for design. Still not convinced? This book has been on shelves since 2010 and has garnered an impressive full five-star rating from over eleven hundred owners on Amazon. Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden has an MSRP of $6.95, but check the current Peek-A Who? – Amazon price here.
EASIEST TO USE | Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book, by Rod Campbell
Interactive books are fantastic for all ages, and what better way to encourage the growth of motor functions than offering your child a fun and engaging way to explore a book on their own terms? Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell is a great way to get those animal noises and bright colors alongside study design and interactive storytelling. Structurally, the book is sound with pages of thick board stock and flaps made from flexible, sturdy paper that resists tearing and warping. The images are cleanly drawn and simply colored, the typography is crisp and clear, taking out the guesswork and confusion as your little one learns what everything means. The flaps open on different sides, changing between pages, adding an aspect of problem-solving to the mix. This is a great way to allow your child to explore on their own, beyond simply reaching out and grasping the pages. There’s a great level of independence to be found within this classic that has been gracing shelves for well over a decade, while still providing narrative structure. Spoilers for the parents: the keeper pet at the end is a puppy, so be aware of that just in case your little one develops a passion for man’s best friend. That could work in your favor, especially if you’re looking to add another, furrier member to the family. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell has an MSRP of $6.99, but check the current Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book – Amazon price here.
MOST VERSATILE | My Big Animal Book, by Roger Priddy
When it comes to variety in a book, bigger can be better. In Roger Priddy’s My Big Animal Book, a new parent finds a wide variety of stimulating visuals to share with their young one. Not only providing the opportunity for seeing and learning all about different animals, but the boldly colored pages and a wide variety of subjects will keep your child enthralled for years to come. This book grows with your child, starting with simply the sound of your voice and the boldly framed photos of animals, growing into little riddles and problem solving that your child can solve as they age. Simple tasks like making animal sounds will delight even the youngest child, while older children will be able to match those sounds with the images presented, then learn age categories for the animals (cats and kittens, dogs and puppies, horses and foals, etc.). This is an excellent book for parents who want at least one volume that will appeal to their child as they grow, or to multiple children in the same family. The board book construction is sturdy enough to handle any punishment your infant can dish out and is big enough for even the littlest eyes. Photographs, rather than artist interpretations and cartoonified images, will help connect the sounds and names to real life animals, strengthening more than just word and image associations. The subject matter also travels beyond just a single location like the home and the farm, including animals from the jungle and beyond. If you have an animal-loving family and want to garner that passion early, this will be a great book for you and your child. My Big Animal Book, by Roger Priddy has an MSRP of $7.99, but check the current My Big Animal Book – Amazon price here.
BARGAIN BUY | Indestructibles: Jungle Rumble! By Karen Pixton
When you put this book in your baby’s hands, you can feel confident that it will survive all the teething and tossing the youngest member of the family can dish out. Touted as indestructible, Jungle Rumble! by Karen Pixton is not your traditional board book. Instead, this unique book is made from a paperback-styled thin material that is as close to indestructible as can be. You don’t have to worry if your little one grabs ahold of this book and starts to chew. Each page is 100% safe, non-toxic, and resistant to tears, rips, and punctures. On top of that, the book itself is washing machine and dishwasher-proof, so you can simply toss it in with the laundry or dishes when the inevitable spills and grit happen. The lightweight design makes it a great option to tuck in the diaper bag for traveling. Each page is filled with vibrant colors and beautiful depictions of jungle animals sure to keep your child’s attention. The only thing missing, by design, is that there are no words to interrupt the lovely art. You get to create the story and make it different every time you open the cover, or simply let your little one page through at their own pace, learning important motor skills while they tug and grasp at each animal. Promote that wonder and excitement with your baby and leave the reading skills for later with this beautiful book. Whether you’re buying for yourself or as a gift, this will be a guaranteed favorite for years to come. It’s amazing that a book this sturdy takes up such a very small part of a family’s budget. Indestructibles: Jungle Rumble! by Karen Pixton has an MSRP of $5.95, but check the current Indestructibles: Jungle Rumble! – Amazon price here.
It’s never too early to read to your child. Storytime offers a different aspect of growth in that bond between parent and child, a special kind of visual and auditory stimulation that creates a comfortable familiarity. Whether you’re counting off penguins, demonstrating an elephant’s bugle, or making up your own tale about jungle and savannah wildlife, the time you spend with your baby is always valuable. If you’re looking for a new addition to your own little library or seeking the perfect gift to give to an expecting family, any one of these five great books will serve your purposes. And if you’re looking for something geared towards an older baby, check out our Best Baby Books 12-24 months right here!