the first eighteen-ish months of bee’s life were cram-pack-filled with library visits. not necessarily because i am a tiger mom forcing full language literacy by the age of two, although, maybe there was a little of that. but mostly i was going stir crazy from the minute bee began to move. during the early days we’d attend story time. then while bee plopped herself down by the board books, i’d thumb through the stacks for an hour to pre-read books before filling my tote with as many books as my arms would bear. nowadays with the two, we’re lucky to make it on time for story time (in our neighborhood you have to be at least fifteen minutes early and wait outside in the rain) and i pull books as quickly as i can to half-fill my tote before bee unleashes a full-scale-toddler-rage on the stacks.
but because i was afforded those early days, i wanted to share a few of bee’s favorites that you won’t find on the top sellers list. not all books that i’d choose for her, but she has very definitive taste. i’m sure book choices have a lot to do with gender and temperament so file these under girl who loves animals and would not sit still except for a good story on mom’s lap and/or a truly spell-binding lift-the-flap engaging book.
- ‘Pet Tails’ Book by Anne Wilkinson > our favorite crinkly chew toy book.
- Global Baby Girls (Global Fund for Children) by Global Fund For Children > babies love to look at babies. we got this regularly from the library and bee used the book like a baby doll.
- Happy Baby Animals (Soft to Touch) by Jo Douglass > we scored a collection of these from a neighbor and another from our doctor. ohsu hands out a book for every visit for the first two years to encourage reading! they might not look like much, but they are ideal first books and bee still picks them out to ‘read’ to herself. she also refuses to hand them down to her brother, so i might have to pick up a new set.
- and even if they can’t follow a plot, it’s a great time to endear characters. this was a favorite chew toy.
- plus i have to recommend having one book they can go to town on eating. this was ours, but I don’t think the story line matters much.
- Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom by Anna Dewdney >> this series was a surprise (to me) hit. this was a favorite to get from the library, but i have to warn against the llama llama red pajama book at an early age…it’s all about fretting when mom leaves..not an idea i wanted to instill. quickly returned that one.
- Dear Zoo: A Lift-The-Flap Book by Rod Campbell >> we found this only recently, but i imagine it would be a good one to have early on. animals + flaps = win.
- Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks From A To Z (Shape Chunky Book) by Richard Scarry >> why aren’t more books this teeny? it’s by far a favorite and a great book for car rides around that tricky stage of 6-18 months.
- Dr. Suess’s Sleep Softly Book >> this was our every day before bed book for a solid nine month stretch. still hasn’t lost it’s magic.
- First 100 Words (modeled below by will) by Roger Priddy >> a necessity. get a big book with real photos that you can point and name. though i am sure bee has it memorized, it gives her so much confidence to be able to ‘read’ all by herself with this book she’s enjoyed for years now.
- Who is the Beast by Keith Baker >> one of daddy’s as a child, this was one of the first ‘story’ books that captivated bee’s attention.
- Beep, Beep, Let’s Go by Eleanor Taylor >> kind of lame, kind of awesome.
- Busy Gorillas by John Schindel >> at this age, this was a huge hit from the library. she could not get enough of the photos of gorillas; it was a bit of an obsession. there’s one about kitties, too. everyone wins.
- The Belly Book (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books) by Joe Harris >> i remember being super surprised with how well bee took to this advanced book right around fourteen months. there’s a page where the kids get sick from eating too many treats that she just couldn’t get enough of. i was so surprised that she understood and was so happy we’ve had this and other dr. suess early reading books on our shelf at such an early age. highly recommend this one. her other favorite around this age…
- Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog? (Big Bright & Early Board Book) by Theo Lesieg
- ABC Zooborns! by Paul Boyle >> would love to have owned this book. the only thing babies love to look at more than other babies, is baby animals. this has no less than 26 of them.
- Sesame Street Elmo’s Favorite Places (Lift-the-Flap) >> grandma got us this one before a train ride. occupied us for at least an hour every time we busted it out at this age. it was also the first book that bee would ‘play-read’ independently for an extended amount of time and the first book that she memorized all the words. i think this might be the most read and loved book we own.
- Airplane Flight!: A Lift-The-Flap Adventure by Susanna Hill >> good for getting a toddler pumped about an upcoming flight. we brought this on the plane with us and read it over and over.
- Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann >> maybe this is a best seller. it’s a classic. also recently loved 10 Minutes till Bedtime.
- Sandra Boynton board books are pretty much impossible to avoid at this age. bee’s favorites: Blue Hat, Green Hat, Doggies, and The Going to Bed Book
i hope this inspires you to become a true star parents and put these books on hold, show up to the library, and cram them in your tote bag before your budding-toddler can say ‘boo’…or ‘no’..as they are wont to do. we had our fair share of crummy books, so i don’t want that to happen to anyone. like one about anna eating all the cookies instead of sharing (and i won’t tell you how much bee actually loved this one) and one about a baby being a burden on everyone…seriously. i also highly recommend looking at the bestseller list and paging through the library online catalog to reserve them all. we’re on a wait list, but every time we show up one or two is waiting for us. and while we’re at it here’s another good list.
and speaking of libraries, here’s a few of bee’s favorite things: