Although I have a large (and ever-growing, much to the dismay of my groaning husband, and groaning bookshelves) collection of children's books, I'd never really looked at baby books. But in the past year, I've discovered the world of black and white pictures, textured pages and lift the flaps. Here are some of the ones we love.
1. Jan Ormerod, author and illustrator of Peek-a-boo!, sadly passed away in February. My mum sent us this book a few weeks ago, after rediscovering it through Jan's obituary on the Guardian. It has become Baby's absolute favourite, the one that she will always seek out and pick up again and again. With a 'peek-a-boo' phrase per page, sweet illustrations of babies, and big flaps to pull down, I can see why she loves it so much.
2. Things that Go. Full of shiny cars, diggers with bumpy wheels and silky hot air balloons, this was an instant hit when we got it out of the library.
3. Peepo! I have fond memories of this book, and many other Janet and Allan Alhberg publications. With the sweetly British, 1940s themed illustrations, and the easy-to-read writing style that the Ahlbergs have become famed for, it's one of my favourites - and Baby loves to look through the holes!
4. Moomin's lift-the-flap Peekaboo - Sturdy flaps to lift, bright and simple pictures, and a mirror at the end. (Can you guess which is the favourite page?!). Baby loves to 'read' this one on her own - and because it's so sturdy, there's no fear that she's going to rip the flaps off.
5. I've been a fan of Lauren Child's distinctive illustrations and playful writing style since she first started the Charlie and Lola series. 'Sizzles is an extremely clever dog' is brilliant - a book that I enjoy reading just as much as Baby loves to have it read to her. The best bit? Sizzles is a finger puppet attached to the book, so you can make him juggle/dance/go to sleep, much to Baby's delight! Other finger puppet books that we love include Lenny Long Legs, and Peter Rabbit's Counting book.
6. A staple of any baby's library, it's easy to see why Dear Zoo remains so popular. Flaps to lift, simple illustrations in bright colours, and repetitive language. We have two different versions of this - one with the flaps, and a chunky version that has animal shaped pages. You can see it here.
7. We're working our way through the whole 'Black and White Sparkler' series at the library, but 'Hello, Bugs!' is the favourite so far. Black pages, with images drawn in white, and shiny coloured patches to create butterfly wings, ladybird spots, or bee stripes. See the rest of the books here.
8. Banana! by Ed Vere contains only two different words: 'Banana' and 'please'. The quirkily expressive illustrations bring humour to the book, conveying the story of the two monkeys, both desperate to have the banana. A simple book, but so clever in the way it uses the illustrations and the reader's intonation to tell the tale.
9. One of Baby's Christmas presents, the black and white Faces book has a lovely squishy cover, and simple pictures of different parts of the face. This is one she enjoys now, and I can see that as her speech develops, it will still remain popular in the future. It's the perfect size for little hands to hold too.
10. I bought this book while I was pregnant, having always loved the colours and patterns used in Orla Kiely's designs. It didn't fail to delight, it's gorgeous. Beautiful colours and pictures, with the iconic leaf print in many of the backgrounds. It makes me very happy that Baby seems to like it as much as I do! See more here.
11. Emma Dodd's 'You' is the sweetest book, about a little monkey that has a mummy that loves him more and more each day, even when he's grumpy and cross! Beautiful illustrations, with gold foil highlights, combined with the heartfelt, rhyming text, make for a gorgeous book.
So there you have them, our current book loves. I'm always on the lookout for different baby books, whether old favourites or new releases. What do your babies love to look at? And which books do you love to share with them?
This post should also be a post of praise for our local library. It had a huge multi-million pound revamp last year (I know, we are so lucky, when so many libraries are being closed) and consequently, was stocked up with the latest, loveliest children's books. Many, many of these books were first discovered in the library (and I also love that, by logging on to Baby's online library account, we have a list of all the books she has ever taken out of the library. I wonder how many books will be on that list by the time she's 18?!)