While there are some obvious classic board books that seem to always be on the list of suggestions, there is a whole world of board books beyond Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As much as my kids love those books, I appreciate some variety in our reading rotation, and these are some of our (yes, our) favorite board books:
Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton.
We are huge Sandra Boynton fans in our family. Almost all of her books have catapulted themselves into our “favorite books” bin and they get read over and over and over. Barnyard Dance! is probably my very favorite. The pictures are fun (as her illustrations always are), and the rhymes are gloriously fun. With both of my children, this was one of their early early favorites; they loved the rhythm, they loved clapping their hands to the story (and stomping their feet), and they loved me helping them to “leap like a frog!” There was much sadness from my son when he got to be too big for me to bounce him up into the air on that line.
Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Alison Jay
Jessica (Quirky Bookworm) told me about this book, and I am so glad that she did. My daughter (who had decided that she wasn’t interested in books and wouldn’t sit still to listen to them at all) changed her mind when I started reading this gorgeous book. She took to it almost immediately, and now will bring me the book all the time, waiting for me to lift her up onto my lap so she can turn the pages as I read. She loves finding the dogs on the pages, and especially loves the dog on the sled on one of the Winter illustrations. Best of all is that the book apparently convinced my girl that books are fun, and now she’ll happily sit and listen to me read (as long as Listen, Listen makes frequent appearances in the reading rotation). My son likes it too, although not with the same intensity of his sister.
That’s Not My Monkey… by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells.
I don’t actually have this specific touchy-feely book, but my kids each have one of the other books in the series (That’s Not My Dragon… and That’s Not My Teddy…), both of which are not easily available when I’m writing this. Since the books all follow the same pattern, I don’t think the specific subject matter is all that significant, unless you’re trying to fit it to a child with strong preferences. And since I think they’re best suited for fairly young children, it’s not likely that their preferences will be that strong yet. Case in point? My son is indifferent to dinosaurs, but he still loved this book when he was a baby and toddler. And my daughter is indifferent towards teddy bears, but she still loves her book. And they both love each other’s book; both copies have been taped and retaped they’ve been “loved” so well. And hard. 😉 I’ve given one of this series as a baby gift many many times; I think they’re great choices and have received good feedback about them.
Dancing with Degas by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober.
I actually purchased this as part of the Mini Masters Boxed Set, and we’ve enjoyed all of the books included in the set – A Picnic with Monet, In the Garden with Van Gogh, and A Magical Day with Matisse. It was hard to pick which book to feature specifically, and I settled on the Degas one because it was the first one where my son started repeating the text while I read it. “Stretching legs and pointing toes…” was so cute to hear him recite. We lost the book for several months when we moved and I was just about to order a new one when we found it – what a happy occasion for my boy when I pulled it out and we could read it again!
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