Is there anything sweeter than story time with your baby? Cuddling up with your little one on your lap and one of the best books for babies in your hand is a fantastic way to give them an early start to a lifelong love of reading. The best baby books run the gamut from stories about bunnies and belly buttons to classic nursery rhymes and picture books that have been capturing young children's imaginations for decades.
Although their narratives may be wildly different, many beloved baby books share a few things in common. For starters, they feature bright, colorful illustrations and pictures that your baby will love to interact with over and over again. Rhymes they can pick up and repeat are a great learning tool, as well as stories with words that most children have heard before and can understand. Books that deal with letters, numbers, and emotions are perfect for the littlest learners who are just beginning to grasp these concepts. And soft books or sturdy board books (that curious hands can't tear) are ideal because babies can hold them in their hands, learn to turn pages, and feel like they're in the driver's seat during story time.
These 16 baby books are the perfect story time additions that your baby won't want to put down.
1. Goodnight Moon
An oldie and a goodie, Goodnight Moon is a classic story in board book format that features some of the most familiar lines in children's story history: "Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere." Colorfully captivating illustrations and sweet farewell bids to household objects your child will recognize make this a peaceful story to help lull baby to sleep.
2. Pat The Bunny Touch And Feel Book
Babies use their sense of touch to learn about textures while reading Pat the Bunny, an adorable touch and feel book about a lovable white rabbit. Little ones can "pet" soft fur, giggle at peek-a-boo surprises, and hear a simple, quick story that will hold their attention.
3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Most children find animals to be a source of endless fascination. Eric Carle's classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? provides flowing, seamless transitions from one animal to the next (a yellow duck, a blue horse, and, of course, a brown bear). The singsong text is also easy to remember and you may be shocked to hear your little one reciting the words along with you after a few reads.
4. First 100 Words Board Book
There's a reason why this vividly bright soft board book makes an appearance at so many baby showers and baby birthday parties. First 100 Words features 100 pictures and words baby will most likely be exposed to and learn during those early years. This book is ideal for ages 1 to 3 years old and is padded, but sturdy and durable.
5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Another Eric Carle classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar guides babies and toddlers through the life cycle of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. Along the way, little ones can count how many different types of foods he eats before getting a belly ache, then finally cheer when he emerges from his cocoon as a brilliant butterfly.
6. Are You My Mother?
A story about searching for identity and finding it in a loving family, Are You My Mother? follows a baby bird who hatched just as his mom flew off to find him food. Determined to find his mom, the little bird sets off to ask other animals if they are their mom — before reconnecting with the mom who never truly left their side.
7. On The Night You Were Born
8. Ten Little Fingers And Ten Little Toes
Babies relate when they notice other babies in books — just one of the reasons Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes soft board book is perfect for young children. The lesson in this story is that, no matter where babies are born or what color skin they have, most share one thing in common: ten little fingers and ten little toes.
9. Where Is Baby's Belly Button? A Lift-The-Flap Book
Lift-the-flap books provide hours of fun for babies and the modern classic Where Is Baby's Belly Button takes things one step further by teaching little ones about their body parts. Babies can lift flaps to reveal various body parts on an illustrated baby's body before locating their own body parts and accurately naming them.
10. Baby Touch And Feel Wild Animals
Tigers, penguins, and other wild animals are all represented in this touch and feel Wild Animals board book, which is small enough for little hands to handle comfortable. They'll thrill at all of the different textures and photographs and practice animal recognition as you read to them.
11. Potty Board Book
Even if you're little one is a year away from sitting on the potty, this super cute Potty board book introduces the concept of potty training in a relaxed, non-intimidating way. The character in the book asks questions about potty behaviors and the story ends with him receiving the ultimate reward: fun, colorful underwear.
12. The Poky Little Puppy
First published in 1942, The Poky Little Puppy was one of 12 original Little Golden books — and it continues to grab young children's hearts today. The story follows a cute little puppy who can't keep from digging holes in the yard (sound familiar?) and has to go to bed without dessert. Don't worry — there's a happy ending.
Wanting nothing more than to be loved by a child, Corduroy is a teddy bear sitting on a shelf at a department store waiting to become part of someone's family. And even when he manages to lose a button and get a bit scruffed up, he finds the exact thing he has been searching for all along. This paperback book has been delighting babies and toddlers since the 1960s.
14. Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed
Children learn through repetition and even song, which is why Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed, with its sing-songy lines and familiar rhymes, is such a special first book for babies. And if it can reinforce the idea that jumping on beds is a "no-no," all the better, right?
15. Peek-A-Boo! Baby Faces Board Book
This 12-page Peek-A-Boo Baby Faces Board Book consists of just that — a collection of colored photos of adorable baby faces in the middle of smiling, pouting, crying, yawning, and being playful. Babies will love the minimal text, huge photographs, and mimicking the facial expressions they know all too well.
16. The Snowy Day
Every beautiful emotion a small child feels when waking up to a blanket of snow outside on the ground is captured in The Snowy Day, a Caldecott Medal-winning tale by Ezra Jack Keats. A small boy enjoys a series of wondrous snowy day adventures that include making snow angels and playing with this footprints — and Keats' watercolors, cut-outs, and collages serve as a magical backdrop for this otherworldly winter wonderland.
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