Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First Library Additions

I love books. I spend a lot of time in the bookstore and at Amazon. My kids love books too and my baby with Down syndrome is no exception. Right in the beginning I realized that I needed to be more intentional with my book purchases for her. Suddenly I could see how overwhelming the pictures were, how senseless the content was, how difficult to manage the tiny pop up windows were...

When infants can’t understand the words yet and have no schema for the pictures, any old book will not do. Here are some ideas of what to look for in a good baby book:

--A single image on a page without other distracting imagery. Pictures with high contrast, particularly black and whites, are the best.
--Pictures of baby faces, recognizable body parts, or objects/actions common to a baby’s day. Books that show babies doing things.
--Books that isolate colors, that have textures to touch, or that teach concepts like object permanence.
--Books with good cadence content (songs or rhythmic language) and books with word repetition.

Lots of times a book will meet one or more of those qualifications but have too much detracting from it...too many images on a page, blended colors, and things you don’t want to show your baby (like lots of unhealthy treat foods).

The following books make good first reads (and second, third, fourth, etc., because you know you’re gonna end up reading those same favorites over and over and over.)

Recommendations for Stage 1 Books

Brown Bear—Eric Carle 7.95  One bright picture per page (until the end) and simple repetitive language. I read this book out-of-synch so that when I am saying “I see the animal and its color” I am on the page with that animal. I think this is less confusing for a new baby.

Today is Monday—Eric Carle 6.99  Wonderful high contrast colored pictures and repetitive language. Babies love to stare at the pages in this book.

Peek-a-who—Nina Laden 6.95  High color contrast pictures, simple rhyming language, and object-permanence teaching peek-a-boo pages. Check out Ria’s in-depth review of this book.

baby! talk!—Penny Gentieu 1.29 (used)  This is one of my all time favorites. Its full of babies doing baby stuff like playing “So big”, “Peek-a-boo”, and “Patty-cake”. Each left page has a single baby doing something and each right page has a group of babies doing it. There are lots of talking points (Look at that baby drink her bottle) and lots of baby games to do. It is out of print but buy it used or borrow it from the library, its worth it.

Moo Ba La La La—Sandra Boynton 5.99  Classic Boynton when she was great. I gave our copy away in PICU one day and ended up replacing it with the super-sized version. It is just a fun, rhyming book that babies seem to really enjoy.

Rainbow Colors Peekaboo—DK Publishing 6.99  This is a great book that has simple pictures, isolated colors, textures for touching, and fold-out pages for teaching peek-a-boo. It is part of a peekaboo series and not all of these books by DK meet the qualifications of a good baby book. Another good one is Farm Peekaboo.

Hush Little Baby—Marla Frazee 7.00  My favorite lullaby. The pictures aren’t great for a baby but the words are the originals. It makes a nice bedtime song.

Look at Baby’s House—Peter Linenthal 6.99  Black and white delight! This book is only black and white and has simple content about a baby’s day. Babies are captivated by the pictures.

I Can, Can You?—Marjorie W. Pitzer 8.76  This book has pictures of young children with Down syndrome doing everyday activities. It is a little “old” for a newborn but it is important for your baby to see children in books who resemble her.

Little Angel—Sandra Magsamen 7.99  A baby should hear this (poem) story everyday. It is a beautiful message about being wanted and loved. (Heck somebody please read this to me at bedtime!) The pictures are just ok, the finger puppet is cute, but it's the words that make this a must have book.

(Not pictured) Baby Talk—DK Publishing 4.99  A simple book of babies doing everyday things like eating or sleeping. Each left page has a single picture of a baby and each right is a colored fold out that hides the same baby doing what the words say on the fold out. It teaches object permanence (can’t get enough of that) and feelings.

Your Turn
What was your baby’s favorite first story? Got a baby book review for us?


  1. very cool! I'll have to look into some of these that we don't already have!

    Thanks :)

  2. We love the touchy feely series by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells including, That's Not My Princess, That's Not My Monster, That's Not My Fairy, Mermaid, Puppy, Monkey, etc.

  3. we love books by byron barton...i like the bold lined illustrations and simple text for when a story line is introduced. i like being able to speak to the objects in the illustrations now, and that the book will grow with us when she's ready for more...plus the text is in nice, short phrases that are easier to commit to memory.

  4. All of my kids have enjoyed Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. We love Eric Carle too! I know Lillian is too young for them now, but they absolutely LOVE Dr. Seuess. Almost everyday I have to read Green Eggs and Ham. Another favorite are the David books by David Shannon (great short stories). I can go on about children's books, can't get enough of them!

  5. I highly recommend Love and Learning (loveandlearning.com) My daughter with Down syndrome loved this program and she was reading at 28 mos (really!) Check it out.

  6. My son has always loved Dr. Seuss books. Right from the beginning. I think the rhymes were soothing to him and had a sort of cadence that he enjoyed. His Dr. Seuss books are so well-loved that we need to replace some of them.

  7. I also want to add that I read anything and everything to my son. The newspaper, Sports Illustrated, knitting magazines, the book I was reading...it made for great bonding time and he just liked to hear my voice.

    I do the same thing now for my typically-developing daughter. It's just a great chance to snuggle together and for her to listen to words, conversation, and my voice.

  8. Our all time favorite is Peek-a-who. http://billandria.blogspot.com/2009/05/book-review-peek-who.html
    We also like "Baby Loves", "Global Babies", "Baby Bear What Do You See?", "In The Small, Small Pond", and "That's Not My Puppy" (and the whole collection).

  9. "Jamberry" by Bruce Degen (A sweet little story--full rhyme and imagination.) All of our kids loved this. Bridget does, too.

    "Bear in a Square" board book (Colorful and educational)

    "Good Night, Kitten" (a little Golden book) Adorable story and illustrations about a little kitten who wants to play, not go to bed. This is a first reader book, but the simple story appeals to little ones of all ages.

    "Five Little Ladybugs" and "Ten Little Ladybugs" by Melanie Gerth. Adorable. Colorful, great for early counting. We got "Ten Little Ladybugs" at Babies R Us and it came with a glove with ladybugs at the tip of each finger--they look like little finger puppets. So cute and entertaining!

  10. I am also always looking for new books...mainly focusing on the ones with one object per page and nothing to busy. Oddly enough I have found them in dollar stores or Wal-Mart. But by far Jack's favorite book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. I do not know if it is the colors or the letters, but he LOVES this book!!


Please share your experience and opinions, or ask a question. I won't even mind if you correct me on something.

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