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