I honestly believe that little ones, particularly babies really don’t need very much for Christmas. If you want to make an investment with your gift giving in the early years then books really are the perfect place to begin as babies and toddlers sure do love them!
The books you buy now for your little one will bring enjoyment for many years to come, which is why it is also important that these books contain quality stories and illustrations that are enjoyable for you to read as an adult numerous times a day.
Here are some books that we happily read to our daughter again and again and again.
1. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
This is my personal favourite from my daughter’s board book collection. This book is a celebration of babies from all over the world and highlights that although babies are different in many ways, they all have one thing in common, their ten little fingers and ten little toes. The rhythmic poem by Mem Fox is delightful to read and the illustrations by Helen Oxenbury are beautiful as always. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes definitely deserves Ten out of Ten!
2. Night, Night
Written and illustrated by Petr Horacek, Night Night is a simple and beloved bedtime story in our home. The shaped pages are really enticing to little ones and take you through various forest animals as they snuggle up ready for bed. The wheel mechanism at the end of the book makes the stars twinkle and always leads on to a humble rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ in our home. A really sweet and interactive book for babies and young toddlers.
This is my daughter’s absolute favourite book and a must have for all dog lovers! Emily Gravett’s delightful watercolour drawings catch my eye every time and this book celebrating dogs of all shapes, sizes and temperaments is truly irresistible! Our little one woofs along with glee and loves to pick out her favourite dogs at the end.
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
An utter classic, which after 45 years in print really needs no introduction. I love Eric Carle’s imaginative illustrations and the clever cut outs in this book are particularly appealing to little ones. At 18 months old, my daughter is now the perfect age for this book as she can now sit still long enough for me to actually finish reading the story!
5. Baby Bear, Baby Bear What Do You See?
Another of our favourites by Eric Carle, who has produced an impressive selection of childrens books, all of which are worth a read. This one is a wonderful celebration of nature in North America and follows Baby Bear as he meets many different animals until he finally finds the one he is looking for, his mama bear. A sweet little book with simple repetition and vibrant pictures.
6. The Elusive Moose
The Elusive Moose was the first Barefoot Book that we discovered and we must have had it on loan from the library for several months before buying our own copy. It’s a sweet and poetic read and Clare Beaton’s hand stitched illustrations are so incredibly detailed.
Peepo! has been a favourite amongst babies and adults for many generations now, it really is a modern classic of the baby book world. Subtly set during the second world war the charming illustrations are action-packed and generate plenty of discussion all by themselves. The sing-song rhyming verse and peep holes are incredibly interactive and excitedly build littles ones up to the much anticipated ‘Peepo!’
8. Guess How Much I Love You
‘I love you right up to the moon – and back’ has become a much loved quote and rather unsurprisingly the book that it is quoted from has become a cherished children’s classic. This sweet story follows Little and Big Nutbrown Hare as they playfully try to measure their love for one another in tangible ways. Paired with a cuddly Nutbrown Hare toy, the book makes for a really special gift.
9. On the Night You Were Born
The sentiments in this book will bring a tear to many a parent’s eye as it expresses the joy and celebration that each new child brings to the world. This truly beautiful book reinforces for littles ones just how special, unique and loved they are and will be enjoyed well into the preschool years and beyond, especially at times of change when their self esteem may need a little boost.
10. Global Babies
This simple little book produced by The Global Fund for Children presents babies from diverse settings around the world and is great for promoting and celebrating diversity from a young age. The images highlight differences in culture and race whilst the simple narration demonstrates just how loved and special all babies are. Be warned though, you may need to replace this book regularly as if your little one is anything like mine the babies in the book will be subjected to a LOT of kisses!
11. Hello, World!
I’m not usually one to buy Disney merchandise, however when it comes to the It’s a Small World books I have been rather pleased with my purchase. This particular book is a book of few words simply stating ‘hello’ in various languages but the bright cartoon images, which are very appealing to little ones, offer much to talk about. Just be aware that the images do lean towards country stereotypes and as your child grows it would be important for you to point out that the images portray traditional or historic dress.
12. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Technically this is part of a set of four seasonal picture books, but you can buy each one individually if you are after a specific season – the Winter one alone would make a lovely Christmas gift. We have all four books illustrated by Gerda Muller and pull them out at the set time each year to help us celebrate the new season. These picture books are so full of detail that the absence of words is not even missed, you will soon find yourself making up your own little stories.