A friend of mine recently asked me what Alice’s favorite books were, she was probably in search of something to give to her sister, who is expecting a baby very soon :) Alice is only six months old, needless to say that she does not own a large library yet nor does she show a clear appetite for reading. However, among her small collection of books, some really stand out for her.
First books for a newborn
Tana Hoban : Black on white, White on Black, What is that
A newborn baby can’t see very well, her sight is a little fuzzy and short, and colors don’t stand out. That’s why the montessori method recommends using a mobile with contrasting colors such as the Munari mobile. Some good friends gave us 3 books that their 2-year-old daughter had outgrown, and who proved to be totally appropriate for the newborn Alice was.
The books by Tana Hoban (Black on White, White on Black and What Is That?) are made of easily recognizable shapes in high contrast. No story is found, you just have to turn the pages and show them to your child. But acting as a typical adult in a hurry is out of the question! You have to take your time, explain what the baby is seeing and let her enjoy the shapes at her own pace. It is not everyday that she can see something that sharp!
Frankly, I did not flip the pages like a normal book, I let them opened on a page that I changed every 2/3 days, right next to Alice’s changing mat. It forced her to turn her head, and kept her busy long enough for me to take a shower. She had her favorites too, she really liked the little elephant, she used to talk to him a lot :)
Sophie the giraffe rag book
Another classic from the changing table is the rag book from Sophie the giraffe range. Gosh, what a wonder this book is for my little girl! I personally do not find it that pretty, but Alice and I do not share the same tastes ;-)
Whenever she can catch it, chew it, fiddle it, play with the abacus, she takes an immeasurable pleasure. And I will not refuse any small pleasure to my child, that allows me to quietly clean her buttocks. Mamy Gaga found it at a garage sale, and Alice has not lost interest in the book, that was a very good deal then.
Apparently, Sophie the giraffe does not manufacture this particular version of their activity book anymore, but I am pretty sure any rag book that makes a crikling paper sound, and has an abacus will do just fine.
“BÃ©bÃ© au zoo” aka Baby at the zoo
Another book I couldn’t find in the US, but I found very similar ones on amazon. She really likes playing with that book. It combines the advantage of a rag book (malleable and eat-able) and a nice story revealing animals at the zoo and thus makes us, parents, try to imitate how they sound. At that age, Alice will forgive my very shy lion roar, but in a few months she will want me to sound like the real king of the animals, so I’d better start training now!
The book is beautiful, makes noise, has many different textures and colors, and icing on the cake, it holds a softie version of a baby kangaroo, at the end of a ribbon, which fits easily into a small mouth to be munched. My girl is sold!
I looked for a lot of book for Alice when she was a few days old because I was convinced that it was good for her to look at pictures and listen to stories, and I struggled to find suitable books . I am lucky to be have been given those. Do you know any good books for newborn babies?