We’re finally moving away from gimmicky lift-the-flap books to some with a bit of plot. Here's my first post on books: Top 10 (or 11) Books for Babies 15 Months and Under. Although the books included on the previous list were the twins' favorite books when they were younger, easily half would still appeal to an older toddler. We now must have over 100 books, between purchases, gifts, hand-me-downs, and garage sale finds.
James gets stuck in book quicksand. (22 months)
James climbs to get to the stacks of books. (22 months)
Hug (by Jez Alborough)
This book has few words so as a parent telling the story instead of reading it, you’re less likely to get bored. But the main attraction is the really sweet story. My kids loved it so much that “Bobo” was literally their second word, and they’re so cute yelling out “Bobo” whenever they see their favorite little monkey in the book.
James reads about giraffes hugging. (23 months)
Barnyard Dance! (by Sandra Boynton)
The text of this book has a great square dance-rhythm that makes it a joy to read. I put both babies on my legs and bounce them to the rhythm which makes them giggle. When we get to the end they say “more” and I read it again and again until my legs give out. All the Sandra Boynton books I’ve encountered have been good. From Horns to Toes is fun - they learned how to shake and shimmy from that. And Birthday Monsters! is a favorite (Julia gets super excited by the cereal confetti), and I imagine it will become even more popular as they learn about birthdays.
Good Night, Gorilla (by Peggy Rathmann)
This is another book with minimal text so you have to tell them the story. It’s really cute with lots of fun details. (Look for the stuffed animal version of each animal in their cage. I like that the elephant has a stuffed Babar.) Julia thinks the wide-eyed expression of the zoo keepers' wife is hilarious, and says "Eyes! Eyes!"
Wheels on the Bus (Raffi Songs to Read)
This book prompted me to sing the song to the babies. I know you can sing it without the book but they love looking at the pictures while also doing the hand motions. The book clearly takes place in an unnamed European country that may or may not have crazy Frenchies packed into a bus.
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? (by Dr. Seuss)
It's a classic for a reason. The babies love imitating the noises, especially the page with lightning and thunder.
Julia makes my friend Natascha read her Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? (20 1/2 months)
Which baby is not one of Natascha's twins?
Just Like Daddy (by Cecilia Johansson)
Each page of rhyming text shows a baby and daddy animal. It's pretty adorable and there's textures for them to feel, too.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (by Eric Carle)
Again, a classic for a reason. The babies love touching the holes left by the caterpillar eating through the page, and having me name all the food. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (we have the "slide and find" version) by the same author is another good book. In fact James likes it so much he will name the animal on the next page without seeing it, and knows them all in order.
Daddy Kisses (by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben)
This is another cute daddy book. Each page shows a different animal daddy and how it kisses its baby (on the nose, on the eye, on the paw). And then it's fun to kiss your own little one there. Julia learned to "aroooo-ooo" like a wolf because of this book.
The babies usurp Mark's Father's Day gifts: Daddy Hugs and Daddy Kisses. James doesn't seem to be enjoying his Daddy Hug too much right now. (18 months)
Potty (by Leslie Patricelli)
As far as I can tell every book in this series is awesome, but I'm trying to only name one book per author. We also have my favorite, Tubby - which made my last list, as well as Yummy Yucky. This is by far my favorite book to read about the potty, and they laugh and get excited when the baby finally goes - and I quote - "tinkle tinkle toot."
Shake a Leg (by Constance Allen)
This is a good book (featuring Sesame Street characters) to get kids acquainted with different body parts. It's fun to watch them try to flap their arms, honk their noses, and make muscles.
Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! (by Dr. Seuss)
This book also has a nice rhythm. The babies love it - mostly because Daddy likes to rile them up with the “Jerry Jordan’s Jelly Jar” page. Now they skip the beginning and go right to this, their favorite part.
Baby Einstein: My First Book of Numbers
I don't actually read the text. Each page shows a different number and that number of items. So on page one there is one baby, one flower, one marble, one duck, and so on. It's funny to watch the babies imitate me counting.
Put Me in the Zoo (by Robert Lopshire)
The twins love this classic, especially since they're obsessed with colors and the leopard's spots turn a different color on every page.
James is engrossed reading about what color the leopard's spots will turn next. (16 months)
Go, Dog, Go!: P.D. Eastman's Book of Things that Go
This is another beloved classic for a reason. I show with my fingers how the dogs go up the ladder to the top of the tree at the end and it's funny to see the babies mimic me.
James is excited about Go, Dog, Go! Meanwhile, Julia doesn't like sharing a lap. (22 months)
ABC, A Sliding, Pushing, Turning Book! (by Moira Butterfield)
This is a good interactive book that's a bit unique.
James is obsessed with the x-ray on the other side of the water spout. (20 months)
Ten Playful Pups
I call this their "abacus pup" book because there are 10 puppies that can be moved to help them learn how to count.
Julia moving her abacus pups. (17 months)
Gossie (by Olivier Dunrea)
This is a cute little book and one of the first one's they've liked with some plot. I also like Peedie by this author, but Ollie is a bit of a slog.
Spot Goes to School (by Eric Hill)
This is a nice book with flaps (but it's not all about the flaps) that excites kids about starting school. Julia particularly loves this one.
Books that Most Pain Me to Read (a.k.a. I inwardly groan when the babies hand these books to me to read and sometimes I "accidentally" skip pages)
You Can Name 100 Trucks
There's nothing to read, just illustrations of 100 types of trucks. And some of the trucks are really obscure like the grapple skidder.
Julia usually likes You Can Name 100 Trucks but today she shares my opinion on it. (21 months)
James falls asleep while reading the most boring book known to baby-kind. He probably fell asleep somewhere between the foam pumper truck page and the crab loader page. (22 months)
Five Little Ducks
Anything involving counting down *slowly* from five to zero with the same text on every page except for a different number. Kill me.
It's always been a stupid story, and at this age it's particularly stupid. Who wants to explain what Humpty Dumpty is and what he's doing sitting on a wall?
Naked Humpty Dumpty story time! (Actually, Julia's wearing a diaper.) (18 months)