There’s something enchantingly simple, sweet and calming about the way the words flow in Time for Bed that makes it both a pleasure to read aloud and well as to listen to — an underrated quality that can make or break a children’s book, particularly one that is intended to be read to lull a child to sleep.
This is a great board-book series that helps to reinforce positive behaviour and good manners in the little ones. The brightly coloured cartoons are appealing, while the sparse, humorous text in large fonts make it easy even for the youngest readers to understand and memorise the words in no time.
There’s something inexplicably cozy and friendly about sheep — which is probably one of the reasons people choose to visualise counting them instead of, say, teddy bears, when they need to lull themselves to sleep. Hence, it’s no surprise a book starring cute anthropomorphic sheep would be equally appealing.
If there’s something that children enjoy looking at more than animals, it’s other children (and their own reflection, of course), so this counting book on babies is sure to be a big hit.
Accompanied by wryly humorous rhyming text, Ten Little Babies counts down from the number 10 — rather than up from the number 1, as is usually the case — and every double-page spread is a celebration of babies in all their wild, mischievous and adventurous glory, especially since boring adults are conveniently omitted altogether. And, honestly, illustrations of busy little babies don’t come cuter than that of Gyo Fujikawa’s in this adorable counting book.
In Monkey and Me, a little girl brings her stuffed monkey on an adventure to see some animals — possibly to the zoo, although it isn’t specified in the story. The simple repetitive text: “Monkey and me, monkey and me, we went to see, we went to see some __________” will appeal to young toddlers who will be able to memorise and recite the whole book easily — and make them want to read it again and again — while the double-page illustrations of the girl and her stuffed monkey, as well as the different animals that they see, are bold and exuberant.
All babies love a good game of peek-a-boo, so reading Peek-A Who? to them is a cute way to translate that interest into an interest in books. First of all, this little board book is just the right size for tiny hands to fiddle with. Secondly, the peanut-shaped die-cuts on alternate pages serve to provide the ‘peek-a’ before the grand reveal of something rhyming with ‘who’ — ‘moo’, ‘boo’ (naturally), ‘zoo’ and ‘choo-choo’. Babies will also be attracted by the striking illustrations and bold fonts that encourage word recognition.
Last but not least, the grand finale involves a little mirror that is sure to thrill the little ones who will smile on seeing their own reflection!
Counting books are a dime a dozen, and unfortunately, most of them are boring, no-brainer reiterations of the same number/object sequence. Of course, that’s not to say that these don’t serve their purpose for infants, but beyond the age bracket of, say, under 12 months, I think toddlers (and their parents) will need something more creative to sustain their interest.
Enter, stage left, The Number Garden, a quirky book that is the antithesis of a simple counting book — yet it can function as just that if you wish.
Rather than using boring photographs or nondescript artwork by one or two artists to illustrate an alphabet book, why not use the existing works of some of the world’s greatest artists to introduce babies and toddlers to the world of art at the same time? Behold: My First ABC by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead of the usual photo or cartoon apple for the letter ‘A’, you get a still-life painting by no less than Paul Cezanne; for ‘D’, the word ‘dancer’ is illustrated using The Dancing Class by Edgar Degas.