You Are My Baby: Garden

“Instead of a card, please bring a book for baby to enjoy for years to come.”

A line you’ll most likely read on your next baby shower invitation– and really, what perfect add-on to your gift than a book for baby’s new library?!

You Are My Baby: Garden would make the perfect choice for that baby shower. you are my baby gardenThis is a different kind of board book– one that might catch little ones by surprise. There are big pages (for the big animals or insects,) and mini pages (that house all of the baby animals or insects.) It begins like this:

*Turn big page to see the mother bird*

“You sing a happy song in our leafy tree.”

*Turn little page and discover the baby*

“You are my baby, little hatchling.”

Aww. I can’t help but feel the love these colorful creatures feel for their babies. After Momma Bird, you’ll see pairs of spiders, snails, squirrels, and last but not least, sweet little bees (ahem… is it a bee themed gender neutral baby shower?!)

I love reading this book and feeling sentimental warm motherly feelings to B, and I can’t wait to read it to our NEW little baby in November. There are several You Are My Baby themed books for you to choose from– for a gift, or for your own sweet little peanut.

You Are My Baby: Garden
Lorena Siminovich
Chronicle Books

Very First Book of Things to Spot

If you have a baby or toddler or know someone who does, sometimes you (or that someone you know,) will be in need of a distraction for that not-so-patient little sweetie.

The Very First Book of Things to Spot has saved us on long road trips. It has also saved us at restaurants when our food has taken a smidge longer than it normally would. Hey, we all get “hangry” sometimes. How would you feel if your applesauce pouch was gone, your baby chair was restricting and the crayons just weren’t cutting it?

Just like our well-loved board book Let’s Count, this giant board book is a keeper. It might even have the power to save the day. usborne things to spot

I remember when I pulled this book out of the box, B was immediately drawn to it because it was much bigger than the rest of her board books. She took to the floor with her brand new book (you know, because she was too little to hold it like a newspaper,) and the discovering began.

The more they know Very First Book of Things to Spot, the more they’ll spot on its adorably illustrated, fun-filled 28 pages. Bright red cars (one missing wheels) zoom across the first page. Your growing tot will be challenged to find two squirrels, a tractor, and a house with a blue roof. They’ll see a colony of penguins doing different things (one is knitting sweaters and scarves.) Through the rest of the book, there will be frogs, turtles, monkeys, bears, robots and birds– and on each page, questions leading you and your curious cuties to find new things.

I’ll admit– I’m still seeing new things every time we look at this book together. I’ll also note that I don’t wear my reading glasses 100% of the time.

Very First Book of Things to Spot
Fiona Watt/Erica Harrison/Illus. Stephen Barker
Usborne Publishing

Open the Barn Door…

Yesterday, B & I went for an adventure out to the farm to try to catch a ride in the tractor with “Pop” (my Dad) who was busy planting corn. When we got out of the car, I noticed two big, cuddly looking orange cats loafing in the sun.

Quietly, we tip-toed around the car (they’re not tame.) As they were approached by a friendly tot with open arms (“Hi tat! Hi!”) the cats shuffled through the grass and escaped right under the barn door. Rats! (Or, more appropriately, “Cats!”)

love taking B to the farm now that she’s a little older. There are so many things to see!barn doorThe farm in this board book has lots of animals for your little one to discover– a cow, a pig, a little chick, a pony, yellow ducklings, a goat (chewing on the laundry!), a happy dog, cats, a rooster, and an owl. Behind each flap, littles will find animals after hearing what they say– maybe it’s “mew-mew” or “cock-a-doodle-doo.”

Open the Barn Door… has long been a fave of B’s. How could it not be? With hiding animals under liftable flaps, soft, pretty colors, and lots of animal noises, I’ll bet the little ones in your life would love it, too.

Open the Barn Door…
Text Penguin Random House/Illus. Christopher Santoro
Random House

Llama Llama Easter Egg

Spring has sprung! Our tulip tree is sooo close to exploding with beautiful, purple buds. Somehow, our bleeding hearts survived an attack of Round-Up last year and are blooming. Daffodils, narcissus, and tulips are each full of happiness.

B loves the late Anna Dewdney’s llama books, especially Llama Llama Easter Egg. Hearing our sweetie try to say “llama llama” is priceless, baby book, iPhone video gold.
llama (2)Llama wakes up on Easter morning in his red pajamas, naturally, and your little one gets to join him on his day with chocolate, candies, an Easter egg hunt with lots of colored eggs in pastels– there are even some that look like they’ve been left in the dye for minutes. The rhyming text and spot-on llama facial expressions are a joy to experience, and at the end of the book, you & your kiddo will discover a nice little Easter-y surprise.

Llama Llama Easter Egg
Anna Dewdney
Viking/Penguin Young Readers Group

Where’s Spot?

8 years ago, this cool guy was born.
brodieBrodie is his own dog, doesn’t care much for kids, and lives on the farm with my parents. He’s a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix– super smart, sweet, protective & a smidge nuts. When my husband proposed at the farm, we hugged and cried happy tears… and Brodie started jumping at Kyle’s back, punch-pawing him with all of his might. That scamp. Over time, he softened towards my husband when he realized

  1. He wasn’t going away and
  2. He wasn’t going to deal with his antics.

Unlike Brod, who I chose on a whim back in college when one of my pals said, “Free puppies,” my husband & I carefully decided to get an adorable, too cute, Brittany PUPPY! We can’t wait until Saturday, B’s going to freak out.

Anyone have any tips on toddlers meeting puppies? Please feel free to leave a comment below! We’ve been talking about puppies, singing about puppies, playing with my old Puppy Surprise stuffed dog & three pups, and of course, reading books starring this lovable, familiar little puppy. spotOh, the Spot books! I can’t believe it’s taken me so much of B’s life to introduce her to Spot. *slaps forehead*

Where’s Spot? reminds me of childhood library moments and Dear Zoo with its bright white pages. With stand-out illustrations, lift-able flaps and your tot’s eager page turns, they get to help Spot’s mom Sally search everywhere for that goofball Spot.

All over Sally & Spot’s house and hidden behind flaps, Sally finds sneaky wild animals! Among her discoveries, she finds a bear behind a door, a snake inside a clock, and shockingly, a hippo in a piano. As your kiddo grows, they’ll see the silliness of a giant turtle under a rug or penguins hiding in a box and grow to love this book as much as you likely once loved it.

Where’s Spot?
Eric Hill
Penguin Group

Dear Zoo

This one captures B’s attention and holds on tight. With its bright white pages, repetition, and colorful flaps (that serve as a barrier between the wild zoo animal and the readers), it’s bound to keep your little ones engaged, too.

“I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet.

They sent me an…(flap) elephant.

He was too big! I sent him back.

So they sent me a… (flap) giraffe.

He was too tall! I sent him back.

So they sent me a…”

No animal was quite right… too fierce, too scary, too jumpy, etc. Finally, after sending animals to and fro, the zoo sent the patient kiddo a puppy. Of course, the puppy was perfect.

dear zoo

This classic board book was published in 1982 when…

  • 867-5309 happened (and it’s still happening in my head on repeat since I thought about adding it to this post…)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was released
  • Ralph S. Mouse was published (aw, Ralph!)
  • The final episode of The Lawrence Welk Show aired– to the disappointment of unborn me. B loves to watch it on PBS on Saturday nights… the music, the dancing, the costumes! Okay, I love to watch it on PBS on Saturday nights.

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
Rod Campbell
Little Simon

Hello Ninja

Empty paper towel rolls & empty gift wrap rolls are perfect to use as a ninja stick. I have two brothers, and when we were kids we’d “hi-ya” each other with ninja sticks, so of course, I had to introduce B to the joys of a ninja stick. We’ve tried to use empty toilet paper rolls, but those aren’t very effective if you want a good chop. Gentle jousting and chopping with frail cardboard tubes… oh what fun! fullsizerender-23Ninja has a busy day chopping, shopping, and practicing stealth moves swinging through the jungle. He cuts his cat Louie’s hair ninja style, dances, prances and trains the king of France (lucky Louie). This rhyming board book would be a great addition to your little ninja’s bedtime routine– they’ll be dreaming of chopping and dancing all night long.

It’s also a good addition to your tot’s bookshelf if you have a pet who can relate to Ninja’s patient, go-with-the-flow pal Louie who knows how important it is for his ninja to get a good night’s sleep (so he can get some rest, too.)fullsizerender-24

Hello Ninja
ND Wilson/Illus. Forrest Dickison
Canonball Books/Canon Press

Birds

  1. I saw the name Kevin Henkes.
  2. The book came home with us.

Growing up, I knew Chrysanthemum, Julius, and Lily (who made my Mom laugh out loud).

Birds just had to be good… and it is.

birds

Birds (illustrated by Laura Dronzek, Henkes’ wife,) is narrated by a young girl who tells the reader things that she knows about birds– birds come in many sizes, they come in several colors, and they can sing. She is also not afraid to tell you, dear readers, things that she wonders about the birds. Birds encourages your little one (and you!) to use your imaginations and see things a little differently. Check out these two lines from the book:

“If birds made marks with their tail feathers when they flew, think of what the sky would look like.”

You’re imagining it, right?

“If there are lots of birds in one tree and they all fly away at the same time, it looks like
the tree yelled, “SURPRISE!”

It DOES look like that!

Birds would make a perfect addition to your imaginative tot’s bookshelf.

Birds
Kevin Henkes/Illus. Laura Dronzek
Greenwillow Books

Peek-a Who?

Do you ever get smacked with small reminders that your little one is growing up much faster than you realized? Maybe your sweet baby suddenly likes to hold the bottle by himself, or maybe your independent toddler says (to your surprise), “Potty? POTTY!?”

Maybe, they’re really good at digging through the “rubble” of scattered board books to find the one that you asked them to find.

With vibrant, contrasting colors, Peek-a Who? will be an easy one for your little one to find over and over again.

peek-a

This rhyming book has cut-out pages for kiddos to peek through to guess what’s on the next page. Peek-a who? is simple and sweet. In the beginning, your little one sees black and white spots– who could be on the next page? “Peek-a moo!” Kiddos will see a ghost (“Peek-a boo!”), a zoo full of animals, and a “Peek-a choo choo!”train going around its tracks. At last, your baby looks through a cut-out to see a special surprise–their own reflection. “Peek-a you!”

Peek-a Who? is one of Scholastic Parent & Child magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Books for Kids.

Peek-a Who?
Nina Laden
Chronicle Books