As part of our going-to-bed routine, we read the babies a story each night. I don’t know what it is about books, but from the babies’ reaction you’d think we’d presented them with a big ice cream sundae with whip cream, or a trip to Disney Land. Books are as exciting as the family photos on our mantel, and even more exciting than Talking Cookie Monster, who has now taken up residence in our dining room.
When the book appears, M gets so excited she’s panting. Bean arches her back and squeals with delight. You can’t turn the pages because they are holding them shut, scratching their fingers on the paper, craning forward trying to get their mouths around the pages. I’m not sure if this is really a “relaxing” bed time routine. I’m also not sure if I’m egging them on, as I now expect this reaction every time a book appears. Anyway it’s pretty fun. They don’t seem to notice that we only have about ten books we rotate through. Here are our favorites so far:
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss
Mr. Brown makes amazing sounds. My personal favorite is the sound of the rain, “DIBBLE DIBBLE DOPP, DIBBLE DIBBLE DOP DOP DOP DOP.” Try saying that out loud without smiling.
There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, by Dr. Seuss
I like the slightly deranged look on the little boy’s face as he introduces, “That ZELF up on that SHELF! I have talked to her myself,” and all the other goofy rhyming creatures that populate his house.
Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
This was the first book we got. There’s a reason it’s a classic.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
I love the drawing of the sick little caterpillar after he eats through the two pages of foods.
Hippos Go Berserk, by Sandra Boynton
ALL THE HIPPOS GO BERSERK! Enough said.
The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
I had this one when I was little. I love the powerful mother. Also the illustration of the mother as a tree the baby bunny-bird comes home to.
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Taback
This one has a nice moral about not letting things go to waste. And a lot to look at in the illustrations.
I Am a Bunny, by Richard Scarry
Very zen. I like that the illustrations are of real plants and animals you can identify, too.
Jeremy Draws a Monster, by Peter McCarty
This one has beautiful illustrations, and a very funny, demanding monster. I think there’s a moral in there, too. The moral might be, don’t be a hermit, get out and be social. Or just, get some fresh air. Or maybe it’s about the monster that is work, or the power of art. Lots to think about here.
And finally My Peek A Book, from Jelly Kitten, which doesn’t seem to be in “print” anymore. I say “print” because it’s a cloth book, really more toy than book, with all sorts of interactive flaps and crunchy materials and dancing animals, and anyway that one really IS too exciting for bed time.
What are your favorite baby books? We could use some new ones in the rotation.