As there recently seems to be a renaissance in reading here in Singapore, especially in children’s literature, I thought I would share a few of my favourite board books for babies.
To be honest, I sometimes also read “older” age group books to E-Man because there is a limit to how many times I can say “goodnight room, goodnight moon, goodnight cow jumping over the moon…” without going crazy. I will share these older age group books later on, but for now, in no particular order, here are my top four favourite board books for babies!
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
“On the night you were born,
the moon shone with such wonder
that the stars peeked in
to see you
and the night wind whispered,
‘Life will never be the same.’
Because there had never been
anyone like you…
ever in the world.”
On the Night You were Born is a book that is written for parents as much as it is for their children. In beautiful rhyming verse, Nancy Tillman captures the strong maternal (and paternal) instincts that most parents feel at the birth of their child. I remember at the birth of E-Man, when he entered into the world, the operating theatre was silent, just waiting to hear his cry. And for those few moments, the world stood still, as all we could think about was the miracle of new life. Nancy Tillman perfectly articulates all we want to say to our children; all our unspeakable joy, gratitude and happiness as new parents.
On the Night You were Born is a book that can be read and re-read until our children are adults. It is sheer poetry. It can serve as way to recount the story of our children’s birth as well as an affirmation of their value and self-worth, “So whenever you doubt just how special you are / and you wonder who loves you, how much and how far, / listen for geese honking high in the sky / (They’re singing a song to remember you by.).”
Needless to say, I have teared up a couple of times while reading this book out loud.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
This book was a gift by an American friend. It is a Classic American children’s bedtime book that was first published after the War in 1947. The vintage illustrations are poignant reminders of how simple life used to be. In the good old days there was knitting to be done and mush to be eaten. I like Goodnight Moon a lot because the sentences are short and most importantly, they rhyme. When E-Man is older, I can imagine asking him to point out the “three little bears sitting on chairs”, “the two little kittens” and “a pair of mittens”. Goodnight Moon is a great book if you are looking for a quick story to read. There is also something powerful and enchanting about reading a book, knowing that millions of other mothers have read the same lines to their little ones across the world. As though you are united in your love for your child and for the written (and spoken) word.
“Goodnight stars, Goodnight air, Goodnight noises everywhere.”
The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should include this book in my list since it is probably on everyone else’s. Anyway, I put it in because it is obviously one of our go-to books. E-Man loves turning the pages and reading it on his own. I remember reading The Hungry Caterpillar at my cousins’ house as a young child. I personally did not own it, but my cousins did, and I liked reading it. E-Man loves turning the pages of this book himself (actually he likes turning pages of almost every book you give him). The illustrations are timeless and I love how the book teaches children the days in the week, numbers, food and also the life cycle – all in a vividly coloured shortly phrased board book. Amazing!
That’s Not My Penguin… by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells
So if E-Man could vote, he’d probably choose That’s Not My Penguin. This book is actually a wildcard entry. It secured a place in the top four simply because E-Man just recently took up significant interest in it. I bought That’s Not My Penguin when E-Man was only three months because I thought he would like the textures. He did. Then I got sick of the book because the book is basically all about textures and images, not so much the story. So I relegated it to the bottom of the pile. Then just a week ago, we took it out and behold, E-Man loved it. He would turn the pages and go straight for the textures. He has also woken up in the middle of the night and just entertained himself by reading the book by the soft light cast into his room by the street lamps outside. We could actually hear him talking to himself as he turned the pages and felt the textures on each page. It must be riveting stuff. Oh if you can’t see in the picture below, the wings of the penguin are velvety.
So yes, it’s a worthwhile investment, simply because babies like texture.
So that’s the end of my top four favourite baby board books. I was just thinking about it – baby books are actually a great baby shower gift if you don’t know what to buy because they last a long time and can be used and re-used and hopefully even passed down through the generations.
Do share with me what your favourite baby board books are in the comments below!