There are a lot of books out there for babies.
A lot. I was never a fan of the one word per page, brightly colored object, or black-and-white pattern books (or mobiles) for kids. My perspective is that the world is stimulating enough, and books are for stories. Compelling stories. Magical stories, even for tots.
I have lived that belief, reading my children wonderful stories by classic authors, with arcs appropriate for their age, but still, full of details and dialogue, characters and conundrums, puzzles for them to solve as soon as they were big enough to ask me, “Why, Mommy?”
But I know that there are different schools of thought on this, and so today I bring you the Begin Smart series from Sterling books. Sterling recently sent me a box of books including “Animal Faces,” which is indeed a set of animal faces with a single word, “Look Around and Listen,” a book with a single illustration and a single sound on each page, “Baby Says,” a set of cards on a teether ring in the same genre, “How Many Beeps?” a truck book that helps baby count to five, and “Hooray for Hands,” a book aimed at 18-24 month olds with a little more “meat” to it.
Hooray for Hands is a very cute book, with engaging illustrations and a simple message. It has charming rhymes and wordplay, rhythm and ideas, and positive, empowering messages, the kinds of things that I look for when I’m choosing books for my children, at even the youngest ages. The emphasis on all the things that hands (and, by extension, toddlers) can do was great, and made my preschooler feel proud of all the things that hands can do. This board book is a nice, well-thought-out addition to anyone’s gift list for 18-30 month olds.
As for the other ones? I passed them on immediately to a friend in the blogosphere (and real life) who I know could use them more than me. Because that’s the way I roll.
Disclosure: Sterling Books sent me a box of books this fall for possible review. I am never compensated for reviews, nor do publishers, authors, or marketers have any control over what I write.