Books to put on a baby registry
May 23, 2016 2:46 PM   Subscribe

I want to set up a baby registry on Amazon. What are the must-list baby and kiddie books I should put on it?

Firstly, I want to sincerely thank all the Mefites who have so helpfully indulged me in all my previous pregnancy-related questions. You all have been such a valuable resource to me and I am truly, truly grateful for all the help :-)

To clarify this particular question, we are not 'things' people and are trying to be prudent and cautious in what we buy for the baby. I realize infants don't need a ton of stuff. But one thing I learned from my wedding is that my mother is a very social person and has a lot of friends, all of whom she has bought baby and wedding presents for. There will be a not-small quantity of people, some of whom I do not personally know, who are going to buy me a baby present whether I want one or not :-)

We will have a Babies R Us registry so that close family can help us with some bigger items. I was hoping the Amazon list can be for people like these more distant folks. At least this way, I can actually get something useful, right?

So, the only book I have my heart set on right now is 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar.' It was the first book I bought my stepson, and it will be the first book I buy his sibling.

Otherwise, I am drawing a blank. Books for baby age, storybooks for later, I am open to it all. What books can I put on my baby registry of books?
posted by JoannaC to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I love But not the Hippopotamus - or basically any other of Sandra Boynton's board books.
posted by antimony at 2:49 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Goodnight Moon and Pat the Bunny.
posted by epj at 2:52 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

We are big fans of anything by Janet and Allan Ahlberg - specifically "Peek-A-Boo" and the Baby's Catalogue "series."

Small Pig by Arnold Lobel is also a big hit!
posted by meggan at 2:58 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Previously: "I've got a niece coming into the world soon, and as a gift for the shower, I was thinking of sending along a package of...books..."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 3:03 PM on May 23, 2016

Anything by Julia Donaldson (the gruffalo, the snail and the whole, what the ladybird heard) is a joy to read. In practical terms when they're really young you're just reading for them to get used to your voice and almost anything will do.

Good early books will be touchy feely (that's not my snowman) and have flaps (oh dear, spot). Really early books should have good colour contrast. Black and white is a good pick there.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:06 PM on May 23, 2016

For baby/toddler The Going to Bed book. And Chugga chugga choo choo
posted by gryphonlover at 3:15 PM on May 23, 2016

Yes, Sandra Boynton books. Then be prepared to be scolded if you skip a page or try to change things up. Apparently there's a rule about that.
posted by ridgerunner at 3:18 PM on May 23, 2016

"Board" books that we like:
We, and our kids, have really enjoyed "Peek-a-boo" and "Each peach pear plum" by the Ahlberg's (meggan mentioned above).
Little gorilla
Zoo borns
Big red barn
And Boynton, yes! I really like "What's wrong, little pookie?" in addition to the others mentioned

For when they're a little older:
Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure
Mr. Brown can moo, can you?
Dragons love tacos
posted by pennypiper at 3:24 PM on May 23, 2016

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
posted by fourpotatoes at 3:26 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dr Seuss!!!!!
posted by bookmammal at 3:43 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

My Many Coloured Days, the board book by Dr Seuss, is just wonderful and introduces emotions early on beautifully.

I would put a big fat treasury of children's poetry there. Maybe several. A nursery rhyme collection - one in board book format for baby to read, one as a hardcover for you to read to baby, and then another collection of poems to read to children. Having poetry around for children has just been lovely, and my youngest treasures my own battered childhood anthology and leafs through it carefully.

My youngest does not like Sandra Boynton AT ALL. I have discretely gotten rid of some of her books because they didn't scan for rhyme which drove me nuts reading them, and kids will fixate on the weirdest books at times. It's nice to pick a theme - I am trying to get books with my youngest's name featured as a character (a reasonably obscure name), and we have a lot of Vietnamese and Cambodian children's books and quite a few textile and knitting related children's books.

Pick what you want to read and re-read over and over again. The top 100 children's books aren't necessarily the ones that will win your heart. No David and Red Berry Wool are worn to pieces in our house, one famous and one obscure.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:52 PM on May 23, 2016

Any of the Mo Willems Elephant and Piggie books.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
posted by statsgirl at 4:00 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Love you Forever
posted by JimN2TAW at 4:03 PM on May 23, 2016

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
A Good Day by Henkes (and seconding the vote for Kitten's First Full Moon)
The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry and the Big, Hungry Bear
Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom
The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak
Any board books by Todd Parr
What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry
posted by areaperson at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2016

You could cut out the AskMe middleman and ask friends to buy you their favorite baby books. We did this and got a lot of lovely books, though that included three copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and many Boynton doubles.
posted by HeroZero at 4:36 PM on May 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

Peek a Boo Forest
Sheep in a Jeep
Dear Zoo
Brown Bear, Brown Bear

The Snowy Day
Knuffle Bunny
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
King Bidgood's in the Bathtub
The Gruffalo
Such a Little Mouse

Age 3-4
The Paper Bag Princess (of note: listening to my 2 1/2 year old "read" this to himself is one of my very favorite things in the world. "I am a vewwy busy dwagon. Come back tomowwow.")
Mr. Wuffles
Cars and Trucks and Things that Go
We are in a Book and There is a Bird on Your Head
Press Here
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 4:44 PM on May 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Hand Hand Fingers Thumb (my fave as a kid and now one of my kid's faves)
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball
The Big Red Barn
Seconding The Going to Bed Book!
posted by bighappyhairydog at 4:47 PM on May 23, 2016

Oh, I forgot a current toddler favorite I don't want to be a frog lots of fun to read!
posted by pennypiper at 4:51 PM on May 23, 2016

I Love You, Little One is so amazing that I send it to internet acquaintances when they have babies, like I mean people I've never met in person. I look around for people in my vicinity who are pregnant so I can give them a copy. It needs to be distributed more widely. You can help by putting it on your list.
posted by janey47 at 4:51 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am a Bunny is the book I give to every new baby we know. The illustrations are lovely.
posted by belladonna at 5:12 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Many of our favorites have been mentioned here: Dear Zoo, Brown Bear Brown Bear, Goodnight Moon, I am a Bunny, any of the Elephant and Piggie books, the five trillion Sandra Boynton books.

Go, Dog. Go! is a current favorite with our toddler. So are How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? and Duck on a Bike. The kid also requests encores of The Princess and the Pony.

And I'm surprised Where the Wild Things Are hasn't been mentioned - it's just so beautifully, lyrically written in a way I didn't appreciate until I became a parent, not to mention the illustrations. I really enjoy reading it out loud.

Out of the Dr. Seuss books, I like Fox in Socks and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish the best. Most of Seuss' non-Beginner Book books will be too long for the first couple years - though, of the longer ones, the Sleep Book and I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew are two of my favorites that don't get enough love.

Cloth books are really good for infants, and good ones are surprisingly hard to find. The two we liked were Peek-a-Boo Forest and Fuzzy Bee and Friends.

Expect a couple kids' books (even highly-recommended classics) to annoy the snot out of you, and expect your kid to love those the best for some reason. You get used to it and/or your kid outgrows them.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:36 PM on May 23, 2016

I like B is for Bear by Roger Priddy. It's a rhyming alphabet book for babies & toddlers, with interesting textures (fuzzy, silky, rough, etc) on some of the pages. The rhyming text actually rhymes in proper meter, and some of the pages are illustrated with photos of actual toddlers- and the kids used are fairly diverse. Teaching kids the importance of diversity and of good rhyme schemes are two worthwhile learning objectives as far as I'm concerned.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:42 PM on May 23, 2016

I'll list some of my son's favorites over the last three years (he is 3.5 now):
Gossie & Gertie
My Friends
Spring is Here
In My Tree
Goodnight MonkeyBoy
Little Monkey Calms Down
Little Elephant Listens
Chaat & Sweets
Yum Yum Dim Sum
I Love My Mommy
posted by JenMarie at 5:56 PM on May 23, 2016

Seconding Sendak. Where The Wild Things Are is great.

Harold and the Purple Crayon is my go to baby gift.

My Very First Mother Goose has nice illustrations.
posted by gudrun at 6:04 PM on May 23, 2016

CORDUROY, people!

posted by duffell at 6:15 PM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also, Caps for Sale. It's a cute little book, but mostly it's a fun one to read aloud.
posted by duffell at 6:16 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a 2.5 year old and these are the ones that have been consistently read the most. Now that he is older we visit the library each week to get new story books; I HIGHLY recommend registering for boardbook versions of most of these. It's nice to own a whole bunch that you can be very rough on while they're small and like to chew/grab everything.
- The Real Mother Goose, and/or Richard Scarry's Best Mother Goose Ever
- Eric Carle's books: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, etc.
- Roger Priddy books: First 100 words, First 100 Animals
- Corduroy
- Dr. Seuss's ABC board book
- Mr. Brown Can Moo
- Little Blue Truck
- Baby Touch & Feel: First Words, Animals
- Flap books: Where is Baby's Belly Button? , Dear Zoo, Open the Barn Door
- Nice Keepsake Hardbound books: Curious George Complete Adventures, Beatrix Potter
posted by gatorae at 6:16 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh! How could I forget penguin loves a pine cone by Salina Yoon!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:20 PM on May 23, 2016

Ooh I forgot these:

Llama Llama Nighty Night
Llama Llama Wakey Wake
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit
The Book of Sleep

(the last two are by Il Sung Na)
posted by JenMarie at 6:49 PM on May 23, 2016

First of all, based on questions I've noticed you asking before, you're in Toronto? Get thee to Another Story and revel in their wonderful selection of kids books. I'm sure you'll find some wonderful titles there to add to your registry.

Secondly, a few suggestions:
Anything David Wiesner. He is brilliant.
Babette Cole's books are edgy and irreverent and (I think) delightful.
Melanie Watt (Chester, Scaredy Squirrel, etc.)
Barbara Reid is a Canadian classic. Try Subway Mouse or The Perfect Snow.
Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type.
A is for Activist
Vivek Shraya has a picture book coming out this year called The Boy and the Bindi. Her work is wonderful and I have no doubt that it will be something special.
Anthony Browne's books make delightful use of classic works of art.
Phoebe Gilman: Jillian Jiggs, etc.
Richard Van Camp has some sweet kids books.
Shi-shi-etko and Shin-chi's Canoe address the history of Residential Schools in a way that's appropriate for kids in early elementary. They're beautiful books, too.
posted by bibliotropic at 7:16 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

omg HOW am I the first to mention the Frog and Toad books? The absolute best.

Second place in my heart as a child was Really Rosie - we'd play the Carole King score and follow along with this book.

Last but not least: Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.
posted by sallybrown at 7:39 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

And for when they're a little older: Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic - gave me a love of poetry that I've never lost.
posted by sallybrown at 7:42 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sorry, can't link right now:
Thunder Boy Jr. (Sherman Alexie)
Cedella Marley (Bob Marley's Daughter): One Love and Three Little Birds
The Last Stop on Market Street (great for teaching empathy)
The Nice Book
Goodnight Gorilla
Pout Pout Fish
posted by adorap0621 at 7:57 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

"There Are Rocks in My Socks!" Said the Ox to the Fox is my favorite children's books. It is written with a rhyming theme that makes it a joy to read aloud.
posted by JujuB at 7:59 PM on May 23, 2016

Stellaluna with lovely illustrations of cute bats!
posted by eglenner at 11:22 PM on May 23, 2016

I had a mother who always had a snippet of poetry to offer for any occasion. She often didn't know the whole poem but could offer up a few lines from memory at all sorts of random (and not so random times). So, in her memory, I offer up two suggestions:
Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses - verse for swings! sand! going to bed! under the covers! a true classic.
And, for a more modern (but still very old fashioned sounding) set of verse to take you from waking up through getting dress, playing, bath and bed and I can't recommend "Catch Me and Kiss Me and Say Again" highly enough. It is out of print I'm sure someone would the treasure hunt of trying to find you a great used copy (especially if you let them know it is OK). Then all you have to do is read enough times to your kiddo that you know the most useful lines by heart and you will be ready to have child who thinks poetry is as natural as talking.
posted by metahawk at 11:33 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love the Sandra Boynton books as others have said here.

Before my daughter could speak, she could bounce to the stories...I read them like rap songs... Anyway, I would stop at parts and she would sing/say the rest of the words.

She is in the third grade, but she still takes those books and reads through them in song.
posted by Yellow at 6:13 AM on May 24, 2016

Books to encourage the kid and you to enjoy, think about, and play around with visual arts, architecture, and music together.

For example, there is a series of Can You Find It? (Can You Find It, Too?, Can You Hear It?, etc.) books that you can use a bit like Where's Waldo? books but with pictures and music worth scrutinizing. Those are from the MOMA. You might want to look for books published by more local museums like ROM if possible. Books like these -- Toronto ABC, I Spy Colours In Art, etc. -- are a fun excuse to really investigate the parts of an interesting piece and how they work together, and to talk about who made it and why.

In conjunction, try to get books, posters, and post cards from the book stores at the local major art museums that the kid can play with and learn. Stuff from their permanent collections or from temporary exhibits you will attend. Decorate the kid's room with it, play games, make collages, etc. Later, when you go to the museums, the kid can feel the thrill of discovering the real works in person. (You can do likewise with music. Get recordings and work them into everyday activities, so when you go to a performance, the kid gets the thrill of hearing familiar pieces live on a grand scale.)
posted by pracowity at 3:01 AM on May 26, 2016

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