Not-as-popular books for a 0-2 year old.
July 9, 2016 3:55 PM   Subscribe

A friend is expecting a baby and the baby shower host is suggesting baby books as the present. I expect some guests will wind up buying the same books ("...and another Goodnight Moon!") and I don't want it to be me, so do you have any recommendations for less-popular baby books?
posted by flibbertigibbet to Shopping (65 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Jamberry, by Bruce Degen.
posted by mynameisluka at 3:57 PM on July 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

My favorite is Quiet Loud. The front cover still cracks me up.
posted by Melismata at 4:02 PM on July 9, 2016

Do's and Don'ts by Todd Parr. Actually, any Todd Parr book, really. Cheerful, funny, inclusive, positive.
posted by Knicke at 4:12 PM on July 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

More More More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
posted by Redstart at 4:23 PM on July 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

We really love Pout Pout Fish at our house. It's supposedly popular (according to Amazon anyway) but none of my parent friends ever know what I'm talking about if I bring it up.
posted by tealcake at 4:23 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

How about Chu's Day (and possibly the follow-up titles)?
posted by miratime at 4:32 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is one of our favorites for bedtime. Although not a 'board book', it's simple language and repetition make a great read aloud to settle down book. How Does Sleep Come.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 4:33 PM on July 9, 2016

I am a Bunny
posted by belladonna at 4:37 PM on July 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

The TouchThinkLearn books by Xavier Deneux are visually quite lovely, with lots of contrast for babies, and feel high quality.
posted by amro at 4:38 PM on July 9, 2016

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is good and fun to read. We also read The Going To Bed Book as part of our bedtime routine.
posted by vunder at 4:45 PM on July 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

I really like Herve Tullet's books. Press Here is my favorite, but all of them are pretty awesome and many of them are available in board book form.
posted by darchildre at 4:48 PM on July 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh and our child also likes soft/cloth books (Squishy Turtle & Friends) and Indestructibles (ours is a Bolivian version of Old McDonald).
posted by vunder at 4:48 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom By Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
Piggies by Audrey and Don Wood
King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood
All of Leo Lionni's books. He's a genius.
posted by myselfasme at 4:50 PM on July 9, 2016

Everywhere Babies. A very sweet book that includes a diverse international cast of families and babies.
posted by not that girl at 5:10 PM on July 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

Everywhere Babies is also a very sweet book and my kids loved it when they were little, because babies love looking at babies.
posted by not that girl at 5:11 PM on July 9, 2016

Is a baby book for big kids acceptable?

Depending on the people involved, Go the fuck to sleep may get a laugh.
posted by deadwax at 5:20 PM on July 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

My kids favorite that was my favorite. Zoology
The book is huge. Huge (but not super thick.)

Just lots of pictures of animals. My favorite book-to-give.
posted by ReluctantViking at 5:24 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na is absolutely beautifully illustrated.
posted by erst at 5:30 PM on July 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton. In fact, anything by Sandra Boynton.
posted by 4ster at 5:36 PM on July 9, 2016 [9 favorites]

I grew up with Ant and Bee books in the 60s, so I am sentimental about them. My son grew up with the Boynton board books. They are rhyme-y and bouncy and fun, but not exactly unpopular. Whatever you loved when you were two (if anyone knows) can be a great, sentimental choice.
posted by puddledork at 5:41 PM on July 9, 2016

My daughter's current favorite: Little Owl's Night
posted by Nutritionista at 5:42 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Peek-a-boo by the fabulous Ahlbergs
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:43 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

First book of sushi
(She's got others in the series that can be hit and miss, but this one's great)

Moo Baa La La La

And I like---but it's not a board book---
When the sky is like lace
posted by leahwrenn at 5:43 PM on July 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

on a practical level...0 - 1.5 anything you get is a chew toy no matter the literary merits. If you want to plus-up the chew toy, pictures of babies and tactile stuff.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:48 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

My favorite Sandra Boyntons are But Not The Hippopotamus, Doggies, and Moo Baa La La La. I also like Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus!, Harry The Dirty Dog, and Harry By The Sea.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:49 PM on July 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Any board book with photos of babies and things they're into will get a lot of use! I like First 100 Words, and the author (Roger Priddy) has done a lot of other books.

Head to Toe is a less-well-known Eric Carle book that my toddler really likes. "I am a monkey and I wave my arms. Can you do it? I can do it!" (Toddler grins, waves arms wildly.)
posted by fussbudget at 5:58 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lots of the ones mentioned above were big hits when my kids were tiny. Here are a few more:

Peek A Who
Each Peach Pear Plum
Ten Nine Eight
I Am A Bunny
and probably our all time favorite, Good Night Gorilla

posted by Sublimity at 6:22 PM on July 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

I loved A Magical Day with Matisse with my kids. There is a whole set of Mini Masters to pick from if you like Van Gogh or Picasso more.
posted by saffry at 6:25 PM on July 9, 2016

My son loved Good-Night, Owl! at the upper end of that age bracket and I hadn't heard of it before then.

Also, he's best known for Everybody Poops, but pretty much everything by the author Taro Gomi is great (again, maybe best for the upper end of that age range, though).
posted by No-sword at 6:38 PM on July 9, 2016

"Time for Bed" is one of my faves ever.

Also "Bunny's Noisy Book"
posted by tristeza at 6:39 PM on July 9, 2016

Owl Babies
belly button book
Hand hand fingers thumb
posted by Ftsqg at 6:42 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop By Chris Raschka. Really, any of his books. Look for his Thingy Things books, especially Goosey Goose.

Ten, Nine, Eight By Molly Bang is a great going to bed book that features a dad and daughter.
posted by SobaFett at 6:56 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Counting kisses -- super fun to read because you can give the baby kisses all over as you're reading it.
posted by wyzewoman at 6:56 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Grandmother Fish: A Child's First Book of Evolution excellent readaloud and snuggling book (looks like it's still preorder on amazon but I think you can get it from the book's website)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:01 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I give a lot of Richard Scarry books because they were my favorites as a child. I've never seen a duplicate at the parties I've been to. Most people in my experience don't give books, so you're fairly safe!
posted by cecic at 7:01 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Margaret Wise Brown wrote lots of other books, many of which are still in print.

Susan Meddaugh's Martha books.

Maurice Sendak

The Eloise books....
posted by brujita at 7:04 PM on July 9, 2016

My kid loved That's Not My Lion (and other That's Not My.....books)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:06 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Parent of a 1-year-old here. . . My 2 favorites for reading aloud are Bear Snores On and Llama Llama Red Pajama.

Always go with the board book format when possible. Its so much more durable and easy to read when little grabby hands are involved.
posted by juliapangolin at 7:25 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy is fun and not that popular in the US.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:30 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Z was Zapped
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:31 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

All the babies I've bought this Helen Oxenbury box set for have demanded to have the books read to them until their parents memorized the text and then yelled at me for getting their kids obsessed with the books. So that seems to be a good sign. The things I like about them are that the books have actions you can do along with them, they feature a diverse cast of characters, and the words are simple enough for babies to catch on to what the words mean. Also, they have very few words per page, which makes for a satisfying baby page turning experience.
posted by decathecting at 7:47 PM on July 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yeah, you don't have to actually get a 'baby' book for this. Showers that ask for books are generally thinking of trying to build an early-childhood library for the kid, so books for 0-5 are all fine.

I almost always get Robert McCloskey books for book-themed baby showers, because I love NEw England and I think they're classic. Timeless instead of trendy. Many choices: Blueberries for Sal, Make Way for Ducklings, One Morning in Maine (a special favorite), Time of Wonder.
posted by Miko at 8:35 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing I Am a Bunny.

Baby Giggles is a board book of just pictures of babies; both of my kids loved that book as infants.

Any of the Llama Llama board books.
posted by vignettist at 8:37 PM on July 9, 2016

Goodnight World - Animals of the Native Northwest

a huge hit in west coast Canada
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:52 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Our favorites are rhyming:
Little Blue Truck
Good Night Good Night Construction Site

And books with flaps are also fun...non readers can participate!
Dear Zoo
Where's Spot?
Peek a Who?
posted by slmorri at 10:02 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Time For Bed. Sweet bedtime book and beautiful illustrations. And seconding Jamberry!
posted by Bresciabouvier at 10:19 PM on July 9, 2016

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a great one. Rhymoceros is good too. This is not my hat by Jon Klaassen is probably the best book ever written.

Beware "the Pout Pout Fish" - no disrespect to tealcake - but its driven us mad in our house.
posted by Toddles at 10:30 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Chicky Chicky Chook Chook was a firm favourite in our house (and I see there's a Bunny Bunny Catkin as well....must have another child immediately). It is fun to read and very unique visually. My daughter also really loved Baby, Boo, which isn't as fun to read, but babies like it (it has a mirror inside). Lynley Dodd has written about a million delightful books for children aside from Hairy Mclary, many of which come in board book format, and all lovely for small children. They are a lot of fun to read!
posted by glitter at 10:49 PM on July 9, 2016

Tumble Bumble by Felicia Bond was by far my daughter's favorite book at that age. Cute animals, rhymes, and some female animals which I always appreciate.
posted by Threeve at 11:17 PM on July 9, 2016

If it's a girl, give her "Blueberry Girl" by Neil Gaiman. It's beautiful and it's something for mother and daughter.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:35 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Home Grown Books have several titles that might fit the bill.
posted by treblemaker at 12:48 AM on July 10, 2016

Some timeless British classics which probably won't have the trendiness factor:
Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?
Five Minutes Peace
Whatever Next!
Each Peach Pear Plum
Jane Hissey's Old Bear Stories
posted by mymbleth at 1:56 AM on July 10, 2016

I took I Want my Hat Back to a book shower and it was a big hit!
posted by ukdanae at 5:41 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Todd Parr books are a huge hit with the toddlers I know. The Family Book would be my go-to.

Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books are wonderful; short and simple enough to hold a baby's attention, but clever and funny enough for preschoolers. We Are in a Book! is my favorite of the ones I've read, but they're all good.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:57 AM on July 10, 2016

My Many Colored Days is the best and least known Dr. Seuss.
posted by sonika at 7:00 AM on July 10, 2016

We have a two year old lover of books. When she was younger Hot Dog Cold Dog and What a Hoot! were perennial favorites. Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo are books she liked early on and now adores, she "reads" them aloud to us all the time.

But start them early on older books, the baby books only hold their interest for a short period of time. Current favorites include Blue on Blue, Wild About Books, Planes Fly!, Go to Sleep Little Farm. The key seems to be rhyming and interesting pictures she can relate to (pointing out animals, describing what's happening, little girls with their parents, that sort of thing).

And yes to board books. Flipping paper pages is really hard while holding an excited toddler.
posted by lydhre at 7:50 AM on July 10, 2016

William and the Night Train was read nightly for the first year or so of my son's life. Hardcover will cost a bit ($40 or so); it is out of print.

Caps for Sale was one of my favorites, both as a child and parent.
posted by pheide at 7:51 AM on July 10, 2016

I've been giving The House in the Night as a default baby present: it's a beautiful poem/story, the illustrations are detailed and gorgeous (Caldecott winner), and we haven't gotten sick of it after two years of near-daily readings.
posted by nonane at 9:00 AM on July 10, 2016

We loved to read the simple board book How Kind, about the passing on of simple kindnesses.
posted by dreamphone at 9:20 AM on July 10, 2016

I was thinking of a book my kids loved and I couldn't come up with the name but finally didopen the Barn door. Every baby and toddler I know is obsessed with that book. Bonus it's small. So easy for baby to fondle
posted by Ftsqg at 11:23 AM on July 10, 2016

Anything by Gyo Fujikawa, especially "Babies" and "Oh, What a Busy Day".
posted by epj at 12:22 PM on July 10, 2016

We read Polar Bear Night every night, and I'm still not sick of it. Beautiful writing and illustrations. Makes both me and my little guy fall asleep.
posted by lukez at 5:38 PM on July 10, 2016

The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett. It is not only adorable, but has a very nice little 'family is what you make it' and acceptance message which is great for my diverse environment. All of Gravett's work is great (also look for Orange Pear Apple Bear) and she has a delightful sense of humour and the dark.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:52 PM on July 10, 2016

Someone recommended Quiet Loud, and Yummy Yucky and No No Yes Yes by the same author are favorites too.

Word books are great for little ones.

Also our household enjoyed books by Karen Katz.
posted by Leontine at 7:03 PM on July 10, 2016

Peepo by Janet and Allen Ahlberg

Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
posted by machine at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

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