What could be more productive than watching Hollywood stars sparkle in the glitz and glam of the red carpet extravaganza? Anything! One might think the mom of a crazy toddler would be more selective. Yet time and time again, I still watch for the snazzy, scandalous dresses, heartfelt speeches, wildly inappropriate cracks, all with a sophisticated grip on a globe or a man named Uncle Oscar. While Jennifer Lawrence is looking beautifully perturbed and Leo mysteriously dapper, I will be finishing up the laundry, moving the hoarded toys and books back to their location, scrolling through Facebook and buying something on Amazon, so perhaps the next-day highlights will suffice.
Reciting favorite movie lines and seeing the latest Oscar-nominated film is a thing of the past. Making sure my baby’s electronic obsession is replaced with a love for music and story time is my new red carpet obsession. Life’s tale is full of sounds and sometimes furious frustrations, but every day in front of me those sounds from my baby girl signify a new milestone. The most exceptional award is in the eyes of our super stars who light up when the wind whispers their name, powerful digging machines yawn before bed, belly buttons protrude from under a flap, fish have a new outlook on life and farm animals get together for a good ole fashioned hoedown.
In 2016 our toddlers have an abyss of books to sift through. For moms, chances are, googling “best children’s board books” will come back with a favorite classic like Goodnight Moon. Despite our best nostalgic efforts to recite it by heart, our little ones might have a different idea of entertainment. Lately, my toddler sounds like she dropped out of a UFO. URT: Unidentified Reading Toddler.
After consulting some of our mom groups, personal friends, local librarians, teachers, and bloggers, below is a list to help you expand your own library. So, whether it is a great car seat read or a bedtime story, let’s see what our Momma Superhero Celebrities have to say about the best board books of new and old:
1. Golden Board Winner! On the Night You Were Born is one of the many books by Nancy Tillman that we recommend. Tillman takes our little ones on a whimsical, rhythmic journey that leaves us feeling loved. The illustrations alone captivate our tiny readers and the theme of love no matter where you are, or who you are is universal and timeless. Each book has a great message with beautiful illustrations. –Brigid Mills
2. Best Interactive Book: Where is Baby’s Belly Button? and Toes, Ears and Nose are just a couple of Karen Katz’s books that are sure to entertain toddlers. Keep your eyes on those lift-a-flaps, or they won’t make it through the early toddler years–more like Rip-the-flap. These provide great learning about body parts with a silly, peek-a-boo twist. Great for the car seat!
3. Best Message: Little Blue Truck by Jill McElmurry has a great life lesson about helping others, but the bright pictures and cute, repetitive animal sounds make it memorable for toddlers. There are so many details on each page, that the larger board book is worth the a few extra bucks. If you are not already a veteran farm-animal-noise-maker, you are sure to be a professional after this read.
4. Best Educational Fun: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle is definitely a fan favorite. It will stay in your head for years, maybe even decades, but bright, bold colors captivate our little readers. Holly Kut, Health Teacher and mother of three, writes: My five year old Ella is just beginning word recognition, so we like to stick to things that have matching illustrations. Eric Carle is perfect for this.
5. Most Likely to Remember:The Barnyard Dance and The Belly Button Book are two favorites by Sandra Boynton, but her list is filled with toddler-pleasers. What’s better than a book that sounds like a song? We love the rhythm and memorized it.–Kristy Brittain
6. Toddlers’ Choice: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is another crowd-pleaser. Watch Eric Carle read his illustrated masterpiece. We love the references to different types of foods and fruits with the emerging butterfly makes it a favorite–Kristy Brittain
7. Best Bedtime Book: Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site is an excellent story for our dump truck loving sons and daughters. It is full of yawning, work-weary machines ready for bed, a nice alternative to the popular Goodnight Moon, which is also a great classic. This book is fun with tons of great truck vocabulary–Jessie Rodwell
8. Best Solo Entertainment: The First Words Books or First 100 Words books are also great entertainment on a road trip. If you get the edition with the lift-the-flap it is well worth it.We also love all of the My first Words Books, and we have found some great deals at Marshalls, so many that my daughter thinks that it is the book store!–Lauren Falini
9. Moms’ Choice: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a favorite of mothers and kids alike, but especially mothers of boys seem to fall in love with this classic. One of our bloggers, Celina Livaccari Voelker, mother of two boys writes; it symbolizes our story from mother to son, for a girl it has a great relationship to plants, the seasons and circle of life.
10. Best Behavioral Education: Hands are not for Hitting by Martine Agassi, Ph.D. helped many families through a rough phase. There are other choices for phases like biting, pulling tails, etc. Jacque LaCroix Hince writes: My son actually liked to read them, and they had advice in the back for dealing with hitting and biting.
Red Carpet Moments: More favorites from our tiny readers
The Pout, Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen is a book with an important lesson about changing your outlook on something. Kim Keller especially likes the Sassy Squid voice, even though this family favorite had to be put on hold for bed time, as her daughter Quinn would get a little too excited to read it.
Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! is popular with the Kut family. We all enjoy any book written by Mo Willems. “All of my kids laugh so hard every time we read Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus“–Holly Kut.
Frankie Works The Night Shift is purrrrfect for education and fun. The cat is an orange tabby that looks like our cat, and the illustrations are realistic animals. And my “do-it-yourself” mentality loves that it helps you count to ten and use tools–Lauren Lyon
Time for Bed by Mem Fox is a calming addition to your night time routine. My daughter loves the animals and the book has a nice gentle rhythm (perfect for bedtime). For the longest time she would refer to all dogs as “pups”, and it took us forever to figure out it’s from reading this book a million times–Lauren Falini
I would like to give a shout out to my dear friend Britt who gave me The I Love You book. It was a favorite of hers, and it has been so sweet to watch Macey start to form those words! The bold, contrasting colors, simple language and graphics are just perfect for toddlers. Plus, I always think of her when I read it!
Hush Little Polar Bear was a night time, lulling, rhyming favorite until it was slammed shut for exposing the horrible truth–it was almost bed time. So after putting it aside for a while, it is back in action. My 18 month old points out the smallest details in the pictures, and reads it several times a day.
Mike the Knight is a bold boy adventure series. Finn doesn’t like to sit still, so the illustrations have to be bold and colorful to hold his attention. Also, if they ask questions and are interactive that is especially important.–Claire Kelley Richmond, VA
Cathy Griffith of Greenville South Carolina is a Harvard Graduate, Clemson professor and mother of 4. She put together a list of her top picks broken into categories. Her youngest Henry, 19 months, is seen here with Where’s Spot?
1. “Where’s Spot?” books by Eric Hill
2. Karen Katz’s Lift-the-flap books
1. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed books
2. Oh, David books by David Shannon
1. Hush Little Baby – Sylvia Long
2. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
3. I love you Through and Through by Carolyne Jayne Church
4. Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney
1. All the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom books by Bill Martin, Jr.
2. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb–Dr. Seuss
Get kids hooked on reading early!