My great niece, Betty, turned one a few months ago. I knew she already had lots of books, but I wanted to add to her collection. I chose four books and thought it would be a good idea to talk about the values of each book.
Obviously, books are always a good gift idea for young children. You cannot have too many books, but there are good books and not-so-good books! Choose books with beautiful illustrations, good word choice, and an interesting and fun storyline.
Exposure to books, handling books, looking at pictures, being read to, are all necessary skills for early language development.
I chose board books because she can hold them independently and turn the pages without tearing, setting her up for success. All four books have interesting, clear illustrations, and are fun to look at.
The four books are:
That’s Not My Puppy by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells. Published by Usborne
It’s a story about trying to find ‘my puppy.’
It’s a touchy-feely book, building sensory skills related to words ‘fluffy’, ‘bumpy’, ‘shiny’. The text is repetitive, building an understanding of language.
First Words (Baby Touch and Feel), Published by Dorling Kindersley
Its individual pictures are related to familiar objects.
It’s a touch-feely book with textures related to a ball, shoes, a strawberry, socks, all objects your child can identify. It encourages counting – ‘one, two, socks’, and ‘lots of dots on shoes’. You can use descriptive words for the textures, bumpy strawberry, smooth flower petals, soft bib, building early vocabulary.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, by Lynley Dodd
It’s a funny story about Hairy Maclary and his dog friends going for a walk and meeting ‘Scarface Claw’ the toughest cat in town. It’s a rhyming book. Rhyming words are an essential skill for reading and spelling. There are lots of descriptive words for each of the characters, this helps to build vocabulary. This is a classic book first published in 1983, and it’s still a very popular children’s book, and one of my favourites.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury
This is another popular classic book, first published in 1989. It’s an adventure of a family looking for a bear. Lots of prepositions, under, over, through. Lots of repetition ‘We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one’, your child can join in with the familiar pattern. Lots of descriptive words, long wavy grass, thick oozy mud! This is a beautifully illustrated book, with a fun and repetitive story line for early language skills, and no bears get hurt!
When choosing books for young children look at the clarity of the illustrations, the familiarity of the text used, and the relevance to your child’s world. You’re looking to expand on things they already know, and build curiosity and exploration through the written word, along with an interest in books.
The cost of mailing them to England was a whole other story!