Reading books with Richard has been a bit of a trial. He much preferred to eat the pictures (okay, so who wouldn’t at 3 months), and would usually fuss and complain after a couple of pages. Not wanting to engender a lifelong hatred of reading, I was quick to stop and let him do other things. Yes, I was a bit discouraged, imagining that he was going to grow into a child who preferred to tear around rather than sit quietly reflecting over his picture books (ok, yes, you can laugh at me). As it turns out, I was just being a little impatient with my poor darling. At the ripe old age of 5 months now, he has decided that books are fun! Not only does he sit through whole books, but I am certain he can indicate his preferences. I started holding in front of his line of vision two objects, a toy and a book. He would look at both, then reach for one (which I would then give him, if it was the toy, or read to him, if it was the book). Then I started holding out two books, and, sure enough, he reaches for the one he likes. Hubby was a bit incredulous, but I showed him, and although still skeptical he admits it does look like Richard is telling me what he wants. Once he is mobile, I’m sure Richard will tear around the house like any other little boy, but at least I know we can look forward to some quieter moments together over books.
So, what are his picks?
1. Lamaze discovery farm
Technically, I don’t class this as a “book”. It’s more of book-toy. We can read it together, but I also let him chew it. Richard is allowed to chew his toys. I do NOT let him chew his books. Yes, this was frustrating for us, but now he seems to have learnt to look and touch the pages of books, rather than try stuffing them in his mouth. This is perhaps why his ‘discovery farm’ has become such a favourite. It is a multi-sensory extravaganza. He can look, touch, crinkle, hear the bell, taste, and yes, even smell his farm (after all the drool and a bit of puke that has soaked into the pages, ewwww). Initially I was at a bit of a loss as to how to “read” it to him, since each page only has the words of animal noises, and saying, “Here’s the cow, the cow goes moo moo!!”, got a bit boring after a while. Now I sing “Old MacDonald” as I turn the pages, and this makes it a lot more exciting. The only complaint I have is the little tag that says Surface wash only. This, I think, is a bit impractical given that it becomes SOAKED in drool and puke and I long to throw it in the machine.
2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
If there was one book he tolerated before the age of 5 months, this was it. Now, Richard seems to really enjoy it. I think it’s the big simple pictures against the white background. Awesome book.
3. That’s not my puppy…
Big simple pictures he can touch. This has the thickest most solid pages of any board book I’ve ever seen, so if I had to let him chew a board book, this would be it.
4. Hello Baby!
This would have to be my favourite. I love the beautiful illustrations and the story is funny and clever. I particularly enjoy reading the pages as silly as I can. My favourite is the crocodile page when I get to say ‘silent and scary’ in a very scary, low voice…
Are you a warthog, hilarious and hairy? Perhaps you’re a crocodile, silent and scary. Are you a zebra, sipping a drink? Perhaps you’re an owl, with a wicked wink. NO? Then who are you baby? Wait, let me guess- Are you my treasure? The answer is…Yes!
I think Richard likes this one, again, for the big illustrations against a plain white background.
5. The very hungry caterpillar
Thanks again, Eric Carle. Beautiful coloured pictures against a white background. This seems to be a feature in the books Richard likes at the moment.