Yesterday, we shared ideas for an adorable literary baby shower. Today, Eerdmans copywriter and mother-to-be Laura Bardolph Hubers highlights a few of the books she plans to read with her newborn son after he arrives.
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One of the various exciting things about expecting a baby is that my husband and I finally have a valid excuse for all the (many) children’s books we own. Not that being childless ever actually stopped us from buying and reading picture books, of course.
So I’ve compiled a list of a few of the EBYR books that we’re most excited to read to the baby (who we affectionately call “Bun” until he’s born and his name can be revealed) when he comes this fall. He may not really appreciate some of these for a few years to come, but I’m told that my dad read P. G. Wodehouse stories and Sports Illustrated to me when I was a newborn, and I turned out all right. In the same way, I suspect Matt and I will read whatever we feel like reading to our son — at least until he learns to protest.
A Pond Full of Ink
by Annie M. G. Schmidt, illustrated by Sieb Posthuma
I remember Schmidt’s earlier Pink Lemonade as a staple of my own childhood, with Miss Lickapan and the zebra who preferred plaid to stripes — and I’m thrilled that we now have a newer volume of her whimsical poems available for my child to enjoy. You’d never know that these poems are translations from Dutch the way they bounce along, and Posthuma’s illustrations complement the text perfectly. It will be great fun to read aloud to Bun about the three elderly otters and others:
Three elderly otters longed to go boating
out on the river,
out on the moat.
For years, they had wished they could be out there floating,
but, being otters, they couldn’t help noticing
signs on the seats of every last boat.
Written by renters, the miserable rotters, they said . . .
FORBIDDEN FOR OTTERS
The Right Word
by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Our son has two parents who love words — playing with them, crafting terrible puns with them, and using obscure ones in normal conversation. (Those who know me are probably aware of my ever-continuing quest to mention “defenestration” and “pogonotrophy” as often as possible.) It’s only appropriate, then, that we introduce Bun to Peter Mark Roget, inventor of the thesaurus, early on. It seems only fair to let him know what he’s getting into as a member of our family, and this picture book biography — really a celebration of the glorious diversity of words — will help us do it.
As an added benefit, the illustrations in this book are so fun and gorgeous and detailed that I think I could spend at least a week looking at them without getting bored — which means I’ll have to read it to Bun several thousand times before I start feeling sick of it.
Do You Have a Cat?
by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Geraldo Valerio
Yes. We have three cats, in fact. (It happened sort of by accident. Don’t judge.) Our friend’s one-year-old son loves them; his eyes light up whenever he catches a glimpse of one of the kitties at our house. He toddles over as fast as he can in an effort to pet them. (Two of the cats are nice enough to let him get in a couple of clumsy pats before they run away; one of them just hides.) I know he would enjoy a book all about cats very much — if nothing else, he could point at the cat on every page, which constitutes great entertainment for him — and I imagine Bun will as well. Do You Have a Cat? also offers an easy opportunity to tell Bun about all the various historical figures mentioned who also had cats — Cleopatra, Charles Lindbergh, Henri Matisse, and all sorts of others.
The Big Book of Slumber
by Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
You know how it’s impossible to read Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book without yawning? (It is. Go ahead. Try it.) It’s true for The Big Book of Slumber too. This lovely, peaceful story about animals curling up in bed will, I hope, encourage Bun to fall asleep happily and quickly. What new parent doesn’t need a book (or many books!) that will do that?
Hushaby, lullaby, turn out the lamp.
Down in the cellar, it’s cool and it’s damp.
Mouse ate her apple and read her nice book.
Who else is sleeping? Just take a good look.