Baby’s First Book (Usborne cloth book)
By Fiona Watt, illustrated by Stacey Lamb, published by Usborne, RRP £9.99
What’s the story: These books provide ten pages of delightfully bright colours, flaps and touchy feely patches for babies to explore. The boys’ design features tractors, sail boats, dinosaurs, dogs and rocket ships, while the girls’ has tweeting birds, flowers, rainbows, bunnies and butterflies. Different pages, rattle, squeak and crinkle too!
Why we love it: Cloth books are perfect for tiny babies. More durable than paper, these Usborne books can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
First published: 2008
That’s Not My…
By Fiona Watt, illustrated by Rachel Wells, published by Usborne, RRP £5.99
What’s the story: A tiny white mouse searches for her lost puppy, dragon, frog, robot… in these touchy-feely books. Every page features an interesting texture to feel such as bumpy teeth, fluffy ears or shiny paws. On the very last page the right item is finally found. There are 33 titles in the series, so you’ll no doubt end up with a few of them, depending on whether your child likes dolls or dinosaurs, teddies or tigers.
Why we love it: These chunky board books are strong enough to withstand the inevitable page corner chewing. Parents and babies will love the bold, bright and simple drawings along with the different textures on each page which aims to develop sensory and language development.
First Published: 1999 (That’s Not My Puppy was first in the series)
I Love My Mummy
By Giles Andrae, illustrated by Emma Dodd, published by Orchard Books, RRP £5.99
What’s the story: ‘I love my mummy very much. She’s great to cuddle, soft to touch.’ How can any new mum resist this book which tells of the tender relationship between a mother and child through a witty and touching rhyming text from the same wonderful author of such fantastic titles as Commotion in the Ocean and Rumble in the Jungle.
Why we love it: It won the 2010 Family Award for Best Book for Babies under One Year Old. Emma Dodd’s vibrant and touching artwork captures a child’s attention and displays the warm relationship between a parent and child, which will melt your heart. ‘I Love My Daddy’ is also now available at £10.99.
First published: 2010
By Rod Campbell, published by Puffin, RRP £5.99
What’s the story: How do you find the right pet for you? Ask the Zoo of course! That’s what the child narrator in Dear Zoo does. However, the Zoo keeps sending animals which are not quite suitable – an elephant is too heavy, a giraffe is too tall, a frog is too jumpy – and they’re sent back immediately. Each page contains a flap designed to look like a different form of packaging hiding an animal that’s been sent. At long last the perfect pet is delivered – a puppy!
Why we love it: Lift-the-flap books have a short life span with young ones, but the joy they bring during that time can still be enormous. If you’re going to choose a lift-the-flap book then this is the one to go for. Since it was first published everyone that had a copy as a child remembers the fun they had revealing the animals.
First published: 1982
I kissed the Baby
By Mary Murphy, published by Walker, RRP £4.99
What’s the story: ‘“I saw the new baby! Did you see the new baby?’ ‘Yes! I saw the new baby; the teeny weeny thing.’ ‘I tickled the baby! Did you tickle the baby?’ ‘Yes! I tickled the baby; the wriggly, giggly thing!’” All the animals in the barn are overjoyed about the new baby and it’s all they can talk about. The very last page reveals a flappy yellow duckling that shouts ‘quackie!’ after getting a great big kiss from its Mummy.
Why we love it: The rhythmic repetition in the text is like singing which little ones love. Also, when there is tickling, and kissing in the book you can then do this with your baby, which is really good fun for both of you. While the bright yellow duckling appears on the last couple of pages, the pictures are primarily black and white which helps to give babies a clearer focus.
First published: 2003