There’s nothing quite like the fresh scent of ink on paper and the rough caress of your finger turning a page. Old-fashioned books seem almost a novelty in this digital age, but as far as children are concerned, my bibliophile husband and I agree – print trumps pixels, every time.
There are many reasons to read to your child, not least being the sheer pleasure of curling up with a good book and a snuggly warm body to enjoy audible literature. At this stage, RJ is more interested in swiping at the pages and stuffing the book corners into her mouth. But she’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
I was surprised by the ingenuity of children’s books nowadays. It’s a new breed of board books with sticky tabs, magnets, stickers, pop-ups and other fancy bells and whistles. Heck, I’m practically buying them for myself, not baby!
Here’s three of RJ’s current favorite books.
Curious George: My Growing World
A real gem we found at the Big Bad Wolf book fair, this board book folds out to become a measuring chart AND a story book. It even has a helpful record section to keep track of baby’s growth. Of course, i’m a sucker for such multi-tasking items. RJ’s favorite part of this book is the mirror, which she spends incessant time gazing at everyday.
Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes
We scored this classic for cheap, there seem to be many variants popping up at various books sales in KL (Book Excess, Times, MPH). I chose this version because I liked that there were some rarer rhymes inside.
The box set comes with three illustrated books inside: playtime rhymes, bedtime rhymes, and action rhymes. Each page has vibrant drawings that bring the classic nursery rhymes to life.
The bedtime rhymes group together a few simple favorites with good rhyme and metre to lull your little one into slumber. Playtime rhymes are more fun and the action rhymes have some instructions included so you and your child can act them out.
Expect to see old ones like “ring a ring of roses”, “row, row, row your boat”, and “pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been”? There are some really odd ones which I’ve never heard before. Here’s one I really liked from the book, which almost seem like a tongue-twister.
[ Aside: I’ve come to realise the violence, misogyny, racism, social segregation, etc in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, something I never noticed before. Still, I think i’ll let RJ read the stories and make up her own mind about it. ]
Of course, which baby’s childhood isn’t full of safari animals? Our venerable soft toy collection is practically a mini zoo (well, only 4 animals counts as mini, right?) and we had once thought of a gender-neutral animal-themed nursery back in the hazy days of early pregnancy.
RJ loves this book chiefly because the animals have 3D ridges for her to run her curious little fingers over. The high contrast in the colors and large, quirky illustrations are great to hold the little one’s attention. Each page has a close-up detail shot as well as a portrait with a verb describing the animal.
Showing these animals to RJ is one of our ways to teach her about nature, a topic close to our hearts.
Since Daniel’s degree is in ecology and biodiversity, we often talk to RJ about animals, plants, and the ecosystem. During our evening walks, he would point out shrubs to her, let her feel the texture of the leaves, and explain about the process of photosynthesis.
When she’s bigger, we’ll let her collect the leaves and paste them in a scrapbook. She can write their names like a proper field experiment. Can’t wait for RJ to be old enough to read more interesting books. We hope she’ll grow up to love books as much as we do. Until then, we’ll keep reading to her. (Sometimes, even an Ikea catalogue will do…)
Will post more about other books that we purchased for RJ, in the meantime, here’s some book-related links: