The first time my daughter showed an inclination towards books was when she was hardly few months old. She would giggle every time she spotted me reading a book with a dog on the cover (Marley & Me). That was the inspiration behind my first book for her (featuring animals) and there has been no stopping of our play times involving books with colorful illustrations, textures, pictures, flaps, mirrors and more.
A series of board books featuring alphabets, numbers, fruits, vegetables and the like was gifted by a dear friend on my child’s first birthday. They made for a fun start for her to learn about everyday objects, squealing with joy every time she would see pictures of things she had seen, eaten or touched recently.
When my daughter was around 14 months old, she started spending time alone with books. When I’d sit with my book, she would mimic my expressions, gazing at the pictures of her books, making happy sounds, sometimes climbing on my lap, asking me to join her in reading them.
The following are few of her favorite books from when she was 1 to 2 years old:
1. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney – My daughter has been fascinated by rabbits from the start. From toys to pictures to pets, rabbits have been her preference. This was why I chose this book to be among her first books, where a little hare tests his father’s love for him in this comforting, beautiful, bedtime picture book. Stalling his bedtime the Little Nutbrown Hare tells his father that he loves him as far as he can reach and hop. But every time, Big Nutbrown Hare goes one better on him. The joy of reading this decorated with watercolor illustrations book made it a bedtime favorite in our home.
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – This beautiful board book highlights the life of a caterpillar that eats a lot of food since his birth. He eats too much and falls sick. Later, after his recovery he turns into a cocoon and afterward, he transforms into a butterfly. The book has many wonderful lessons like when the caterpillar eats junk food it has a stomach ache and when it eats nice green leaves it becomes a beautiful butterfly. My daughter loved tracing the caterpillar’s path, counting the fruits, squealing at the sight of an ice cream cone, chocolate cake, piece of cheese and other treats. The joy of watching a beautiful butterfly emerge in the end made us re-read this book many times.
3. Baby Touch – Peekaboo by Ladybird – This interactive playbook has been my daughter’s favorite because she loved uncovering the surprises in bright and bold illustrations. The book is available in varying sizes and I picked the one, my child too could easily hold. The textures of the flaps have been made to make it easier for the child to turn pages without being hurt. From pictures of animals to helicopter, tractor, and caterpillar, the book helped her learn about different things around them.
4. Dear Zoo (Lift-the-flap) by Rod Campbell – My child loved this book from the moment she set her eyes on it. She loved the surprise element when she would lift the flap to see what new pet was sent her way. From an elephant, a lion, a snake, a giraffe, the animals are sent back for being a misfit as a pet until the perfect pet arrives in the end. The book makes for a fun playtime companion. We loved reading together while making animal sounds, pretending to be scared and also loving the wait for a perfect, cuddly, friendly pet animal to be sent our way.
5. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss – This fun, beautifully illustrated classic celebrates funny things everywhere while taking the little reader on a flight of imagination that my child cherishes till date. From the can-opening Zans to the boxing Gox to the winking Yink who drinks pink ink, the entertaining rhymes and colorful cast of characters are a treat that made my toddler want to read the book over and over again. My daughter always had a smile plastered on her face with this book around, giggling away at the sound of the rhymes.