Books for Baby Storytimes

30 Sep
sloth comic

This could be a depiction of me on vacation, except the guy in the cartoon is sitting upright (source: Toothpaste for Dinner).

My oh my, it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted, right?  Welp, I have a good excuse an excuse. I had turned myself over to slothfulness and only doing the slothful things I felt like doing while I was on vacation.  This boiled down to watching Law & Order, reading grown-up books, playing tennis, and knitting a sweater.  I enjoy working on this little blog very much, but it simply didn’t make the cut.  That’s neither here nor there, however.  I’m back, and I intend to resume my previous pace of posting at least once every five days.

Our baby storytime is called Babies & Books.  It is for ages 0 to 18 months, and it is my favorite storytime program to do.  I love to see the receptive looks on the babies’ faces as I read a rhythmic passage, show them a brightly-colored illustration, or sing one of those songs where they get lifted in the air.  They look so surprised and pleased when that happens!

Someday (soon) I will post some favorite baby songs and rhymes, and a basic outline I use for my programs.  What I want to do here– in the spirit of Abby the Librarian’s What to Read at Baby Storytime posts– is highlight a handful of books I enjoy sharing with babies and their grown-up caregivers.  These are in no particular order, but they are certainly winners with the hairless and toothless set!

Jazz BabyJazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler, ill. by R. Gregory Christie

“Mama sings high/Daddy sings low/Snazzy-jazzy Baby says “Go, Man, GO!””  A loving family takes a cue from clapping Baby and joins in with some snapping, scatting, tooting, and hip-hopping of their own. The text in Jazz Baby’s is rhythmic and bouncy and it is wonderfully appealing to baby ears.  Also, the words on the page are large enough that grown-ups in the room– infected by Jazz Baby’s lively pizzazz–will read along with you.  I should point out that I almost always skip the middle part of the book when I use it in Babies & Books.  The tempo slows down here, and the repetitiveness gets to be too much for baby attention spans.  Toddlers and Preschoolers are usually happy to stick with Jazz Baby from beginning to end, but I find that the babies lose interest.  To heap even more praise on Abby, she wrote a terrific post last week about shortening books for baby storytime programs.   In it, she wisely points out that when we skip pages, we are demonstrating to parents and caretakers that it is okay for them to do it, too.  If you haven’t read Abby’s post yet, do so!  Now!  Or as soon as you are able is okay, too.

Tuck Me InTuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt

Going through my outlines, I see I have read Tuck Me In! more than any other title in the past year.  What we have here is a collection of cutie-patootie baby animals getting tucked into bed.  Their ‘blankets’ are page flaps that cover them up to their chins.  It is a colorful book, and a cozy one, with the blankets and its repetitive, circular text (‘Who else needs to be tucked in?’  ‘I do!”  ‘Goodnight, baby [insert animal].  Who else needs to be tucked in?’, etc.).  Candlewick has kindly posted a sampling for us on YouTube.  Take a look.  Isn’t it charming?

My CarMy Car by Byron Barton

I usually preface reading My Car by saying something like, “If you’re looking for books that babies will like, you really can’t go wrong with Byron Barton.”  Newborns and small babies, who don’t see very well, will be attracted to Barton’s bold colors and unfussy layouts.  Older babies and toddlers are starting to learn the names of things, and some of them are embarking on car manias of their own (Or train manias, or boats, or planes.  Barton has done books on all of them).  Sam’s affection for his car, and the responsibility he takes as he drives it, are infectious.  And Sam’s mechanic is a lady mechanic, which I always point out when I get to the page where she’s giving Sam’s car an oil change.  According to the Harper Collins site, we are getting what looks like a sequel to My Car in Spring, 2014,  My Bus.

Finger Circus GameThe Finger Circus Game by Hervé Tullet

Most board books are too small to read to a group, but I try to include at least one recently published title when I plan my Babies & Books programs.  If it has tactile elements or shiny bits, I’ll mention how they promote curiosity and sensory development.  Lift the flaps?  Peek-a-boo is fun, and the flaps demonstrate cause-and-effect.  The Finger Circus Game is a unique, new offering by the author of Press Here.  It has dye-cut holes for adults and older children to stick their fingers through to portray members of the Earthworm Family as they perform in their circus, complete with flying trapeze and lion acts.  At the end, they all take a big bow, and I presume burrow back into the ground.  When I read The Finger Circus Game for a program, I draw little smiley faces on the tips of my pointer fingers with a Sharpie.

Birthday BoxThe Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli

“Today is my birthday, and I got a box.”  Our diapered narrator is thrilled.  A box can be stood on or hidden behind.  Open it up and there is a new stuffed doggie pal to take on adventures with you, in a box that gets transformed into a ship, a rocket, and a robot.  Suspend your disbelief about baby’s ability to wield scissors, this is a charming story about the power of imagination and friendship.  I hear a lot of, “Aww’s” from the grown-ups whenever I reach the final page The Birthday Box.

I have other titles that didn’t make this list, but I will certainly followup this post with more Baby Storytime options.  I’ll be back later this week with what I believe will be a humdinger of a post.  Here’s a teaser: remember when I said my most recent Origami Yoda post would be my final Origami Post?  It isn’t, and the reason why is pretty exciting!

~Catherine

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