Friday, April 14, 2017

Sadie's Top 5, Ages 3-6 months

It's already time for installment two of Sadie's Top 5! Six months old today, I have learned that there are books that hold her interest enough to read over and over and over, and books that she can barely stand to look at at all. In the end, I feel a bit on the fence about her top 5 this go around, but these are my best guesses. Presenting, Sadie's Top 5 for ages 3-6 months:

1. 1 2 3 Counting by Maxine Davenport and Cindy Roberts is ALL about the super high-contrast pictures + stand up combo (as is #2 on this list!). Due to a birth injury, we have to work extra hard with Sadie on gross motor skills and, physically, this book is a wonderful motivator for her when we're doing so! I don't even have to read it sometimes! The pages fold out like a fan, rather than turn like a traditional book, which allows it to stand and also allows lots of pages to be on display at one time. Then, between each page, there are black-and-white checkered borders that I swear are like baby eye magnets. (Click the link above to see what I'm referring to.) The combination of everything is just absolutely perfect! This book has it ALL. Even at the older end of this 3-6 month age range, we're big fans in my house!

2. Black & White by Tana Hoben is essentially another version of the book above. In fact, Tana Hoban's collection of high contrast books were most likely the inspiration for 1 2 3 Counting. Like 1 2 3 Counting, the pages of this book open up like a fan so it can stand up by itself and motivate Sadie during her exercises. The first half of the book has pictures that are black silhouettes on a white background; the second half has white silhouettes on a black background (while 1 2 3 Counting uses bold, bright colors in addition to black and white). Of all the pages, Sadie seems the most drawn to the picture of the butterfly, which also happens to be the picture with the most detail.  Overall, this is another really easy-to-look-at book for Sadie, although (according to her) just slightly less cool than the book it most likely inspired. This one might have even worked better as a 0-3 month book (but we were too busy reading and re-reading Sneak-a-Peek Colors to notice).

3. Counting Kisses by Karen Katz means LOTS of kisses from mommy. If you're not familiar with it, this book markets itself as "a kiss & read book," and it really, truly is. The book counts down from "ten little kisses on teeny tiny toes," "nine laughing kisses on busy, wriggly feet," all the way down to the one last kiss on baby's "sleepy, dreamy head." The illustrations are vibrant, sweet, and just seem to reflect love. Sadie's personal favorites are the toe kisses, feet kisses, and belly button kisses. Sometimes I cheat and give her a few extra on those (Don't tell Karen Katz!)--although lately she prefers to have her feet and belly "chomped on" instead. This book is AWESOME for mommy-baby giggles!

4.  Toot Toot, Beep Beep by Emma Garcia is all about the noise-making, so it needs to be read with a lot of enthusiasm. Each page asks the reader to make a silly car noise (such as, appropriately, "Toot toot," and "Beep beep") and, even though I've used this book in storytime for years, I've never seen a small baby's reaction to it until I read it to Sadie. Her favorite noise is the first in the book--"beep, beep"--but even the other noises don't seem to elicit the exact same reaction, the entire book is really engaging for her. Each page says something like, "Beep beep goes the little red jeep. And off he zooms," and "Vroom vroom goes the sleek black sports car. And off he speeds." So there are lots of opportunities for noise making! The vibrant colors, short text, and different tones of voice really seem to be the right combination for her. Maybe she'll be one of those kids who really likes cars. Maybe I am fostering a love of cars in her right now.

5. I had a hard time settling on a #5 for this list but ultimately realized that the answer was Sophie la Girafe: Colors from DK. This was a book that I (naively) assumed was just a marketing ploy to sell more Sophie toys (which, naturally, we own). While, yes, it may be that, it's also a book that Sadie genuinely seems to love. The text of the book says, for example "Who's hiding behind Sophie's green boat?" then you open the flap and see that it's "Margot the turtle! She loves green. She's resting on her green towel." Then at the end, the book recites all the animal friends and their favorite colors again: "Gabin loves blue. Josephine loves  yellow. Kiwi loves red. Margot loves green. Lazare loves orange. Sophie loves purple." I don't know what it is exactly, but there's something really engaging about this book. There's the usual simply drawn illustrations and bright colors, but what I think it is mostly are the really thick, cool, colorful lift-the-flap pages that Sadie is really into grabbing. They're not the ordinary thin, glued on flaps we're all used to, but almost like mini doors on each page. Like page within a page. They're so enticing! So, marketing ploy? Maybe. But enjoyable board book? Absolutely.

And that's it! More of this again when Sadie hits her 9-month-mark!