Baby Books: Surprise Stars

I registered a few mild complaints last week (don't misunderstand, I still like all those books), but I also wanted to give a shout out to some other board books that I think are especially impressive in unexpected ways.

I Love My Bunny

The story of this book is very simple - Anna and her toy bunny have a tea party. However, the interactive bits on each page are very effective. The fluffy bunny tail was an obvious source of fascination, and a flap that's easy for my little one to work meant that this book became an early favorite. There's a scratch-and-sniff panel that hasn't come up yet, but the sparkles on another page and the soft blanket on the last page are also lots of fun.

(Side note: This is part of a series, but I was less impressed with I Love My Puppy, the other one I tried.)

Usborne Very First 1 2 3

I know, it's a counting book (up to five), like a hundred other counting books. That's what I thought at first, too. On second look, though, each page not only contains the labeled item, but a bunch of others to notice and count. For example, the page for "2" says "two cars." But the picture also shows two houses, two trees, two bunnies, two butterflies... The page for "4" doesn't have as much detail as the others, but the variety in the illustrations makes this more fun to read and explore than other counting books I've seen, and I anticipate it will give the book a longer useful life.

Home for a Bunny

While not anywhere near as popular as Goodnight Moon, this book is also by Margaret Wise Brown, so you'd think I wouldn't be surprised at its quality. (Also, I apparently had this book as a child, but I have no memory of this.) But the first few times I flipped through it, it seemed just fine. Cute, fine, nothing special. However, for my little one, this book has the perfect balance. Not too long, not too short. The text has rhythm, but also story. There's an opportunity for some special voices, but they blend in easily. The illustrations are detailed, but clear enough that each element stands out.

Starlight Sailor

I picked this book up for two reasons: rhyming couplets and pretty art. When I brought it home, my husband was skeptical at first, because reading the text to yourself as an adult highlights some weird choices and inconsistencies. However, once you start to read it aloud everything falls into place. It's like a dream - lush, detailed illustrations and lilting text that flows like the waves in the pictures. I freely admit the text is a bit odd in spots, but the pictures have so many subtle details to spark interest and imagination that I'm still finding new things to look at after many readings.


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