Favorite Board Books

Here are some of our favorite board books.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is so popular now I almost didn’t mention it, but it is a favorite.  It is unabridged from the original picture book, including the truncated pages and holes!  Bright, fun, holes in the pages, actually a story, all-around good.  It also has counting, days of the week, and lifecycle of the butterfly, but that’s all rather beyond the board-book aged child.

Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What do you See? (Martin/Carle) is another unabridged classic in board book form.  The cadence of the text is perfect for reading out loud, and most pages picture one brightly illustrated animal.  (The “prairie dog” still kinda creeps me out, though.)

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (Mem Fox) is an oversized board book about babies all over the world, who all have “ten little fingers and ten little toes.”  The illustrations are delightfully sweet.

Byron Barton’s Boats and Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs have bright, simple, appealing pictures with some minimal text/story.  I’m not familiar with his other books.

Say & Play’s First Words and Oink, Moo, Meow feature a single cut-out photograph image per page.  I like these two better than some of their other books.  First Words features individual pictures with a single word on each page (“Cat” “Baby” etc.).  It’s fun to show baby an actual rubber duck next to the rubber duck picture in the book, particularly when they near one year old.  Oink, Moo, Meow has an animal and text of what the animal says (“The cat says Meow” — the same cat as from the other book).  At some point babies enjoy hearing the animal sounds, and this book has a LOT of animals.

Indestructibles are not actually board books, but rather pamphlet-style books made out of a very resilient paper-like material which is, in fact, indestructible to a baby.  You can let baby handle these independently long before traditional board books.  They do wrinkle immediately.  We like Plip Plop Pond and Mama and Baby.  Note: neither has any words, which doesn’t bother me, and the pictures seem oversaturated, but it is such a unique item I give them a pass.

Homemade Play Dough

This is a simple, quick, cheap, and non-toxic (but not edible) play dough. It may be stored in an air-tight container for many months.

Homemade Play Dough Recipe:

  • 2 cups flour (cheap all-purpose white flour works best)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup salt (basic cheap salt)
  • 2 Tbsp oil (canola or whatever)
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • food coloring (or concentrated gel food coloring for colors like red or purple)

Mix ingredients in a big pot.  Stir over medium heat until it thickens and then comes together in a big ball.  Dump on counter and knead a bit until smooth.

Ideally your end user would observe or assist with the process as he is able.

Today’s play dough (pictured) had 20 drops green and 10 drops yellow food coloring.  Cooking time was less than 10 minutes and I barely had to knead it.

Just beginning to heat
Starting to thicken

Ready to remove from heat
finished play dough
Finished play dough