Books are my favorite toy for Charlie.
• I get to sit down and stay put.
• I can have a full conversation with my toddler.
• I feel like she's actually learning something.
• And she can sit for chunks of time alone pulling books off the shelf and turning the pages. She doesn't do that with her numerous educational and plastic, noisy toys.
For a long time Charlie experienced a phase in which she would bring me books one at a time for hours, let me read two or three pages and say, "All done!"
She'd then slam the book shut and run to get me a new one. I would have a stack on the side of my chair that we would add to all day.
Slowly, her tastes have changed, and her favorite books have evolved. In infancy, she loved books with sound and bright illustrations. When she started crawling, then walking, board books were all she wanted, so she could turn the pages with ease by herself. Now it's all about naming the things she knows and learning words for those she doesn't.
Here are five of her new favorites:
"Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle
This classic is a new favorite for her. Our copy has paper pages, so I had held off letting her have it until she completed her paper-ripping phase.
Every page has a new animal for her to name and make animal sounds for, as well as a color to recognize. So far, all she can say are animal sounds, but we got "blue" and "horse" correct recently, and we celebrated like crazy!
"Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown
Another classic and another favorite for both Charlie and Mommy. This one is mostly my fault because the nostalgia for me is so strong that I practically forced her to love it through months of repetition. But she does enjoy pointing to red balloons and young mice and saying, "What's that?" -- just so she can respond with the right answer before I get the chance.
Cloth books with attachments
I hesitate to name one specific cloth book Charlie loves because the only reason she loves them is for the fun inserts she can pull out and throw around the room.
But here are a few favorites:
• "My First Bible" -- complete with removable Jonah and Ten Commandments.
• "Critters" -- with velcroed bumble bee and caterpillar, which Grandma purchased at an art festival.
• "Buzzing Through" -- with a clever bee on a string that visits each page through a hole cut out for it. This one came from a baby boutique store.
Lifting flaps to reveal the secret underneath is just a simpler form of peek-a-boo, which every kid loves.
Also, Charlie's ability to remember which flaps hide her favorite surprises never fails to amaze me, convincing me I am raising a tiny genius with superpower memory.
The two favorites we have in the house are "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Trip" she got as a gift, and an ancient "Arthur's New Baby Book" that I got when my little sister came into the world. It has survived years of storage but is struggling to survive the chaos that is Charlie.
"Shoe-La-La" by Karen Beaumont
When I was pregnant, I got the idea from Pinterest to ask family and friends for books inscribed with messages for my little one, instead of cards. This ended up going better than I thought, and this book is one prime example of what a good idea it was, if I do say so myself.
It's got sparkles on the cover and easy roll-off-the-tongue rhymes that Charlie can't get enough of.
It's also the first book Charlie can call by name, which was a shock to all of us when she chucked the book at Dad and then exclaimed:
Katelyn Floyd is the mother of a toddler who lives in Bluffton. She can be reached at email@example.com.