Patterson Picks has enjoyed a nice time of hibernation and is back to share the first half of top Patterson Picks for the two and under crew. It was prompted by a friend recently asking me for suggestions for her one-year-old grandson. It was really fun to remember favorite books for our own kids, as well as books we enjoy giving newborns to grow into.
This round I will feature my Big Ten of great books and authors. The following authors and illustrators are great fun before age two. Many can be enjoyed well past age two!
1. I’m wild about Sandra Boynton, a greeting card artist in the ’80s who’s become a board book queen. We like Doggies and Blue Hat, Green Hat (fabulous for the baby getting to laugh and say “oops” on each page) and many others including Barnyard Dance. Her simple, cartoony dogs, ducks, cows etc. put adult and baby in a jolly mood. You got to love the bright, small format books when baby grabs and opens them.
2. I love Trucks Trucks Trucks, Fire Truck, Ship Ahoy and others by Peter Sis. A boy named Matt plays with his toys and they morph into the real thing! They’re visually both simple and absorbing. The Gender Equity Department just tapped me on the shoulder to mention that my daughter loved these as much as my son.
3. With our kids, especially our son, you couldn’t go wrong with large vehicles. So Donald Crews’ books Truck, Flying, Freight Train etc. were fabulous. Some or all come in a board book format. I have a picture of our then-toddler boy “bathing” in a sea of Donald Crews books on his bedroom floor. (In Truck it’s fun to find the main truck on a highway interchange and a Golden gate-like bridge.) Also look for the artist himself pictured somewhere in the book a la Hitchcock in his movies.
5. And if you like movement, you can’t beat Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and Other Action Rhymes by Zita Newcombe. Each rhyme has a fun picture and smaller, clear diagrams of how to do the action/game. Makes a terrific gift.
6. Eric Carle is super-loved. You probably know The Very Hungry Caterpillar. He has a bundle of good ones. Many of his are in board book format.
7. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is equally famous. Super simple but full of rich details too. Gaze on the simple bedtime room on page after page as things get dark and the tiny mouse moves from spot to spot in Clement Hurd’s timeless illustrations. I can’t believe how many times I read through this timeless 1947 book with both kids and ALWAYS ENJOYED IT!
8. Don’t miss the recent series of wordless books by West Linn’s Kaaren Pixton. The series is called Indestructibles and they’re on this cool, heavy paper that won’t rip. (She challenged me to try and I couldn’t do a bit of damage.) Pixton has this amazing art technique involving vast quantities of painting and collage that yields these amazing animal portraits in their various habitats. Some are Mama and Baby! and Wiggle! March! and Jungle, Rumble.
9. The magic of fun times with your baby comes to life for both of you in “More, More, More” Said the Baby by Vera M. Williams. It’s three very short stories with three toddlers, each interacting with a mom, dad, or grandma. As I recall, there’s some tickling and some sleeping. Perfect!
10. Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee is a wonderful board book celebrating babies in all different settings. Frazee somehow gives us tons of wonderful detail to engage us on each page without overwhelming baby with images. It’s full of tiny stories in pictures. Wonderfully, Frazee shows us loving families of many stripes. Frazee also illustrates a board book Hush Little Baby: A Folk Song With Pictures. Of course, you get to sing the song as you turn the pages. But it’s also an ingenious story featuring a jealous older sister waking baby and then trying to get her back to sleep. A peddler comes to their house and tries various trinkets to get the baby to stop crying all to no avail until the wild ending after a sleepless night.
These books are my tops. What baby books are at the top of your list?
And stay tuned for part two, in which I will make a case for the two greatest under age two books I know of!