There are parents that fear that having a baby means putting your sense of humor on hold, trading in wine glasses for sippy cups and limiting your fashion sense to that designer diaper bag. Luckily, there is a whole market now for Moms with these worries, and the book world is no exception. Pepper your bookshelves with these books that are fun for parents- though all of these books bright charming pictures and rhyming words make them beloved by children as well. These also make great gifts for the expectant parents who consider themselves terminally hip.
Today’s urban (and often suburban) babies (and their parents!)revel in great architecture and the arts, while drinking lattes and of course, wearing black. Fun for parents–and toddlers love the images and simple text, too. This book is part of a whole series including Eco Babies Wear Green, Jet Set Babies Wear Wings and Foodie Babies Wear Bibs, but this first book is best; the others often come across as trying too hard.
First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger
This board book is much loved by babies and toddlers for the playfulness with language and wonderful-sounding words that are part of sushi eating. Bright and colorful collages illustrate foods like “wasabi” and “futomaki.” Parents don’t mind reading the rhymes over and over again in preparation to the first trip to a sushi bar. (There are other World snacks books too, if there is another direction you want to steer your budding gourmet. This one is our family’s favorite.)
Hip Cat by Jonathan London, illustrated by Woodleigh Hubbard
Oobie-Do is a sax-playing, jazz-loving cat who tries to make it as a musician. The sounds and rhythms of “scat” make this a wonderful book to read aloud to young children who appreciate the beat and rhymes of the language of jazz. Modern, abstract art in vivid colors are the perfect illustrations. A great reason to start playing a little Miles Davis in the background…
Yo, Jo! by Rachel Isadora
Yo, Jo! invites readers to delight in the hip-hop-style lingo that Jomar and his friends use as they hang out, show off their cool clothes, roller blade, and listen to music in their active city neighborhood. Bright collage images show how busy it is in this community, where everyone knows and greets each other.
Forever Young by Bob Dylan, illustrated by Paul Rogers
You can read this book on two levels. First, it is a gentle story of following your dreams, and treating others with respect, richly illustrated to appeal to very young children. And for the Bob Dylan fan, there are lots of inside jokes about Bob Dylan’s life and works that make it entertaining on another level. Check out the other musicians in the illustrations… Great to pair with playing the song itself (and other Bob Dylan hits).
These “designer” nursery rhymes are rewritten versions of the classics, with more than a drop of irony. Really this book is for Mom, but the colorful illustrations also draw toddlers’ interest. And if you want to raise a little fashionista (and amuse your friends with the early word your child picks up), this is a great book to have.
The Cats Pajamas by Frances Brundage
This book was originally published in 1932 and has the period illustrations that make it genuinely (not faux) retro. Plus, it’s a great story with cool pictures for the discerning young toddler. What happens when playful kittens rough-house after receiving fashionable new pajamas? What will their mother say?
Pop Warhol’s Top by Julie Appel
An interactive book that babies can “touch and feel” as they learn about 20th century art by artists like Warhohl and Lichtenstein. The fun of the book is the reproductions that you and your baby can interact with; the written words are actually a bit of a disappointment. This is one of a whole series of touch the art, and we actually prefer some of the others. But this one is probably the “coolest.”
Baby, Mix Me a Drink by Lisa Brown
This quirky, off-beat book is one that most parents enjoy and can display on the book shelf as baby’s first how-to book. You can actually follow the directions that use simple shapes to make a variety of mixed drinks. Not that we encourage baby making the drink, but after baby goes to bed… we’re just saying!
The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! by Steve Martin (Author), Roz Chast (Illustrator)
A combination of sophisticated and silly, this alphabet book is one to read and reread, searching out each page to find all the drawings that represent the letters, as well as appreciating the humor of the wild alliterations and rhymes. Yes, it’s another celebrity book, but he’s a pretty cool celeb, and it’s a pretty cool book.