You know what babies and toddlers love? Routine. You know what that means come storytime? It means I’m reading Goodnight Moon for the 200,000th time in 5.5 years of parenting. Don’t get me wrong — that book is a beloved bedtime classic. But according to an article in The New York Times, parents are now flocking to a new kind of classic board book — board books of the classics.
Several publishing houses have released classic novels as short board books for babies and toddlers. Bored of Goodnight Moon? How about tonight you pick up Moby Dick or Wuthering Heights? The New York Times points out that products promising parents that their child will be on the academic fast-track have long been popular. (Baby Einstein videos, anyone?) These aesthetically pleasing books for tots are apparently flying off the shelves.
I can feel a lot of you rolling your eyes at the screen right now. And I will admit that I got a good chuckle at the thought of reading Anna Karenina to my 4-month-old baby, since I didn’t even understand that book as an adult. However, as a child development professional, I can tell you that it’s not what you are reading to your baby that is important, but the act of reading itself. According to KidsHealth, reading to your baby teaches him about communication and builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills. But perhaps most importantly, it promotes bonding between you and your baby, as he listens to your voice and you are physically close while sharing a story.
I often tell the parents I work with to let the baby be actively involved in storytime — linger on a page that interests your baby and discuss the colors and shapes in the pictures; let him turn and chew the pages, too! The entire process is educational and becomes the foundation for a love of reading.
So I say, if typical board books bore you, why not change it up? Click through for 8 examples of classic board books you can read with your little one.
These are the Classics 1 of 9
No more Goodnight Moon? Woot! Let's get started.
Thar She Blows! 2 of 9
The longest book ever just became the shortest. Yeah!
How About a Little Bronte? 3 of 9
Pretend you are playing on the moors as you read this classic, the only novel by Emily BrontÃ«.
A Rose by Any Other Name 4 of 9
Yeah, this story is a bummer in the end, but this version focuses on counting and hopefully skips the part about drinking weird concoctions from apothecaries.
I Heart Mr. Darcy 5 of 9
This is one of my favorite novels, so while we look at it, I can daydream about Colin Firth. That's a win for everyone.
Tolstoy? Anyone…? 6 of 9
I am not smart enough to get through the real version, so maybe I should try the baby version?
Bah Humbug! 7 of 9
I absolutely love this book, play, and film, so of course I'll get a copy of this board book for my baby's first Christmas!
I Love Me Some Jane Austen 8 of 9
I think it's important to warn your babies about the dangers of matchmaking. Teach 'em early to mind their own dang business!
Time to Whitewash that Fence 9 of 9
Oh my goodness, I want this book so badly. It hasn't been released yet, but I'm going to grab a copy next spring. I love all the adventure in this book, and I'm sure my kids will love it, too!