Posted in Anti-Gift Guide

Babies don’t need this crap, and a list of great books to gift instead: More Books Less Crap 3 @readwithriver

When I was pregnant with my first child, I bought all the things. Anything I didn’t buy, other people bought for us. Most of it was completely unnecessary and I try my best to block the entire thing out of my head.

I’m not unusual in these mistakes, when you’re waiting for a baby, whether you’re the parent or the aunty or just a very good friend you want to show your love and excitement and buying everything in sight is an easy and fast way to do it. The trouble is most of the stuff gathers dust, takes up space, creates waste, and at the end of the day it was money better spent on a RESP for school or diapers!

With Christmas coming, people don’t want to gift boring things like diapers and school money. It’s unfortunate but it’s true they want something they can wrap with a bunch of ribbons and watch the baby open. That’s just a fact, unfortunately when it comes to toys for babies-it’s basically all useless. Your baby really just wants to chew on your tv remote, or old water bottle. They’ll be more excited by the wrapping tissue than any fancy electronic rattle.

So here’s my solution for everyone. Buy books. You can wrap books. They’re made of paper instead of crap plastic. You can read to the baby you give it to, and that’s an experience you can enjoy together with actual value. And you can write a little message in it that will be kept for years to come. Books are relatively easy to store, and they’re not annoying. If everyone could just call up their local independent bookshop and order a ton of books for all their babies this year, the world would be a much calmer more literate place!

Now I know, you’re like, ‘but WHICH books?’ the baby might already have it? Well don’t worry I got you, I have two lists for you, one of active play books that babies and toddlers can experience and destroy with great joy over time, and a second list of beautiful books that are sure to be future classics in a child’s library. All of them new books of the last two years! So it’s unlikely they’ve got it already.

Click on the photos of the books to check out their publisher website, and place an order with a local independent book shop and support your local economy!

Indestructibles from Workman Publishing rip proof, chew proof, light, washable, great for any trip, or visit. 
Indestructibles from Workman Publishing rip proof, chew proof, light, washable, great for any trip, or visit. 
“Where is Everyone?” Tom Schamp my kids LOVE Tom Schamp’s work, and this lift the flap is a quirky masterpiece of the unexpected.  Probably our favourite board book this year. @prestelpublishing 
“Where is Everyone?” Tom Schamp my kids LOVE Tom Schamp’s work, and this lift the flap is a quirky masterpiece of the unexpected.  Probably our favourite board book this year. @prestelpublishing 

“Young Gifted and Black” with Mirror, a beautiful, board book celebrating Black icons and full of affirmations for little readers. @quartokids

“Young Gifted and Black” with Mirror, a beautiful, board book celebrating Black icons and full of affirmations for little readers. @quartokids
“Shape Up Construction Trucks” Victoria Allenby @pajamapress  fun new rhyming book full of shapes and details to notice and discuss, perfect for a little vehicle lover!
“Feeding Time: Hungry Animals” Part of a new pop out series from Happy Yak @quartokids that my toddler adores, feed the animals on each page with the little bookmarks.
“Feeding Time: Hungry Animals” Part of a new pop out series from Happy Yak @quartokids that my toddler adores, feed the animals on each page with the little bookmarks.

“Woodland Dance” Sandra Boynton @workmanpublishing the newest release by the master of all bedtime books, is it a song or is it a rhyme? Kinda both!
“In the Half Room”Carson Ellis @candlewickpress is a surreal and gentle dream, beautiful and ethereal.
“In the Half Room”Carson Ellis @candlewickpress is a surreal and gentle dream, beautiful and ethereal.
“As Strong as the River” Sarah Noble @flyingeyebooks little bear sees the world around her and loves what she sees, in this book about the joys of growing up and the beauty and love in the world.
“As Strong as the River” Sarah Noble @flyingeyebooks little bear sees the world around her and loves what she sees, in this book about the joys of growing up and the beauty and love in the world.
“Ergo” Alexis Deacon and Viviane Scwarz @candlewickpress A chick discovers that there is infact a world beyond the egg, enjoy your new world little chick.  Charming. 
“Ergo” Alexis Deacon and Viviane Scwarz @candlewickpress A chick discovers that there is infact a world beyond the egg, enjoy your new world little chick.  Charming. 
“Songs on the Vanilla Trail: Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes from East and Southern Africa” Musical picture book with download and CD @secretmountainpress Beautiful, inclusive, and a wonderful introduction to lullabies of the world. 

“Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink” Randi Hampson and Qin Leng @tundrabooks the classic song we all know and love set to bright, and inclusive illustrations.
“We are One: How the World Adds Up” Susan Hood and Linda Yan @candlewickpress    Probably one of the best new release rhyming books, an instant classic, full of wonder.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Top 10 Books for a Baby Shower

One of my dearest oldest friends is about to have her first baby and I couldn’t be more excited. Now, obviously the baby shower that was envisioned is out of the question but sending something special is still a must.  

In my experience it seems that people choose books for baby showers a lot like they choose the clothes.  Impractical, fussy, not really designed for everyday use.  Noone wants to button 56 buttons up on pajamas at 4 am, Karen, I don’t care if that’s what you did with your babies 500 years ago.  Oh yes, please tell me more about your horrific birth story and how sugar is the devil.

So I set about picking the top ten books I think every house absolutely needs. I chose them based on which books my children enjoyed the best as babies and that are still enjoyed regularly in our home today.

  This was a hard choice and I also opted to put only one book from each author. Honestly I could make a top 50 of essentials but maybe that is excessive.

  I couldn’t get great photos of this because Willow was too excited at seeing all her favourite books in one place. Normally I seperate them throughout the house strategically. Of the hundreds of books we have, these ones are always the top requests. So she kept on grabbing them off my photo spread and forcing me to read them again and again. It took over an hour. I gave up trying to photograph them all, they’re pretty worn looking anyway.  Here is my list in order of dire necessity.

The Top 10 Best Books for a Baby Shower: picked to read (and not just to treasure)

1.”I Took the Moon for a Walk” Carolyn Curtis & Alison Jay @barefootbooks

2. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” Eric Carle @philomel @penguin

3. “Go to Sleep Little Farm” Mary Lyn Ray Christopher Silas Neal @houghtonmifflinharcourt

4. “Mortimer” Robert Munsch & Michael Martchenko @annick

5. “Oh No, George” Chris Haughton @candlewick

6. “We Love Each Other” Yusuke Yonezu @minedition

7. “Slinky Malinki Open the Door” Lynley Dodd @puffin

8. “The Going to Bed Book” Sandra Boynton @littlesimon 

9. “Alligator Pie” by Dennis Lee illustrated by Sandy Nichols @harpercollins

10. “Claire Beaton’s Nursery Rhymes” @barefootbooks

11. “Cats” Matthew Van Fleet & Brian Stanton @simonandschuster

A further note.  Many of these authors have books that I would consider equally excellent, I was just narrowing it down.  For example most of the classic Munsch books “The Paper Bag Princess,” “Thomas’s Snowsuit,” “David’s Father.” Or many of the Eric Carle books, “Brown Bear Brown Bear” are also favourites in this house.  Perhaps I will make a list of my top fifty eventually.  For now, this list is a good starter pack for any baby’s layette.