12 Board Books Beloved by Parents Editors and Their Babies
The true mark of a great board book? When parents can still remember the smile it put on their baby's face no matter how many years have passed. These classics pass the test.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
By Eric Carle
"When my daughter was about 18 months old, she would hand me this book to read time and time again, giggling when the caterpillar 'pops' out of its cocoon, studying all the delicious foods, and pretending to be a butterfly when we got to the end. She heard it so often that she had memorized the words. At her second birthday party, she 'read' the story to her guests and then enjoyed a big piece of chocolate cake and slice of watermelon!"
—Karen Cicero, Parents Senior Editor
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
By Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
"I was slightly too old for this book when it was my sister's favorite (she's 5 years younger), and whenever my parents read it to her, I rolled my eyes. Too much rhyming, too many nonsense words! Thirty years and one son later, I finally get it. The book is colorful and clever (the lowercase letters are the uppercase letters' kids! Genius!), and its rhyme and rhythm teach the alphabet in a far more tuneful way than the droning ABC song. I'm officially a fan."
—Katie Arnold-Ratliff, Parents Senior Features Editor
By Jan Brett
"My son is obsessed with animals, so he is completely enraptured by the book's beautiful lifelike illustrations of the owl, the fox, the bear and the rest of the forest critters who end up snuggling together inside of the knitted mitten."
—Yolanda Wikiel, Parents Food and Lifestyle Director
Pat the Bunny
By Dorothy Kunhardt
"I loved flipping through the interactive pages of Pat the Bunny as a kid—feeling the soft bunny's fur, lifting the cloth flap to reveal a mirror, fitting my finger into 'Mommy's ring.' I read it so much—long after the recommended age range—that my mom had to re-bind the pages with tied pieces of yarn."
—Emily Elveru, Parents Staff Health Editor
Harold and the Purple Crayon
By Crockett Johnson
"My kids were always curious to see what Harold would draw next! In a simple but powerful way, the book shows how we can all create our own fun with a little imagination."
—Diane Debrovner, Parents Deputy Editor
By Margaret Wise Brown
"I get so much pleasure from observing the world around me: seeking out a four-leaf clover; browsing the aisles of a foreign supermarket; discovering which books my friends keep on their shelves. I am sure this habit was first honed when Goodnight Moon was read to me as a small child, when grown-ups pointed out all the objects found in the book's iconic bedroom, when I learned just how fun it is to have a keen eye."
—Ava Bramson, Parents Art Assistant
Guess How Much I Love You
By Sam McBratney
"I received Guess How Much I Love You as a gift and was so thrilled. Once we started reading it to her, my daughter requested it every night!"
—Shelley Wolson, Parents Copy Editor
By David McKee
Editors agree: The brightly colored patchwork elephant living among grey elephants helps us teach our kids to embrace differences.
The Runaway Bunny
By Margaret Wise Brown
"I can still remember the feeling of being 3 or 4-years old, tucked in snug next to my mother, listening to her read this book. My mother was ever-present and fiercely protective. I don't know why, exactly, but she seemed to fear losing us. When she held our hands on the street, her grip was tight. I didn't understand what her anxiety was about, and even as a young kid, I resented it a bit. But reading this book, I saw my mother in the mother bunny, and I realized that at its core, her protectiveness stemmed from maternal instinct and love. I saw myself in the baby bunny too—with dueling wishes to run free and be safe in my mother's arms. I don't know if I knew it then, but this book taught me just how important a story can be."
—Julia Edelstein, Parents Editor-in-Chief
The Little Engine That Could
By Watty Piper
"The Little Engine That Could is such a great moment of triumph in children's books. Hearing my child mutter "I think I can, I think I can" lets me know those little messages are really getting through and impacting him in a great way. It's a perfect reminder that those who are small can accomplish amazing things."
—Joanna Muenz, Parents Photo Editor
By Leslie Patricelli
Editors declare it a must-read for any toddler who carries around their blanket, and an awesome baby shower gift paired with a swaddling set, bunting bag, or lovey.
Where Is Baby's Belly Button?
By Karen Katz
"Babies can't get enough of a 'peek-a-boo' game and that's what makes each page a thrill for them. At first you lift the flaps to find baby's eyes under the hat and so on, but once your kid can do the reveals themselves, it's even more fun. My kids loved that baby's feet are behind the cat!"
—Jessica Hartshorn, Parents Entertainment Editor