Great Storch Family Tornado of Destruction Summer Tour 2013 Photo Recapalooza
Super Zah

Ultimate Master List, Board Book Edition

POWER RANKED IN ORDER OF WHICH BOOKS HAVE BEEN LITERALLY LOVED TO PIECES AND/OR EATEN

(BECAUSE LOVE)

(ALSO TEETHING)

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We have QUITE the library of children's books in our house. I'd call them children's literature but...I dunno. Some of our books are really dumb and make me kind of stabby.

(Has anyone read The Little Engine That Could lately? Do you remember it being so long? Because it's soooo looooonnng. It's like 20 solid minutes of crying toys, mean trains, laments about the good little girls and boys in the valley not having any milk or fruit or toys [which are STILL CRYING], heavy-handed symbolism for Get The Fuck Over Yourself And Help The Goddamn Train Already, with a bonus clown who kind of looks like the great-grand-uncle of Pennywise.)

(Our copy got mysteriously lost during the great move-that-didn't-happen house purge. AND I'M NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT SORRY.)

The above photo is but a small representative sample of our book collection, but I believe runs an acceptable gamut of board books that your baby/toddler will love, to those he/she will tolerate, to those that no baby or toddler ever gave two shits about but no matter, you will somehow own seven copies of anyway. 

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Guess How Much I Love You falls into that last category. Yes, it's a sweet story and everyone in the world is going to buy it for you at your shower. The good news is that you will easily be able to re-gift your extra copies because your kid will never touch this book. It will remain pristine, provided you don't ruin it with your own postpartum tears while reading to your meatloaf of a newborn because MOON AND BACK. MOOOOON AND BACK. I tried very hard to make that call-and-response a "thing" between me and Noah, and much like fetch, it didn't really stick. By the time Ezra was born I started to realize that hey, that dad bunny is kind of a dick, basically one-upping his poor kid and mocking his tiny feeble bunny arms until he basically gives up and passes out from exhaustion. Shit, man. 

We actually had four copies of it at one point. I got us back down to one by regifting three to other unsuspecting pregnant women. Then I made the mistake of having another baby. 

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Good Night, Gorilla. If I'd made this list when Noah was a toddler, back when I thought I Knew All The Things, these two books would have been at the top of the list. These particular copies are actually replacements that I bought while pregnant with Ezra, because Noah loved them so much that our copies were falling apart. Also he'd taken some bites out of them, like a hamster. So of course SECOND BABY MUST HAVE NEW COPIES. SECOND BABY MUST HAVE NEW COPIES BEFORE HE IS EVEN BORN DON'T QUESTION ME NESTING NESTING NESTING.

Neither Ezra nor Ike has shown any particular interest in either book. Whatever. I still think they are both really great books and it's not their fault my last two babies were defective.

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Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs. Someone recommended Byron Barton's books to me when Noah was in speech therapy and finally moving past one and two-word expressions. They are nice, simple books with nice, simple sentences. Nothing too abstract here — just books about surefire, winning topics like...dinosaurs. Planes. Trains. Trucks. Yep. That is a truck. Look at the truck. Yep. Yep. 

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WARNING: MAY TURN YOUR CHILD INTO A DINOSAUR. NOM NOM.

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The Going-To-Bed Book. This list is very Boynton heavy, and only represents a FRACTION of the number of Boynton books we own. We have at least a dozen or two. And they're all good. You should just go buy some. They are funny and sweet and best of all, SHORT. But while I celebrate her entire catalog, my children have all had their own favorites, which you can figure out directly based on how shitty our copy looks now. This was Ezra's all-time fave, I believe, though Ike has carried on the tradition by inflicting most of the spinal damage. 

Either that or this was their passive-aggressive take on the whole "going to bed" process. 

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My First Word Board Book. This book (and all the similar ones in the series) is terrific for a young toddler who is just starting to develop and exand his/her vocabulary. Lots of colorful photos of familiar things for them to point at and identify...while sitting alone in the crib while you pee/vacuum/stare blissfully into space for 15 stupid minutes. Turn your benign neglect into an educational experience today!

Also:

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Our copy is sticky. WHY IS OUR COPY SO STICKY?

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The Snowy Day. Yes, we own a lot of Ezra Jack Keats. Probably in an attempt to convince ourselves that Ezra's name wasn't as weird as other people seemed to think it was after we announced it. ("You know, like the book of the Bible? Ezra Jack Keats? Uh...okay fine, Better Than Ezra? They had that one song? No, I'm not going to sing it for you, I don't remember how it goes, omg, whatever. IT'S A NAME THAT EXISTS.")

The Snowy Day is by far everyone's favorite, a real crowdpleaser for toddlers to almost-eight-year-olds alike, and thus we've been completely incapable of keeping a undamaged copy in our collection. 

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Horns to Toes and in Between. Another much-loved Boynton. This one teaches little ones about parts of the body, mixed in with funny monster-only features. It starts with horns and moves down to...

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Well, it DID, until my rotten children ripped out all the pages at the beginning. Nice going, kids! NOW HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO FOLLOW THE PLOT?

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Goodnight Moon is another book that you will immediately and mysteriously accumulate a frightening number of copies of, from the minute you announce your pregnancy. The difference is that kids genuinely freaking love this book. LOVE IT. And it makes them sleepy and calm like nothing else. It's melatonin in printed form.

We once had a nice big oversized board book version of Goodnight Moon that over time, my three children literally ate and digested, as if to absorb its sleep-inducing power. 

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Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! One of Ike's favorite Boynton books. It came to him as an already-pretty-beat-up hand-me-down that he wasted no time in destroying the rest of the way. Replacement copy on order.

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Blue Hat, Green Hat, better known as the "OOPS book." One of EVERYBODY'S favorite Boyntons, including mine. It's about this turkey who always puts his clothes on the wrong way and it's all, "blue hat, green hat, red hat...OOPS." Because the turkey is standing in his hat or has his socks on his hands (wings?). And everybody loses their shit over the "OOPS", including me, because shut up. It's funny. God, I haven't slept in years.

Anyway, if you're wondering why we have two copies of this one when neither copy looks particularly gummed on, I went to read it to Ike the other day and...

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OOPS.

(bwahahahahahahahaaaaa.)

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And THIS much-loved little book is...hmm.

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Uhhh.

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Ah yes! Tickle Time! Or as Ike calls it (500 times a day, which is about how often we read it): GITCH. Holy crap, does he adore this book, and I get to use it as a shameless excuse to mercilessly tickle his chunky upper thigh meat. 

(If I dare tickle him while not reading Tickle Time! he will likewise shriek NO GITCH! NO GITCH! STAHHHHP!)

And finally:

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Star Trek Book of Opposites
. You may wonder why I've ranked a book in such good shape so highly — it's because none of my children are allowed to touch this precious tome without my explicit permission and supervision. I keep it prominently displayed on a shelf out of their reach, like a total asshole. But if you owned a copy of this book I think you'd understand. IT'S SO AWESOME I READ IT EVERY DAY AND AM STILL LAUGHING EVERY TIME. Sometimes even with the kids, but I don't let that stop me or anything.

(Disclosure: links are Amazon Affiliate links. Feel free to subvert by opening another browser tab so as not to support our wanton board-book destroying lifestyle.)

Comments

Heather

Oh god - red had blue hat was the first book Kid1 read to me (and by read I mean memorized). He was only 2, and he would stop and laugh this really fake, theatrical laugh at the oops parts. We moved this summer and I was cleaning out the board books and I had to keep that one for the memory alone.

maggie2

The classic Boynton book, Moo Ba La La La. My youngest just started kindergarten, and I can still recite it out loud...Read to all three of them....
*sigh* I miss board books...

Rachel

"The Going to Bed Book", sigh, such awesome memories. My kids are 16 & 13, so haven't read it in a long time, but I know right where it is located in our house even today. =) What about Dr. Seuss? 'Go Dog Go' was one of my daughter's favs as a toddler.

Lindsay

We also love, love, LOVE Boynton's Barnyard Dance. Why is she so awesome?!

Courtney

I'm so glad you said that about "Guess How Much I Love You." That dad is a one-upping a-hole. And why did both characters have to be male? It makes the pronouns in this book very confusing. But mostly, shut up, show-offy dad.

Superfantastic

I bought Goodnight Gorilla for my niece based on Amazon reviews. At three, she was asking me for a replacement copy and now it's the two year-old's favorite. So yes, I can vouch for Goodnight Gorilla.

Kim in Columbus

My husband and I don't have children, but we spent almost an hour in a bookstore reading the Boynton books, just laughing and laughing! I bought two sets, one for my sister's new baby and one for us to keep at our house. All of our nieces and nephews love the books!

Grace

Am I the only person who absolutely hates all of Boynton's books? I find the rhymes and cadences really off and I just can't stand them. We got a ton of them at my baby shower and somehow they mysteriously disappeared...

My 1-year-old has totally destroyed our copy of Goodnight Moon though. And Brown Bear, Brown Bear was a favorite for quite a while. He also really loves the "How do Dinosaurs" series by Jane Yolen.

Cran

My first grandchild is arriving today (!) and we started preparing his library months ago. Of course, his mom's favorites were top of the list, including:

Chicks Chicka Boom Boom (singsongy)
The Berenstein Bears
Old Black Witch
and Miss Suzy.

I cannot WAIT to cuddle and read!

Hillary

Yes, that Guess How Much I Love You bunny is just one-upping his kid! There was a time when it made me cry too, but then I had the same realization.

My son adores the Boynton books. Also The Fire Engine Book (in all its 1950's style glory) and one called I Love You Through and Through.

Lucy

Speaking of books that just go on forever... the Grouchy Ladybug. Ugh.

Natalie

My son LOVES Goodnight Gorilla. OMG...his face lights up when the mom opens her eyes in the dark. On the following page he points to her like he just knows what the story is about. He's 9 months old. Is BOY GENIUS for sure!! Haha. Reading to him before bed is my favorite time of the day. The best.

Christine

My 4yo loves "reading" Blue Hat Green Hat to me, because she knows all the words, especially the oopses.

I do love Goodnight Gorilla, but sometimes I just want someone to tell me what words to say, you know? My children do not like to look at the pictures and make up their own.

Melissa@Mama Never Sleeps

Hell yes to Goodnight Moon and The Snowy Day!

Down to Guess How Much I Love You. I hate it, the kids hate it.

All Disney books gifted have been recycled. Like, in the city recycling...not re-gifted. I wanted to like them, who doesn't like Thumper? But they are so badly written I can't even handle it.

Amelia

We bought a few of the Boynton song cds a few years ago and my kids have plum WORN THEM OUT. They are funny sings, including beloved books set to music (which came first, the song or the book?) like Snuggle Puppy, The Tickle Song, Pajama Time!, and so many more sung by ACTUAL REAL RECORDING ARTISTS. I cannot stress enough what kind of difference that makes because the songs "Dog Train" performed by Blues Traveler and "Slow Turtle" performed by the Beach Boys do not make me lose my shit at the one millionth listen like insipid, "c'mon kids, let's sing along!"-style music by Raffi or Barney or any of the other terrible "children's" recording artists out there. Something for everyone in those Boynton albums, you should check them out.

aimee

Thank you for this post. Everytime my kid (14 months) brings me Dear Zoo, it's like "seriously, fuck this book" but he loves it.

Alison

Can I just say how happy I am to see that someone else has books in the same (loved) condition as ours. I've been over to some friends houses where their children's books are frickin pristine - whereas many of my sons are only vaguely identifiable as books at this point. Goodnight Moon has a hole in the middle of every single page where my kiddo managed to teeth through the entire binding from the back. It's almost impressive. And he's not even allowed to touch the non-board books on his own because he will tear them to shreds in 1.5 seconds.

Sally

I love your list! Do you have the Star Wars ABC board book? It's just as awesome as the Star Trek. You might be interested in a project my boys and I just finished. We read TONS of picture books to come up with our list of 250 Favorite Classic Picture books. I've posted the entire list in a PDF so you can print it out and take it to the library with you. It took us two summers of reading! If you're interested, here's the link -- http://sallysays.typepad.com/sallysays/2013/08/250-picture-book-classics.html

Laurie

Sandra Boynton is a favorite here, too. My two boys LOVE(d) her books. Our favorite is: Personal Penguin. Have you seen the video of Davy Jones singing the song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-sGDe-yMKs

And then last year, we took a trip to San Diego, and my (then) four-year-old son finds a penguin stuffed animal at Sea World and starts to sing the song. SO OF COURSE we bought her (and, of course, she's a her...I do her voice!) and she somehow came up speaking with a British-y accent (as well as a South Louisianan can DO a British accent, of course) and she sings this song to my sons every night.

Gotta love a book that morphs into music! :D

Alicia

Stomp your feet, clap your hands, everybody ready for a BARNYARD DANCE!!

Our favorite. Along with most in yours.

And that train could have totally gone up the hill like 7 pages ago. pfft.

Hadley

Boynton's Happy Hippo, Angry Duck seems to be my munchkin's favorite. He always calms down when we read it since he was a little guy.

Amy

It's official - we need to start a campaign to put and end to the GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU madness! First, I was moved to comment because I thought I was the ONLY ONE who got 7 copies of that damn book (I'm also usually a happy lurker, so this is a big deal). Then I noticed how many of us anti-GHMILY-ers there are! Enough for a support group at the very least.

So, dear group, I haven't been able to re-gift any of my 7 copies yet because I happen to be super close to the pregnant women in my life recently, and friends don't let friends receive GHMILY. Feel my pain!

PS - a great alternative is, "I Love You Through and Through" by Bernadette Rosssetti-Shustak.

Camilla

http://instagram.com/p/dm1Cjevs-C/# Proof that even in norwegian, some books just aren't tasty enough! The other, tasty one is: http://www.amazon.com/Cant-You-Sleep-Little-Bear/dp/1564022625/ A very sweet book!

Fiona B.

Oh how youngest loved her Boyton books. She loved them so much she asked her Dad to help her write Sandra Boynton an email. They did...and they got an answer! I'm sure Sandra B. has staff to do that, but still. I was very impressed.

Both my girls still like to listen to the Philadephia Chickens CD (and they're 10 and 12 now). Who knew Kevin Bacon was such a rockin' musician?! or Scott Bakula could sing??

I would add all of Mo Willems Knuffle Bunny books to your list. I think we read one every night for a year when my youngest was 3.

Meredith

You will do just about anything to get Levar Burton to comment?! I feel like I just watched Reading Rainbow.
Seriously, Red Hat Blue Hat is our fav too! My son howls at "oops!" And he's almost 4 and on to more sophisticated literature such as War & Peace.

Carolyn

HAHAHAHA, I LOVE how many of those we agree with you on! (I always thought I was the only one that thought that Dad bunny was kind of an a-hole! Glad to know someone else agrees! Also the book Five Minutes Peace - that is NOT a comforting book for mother OR child! It's just REALITY, which, why do I need to read a book for that??) Also, if you have a Kindle Fire and the Freetime app, there are GREAT "app" versions of some of the Boynton books (you can read it aloud yourself or have it read to you, and when you touch the screen funny stuff happens - the turkey jumps into the pool, the clothes shoot out of a drawer, what have you). The only problem is if you go back to the actual book, sometimes your kid ends up confused (why does this not play a beautiful musical tone and display stars when I touch the sky?? And where are the flying fish??)

allison

I think i have every boynton book memorized...they are just that good. Perfect Piggies is especially funny....though I seem to enjoy it more than my 13 month old! :)

Hi, I'm Natalie.

You need Amazon.ca affiliate links! Seriously. I will click & buy the Start Trek one NOW.

Mel

Excellent list!

I had a girlfriend whose son began to have a terrible odor following him everywhere. The child was about two, I believe. After washing all his clothes, scrubbing him from top to bottom, examining all orifices, brushing his entire mouth, and basically sniffing herself into hysteria she took him to the doctor. The doctor did a cursory examination, then reached up the boy's nose with long tweezers and extracted a 1"x1" piece of a Boynton board book. Which was rotting.

kimm

We love Moo Baa, La la la, Snuggle Puppy, Tickle Time, Happy Hippo Angry Duck? The one about moods. but our favorite is Dinosaur's Binket. I think it is out of print, but it is awesome! Dinousaur is mad, is supposed to be going to bed but cant find his binket.

Stephanie

I have Guess How Much I Love You in both English and French, both of which are in pristine condition, because yes, boring. Also, that dad really is an a-hole.

I would add to this list the following: "Hooray for Fish" by Lucy Cousins. Both of my girls have loved it.

And a great book that we got from a Scholastic Book Fair at my daughter's day care: "The Big Red Ball and the Little White Kitten." It is a big board book with beautiful colors and pictures of animals. Great for little ones.

Nicole

My little man adores The Hungry Caterpillar and Where the Wild Things Are. I've also got him watching Fraggle Rock on Amazon instead of the childrens' programming available on TV. And am peeved I can't find Muppet Babies online. Starting to wonder if my kid is going to grow up hopelessly outdated.

mpotter

i wrote about Guess How Much I Love You on my blog years ago when the bean was small.
i HATE that book, and i'm glad you are so wise.
to this day, i cringe when someone says something like "to the moon", etc...

the only boynton book the bean had (which i thought was great) was Moo Baa La la la.

and Goodnight Gorilla makes me giggle. i checked out a DVD of it from the library and LOL'd all over the place. i begged The Mr. to come watch it. the bean i think loved it because i was cracking up so much.

-k-

Along the lines of the one-upping GHMILY dad, I can't be the only one to have found the mother in The Runaway Bunny to be totally overbearing, right?

Leah

Yep, I disappeared our copy of Guess How Much I Love You because the "big nutbrown hare" (maybe not even the dad! creepy!) was so irritating. But I love The Runaway Bunny, probably because I am a doting mother who wants to lather her children in affection for evair.

Frema

We also love us some Boyton. Our faves are Pajama Time and Barnyard Dance.

Also, Kara started kindergarten a few weeks ago, and I remember reading about The Kissing Hand on a mommy blog before I was even married. I was insistent that we get this book before the big day so she and I could read it together and share a milestone Mother-Daughter Moment. I even tried to make the palm kissing in the book an actual real-life thing. In the end, though, it just creeped Kara out. Whatevs.

Jamie B.

"Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." - Sir Francis Bacon.

Indeed.

Nikki G

We are a huge Boynton family starting with Moo Baa La, La, La. My now 15 year old has a copy which had to be replaced for the 10 year old which then had to be placed when number 3 (now 3) came along. There is still much giggling at "Three singing pigs say La La La". Hippos go Berserk is great for counting and yelling "Berserk". How many Boynton books do you know off by heart? It makes for a great party trick at baby showers :). Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle books are also a staple. The baby also loves Runaway Bunny and I don't get it. Booooooorrrrinnng. But in combination with Goodnight Moon it takes Melatonin to a whole new level.

Jessica

I have 2 kids and 4 copies of Guess How Much I Love You, 3 of which were bought by my mom. None of which have been read more than once because neither kid likes the book.

Susan

Sorry, gotta disagree here - I actually gave DH a copy of Guess How Much I Love You for our wedding, and we just got The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare from the library - my boys think it is equally fab.

However, the Boynton books are the best ever. We have The Belly Button Book which is my favorite. I just pulled out a stack of worn/chewed ones to pass on to a friend but after watching my boys "read" them in the car this morning, I think I'll hang on to them.

MamaKaren

My youngest child just started fifth grade and I may or may not still have some selected Boynton books in my house. I, um, keep them for...when I work in the nursery at church! Yeah! I'm totally not revisiting them myself or anything to relive fond memories of my kids' formative years! As much as they loved Pajama Time, an even better bedtime book was (big shock) The Going to Bed Book. Almost as soothing as Goodnight Moon with all the fun quirkiness of the other Boynton books.

We also own two copies of the Philadelphia Chickens CD, a copy of Dog Train, and a copy of Rhinocerous Tap. Very few things make me happier than hearing Patti LuPone sing about how she likes to grump, moan and whine or hearing Laura Linney sing a love song to the faraway cookies.

Amy

Hippos Go Berserk! Just read it with my 8-year-old last night. And Barnyard Dance. Personal Penguin ws not the hit with her that I wanted it to be. Davy Jones - OMG! I managed to escpate owning "Guess How Much I Love You" but I have two copies of the dreaded "Love You Forever", which are in pristine condition becuase I read one of them one time and sobbed so hard I got a migraine.

Dana

I just updated my Amazon wishlist, thanks for all the ideas! We have tons of Boynton and some of the others but now I really want to get everything we don't have yet. Of course we have something like 40 books so we don't really NEED any more board books but really... who can resist?

Aimee

I adore Sandra Boynton, but The Going To Bed Book is some serious b.s. WHY do they shower, THEN exercise, THEN go to bed??? That is completely the wrong order in which to do those things!

Amy

We looove the hungry caterpillar and all the myriad brown bear/baby bear/polar bear books. My new favorites are the "baby lit" series. My son loves the Alice in wonderland color primer and the Dracula counting book. And yes, we joke that you can tell how much he likes a book by how much it's destroyed.

Beth

Stupid Guess How Much book. Also, "Do You Love Me Mama?" Jesus Pete. The thing is, kids like what kids like (bright colors, not too many words, an understandable story, simple sentences) and they don't care for smaltzh. "Yes, little one, I love you as the wild rye loves you, giving you food to eat and . . . Oh, you're over there reading Good Night Gorilla. That's cool too."

Diana

Hooray for Boynton enthusiasts! We love them all, and I have now added more from the great comments here. Even The Dinosaur Binky book, it's on betterworldbooks.com (free shipping secondhand books! love!).
We also love Peter Sis books - my kid is crazy for trucks and anchors and such, and Sis makes it also about imagination not just facts (but his construction vehicles are also very detailed! even the Bogeys are there. I now know these things).

Rachel

I LOVE Blue Hat, Green Hat. But seriously, I bought it in Spanish for my classroom and the Spanish version is even better! Instead of Oops they say "Ay Caramba!" The kiddos crack their shit every time I read it :)

Another favorite "How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night". All of the How Do Dinosaur books are excellent but that one has my heart. I adore it.

Sarah

I love this conversation! Books should not only be read with the eyes, but also pawed by the hands, tasted by the mouths, and (apparently) shoved up the noses. A well-worn book just means a well-loved book.

Our copy of The Going To Bed Book looks exactly like yours, however we weren't sold on Sandra Boynton right away, for the same reason another commenter says: why would you shower, THEN exercise, THEN go to bed? But then we read Barnyard Dance and the rest is history. Blue Hat Green Hat is probably our favourite at the moment... silly turkey! He's wearing shoes as a hat!!! Makes my toddler laugh hysterically. Also another commenter mentioned it, we also love "I Love You Through and Through". And Goodnight Moon. And Brown Bear Brown Bear, of course.

My son's name is also Ezra, and the "from the Bible? Ezra Jack Keats? The band from the 90s, Better Than Ezra?" is very familiar to me. But we just keep getting "So her name is Asra?" Sigh.

Jen L.

Love your list. Does it ever bother you in The Going To Bed Book that they take a bath BEFORE they exercise? No? Just me? Ok.

We also love The Belly Button Book, which my husband reads in this kind of creepy voice with a Cajun accent.

And this comment has made me realize that, yeah, my family's weird. Happy Labor Day!

SS+1

Fantastic book list!! Brings back memories of when my son was a toddler....The eating of the books must be an instinctual toddler thing because bookz be soooo delish.

Blanche

Made the mistake of reading this post with my 3 year old sitting on my lap. Guess who just had to add 2 books (both Boynton, natch) to her wish list? Also did you know Sandra Boynton is on twitter and posts pictures? Very cool!

Andrea

The Going to Bed Book...
Yup, pretty sure it is permanently seared into my brain! My oldest ADORED that book. My youngest tolerated, my middle? Well, she sort of hates everything. She's fun. I tell people her favorite baby book was the Very Hungry Caterpillar but by favorite I mean she tolerated it.

Kirsten

Personal Penguin! My 1.5 year old loves it! I can't get myself to watch Davy Jones because we have our own sing-song tune for it. Whenever we get to, "Look at these wings, so perfect to hold you!" I get to give him a big hug while he giggles. It's grand.

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