POWER RANKED IN ORDER OF WHICH BOOKS HAVE BEEN LITERALLY LOVED TO PIECES AND/OR EATEN
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.
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.
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.
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.
WARNING: MAY TURN YOUR CHILD INTO A DINOSAUR. NOM NOM.
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.
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!
Our copy is sticky. WHY IS OUR COPY SO STICKY?
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.
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...
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?
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.
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.
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...
And THIS much-loved little book is...hmm.
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!)
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.
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