Oliver and I spend a lot of time reading board books these days. He brings one to me, turns around to sit on my lap, and waits for me to start. Sometimes we only get through a page or two, maybe half the book, and if I’m lucky, the whole thing. When he’s in a reading mood (which is basically all the time), we’ll devour 8-12 books in one sitting.
I even catch him reading books to himself. With upside-down book in hand, he babbles to himself as he turns the pages. My mama heart melts each time.
Reading and reading often is too important to skip just because baby refuses to focus for the whole book. You probably know that babies should be read to from day one. Reading (and singing) daily in the first year of a child’s life promotes cognitive and language development, and affects their ability to read later. Rhymes, rhythms, and repetition are so, so important. If you haven’t read Mem Fox’s Reading Magic, I highly encourage you to pick it up.
My days and nights are filled with a full-time job, tending to baby, and taking care of myself and my family. Let’s get real: I’ve been reading the same middle grade book for weeks. By the time I finally wind down in bed and crack the book’s spine, I’m out within minutes. All I can read cover-to-cover right now are board books. But I’m learning so much about this cute and important genre.
So here’s the first of many board book reviews. Each review will be short and sweet, which I think fits nicely with this short and sweet genre.
Five Little Ducks, by Raffi, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. Published by Knopf for Young Readers (1999)
A mama duck calls her ducklings back from their adventures. One by one, they stop coming home until all the little ducks are gone. But after some time passes, mama duck is finally reunited with her not-so-little ducklings (and their new families).
We read this one A LOT! Like six-times-a-day a lot. Justin and I catch ourselves asking Oliver, “Don’t you want to read a different one? We just read this one.” But it’s one of his favorites. You can tell by the worn corners and spine.
This book is memorable no doubt because of the rhyme and repetition. Even on a first read (and without hearing the song, which I haven’t), you find yourself adding your own sing-songy touch. Spreads are light on text, which keeps baby’s interest between page turns.
The illustrations are bright and beautiful. Some spreads have more detail than others, but the ducklings are always easy to find. Not only does it make it fun for baby to point out the ducks, but easy for mama/dada to count the ducklings with baby.
It’s a sweet, heartfelt read with happy ending. This mama duck approves.