“What does she know about books? She’s only five months old!
Allie knows very well what she likes and what she doesn’t. At this tender age it isn’t the plot of the story that excites her, but the art work, colours, rhythmic flow (rhymes) of the word, textures (if any) and the tone of voice the reader uses.
I recall a tired evening when I decided to read a book to Allie, and the hubby was tickled at how I was able to make the book sound like “the most exciting story ever” despite being exhausted and completely bored of the book. If we had visitors in the house, no one would have know I’ve been reading it daily for more than 2 months and have already committed every single word of the book to memory. I personally felt it was necessary to keep my voice “fun and excited”, because it will affect the way Allie perceive reading. She may not recognise words yet, but she can sure tell the tone of my voice as I read to her.
The hubby and I are determined to introduce both English and Mandarin to Allie from young. There is much we can benefit from the bilingual education system in Singapore, but why wait for the schools to do it when we can start the kids off from birth? After all, I like to think we’re fluently bilingual ourselves and studies have shown that babies can differentiate (by sound) up to 4 different languages from birth, and learning more languages doesn’t necessarily mean you child learn less per language. (Read more on that here)
So when it comes to books, I pick and read both Mandarin and English books to Allie. And here are the top 5 books that seem to get her attention the most for now:
(1) Hide and Seek a Ribbon Book, by Ladybird [Baby Touch series]
This book has got to be the indisputable favourite book. I started flipping and reading this book to Allie since she turned 2 months. We’d flip through the pages, and I’d point and talk about the colour, the animal and the sound it makes.
I also added simple actions to the book to involve her more. For example when the crocodile goes “snip snap!” I’d squeeze her arms, and when the happy caterpillar goes “wiggle wiggle”, I’d tickle her belly. Reading this book soon became a daily occurrence (some times we read it twice or thrice a day), and Allie now recognises the book cover and smiles at it.
The ribbon tags are great tool for distraction, chewing and for teaching the baby how to flip pages.
(2) Peek-a-boo Miffy, by Dick Bruna
This isn’t a book we own, but a library book we’ve borrowed. I actually try to steer clear from books with flaps because I’m afraid Allie will tear the flaps off. I know it sounds ridiculous. I mean babies are babies and books are meant to be chewed on, thrown around etc, but the book lover in me won’t like that happening to my books! So when I chanced upon this book at the library, I decided to bring it back and see how Allie will like it. Well, she loves it! And now I’m wondering whether to purchase a copy of it for ourselves.
(3) The Going to Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton
A book from the set of Sandra Boynton books that was gifted to Allie when she turned 1 month old, and we’ve chosen this book to be part of Allie’s sleep routine. This small board book is simple and has adorable illustrations of animals. It has a cute rhyme going through the the book and a little unexpected twist in the middle of the story that sent me giggling the first time I read it.
(4) 水果水果做迷藏, by 21st Century Publishing House
I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to source for good Chinese books for children. So when I saw this book on a local online bookstore, I knew I had to get it. This picture book was illustrated and texted originally by Koji Ishikawa in Japanese, but has since been translated into simplified Chinese.
The book was of good make and I particularly like how it introducing colours and fruits in both Mandarin and English. The pretty die-cut shapes are a bonus.
I made a quick video of this book so you can take a look!
(5) 我, 同心出版社
This book is from a series titled 《爱的表白书 》It is a simplified Chinese translation of the original series by Emma Dodd. This series of books aims to help parent and child express their love for each other through the simple stories using animals as characters.
In this book, a little penguin goes around realizing how small it is in this big world and how it is still unable to so many things the bigger penguins can. She compares itself to the tall mountains and the deep sea. The story ends with her finding comfort that these big things around her (including mummy/daddy who’s reading this book to her) are there to protect and love her.
So there you go, Allie’s top 5 books for now. Let’s hope her appetite for books and reading increase so I can write about her new top 10 some time soon!