What Henry Is Reading Now

in Book Club!

I love to read (you can search my Book Club! category for lots of book reviews) and hope to pass my passion for the written word down to Henry.  When I was pregnant, I had many daydreams about snuggling up with my baby to read him book after book after book.  In reality, it’s almost impossible to get Henry to sit still long enough to make it through a book, even one designed for babies.  At eight months, he’s just now getting interested in looking at books.


Some secrets to baby reading:  I’ve got to animate my voice BIG TIME.  Funny noises, lots of inflections.  I do hand motions and wiggle around a lot, too (like, if there’s a train in the story, I’ll stop to making choo-choo noises and chug us around like we’re on the train).  Also, I’ve learned that it’s more than okay to stop halfway through the book if Henry is getting distracted.  I used to try to barrel through to the end (“Don’t you want to know what happens?!”) but quickly realized that it doesn’t matter.  And last, but not least, I time our readings very carefully.  Books work best right after waking up or before going down for a nap.  Middle of the day? Forget it.


I can’t imagine that I’m the only one with a super squirmy baby who finds longer books bo-ring, so I thought I’d share the few that work for us.



Carry Me: Babies Everywhere:  Henry really likes books with photographs of real people inside, and this one is extra special because of all the babies. 


Pajama Time: This is the longest book Henry will sit through, and he only does because the book is more of a song than a story.  The pages are really bright and cheerful, too.  I’ve noticed the highest contrast books grab his focus. 


Peek-a-Who?:  This is Henry’s absolute favorite book (you can see in the picture above how worn away it is from chewing).  We read it at least twice a day, and I know the entire thing by heart (not hard because there are only five lines).  There’s a mirror in the back for Henry to look at, too.


Baby Says Peekaboo!:  This book is a winner because 1) pictures of babies; 2) pop-up flaps; and 3) the word peek-a-boo.  The other day, we were reading this book and Henry pointed to one of the babies and said, “BABY!” and I just about died.  He hasn’t done it since though. 


In My Tree:  This book has a special hole in the back – you slip your finger inside and the little felt owl turns into a puppet.  Henry loves it!


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?:  This book is too long to hold Henry’s attention all the way through; however, he likes looking at the pictures (very high contrast) and I hope it is helping him learn animal names.



  • Amanda February 20, 2013, 10:15 am

    I’ve been reading with my little dude at bedtime since he was 3 months old, now 8.5 mo and just started to really crawl all over the place yesterday (he’s already standing up though!). I guess we’re lucky that if I want him to sit in my lap, all I have to do is get out a book 🙂 He gets vocal when I pull this book out and he starts shaking his arms out and dancing with joy that we’re going to read it: http://www.amazon.com/Tricky-Tongue-Twisters-Sesame-Street/dp/0375872493. Have you tried Very Hungry Caterpillar too? It’s really bright and contrasty (is that a word?). He doesn’t smile at the book, but it keeps him focused.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats February 20, 2013, 10:22 am

    Oh I loved Brown Bear Brown Bear!!! From baby sitting I found that kids tend to get really into books around 1 year old and it sticks for a few years. I love that you want Henry to be a reader, I grew up loving to read and be read to. I still read as much as I can in my free time, I just love getting lost in a story!

    • Katie February 20, 2013, 3:58 pm

      I also am a huge fan of Brown Bear Brown Bear!! There’s also a polar bear book that is similar.

  • Erica February 20, 2013, 10:25 am

    I learned a great tip from my day care teacher, actually. Give the baby a small toy to hold (nothing fancy, we usually do a block or his teether or plastic keys). It keeps their hands occupied enough to let them focus on the book. Between that and animated reading, we can actually get through one or two books, and even a “longer” board book like Brown Bear.

    Also, I love Pajama Time! I actually sing it to my own little tune and I sing it all the time now.

    • Caitlin February 20, 2013, 10:30 am

      good tip!

  • Rachel February 20, 2013, 10:26 am

    That’s weird that Henry is just now getting interested in books. We’ve been reading to my 5 1/2 month old son since he was born, and he has always been interested. He will sit quietly and look at the pages while I read book after book. I’m always looking for longer books because most written for babies are too short so we have to read like 5 of them before he loses interest. But he isn’t crawling yet, so maybe that’ll change everything. I’ve heard once babies are mobile, it’s hard to get them to sit still for anything.

    • Caitlin February 20, 2013, 10:29 am

      I think it’s because he was so mobile so fast. He was crawling at 5 months and couldn’t care less to sit and stare at something like a book. Then we entered the pulling-up-stage and the trying-to-walk stage and it was all over for another few months. I’m so excited that he’s SLOWING DOWN and starting to enjoy sitting! LOL Mommy needs a break.

    • Catherine February 21, 2013, 8:09 am

      Buy a few illustrated books that are meant for older children! They are longer, and your baby won’t know the difference. My baby has also been super-interested in watching me read since she was about 1 month old. She is now 8 months, and storytime is the ONLY time I can get her to stay still.

  • Eli's Mom February 20, 2013, 10:30 am

    My little E loves Pajama time as well. We don’t have the rest. Thanks for the tip. Anyway, are you fine introducing digital books to Henry? I started reading books from http://www.wegivebooks.org/books/search?search%5Bage_range%5D=0-3 to my LO. 🙂

    • Caitlin February 20, 2013, 10:31 am

      ooo i didn’t think about digital books. i’ve heard that some babies try to finger swipe real books now because they are so used to ipads – LOLz!

      • Eli's Mom February 20, 2013, 11:23 am

        LOL. I try to read to him (digitally) first and then switch to real books as he starts to get sleepy. His fave is All of Baby, Nose to Toes. 🙂

  • Marge February 20, 2013, 10:32 am

    Amazing timing. I was literally just thinking:what books should I get for my friend’s 6 month old? On that thought, do you like receiving books as gifts for Henry?

    • Caitlin February 20, 2013, 10:34 am

      YES! Write an inscription on the inside so she’ll never forget who gave baby the book!

  • Shannon February 20, 2013, 10:37 am

    Henry is at the perfect age for a board book my babies were obsessed with. It’s called “Baby Faces” and is just big photos of real babies with different facial expressions, and a word for each face. Babies LOVE looking at other babies’ faces!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action February 20, 2013, 10:45 am

    I also have the hope that my someday children will love books as I do. Currently, when I visit my niece’s, they’ll sit on my lap before bedtime and we’ll all cuddle as I’ll read them a story. It definitely makes my ovaries hurt a little at sweet moments like that.

  • Jill February 20, 2013, 10:51 am

    My baby is a month younger than Henry but was also an early crawler/ stander. Impossible to get him to sit still for reading. He too loves Peek a Who and I have to recommend the author’s other books. I don’t know what it is about those but he will even pull them out himself and flip through them. I am hoping that one day he will love On the Night You Were Born as much as I do!

  • Jackie February 20, 2013, 10:55 am

    You should check out consignment and yard sales for books – you can get SO MANY board books for SOOO cheap (and since they’re the board kind, you can give them a good antibacterial wipe down). One of my son’s favorites is Llama Llama Red Pajama; it’s on the longer side, but there’s a ton of repetition, which is why he likes it, I think.

  • Renee February 20, 2013, 10:56 am

    I know what you mean about not sitting still. My little one is 15 months old now and is just getting to the point that she will bring us books all day long for us to read to her. She never used to be able to sit still long enough for us to finish a story. We have read to her each night from the day we brought her home and she is now showing a real love for her books. You will get there with Henry. We love anything by Sandra Boynton and anything with pictures of real animals. Keep doing what you are doing and soon you won’t be able to stop reading to him! It is a great thing!

  • Jacquelynn February 20, 2013, 10:58 am

    Even though he’s squirmy, I am sure reading to him still makes an impression… keep it up! 🙂

  • Hope February 20, 2013, 11:01 am

    Peek-a-who? I both love and hate that book. There are days when I have to read it 20 times in a row. It’s my son’s absolute favorite.

  • katie February 20, 2013, 11:03 am

    Liv loves Peek A Who and Brown Bear. We practice picking out the different animals at the end of the book along with the different colors. My husband always adds “there’s no such thing as a blue horse…there’s no such thing as a purple cat.” He is such a kill joy 😉 She also loves 10 Rubber ducks or whatever by Eric Carle. She likes to sign her version of duck while we read.

  • Becky February 20, 2013, 11:08 am

    henry is so adorable. for some reason i thought he was super into books with the way he is advancing. my babe was the same way tho!

  • Marci February 20, 2013, 11:10 am

    We are almost one and there is not a time in the day he would sit to listen to a book. He does like to hold them and fling them around. But never to sit still. I am sure it won’t last forever! And we have tried iPad apps of music, but he just wants to drool and fling around the iPad.

  • Tara February 20, 2013, 11:21 am

    Those books are great. When I nanny, my kids actually prefer the classics! Hungry Catapillar, Good Night Moon, Bernstein Bears, etc

  • Ellen February 20, 2013, 11:42 am

    My babe loves good night moon and A very busy spider ( in Spanish). He also is very wiggly and is always trying to grab the books to stuff in his mouth, so I put him in his jumper or high chair to read to him. He loves books especially if I am super animated. It cracks me up how much he is into them!

  • Christie February 20, 2013, 11:52 am

    Awww, Riley LOVED Pajama Time! We read, well sang, that one every night for a LONG, LONG time. I agree with Shannon above, Baby Faces is a good one. Riley also likes the “lift the flap” books by Karen Katz.

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt February 20, 2013, 11:55 am

    I absolutely love reading to Michael and even read to him while I was pregnant. I agree that voices and movement go a long way. He is still a bit young to get into them, but he loves books like Pat the Bunny where he can feel things and Mirror Me because he can see himself. 🙂

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) February 20, 2013, 12:12 pm

    I absolutely LOVE kids books. I don’t have kids and am not planning to have any, yet I buy kids books all the time 🙂

    • Amanda February 20, 2013, 2:19 pm

      Sorry. I think this is strange 🙂 I would never read my kid books otherwise! I think they are b.o.r.i.n.g. I mean, “then he was a beautiful butterfly” for an ending of a book is, oh, anti-climactic! Ha.

    • Liz February 21, 2013, 2:49 am

      I love kids books, too, and don’t think it’s strange at all! I’ve been a big reader since I was three & still enjoy some of my favorite kid books – Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, Berenstein Bears (ULTIMATE favorite 😉 ), Big Dog Little Dog,etc. I really enjoy books for any age – I read YA books, kids books, adult books… 🙂

      Sandra Boynton has some other great books, FYI!

  • Carly @LifeInTraining February 20, 2013, 12:14 pm

    I see a couple we haven’t read yet, I’ll have to get them. My son is creeping up on 13 months now and it’s really only in the last month that he’s super interested in books. Now, I’ll sit on the floor with him and he’ll bring me a book and plop down to be read to. It truly is one of the best experiences of motherhood so far. Even better when he’s getting tired, so he snuggles in while I’m reading. (My boy is a super wiggler extraordinaire like yours!).

    As well as your tips on animating your voice and making the noises and hand gestures, we have a couple of fun traditions – like I always read ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ when he’s in his crib, because I turn his noise machine to the jungle setting, which becomes our ‘music’ for the wild rumpus. Now, when he hears that noise setting, he points at his bookcase and says ‘Mah! Mah!’ (‘Max! Max!). We also have two or three books we read in a row and we point out the balloons in the illustrations. Then he ‘kisses’ the balloons on the page, which is kind of strange but ADORABLE.

    Sorry this is so long, but I LOVE reading to my baby as much as you obviously do so I got a bit carried away! hahaha

  • Sharon@DiscoverExploreLearn February 20, 2013, 1:08 pm

    I share some of our favorite board books here – http://discoverexplorelearn.com/2012/03/10-awesome-board-books-for-kids/

    You are doing such a good job. I think with babies and young toddlers, it’s important to remember reading (and everythings else, really) is all about the process, and not the product.

    Rather than worrying about finishing the entire book, simply focus on maximizing the “process” of each page – pointing at objects and naming them, making silly noises or sounds that are associated with the book, etc.

    When my preschooler used to stop me every few words to ask a question or make a statement about a book, it would drive me crazy. Then I started to realize that was his way of comprehending the story and making connections with the characters. That’s important stuff right there…even if it is slightly annoying. 🙂

  • Dawn February 20, 2013, 1:26 pm

    We keep the books in the toy box and on the shelves M can reach. She likes to pull them out and turn the pages, pausing to gnaw on the bindings for a while now and then. I try to read them too her as well, but then she just steals the book I am holding to play with herself. I figure at least she is interested in them, some day maybe she will be interested in the stories they tell.

  • Reshma February 20, 2013, 1:28 pm

    Dear Zoo is always a hit — you would like it given your love of pets! It’s got flaps and cute animals, and is fun to read to kids.

  • Abby February 20, 2013, 5:19 pm

    My daughter’s favorite is also peek a who! She’s loved it since she was just a few months old and now that she’s almost two she always puts it in her little backpack before we leave the house!

  • Jen February 20, 2013, 6:48 pm

    My daughters absolute fav boom is “peek a who”!!!! 😀

  • Susan February 20, 2013, 7:53 pm

    Jammies to the left, jammies to the right, everyone’s wearing their jammies tonight.

    Out favorite.

    • Caitlin February 21, 2013, 7:34 am

      Jammajammmajammmajammma PJ

  • Robyn February 20, 2013, 8:49 pm

    The only book that sort of keeps my 7 1/2 month’s attention is Grover’s The Monster At the End of this Book and only because I insisted on this being read to me by my dad for years when I was little so I know it by heart and I try to do the Grover voice. Plus, I bought a Grover stuffed animal so he reads with us. But, yeah, trying to add a book at bedtime hasn’t really worked and so I just try and read when he seems to be slowing down during the day. I just have a huge stack of books on his play mat and they usually just get moved around or chewed on but I figure at least he’ll think books are fun! I still imagine the day he’ll be desperate for me to read the next chapter in a longer chapter book as he settles in for bed. I’ve even started a kids’ book shelf on Goodreads for these future reading sessions!

  • Erin February 20, 2013, 9:33 pm

    My daughter is 5 months and loves Peekawho! Also any Boynton book, our favorite is Snuggle Puppy.

  • Catherine February 21, 2013, 8:20 am

    Great post! I’ve always loved the The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. Right now I’m loving anything that requires me to make animal sounds or other noises because my 8-month-old is entering the phase where she imitates gestures and noises. Listening to her try to quack and oink… cutest thing everrr.

  • Katie February 21, 2013, 9:10 am

    I love Sandra Boynton, especially the “Going to Bed” book. Peek-a-boo type books are great for kids Henry’s age. There is this pull-the-tab book that my 1.5 yr old niece likes: Dog http://amzn.to/WUrB3M and someone else mentioned “Dear Zoo” which is great, too!

    I also love these two for slightly older kids (2.5 to 3). They’re both told in rhyme and have fantastic illustrations:
    King Jack and the Dragon http://amzn.to/ZtZfRV
    Bear Snores On http://amzn.to/XACOX7

    I used to be a librarian, so I kinda love children’s books 🙂 Have fun!

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery February 21, 2013, 10:52 am

    Oh Eric Carle! His books are awesome. In college we used to have these campus wide special dinners and one semester it was Eric Carle themed with his artwork posted everywhere and foods named after things in the books. I can’t wait until my godson is old enough to read to. He’s two days younger than Henry but I don’t think he’d sit still long enough for me to get through the first page. Isn’t it interesting how babies who are close in age still develop differently? I find that fascinating.

  • Amanda February 21, 2013, 4:59 pm

    I adore Eric Carle’s books! When you can hold his attention for a longer amount of time, you should try reading him The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Such a cute book! Oh, and I totally recommend Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus (it has lots of instances in which you could include some fun sounds and hand motions).

  • Caroline February 21, 2013, 7:33 pm

    If you like Pajama Time (loved it when my girl was a baby) you should get Philadelphia Chickens. It is the Sandra Boynton rhymes set to music.

  • KarenK February 21, 2013, 9:24 pm

    If you like S. Boynton, you have to check out the music CDs she has published to accompany the books. My kids loved them for YEARS! Check your local library for a copy before you buy. Also, our library also holds story time for toddlers. A great way to get kids accustomed to the library world!

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