If in doubt buy a book.
That's generally our motto when thinking of gifts, whether it is for a new baby, a friend of our favourite auntie. A beautiful book that has been chosen with thought will be read time and time again. Some of the clearest memories from my otherwise very hazy first year with my babies, are sitting in the rocking chair given to me by my mum, with a cosy, snuggly baby, reading a story to them. Picking up those same books now (and they both still reach for them) will evoke those memories so clearly that my kids will complain I am squeezing them too tight as I remember how tiny they used to feel in my arms.
There are so many amazing books for babies and children, some from my childhood have withstood the test of time and will continue to be read for years and years to come (anything by Shirley Hughes!) but we have also discovered new titles that we are proud to have on our Crane and Kind shelves.
We choose our book selection really carefully and these are the 3 main things that I always consider before deciding if it is right for us?
1. Would I enjoy reading it to my children (time and time and time again...!)
2. What does it look like? Bold, bright colours, gorgeous illustrations or sexy graphics...its got to look good!
3. Does it help to illustrate the world we live in and not just our tiny little corner of it? We actively seek out books which include under-represented characters - lets be honest here, non-white, able-bodied children - we want them on the pages of the stories we read to our children - sometimes as the star of the show and sometimes just part of the story.
So let me introduce you to 5 great titles that would make a great gift for a new baby:
1. Hooray For Little Fingers
New in this week and great fun! It's a really novel idea that babies and little children will love.
What can 5 little fingers do? Each page has a die cut hole to poke your finger through so that it can play it's part in the picture on the front - starting with one little finger each page counts up to 5 little fingers which make up a twinkly star.
Page 3 is our favourite, where 3 little fingers help a little ladybird climb up and up and up...
Adults can demonstrate and make little babies laugh (we tried and tested this and can guarantee giggles) for little babies and as they get bigger the book continues to delight as they learn the fine motor skills to interact with it for themselves.
Colourful designs on each page and in a large format board book it makes a lovely gift.
2. I thought I saw a Panda
One of our most popular collections of books for babies and we always try to have a selection of these delightful books in store. Another interactive board book, this is a smaller version so great for popping in the bag for distraction and entertainment on the go!
Sturdy and strong so little fingers can easily explore the pull tabs and find the hidden animals on their fun adventures.
Panda is playing hide and seek at the fairground!
Titles in the collection - all priced at £5.99 (amazing!)
3. Good Night You, Good Night Me - Baby's First Soft Book With Mirrors
Perfect for newborns and little babies, their very first book - how sweet!
Say goodnight to all the sleepy animals in this dreamy book, finishing with a baby-safe mirror to say goodnight to baby!
We love the muted colours that Wee Gallery use and tactile pages, it's a lovely size for babies to play with in the cot or pram whilst also helping mum and dad to turn the pages together.
Good Night You, Good Night Me - £10.99
Hello You, Hello Me - £10.99 also available
4. What Will You Dream of Tonight
Don't be afraid of buying a picture book for a new baby. Although it will be some months before they can understand the story (or even stay awake for the whole thing!) they enjoy hearing the voices they love reading aloud.
This lyrical, rhyming story which travels through dreamland and all the magic that can be found there, is the perfect way to sooth little ones to sleep. It tells a tale of a parent imagining what their little one will dream of tonight - sailing on the tale of a whale? swinging through the leaves on a jungle trapeze?...
Sumptuously illustrated it is a delight for parents to read too and we promise they will thank you for that!
What Will You Dream of Tonight - £6.99
5. Colour Me: Who Loves Pets
Finally a great gift for new parents is this delightful bath book which comes ready to wrap in a gift box.
Those first bath times are so precious and as babies become more confident in the water they will love watching the colours change in this beautifully illustrated book that magically comes alive when you dip in in water.
Toddlers can then use the book for water painting messy play fun!
tactile, squeezable pages, each black-and-white creature transforms in a child's hands, guaranteeing lots of bath time, water play fun. Take it in the paddling pool, to the beach or out and about...endless fun!
I hope that has provided some inspiration for unique books that make perfect presents for little people. It is never too young to fall in love with the magic that can be found inside a book.