My 18 month old son has a few of his favorite books. One of them in particular is a Baby Einstein (R) book that has an animal on each page, with a fabric or texture that goes with the animal- fur for the dog, faux leather for the turtle, and rough velcro for the hedgehog. Funny enough, he doesn't prefer any of the many toddler books his sister liked...too girly I guess! I saved them just in case, oh well! Her very favorite book was Goodnight Moon, and in fact I had to buy 2 extra books because she looked at them so many times, the first 2 fell apart. Until she pointed it out to me at the ripe old age of 2 years, I never noticed that on each page the tiny mouse is in a different place. Funny how girls are so good with details!
Toddlers are tough on thin paper books, so I'm glad for cardboard, thick pages. But there are some things to think about in particuar. First of all, you want a variety of books. Some are good for visual skills whereas others are better to promote language skills or touch processing. Below is a few different types of books for toddlers:
1. Song books: these books may either have a verse per page or a song per page. One of my favorites is the Wheels on the Bus book with a different verse on each page- the pictures are cute. Some books may even have a CD that comes with them.
2. Textured books- the different feels on each page tend to capture young children's attention. These books are often thick since the textures add bulk to it.
3. Foam puzzle books- these books may have it where each page has an animal or shape insert that can be taken out and placed back in.
4. Simple vs. detailed designs: very young toddlers can focus on pages better that only have one picture and not many details in the background. Very commonly in these types of books are animals or shapes. These types of books are also good for children with visual processing delays. More detailed pictures are better for older toddlers and preschoolers.
5. Books with noises or songs- may have a button to push to activate the song or noise. Although these are often a favorite of the kids, it can be annoying to the adults after awhile! I've been known to hide these books after awhile!
6. Pop-up books- when you turn the page, an insert pops up. We have an Elmo (R) book that does this, but it tore within the first week of owning it...that is the problem with these books- toddlers tend to tear up the pop-up insert.
7. Hidden windows or tabs to pull open- once again, these tear easily for the young toddlers, but the older toddlers and preschoolers may have the fine-motor control to use the books without accidentally tearing them. My daughter's favorite hidden window book was a Christmas Little People (R) book, that had animals, elves, and gifts behind the various lift up window. For example, when you lift up the paper ornament on the tree, a gift was underneath. Her favorite tab pull book was one that moved animals within water or on land as if they were swimming or running as the tab was being pulled.
8. Fabric books- these books are usually just a few pages long and are made of various materials such as jeans.
9. Manipulative books- each page may have something to manipulate such as a belt fastener, a button, etc.
Well, I'm off to go read to my two children!