Every night before bed Lauren and I read a book together. It is usually one of a few favourites that make her smile since it makes me feel good to know that before she went to bed she was smiling or laughing. We also read books in her room in the morning. After she has her diaper changed, Lauren plays in her room for a bit and she likes to empty out her book basket. We lay on the floor and read through a few of the books that end up strewn around her room.

Here are our favourites. I've decided to do a list of our favourites because a few of the books that Lauren loves (like her bunny book creatively titled "Bunny") make me want to punch myself in the face. Hard. I get that new parents are suckers for anything cute that they think their kids might like, but come on! You would think that book companies wouldn't want to publish books that make parents want to physically harm themselves.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Eric Carle)
There are many things about these books that make me like them. They are a manageable length for a one year old, they have simple, bright illustrations, and the repetition makes them great for language development. I like that they introduce simple words and have predictability but they can be read over and over again without feeling like you know exactly what is happening. Who knows what the caterpillar will eat next? I like to think what I would eat if my job was just to get really, really fat. There would be many chocolate products involved.

Olivia (Ian Falconer)
I first purchased this book when it was just out and I had it in my classroom library. The words are simple and so are the illustrations but there is subtle adult, tongue in cheek humour that I have always enjoyed. Lauren was given a copy in board book and she has loved it since the first time that I read it to her. She can be crying and if we hold up the book, the crying miraculously stops. It's like baby book crack.

Olivia Saves the Circus (Ian Falconer)
On an outing to Chapters when we were trying to cut out Lauren's evening nap and we would take her places to try to keep her awake, we found this book. This is just like the first Olivia book but even funnier. Lauren finds it about the same amount of funny but I enjoy this one more. Olivia is such a funny liar. Just what I hope for my child in the future. At least if you're going to lie, you should be funny about it.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (Mem Fox)
Any books that manages to use the word "eiderdown" as one of its rhymes is okay in my book. This book also gives me the opportunity to give my squirming daughter three little kisses on the tip of her nose as instructed by Ms. Fox. The rhyming and repetition in this book make it one that Lauren enjoys listening to over and over again.

But Not the Hippopotamus (Sandra Boynton)
This book could be seen as a fun little ditty or a simple statement on the state of bullying in our schools. All the animals are off doing things, but the hippo never joins in. Finally at the end, he is invited to participate and he does, but now the armadillo isn't cool enough. It's a never ending cycle of exclusion when the cat and the rat take their new running hats and run away from the armadillo. I don't know why I like this book when it can bring up so many difficult childhood memories. Oh, the drama. 

Snuggle Puppy (Sandra Boynton)
Lauren won't let me read this book to her because it is her favourite one to look through alone. She loves the illustrations and will spend quite awhile fingering through the pages. When I'm changing her diaper, if she starts to cry, I whip out Snuggle Puppy and Lauren will let me take the next 20 minutes changing her diaper if I wanted (I don't).

Bear of My Heart (Joanne Ryder)
Elysha got Lauren this book for her birthday and I LOVE IT! It has such a simple rhyme and I feel like it shares the exact words that I have in my heart for Lauren. The mommy/daddy bear (the gender is not specified which is another thing I can love because Matt can read it just the same) is telling the baby bear how much she/he loves the baby and it is beautiful. I think that every single parent needs this book in his or her library. You can tell that the author wasn't writing this book to make money but to share the feelings in her heart.

Lost and Found (Oliver Jeffers)
I have always loved Oliver Jeffers and this is the best of the best. He does the writing and the illustrations which help to further develop the story. In this book a boy finds a penguin and tries to figure out where he came from because he thinks that the penguin looks sad. After asking around (seagulls aren't especially helpful) he learns that penguins come from the South Pole and they set out to return the penguin. But once there the penguin looks sadder. The reader sees that the penguin heads back to find the boy just as the boy turns around to find the penguin because the penguin was only looking for a friend. Thankfully there is a happy ending (there may even be hugging involved). I first read this book when I was pregnant and I stood in the middle of the bookstore and openly wept. It was embarrassing. And then I bought it. Now I can read it without crying. Points for me.

But this one makes me cry pretty consistently...
On the Night You Were Born (Nancy Tillman)
I can't even describe this book. Even just thinking about it I want to cry as I think of how special Lauren is and how she has changed my life. On the Night You Were Born celebrates the specialness (not a word) of each baby and how all of creation celebrates them as well. When I read it I picture Lauren seeing bears sleeping and thinking that they were up all night dancing because they were thinking of her. Children think so magically that it is entirely possible. Heck, I thought the toilet was going to eat me until I was 8 years old or so. It is amazing that with all my sprinting away from toilets that I'm such a slow runner.

Anyway, that is my current list of our 10 favourite books. I have so many more that I can't wait to share with Lauren but she will need to be a bit older (and no longer trying to eat all of her books).

I love the look on her face in this one. She couldn't figure out why it hurt when she tried to turn the page... her other hand might have something to do with it.

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