Did you brave the middle of the night line ups? The hoards of thrifty shoppers? Waiting til Cyber Monday? I am not brave enough, I was tucked in by 9pm last night exhausted by pregnancy and a 3 year old. But I do have some great tips about books and what to look for , for each age group.
Newborns - 6 months
Bold colors, and shocking contrasts will grab infants attention, silly sounds, short text and repetition are all things to look for. A good example is Peek-A-Moo by Marie Torres Cimarusti. A simple book about farm animals and their sounds with a game of peek a boo thrown in!
6 months - 18months
Kids are moving now, many will not want to sit long enough to be read anything. When they do they will want to grab, pull and chew it. Board books become required. Text should still be short and if there is something active for them to touch, feel or pull that is a bonus. A perfect example of this would be That is not my dinosaur! by Fiona Watt. It's text is short and offers the readers lots of touching which keeps little wiggly ones in your lap long enough to finish the book.
18 months - 3 years
This was the book explosion time for us. When my son would sit happily and bring me book after book. The key for this age is to find a lot of books about subjects they love and a few they don't to expose them to more than just firetrucks, garbage trucks and dinosaurs.
Length depends on the child but the text should have a good flow and if it bores you, it's probably a good bet it will bore your child too. Don't forget to mix some non fiction in the mix too, kids love to learn and short easy non fiction books are well accepted by most.
This is a great age to give gift cards to a book store. Set a day aside and go together, look at the options, sit together and read books and send a day reading. Not only will your child get the books they want, you will have spent a great amount of time having fun with books, which is priceless.
5 and older
Obviously the gift card idea is still wonderful for this age group but this is also a great age to get your child involved in a series! If you get them started on a series , and they get hooked you are guaranteed that they will want to keep reading.
A few great series are :
Junie B Jones by Barbara Park
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins