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Choosing the Right Books for Baby

Your baby finally seems ready to sit in your lap and read a book with you (meaning, he doesn't try to eat everything you put in his hands). How do you choose the right books?

Less is more. Books that have simple story lines and just a few words per page work best at this age. He'll still love picture books, but as he gets closer to his first birthday, he'll also be able to listen to brief, uncomplicated stories.

Improvise. Pages with bright, uncluttered drawings will leave you plenty of room for your own fun interpretations.

Touch and feel. Books that invite interaction are entertaining for wee ones. Babies love old favorites like Pat the Bunny and newer versions that offer the opportunity to touch and name different textures. Similarly, books with peekaboo flaps, little holes for little fingers, and, especially, music will capture your baby's attention.

Get in rhythm. Babies like rhyme, repetition, and books that carry the same theme throughout (think Dr. Seuss) because they can start to predict what's going to happen next. Books with interesting rhythms (like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom) are also engaging.

Grab and go. Small books will be easy for those tiny hands to hold. Oh, and board books are best for your little destructo-lux.

Double duty. A set of classic early readers is a good investment. They have easy-to-follow stories to share with your child now, then can be brought back into circulation when he's learning to read. Just store them out of reach, as these don't come as board books.