The first picture book I ever bought for our children was Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I was pregnant with our first at the time and I couldn’t wait to share this beloved story from my own childhood. One of the best ways to pass the gift of reading on to your children is to share stories together (preferably while they snuggle in your lap). It may take time for your baby to repeat the words or turn the pages, but they will immediately associate books with your love, warmth and excitement.
With that in mind, I collected this list of 11 classic titles to gift your baby on his or her first Christmas. They offer engaging characters, relatable situations, fun text elements, eye-catching illustrations, learning opportunities and powerful, positive emotions. These books have also stood the test of time with generations of children, who have begged their parents to read them over and over again. I cannot imagine a greater gift than the lifetime of memories that reading together builds. You can also browse other bestselling and classic titles for growing babies at the Scholastic Store!
1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. features a parade of brightly colored animals and a fun, rhythmic chant that invites young readers to join you by "reading" along. Reading (and rereading) this book is a great way to help kids learn their animals and colors over time.
2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats follows the adventures of a small boy in the city on a day that his world looks very different! The boy's exploration and discovery is a mirror into what your baby experiences each time he's exposed to something new.
3. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt goes beyond the regular touch-and-feel books, transforming story time into playtime thanks to the wonderfully sensory and interactive invitations waiting on each page.
4. The Real Mother Goose is a wonderful collection of fifteen classic nursery rhymes, perfect for singing, speaking, or chanting with young children. (You might be delighted to rediscover tales you haven't heard since your own childhood.)
5. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter features the original adventures of the cheeky little rabbit who always seems to find himself in a scrape…and yet always manages to escape!
6. I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak is a beautiful reminder of the unconditional love a parent has for a child: "I love you through and through, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, too." Really, can we ever say it enough to our kids?
7. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic bedtime story of a little bunny saying goodnight to all the things he holds dear. The "quiet old lady whispering hush" patiently waits nearby until the little bunny is asleep.
8. Corduroy by Don Freeman is the story of a damaged store teddy bear who dreams of finding a forever home and decides he must find the button missing from his overalls in order to fulfill his wish.
9. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is the sweet story of Little Nutbrown Hare and his dad, Big Nutbrown Hare, as they declare how big their love for each other is. "I love you to the moon and back" is a pretty irresitible catch-phrase to steal and repeat to your little one every day!
10. Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton is classic, silly fun, shared through simple rhythm and rhyme. I couldn’t love Sandra Boynton more for inviting little ones to fall in love with books and reading.
11. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle combines wonderfully unique and interactive illustrations with the story of one very hungry caterpillar that has captivated generations of young children. New parents may also enjoy a boxed set of six best-selling Eric Carle classics, including Head to Toe, 10 Rubber Ducks, Do You Want to Be My Friend, and Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?