Do you have a favorite board book or cloth book you read with the baby in your life? Today we studied the world of books for babies and toddlers–exploring the list at children’s publisher Priddy Books. Book reviews rarely pay attention to this genre, so share your personal recommendations in the comments section.
This GalleyCat Reviews editor will be a father very soon, so we caught up with publisher Roger Priddy to find out more about the art of baby books.
With over 200 books on its list, Priddy Books has sold more than 30 million copies around the world. Five of the imprint’s titles–My Big Animal, My Big Truck, Happy Baby Words, Happy Baby Colors and Puppy and Friends–have sold over a million copies apiece. “Books are best when kids handle them. When a book is beat up, it’s had a good life,” Priddy explained in a telephone interview.
He continued: “You’re working on multiple fronts: tactile quality and images are really important. You try to come up with something that appeals to both the parent and the baby. The child will never go into the store and buy it. We try to come up with different ways of writing about simple themes–attracting a child’s attention through color and shape.”
Priddy had this advice for parents looking to read with a new baby: “I think every kid is different. I’m sure you’ll have all sorts of people telling you this is what’s going to happen–ultimately you’ll just know. There is no right or wrong time to start. Babies don’t do much for awhile, and then you can see they start to engage with things around them. Six months to a year is a great period, it’s when they start to recognize things around them–they aren’t necessarily following a story, but they pick up on images … It needs to be bold and bright with good shapes and colors.”
He concluded: “We’ve just done a book with Eric Carle–he let us include a slide-and-find novelty element in an old classic. We try to include novelty elements in our books to get the child involved in the book–sliders, flaps, are really good at involving the child. It’s not just about looking at the book and being read to. Books are best when kids handle them. When a book is beat up, it’s had a good life.”