Beyond Goodnight, Moon — A Short List of Favorite Board Books for Babies

A rash of new babies — they’re everywhere! — has me thinking again about board books. While everyone should, to my mind, have a copy of Goodnight, Moon, there are other board books — lesser-known perhaps to some, but no less wonderful — that will completely delight babies and young children. Keep them in mind for your own babes, or to give as presents. Some of our favorites include:

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lewis tells the tale of a freight train, winding through peaks and valleys, morning to night. The best part is at the end, when the book pulls back to give you a bird’s-eye view of the room, and you see not just the train, but the little boy who has been imagining and acting out the story with his toy steamer. Truly one of our favorites and a perfect bedtime goodnight for train-obsessed tots.

Where’s Spot lets kids hunt through the house for Sally’s mischievous missing puppy. Is Spot under the stairs? No, it’s a lion! Is Spot hiding in the pink piano? No, it’s a hippo! This sweet book is one everyone should have in their library; my four-year old still asks for it at bedtime now and again. Not only is it fun to look for Spot, this book also helps kids learn their animals and colors.

Who knew Richard Scarry, the best-selling author responsible for Busy Town and all of its busy inhabitants (Huckle, Lowly, Sargeant Murphy to name a few) would also have such a gorgeous picture book?  I am a Bunny is one of the prettiest board books you will own. Nicholas, our bunny narrator, walks us through the seasons of the year, from daffodils blowing in the breeze, to watching the frogs and dragonflies play, to dancing as leaves fall to the ground and finally, the first snow.

Good Night, GorillaEveryone will giggle as they watch the zookeeper on his last rounds, saying good night to the animals. What he doesn’t realize is that the gorilla is following him and liberating all the animals from their cages, with the entire zoo finally trailing him home and into bed! Imagine your surprise if you said “good night” and got a “good night” back from the entire zoo.  Good Night, Gorilla is a classic.

I have great memories of being on vacation and cuddling up in bed with our two reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. What I like about this book is that it’s an adventure for the whole family, from the baby, to the dog, to the parents. They head out to find a bear, and their journey takes them through forests, wetlands, blizzards and finally to the cave of…WHAT’S THAT? One shiny wet nose, two big furry ears…well, you can guess what they find. Completely entrancing and fun.

I admit that I didn’t see the appeal of Sandra Boynton books before I had kids. Then I started reading them out loud. Really, any of her board books are great (another favorite of ours is Blue Hat, Green Hat), but What’s Wrong, Little Pookie is a fave. In this story, Pookie’s mom tries to figure out what has her (her/him; who knows?) so upset. You and your kids will laugh as her guesses get sillier and sillier. In the end, even Little Pookie doesn’t remember what was wrong, but she’s stopped crying.

Finally, Hola, Jalapeno is a fun favorite that covers something near and dear to our hearts here in Brooklyn: Mexican food. The pages are bright and the food made creatively. This is part of a food series from Amy Wilson Sanger that includes sushi, dim sum, Southern, Italian & Jewish food. Many of the words are just plain fun to say, and the books teach your little one a bit about other cultures…well, at least about their foods!

Happy reading!

Related posts:

Four Health and First Aid Essentials for Kids

Great Gifts for Baby Showers

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4 Responses to “Beyond Goodnight, Moon — A Short List of Favorite Board Books for Babies”


  1. 1 alicia July 9, 2010 at 10:36 am

    This is a fantabulous list! I love “Good Night Moon,” but “Where’s Spot?” and “I am a bunny” has always been a fave of mine. I currently do not have a copy of the latter, but thanks for the reminder. I’ll be sure to pick up a copy for my son.

  2. 2 Amy W July 9, 2010 at 11:33 am

    You sent Chugga Chugga when Peter was born. It’s still a fav and so much fun to read out loud. We also love The Giant Jam Sandwich and Snowy Day.

  3. 3 pbalzer July 12, 2010 at 8:49 am

    We’ve gone through two copies of GOODNIGHT MOON, and I hate the idea of buying another one. . at least for awhile. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. 4 jofran79 July 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions, I’ve been looking for more books to keep baby girl and Mommy interested 🙂 Some of our favorites also included:

    Flip Flap Fly by Phyllis Root
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle books
    and Curious George at the Zoo, a Touch and Feel book


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