Our 10 best books of baby’s first year

Today is Baby Bookworm’s first birthday.

It’s hard to believe a whole 12 months have passed since this flame-haired bundle of energy arrived in my arms and turned life on its head.

One of the great pleasures of the last year has been seeing his love of books develop.

Baby reading books

At the start, our bedtime story routine was more for our benefit than his. But now sitting down to read together is one of his favourite parts of the day.

To mark his birthday, I thought I’d round up 10 of the books he has loved the most in his first year of life. They are not necessarily the most sophisticated stories but they are the ones which have captured his attention most noticeably and regularly.

Here they are, in no particular order…

1 That’s Not My Lamb by Fiona Watt, illustrated by Rachel Wells. £6.99 (board book), Usborne

Every parent will be familiar with this popular series of touchy-feely baby books, which feature simple illustrations, tactile textures to explore and descriptive words to learn. Not to mention the cute mouse narrator who pops up in every story.

2 We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. £6.99 (paperback), Walker

A classic rhyming, repetitive tale that encapsulates that childhood spirit of adventure and exploration perfectly. Beautifully illustrated and brilliant for reading out loud.

Read our review of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

3 Listen To The Farm by Marion Billet. £6.99 (board book), Nosy Crow

What this brightly coloured book lacks in plot, it makes up for with “six amazing real life sounds”, such as a noisy horse and pigs playing in the mud. A Christmas present from Baby Bookworm’s Granny, it has been a daily staple in our house ever since and he’s just cracked pressing the sound buttons on his own!

4 King Baby by Kate Beaton. £6.99 (paperback), Walker

The first book I bought Baby Bookworm, the premise will raise a wry smile for parents. The long-awaited ‘king’ is born and his devoted but exhausted ‘servants’ run around, trying to cater to his every whim, while he quietly plots to do away with their services.

Read our review of King Baby

5 Pet Tails by Anne Wilkinson. £11 (fabric), Jellycat

This soft fabric book is bold and eye-catching, with irresistible crinkly ages and textured tails for hands to explore and mouths to suck and chew. Great to keep in your change bag for distraction on the move.


6 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. £6.99 (paperback), Puffin

It’s a simple tale based around the life cycle of the humble caterpillar. Yet reading this bestselling book is a childhood rite of passage, thanks to the vibrant collage illustrations and appealing ‘bite’ holes in the pages as our hero eats his way through the story.

Read our review of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

7 Big Fish Little Fish by Jonathan Litton, illustrations by Fhiona Galloway. £5.99 (board book), Little Tiger Kids

Another Christmas gift, this time from BB’s Nannie, this board book ticks a lot of boxes: catchy rhyming text, bright primary colours and fish-shaped holes to poke your fingers in. Plus it has hidden educational value thanks to use of opposites. A fail safe read!

8 Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg. £6.99 (board book), Penguin

A magical introduction to both the game of ‘I spy’ and some of the most loved characters in children’s fairy stories, all cleverly and beautifully presented by the incomparable Ahlbergs.

Read our review of Each Peach Pear Plum

9 Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph. £6.99 (paperback), HarperCollins Children’s

This story about an adorable dachshund who doesn’t fit in is classic children’s literature territory – conformity versus individuality, being proud of yourself and showing tolerance to people who are different to you. But thanks to Rob’s faultless rhyming text and fantastic illustrations, this timeless tale feels fresh – and you don’t mind reading it over and over again.

Read our review of Odd Dog Out

10 Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. £6.99 (board book), Macmillan

There’s lots of laughs and surprise to be had with this Eighties lift-the-flap book as the zoo sends a series of weird and wonderful animals in an attempt to find the perfect pet. BB shrieks with laughter every time.

Read our review of Dear Zoo 

Naturally BB had to have a few book-related presents so see what we chose below. Maybe some of these will feature in next year’s top 10?

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