Feed Me Books Friday: Rags are Riches

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Books without the Sharp Edges

I’ve got nothing against board books, hardbacks, or paperbacks, but there is something so soothing about literally cuddling up with a soft cloth book, also called rag books. When I was pregnant with my first child I bought books that he still hasn’t grown into, but I also found cushy-soft books that seemed just right for a delicate baby. B didn’t show too much interest in them; he preferred the bouncy rhythm of Boynton board books or stimulating touch-and-feels. The rag books mostly languished in the toy basket until T was born. T finds tearing paperbacks apart and flinging board books across the room entertaining, so the cloth books have suited him much better. He can wave, flap, pound, or chew them to his little heart’s content and the books (as well as my furniture, my nose, and my own books) are none the worse for wear. So today I’m sharing my favorites from the rag category.

The Attention Getter
My First Taggies Book - Sweet Dreams Taggies
Not much plot to follow in Sweet Dreams, from the creators of Taggies, but babies find plot overrated. There are three 2-page spreads featuring a kitty, a bunny, and a puppy. Each features a textured appliqué as well as a two-line wish good night. The unique feature of this book, however, is the addition of ribbon loops, or taggies, all around the edges of the page. Between the tags and the textures, this book is a tactile treat! T has given those taggies a real workout of tugs and twists, and they’ve held up beautifully.

The Classic Revisited
Sleepy Bunny (Pat the Bunny Cloth Book)
Pat the Bunny was a childhood favorite for me – I still have the worn, spiral bound copy my mom saved. It was important to me to share that particular book with my own baby, and as I went looking for it, I discovered many branches in the Bunny family tree. Pat the Bunny Sleepy Bunny is a rag book that follows the bedtime routine of the familiar Bunny. A ribbon tethers a 3 inch stuffed bunny to the spine of the book, so the reader can play-out the actions such as putting away toys or finding a book. The last page includes a cloth pocket on top of the bed illustration so the Bunny can be tucked-in to sleep. The illustrations are reminiscent of the classic, but I wish there were a little more interaction on the other pages – perhaps a pocket to tuck the toys in, or cloth flaps from which to choose the book. It would be more engaging and better development of dexterity. As a bedtime book, it fits the bill. The rehearsal of routine helps little ones anticipate their own approaching bedtime behaviors and prepares them to settle down for the night.

The Cognitive-Motor Combo
Good Night Little Bear

The favorite rag book of both of my boys has been Good Night Little Bear. It’s distributed by the Books are Fun company, and I purchased it from a display in the teacher’s lounge of my school before I was even pregnant. Bought one for our nephew and saved another for “the future.” It was a good investment. Little Bear is also on a ribbon tether to the spine of the book, but he has something to do on every page, and he even comes clad in removable red pajamas. This book is based on the same kind of cognitive routine rehearsal as Sleepy Bunny, but it includes more of the course of the day. Little bear plays, eats, washes, brushes his teeth, listens to a story, gets hugs from Mummy, and then tucks in bed on the last page like the Bunny. Each page has a pocket or flap to manipulate, which is great for motor development. Little Bear had a period of popularity with B when he transitioned to falling asleep in his big boy bed – it was a combination of a familiar story, a bit of a lovey, and a sense of control of the situation. T enjoys him more already - he is getting more and more adept at tucking him in the pockets with each reading.
Appropriate for: babies, toddlers

Did you or your children have rag books? Were they enjoyed or overlooked?
Please link up your recommendations for the week below!


Emily October 28, 2010 at 12:50 PM  

Thanks for this post! My daughter has lots of board books (I'm a former teacher after all! I'm all about the books!) but I wish she had more cloth books. I think I'll get her one of your recommendations for Christmas.

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