When Hadley was around 8 months old, her favorite book was Doggies by Sandra Boynton. I'm sure she enjoyed looking at the dogs, but she has never been a huge fan of canines. What she loved is the counting in the book. On each page there is a new number, a new dog, and a new bark, and the reader has the pleasure of counting and barking for 10 glorious pages.
I've read Doggies to Harper a few times, purely out of guilty becasue I don't want her to miss out on a story that her sister loved simply because her mother can't stand the book and would rather do long division with a dull soft lead pencil and no calculator then bark. One. More. Time.
But Harper isn't interested in Doggies like Hadley was. What Harper likes are the books she can do something with. The books that have fur, or the books that beep or honk. Any book with a hole in it brings lots of excitement to our youngest. That's why The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and Touch and Feel Baby Animals have permanant spots next to the rocking chair where we read books to Harper. I tried switching them with others in our collection. I thought maybe she'd like Jamberry or Whose Toes are Those?, but these books only have words and pictures on them. While reading them, Harper would touch the pages and search for a hole, or some kind of different texture to touch, only resulting in a "squeak" as her hand pushed down on the page. So I brought back the other books and seeing them, Harper laughed and kicked and reached out to her old friends.
I know from reading with Hadley that these simple concepts are how the habit of reading starts. I'm grateful that someone took the time to create books that children under a year might enjoy. I'm also thankful I don't have to bark. For now.