If you’ve ever read a board book to a toddler, you may have encountered this one:
After 5 pages, or maybe the the thirteenth time it’s toddled up to your lap, you start omitting large swaths of story. Why would anyone in their right mind put this damn many words in a board book? It’s like performing an interpretive dance for a telephone pole. When it’s over, you’re exhausted and quite certain it missed the point.
It may not make you sing, quack or read until you’re blue in the face, but this damn book is misery in disguise. It insults, it bores. It can turn a warm, soft, snuggle fest into Dissociation-ville USA.
Fear not, you listless, embarrassed board book reader. There is hope.
Between you and me, books don’t even matter yet.
For the first couple years, most humans tend to be into things like light and faces and fresh air and anything that happens to be on the ground. So if you just hang out near your kid and go outside once in a while, you’re probably good.
If you want to get all fancy by throwing a board book into the mix, then it might as well be something you find highly amusing. Or something that will entertain your kid while you go have a cocktail.
For the later, behold, the wimmelbilderbuchs of Ali Mitgutsch!
These are “teeming picture books,” meaning that they have full-spread detailed pictures on every page. And a few characters who continue their story from page to page. Delightfully, unlike their Richard Scary counterparts, they have No Words.
That means you can create a whole elaborate narrative if you feel like it (?!) or you can do absolutely nothing while your small, pudgy friend “does some reading.”
Inside, you’ll find visual recipes for those toddlers who tend to forget that mama likes two olives in her gin martini.
Most importantly, it aces the most important board book requirement of all:
It’s amusing as hell for the people who know how to read.