The best kind of expectant mum is the friend who gets to 34 weeks and looks a little bewildered when you ask if they’ve set up the nursery yet.
‘Um, we’ve looked at a cot. What else do you think we need?’
It’s really, really easy to buy a present for a last-minute mum.
The super organised, has-everything-sorted-by-28-weeks mum-to-be who then has a baby shower during which any baby accessory gaps are filled by parent-friends in-the-know? Yeah, they’re a bit harder to buy for.
A friend and colleague of mine is going on maternity leave very soon. She falls into the latter category of mums-to-be and we were a little stumped about what to get her. To add to the difficulties, she lives interstate so it had to be something that could be sent without the postage costing twice the value of the actual present.
Clothes? We don’t know the gender and, by the way, have you tried to shop for gender-neutral baby clothes recently? They almost don’t exist.
Sleeping bags? Blankets? No, she’s got plenty.
Bibs, socks, soft toys? Whole cupboards full.
‘How about starting a library of children’s classics for the baby?’ Yes! Lightbulb moment.
When you’ve only got one or two of you contributing you might get a couple of books, but when you’ve got a whole team pitching in for a colleague. Well, my friend, now you’ve got yourself a mini-kiddie-library.
But which books? We took a vote, which in itself was fun. It was easy to order online and the books were sent straight to her door. We chose a mix of board books for the early years and hardcover and paperbacks for when bubs is a little older.
8 books to start a children’s classics library
The books that won the vote? Here they are.
My two-year-old loves this book. I’m sure I’ve read it at least 50,000 times in the past few months. He always yells when the family find the bear in the cave and runs away. Then he asks to read the ‘tiptoe, tiptoe’ book again. Just one more time.
A word of warning about this one – do not, under any circumstances, attempt to read a Dr Seuss book when you’re tired. They are fabulous and I love them but dang they are serious tongue twisters! Save this one for the day time or when you’ve had a full night’s sleep and a restful day.
Goodnight Moon is like a lullaby without music. I read this to my youngest son almost every night for a year. We’ve moved on now but I’ve pretty much memorised all the words. Best of all, it’s nice and short. Perfect for overtired toddlers, or for looking at pictures with babies. I’d definitely recommend getting the board book version of this one.
Definitely a modern classic. Every kid I know has at least one copy. We have two – a board book which is falling apart from being read dozens of times, and a hard cover book I stashed away for later use. Great for any time of day, wonderful for littlies with plenty of colour, repetition, rhyme and busy, detailed pictures to look at and talk about.
I’m no longer allowed to read this book. My role is to hold the book and turn the pages while my five-year-old reads it to me. He’s memorised the words. It’s all about food, so it’s not really surprising. The Very Hungry Caterpillar celebrated its 45th birthday this year so I’d be putting it in the ‘timeless classic’ category.
Depending on which child you’re reading this to, it’s either a touching story about the bond between a father and son, or a highly competitive case of can-you-top-that.
On putting my five-year-old to bed a couple of nights ago, he said to me ‘Mum, I love you to the moon and back!’.
I smiled and replied, ‘Well, I love you to the stars and back!’. To which he replied, ‘Well, I love you to the end of the universe and back because the universe keeps getting bigger and bigger all the time. Nanny said so.’ Yes, he’s a science kid alright.
Numbers 7 and 8 I’ve never actually read so I can’t comment on them. They do, however, come highly recommended by friends whose opinions I trust. I’ll therefore be grabbing a copy as soon as I can!
What else would you add to a classic children’s library? What else is a great gift for a mum-to-be who has everything?
Disclaimer: All links in this post are affiliate links to Book Depository, which means that I receive a small commission for any purchases made from Book Depository after you click on the links. You can, of course, purchase these classic books from any other book retailer or grab a copy from your local library!