Bookbug Detective: Brilliant Books for New Babies

Fox and hen from Rosie's Walk
Category: Bookbug

The Bookbug Detective is here to help you with any questions you have about books, reading, songs and rhymes for your little one. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a question to answer below. If you'd like some book recommendations or advice, send the Bookbug Detective an email or post your question in the comments below.


My friend has just given birth to a wee baby boy. I’d like to buy him a couple of books but it’s hard to find something suitable for newborns. What can you recommend?

I’m so glad that you’ve decided to buy a book for your friend’s new arrival. It’s never too early to start sharing books with babies and it’s great for them to have a nice selection in the home from birth. Don’t worry about the fact that the baby won’t actually be able to read the words – he’ll have a great time looking at the pictures and following mum or dad’s mouth as they read the words to him, and in time he’ll start holding and chewing the books and turning the pages himself.

I have a few suggestions of types of books that will be suitable for very young babies:

Board Books

Board books are lovely and sturdy and can withstand any amount of chewing and dribbling (we're advocates of book chewing at Bookbug!). Here are some of my favourites:

Amazing Baby cover

  • Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins – an absolute classic and practically wordless. Babies will love the bright colours and will have fun following Rosie on her adventures.
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen – babies will respond to the lovely rhyming text and repetition of this story, which could become a favourite.
  • Tickle, Tickle by Helen Oxenbury – a bright and cheerful book which will definitely make little ones laugh.
  • Amazing Baby Black & White – babies respond really well to the contrast of black and white images, which also help support their developing vision.

Bath Books

These are padded and waterproof, so perfect for bathtimes:

  • I Love Spot Baby Books: Splish Splash Spot! by Eric Hill – Spot has been around since 1980 and he’s still going strong. This fun and colourful book will appeal to very young babies.
  • Glug, Glug, Glug (Usborne Bath Books) - There are turtles swimming, an octopus wiggling and jellyfish to see under the water as the submarine goes glug, glug, glug.

Cloth Books

These are made from fabric and are lovely and tactile:

  • Baby’s Very First Book: Farm by Jo Lodge – this has wonderful crinkly pages to stimulate baby’s senses and also a mirror, which babies love!
  • Night Night Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – this would make a lovely gift. Perfect for bedtime as it’s really soft and snuggly.

Buggy Books

Just attach to your buggy or high chair and you’ve got reading material wherever you go. These can be a great way of calming your baby when you’re out and about.

Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar Buggy Book by Eric Carle – nobody should be without this classic. The colourful collages and simple word labels introduce the concept of colour: ideal for early learners.
  • Hairy MacLary’s Buggy Book by Lynley Dodd – a great introduction to the wonderful rhyming stories of Hairy Maclary, Slinky Malinki, Schnitzel von Krumm and many others!

Touchy Feely Books

Touchy feely books are great for very young children, giving them the opportunity to explore with their hands, feel different textures and anticipate discovering pictures and surprises under flaps and behind doors etc. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • That’s not my Puppy by Usborne – there are loads in this series to collect and they all have simple, repetitive text, tactile patches and bold illustrations perfect for babies and toddlers.
  • Baby’s Very First Touchy-Feely: Bedtime by Stella Baggott - this is a bold, bright new book for babies with beautifully designed, high-contrast images that are easy for babies to focus on and touchy-feely patches to bring the pictures to life.

Your friend also has her Bookbug Baby Bag to look forward to if she hasn't already received it. All babies in Scotland receive this within the first few weeks after they're born. This bag has been carefully designed with babies in mind, and contains three beautiful books, and a buggy book, for them to enjoy.