If your tot knows that C is for Chanel (and not for such pedestrian things as Cat) then Different Like Coco, by Elizabeth Matthews ($27.95), is a sure-fire hit. The basic message of the book is a positive message about being yourself, with underlying themes of feminism and self-respect, as it outlines the life of one of the most iconic women of the 20th century. Little girls will love the simple and appealing illustrations, also by the author, and be inspired by the classic rags-to-riches Cinderella-story. Except with better tailoring than the original.
Little hipsters and their ultra-cool parental units will also love the simple and highly amusing board book, Urban Babies Wear Black by Michelle Sinclair Colman (from $6.95).
Infantus urbanus (defn.): Young mammal raised in city environment. Infantus urbanus love nights at the opera, modern architecture, and fine cuisine. Difficult to spot at night due to their penchant for black clothing. See also URBAN BABIES.
Tots will love the bright illustrations and easy-to-handle size, and city dwelling parents will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek tone. It also comes in Country Babies Wear Plaid, Eco Babies Wear Green and Beach Babies Wear Shades. A great book to have on hand while sipping babycinos at the local coffee haunt.
Arty folk will love the retro-styled (naturally) Petit Connoisseur: Art board books by Karen Salmansohn (from $6.95). Aimed to foster an appreciation of colour, shape, and eventually, art (ah! The title wasn’t a cryptic clue, after all), this book provides your prodigy with “the basics they need—MOMA, Dada, Dali—that will help them leap successfully from play date to gallery gala.” Top quality printing and the bold colour of illustrator Brian Stauffer work perfectly to distract hungry little artisans from gnawing at the corners. Fashionistas will also be delighted with the second book in the series, Petit Connoisseur: Fashion . Promoting “first fashion words” such as catwalk and choo-shoe train, this adorable board book should be bundled together with This Little Piggy to make sure your little princess never wants to see the inside of Kmart.
Touchy-feely books are fantastic learning devices for little ones. I stumbled upon this brilliant version that has not a fluffy duck, soft cat, or woolly lamb in sight – Pop Warhol’s Top by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo (from $9.95). Educate them about art and the principles of colour as they touch and feel their way through modern masterpieces: (from the publisher) “What could be better than pulling on the lettuce in Claes Oldenburg's "Two Burgers with Everything"? Or stroking the fluffy eyelashes on Warhol's pink-toned Marilyn? It's an experience kids will never forget.”
Bananas in Pyjamas Do Some Washing, Dora Patronises the Spanish, and Bob the Builder’s Compensation Claim can all be pushed to the bargain bin. There are so many truly wonderful stories and learning devices out there that parents can enjoy with their children – seek (or Google) and thou shalt find…..