Building up a library: The ultimate books for baby’s first year and beyond

Reading books to Jacob is something I really enjoy and it’s getting more fun everyday as he becomes more interested in them. I think it’s important for kids to have access to lots of books as they grow up. Here’s my list of my favourite books for Jacob. I’ve purposely chosen ones that work for him now as a 1-year-old, but will also grow with him as he gets older.

Books for babies

Just some of the books in Jacob’s library

The ultimate books for baby’s first year and beyond

Monkey Puzzle

I recently bought Monkey Puzzle from a charity shop while we were on holiday. I realised I hadn’t brought even books away with me, and when I walked past I saw this. It’s one we didn’t already have and as we love so many books by Julia Donaldson, I thought I’d give it a go. It didn’t disappoint. It’s a great story about a monkey who loses his mum and his search to find her with the help of a friendly butterfly. Cue lots of misunderstandings. I love it. Monkey Puzzle is £6.99 at Waterstones.


This was a Christmas present and is one of Jacob’s favourites. The colourful board book is beautifully illustrated. The story follows a yawn as it travels from a little boy called Sean to a cat, pig and rabbit, among other animals. The words have a lovely rhythm and Jacob loves listening to my voice when I read it to him. He loves ‘helping’ to turn the pages by sticking his hand through the yawn hole in each page. It’s a nice short story, which is perfect for when Jacob is tired and we want to get him to bed quickly.

It will be great once Jacob is older too—it’s nice and simple so he’ll be able to read along with me. I can’t wait until he starts shouting out the animal that’s coming next! Yawn is £5.99 from Waterstones.

Cave Baby

This is another Julia Donaldson book I love. This one is about a baby in caveman times and it’s adventures with a mammoth. It’s £6.99 at Waterstones.

The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business

This book is hilarious. I hadn’t really clocked what it was about before I started reading it, so I was pretty surprised when I realised it was about a mole who had poo on his head! Despite the slightly strange premise, it’s a great book that I’m sure Jacob will find hilarious as he gets older. The book is £4.99 on Amazon.


Zog is yet another Julia Donaldson book that we love. Zog is about a dragon who is learning how to be a dragon, with a little help from a girl who happens to be a princess. Another fun story that Jacob will grow into. Zog is currently£4.50. Bargain!

Each Peach Pear Plum

Each Peach Pear Plum is an absolute classic. Again, Jacob is a bit young for it, but he loves the pictures. I like introducing him to characters like Baby Bunting and the Wicked Witch and the illustrations are amazing. It will work well as he gets older and can point out all the characters hiding in the illustrations. Each Peach Pear Plum is £3.99 from Amazon.

The Snail and the Whale

I think this is probably aimed at slightly older children, but it’s still good now. It’s a bit longer than some of the other books and tells a nice story about a snail travelling the world on a whale. The Snail and the Whale is on sale now for £3.99!

The Gruffalo

This one is my favourite! The Gruffalo  is a brilliant story. It’s definitely designed for the older child—I’d guess a 3-year-old would love it—but I think it’s great for a 6-month old for a few reasons: it’s longer than some of the others so good for winding baby down, plus I find Jacob likes listening to me reading longer books; it’s enjoyable for the adult reading it; the illustrations are lovely for a baby to look at. I think exposing babies to a wider variety of words can only be a good thing. I love doing silly voices for all the characters and Jacob seems to enjoy it too—he laughs with/at me! If you don’t have it, you must buy it. The Gruffalo is £3.99 from Amazon.

Not A Box

Not A Box is a board book about a rabbit playing with a box. A fab story about the power of imagination, I love the message of this book. It’s nice and sturdy too, perfect for my little dribbler! Not A Box is £6.99 from Amazon.

We’re Going on A Bear Hunt

This is one of my husband’s favourites. He read it a lot as a child. I think getting to revisit your old favourite books is one of the best things about becoming a parent. We’re Going On A Bear Hunt is a story about a family going on an adventure to find a bear—they’re not scared though… or are they?! Ha. I love doing the sound effects for Jacob. He particularly enjoys the ‘swishy-swashy’ bit It’s only £2.93 on Amazon at the moment! Bargain.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is yet another classic book. The illustrations are beautiful and colourful and I think it’s a good introduction to understanding days of the week and basic counting. I’d say this is the ‘youngest’ of these books we are reading to Jacob at the moment, but it would still be fine for slightly older children. The board book is £3.99.

The Little Boy Who Lost His Name

You can read my more detailed review of The Little Boy Who Lost His Name, but in summary it’s a lovely, personalised story aimed at children aged 0-8 years. It’s about a little boy (or girl) who loses his name and his journey to find it. The little boy meets characters who represent the letters of his name—so for Jacob its a jaguar, alligator, chameleon, ostrich and bear. The book is a little bit old for Jacob really, but it’s definitely one he will grow into. Sometimes it’s nice to read babies slightly longer books anyway, as it gives them more time to listen to your voice and unwind. You can buy The Little Boy Who Lost His Name for £19.99.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

This cute book actually has a moral to the story—all babies are the same, wherever they come from. It’s very sweet and Jacob likes it because he gets kisses at the end. It has a nice gentle rhyme and is beautifully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. It’s £4.79 on Amazon.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

This is a classic tale about a tiger who visits a little girl and her mummy for tea. Jacob likes it because a tiger is basically a cat, which is his favourite animal right now. My husband isn’t keen on this one. He finds it boring and never reads it. I disagree. I think it has old school charm! It’s not funny like a lot of modern children’s books, but it is exciting. Imagine if a tiger really did come to tea! I couldn’t find my version on Amazon, but you can buy a different version here.

If You’re Happy and You Know It

This is a book version of the nursery rhyme. It has really nice illustrations and sliding parts, which Jacob likes. He can’t quite manipulate them himself yet though. It’s obviously not a story as such, but it is a nice book. There’s a QR code to scan on your phone and you can listen along to the song, which is unusual. It’s £5.99 on Amazon.

Oi Frog!

This book is hands down my favourite (closely followed by The Gruffalo!). It’s funny and engaging. In my opinion, it’s pretty important that the adult enjoys the book, and this really made me laugh. It starts with a cat telling a frog to sit on a log—the frog objects and a rhyme explaining why he should sit on the log ensues. It’s very silly, but that’s why I love it. I think rhyming books are great at Jacob’s age, as he really seems to listen to my voice more. It’s also great for teaching different animals to babies. Oi Frog! is £5.24 on Amazon.

Oi Dog!

Oi Dog follows on from Oi Frog and is about the Frog getting revenge. Another very funny book. I highly recommend. Oi Dog is £6.99 at Waterstones.

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. October 16, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    I love love each peach pear plum, It was a book I had when I was little! This is a fab post, i’ve been looking for some suggestions! X

  2. October 16, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    There’s so many great books to choose from! I think it’s really lucky to have them. I didn’t when I was a baby. #KCACOLS

  3. October 16, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    I adore my daughter collection of book, I just keep adding to it. I don’t think they can have too many books #kcacols

  4. October 17, 2017 / 8:12 pm

    So many lovely books! The only problem is getting rid of them, my youngest is 12 and I cant bare to part with any of the books on their shelves even though I know they never read them. #kcacols

  5. October 17, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    We’ve got loads of these! Love the tiger who came to tea and the Gruffalo! My toddler is so into reading so I try to buy her new books whenever I can, you’ve given me some great suggestions here so thanks! Fab post x #kcacols

  6. October 18, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    Love this list. I’m always looking for books to add to Dexter’s Amazon wishlist and only just added Oi Frog a couple of hours ago!


  7. October 20, 2017 / 10:12 am

    Tiger that came to tea is a firm favourite here ven with my 3.5yr old now. Have all of these good list! #blogstravaganza

  8. talkingmums1
    October 20, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    Good selection, we’ve got most of these but you’ve just reminded me I want to get the ‘boy who lost his name’ for my two. Oi dog sounds fab too x
    Thanks for joining #Blogstravaganza

  9. October 20, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    I love adding to our girls’ library, there are some fab selections here! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  10. October 21, 2017 / 8:34 am

    This is a lovely selection of books. We are all boom worms in our house. x #kcacols

  11. October 25, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    A lovely selection of books. We love Julia Donaldson’s work here too. #Blogstravaganza

  12. October 29, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    We love books! Thanks for sharing it I can see some nice books here which we don’t have yet but wee need to get them:) Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

  13. November 10, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    Some great recommendations! #KCACOLS

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