Best Baby Books: Our Top 10 Picks

Are you looking for the best baby books that will help develop bub's cognitive skills? We’ve created a list of our favourites and put together some useful tips for you.

best baby books australia

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If you made it here, you probably already know the importance of reading with babies, and now you will learn that there’s a variety of innovative and stimulating books you can find, suitable from baby’s day one!

It is in fact never too early to start reading to your baby, and though baby does not understand the words, he does feel the emotions you transmit to him while reading.

Reading plays a crucial role in developing communication skills, as well as imagination and creativity. Storytelling is just as soothing to a newborn as it is to a toddler and will positively foster their exploring instincts. It stimulates babies’ brains and helps them improve their communication skills.

Also, the linguistic aspect and cognitive development of reading to a baby are highly praised by speech pathologists and teachers.

To help you choose, we've put together a selection of the best baby books that we could find in the Australian market, of different types and with various interactive features. 

Baby’s Very First Nursery Rhymes Playbook

1. Baby’s Very First Nursery Rhymes Playbook

Musical book with touchy patches and finger trails

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One of the best interactive baby books is the Nursery Rhymes Playbook, which received a Progressive Preschool Award for a reason. 

It has 10 fun and colourful pages of pure joy and it would suit excellently a baby who loves to explore with his hands, as it also features touchy-feely patches and finger trails to look for.

Therefore, this is a book for stimulating baby’s sensory feelings and it is recommended from 4 months onwards. At that age babies’ attention is focused enough and this kind of books are ideal.

It is also a musical book, and some of the all-time classic baby nursery rhymes are available by pressing the side buttons. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Hickory Dickory Dock and Mary had a Little Lamb, Humpty Dumpty, Little Bo-Peep, Baa Baa Black Sheep and many more.

We find the Baby’s Very First Nursery Rhymes Playbook as an excellent choice from a storytelling perspective as the illustrations will additionally stimulate baby’s imagination. Your child will sing along looking at the pictures and turning the pages to explore. This book helps baby in the learning, reading and listening process.

Night Night Peter Rabbit Cloth Book

2. Night Night Peter Rabbit Cloth Book

Soft book with simple lyrics and sweet pictures

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This lovely book by Beatrix Potter features the classic images of the author’s most popular characters Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten, Benjamin Bunny, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tittlemouse and a sleepy Flopsy Bunny.

It is the ideal first book for a newborn baby as the material of the book is soft and suitable for baby's skin. The cute rustly pages are simply delightful and encouraging for the baby to touch and play with.

The Night Night Peter Rabbit Cloth Book allows babies to get acquainted with the language, looking at cute bunny images. It has 6 pages and is created to fit perfectly in baby’s little hands. Also, it is extremely lightweight and easy to keep clean.

Parent’s experience shows that this is the ideal book for rhyme and repetition of words. The colourful images keep the child’s attention, and the large pictures make them focus. Also, these sorts of books, made of cloth material, are great for little biters.

Coolplay Baby’s First Cloth Book Set

3. Coolplay Baby’s First Cloth Book Set

Set of six books with vibrant colours and textured fabric

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Featuring 6 items in its pack, this set offers some of the best books for babies 0-12 months. The bright and vibrant colours are very stimulating for children’s sensory awareness. As they are made of high-quality cloth material, you can wash them as necessary without deforming them or causing any colour changes.

The Coolplay Baby’s First Cloth Book Set has six different books in the following categories: animals, characters, colours, food, numbers and shapes.

Durable enough to endure baby’s chewing, but also soft, lightweight and stimulating for the infant, these books are an excellent tool to engage your child in the process of learning from day one.

Some parents doubt them, as there are mostly very simple and fundamental objects of people’s everyday life. However, as a first baby book, it is normal to feature only the basics and rudimental things. As the pages of the book are with sound paper, it will keep baby’s attention and help him self-discover the shapes and patterns. We also find these books great for giving parents storytelling ideas.

VTech Musical Rhymes Book

4. VTech Musical Rhymes Book

Vivid musical book with interactive features

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The Musical Rhymes Book is one of the best baby books for the first year of baby’s life, from 3 months old onward, and it offers the six classic popular baby rhymes on six plastic pages.

We recommend it for a 3 months old baby and up because it is quite an interactive book. Made of high-quality material, baby can press the buttons and listen to the tunes.

It encourages manual dexterity and helps developing early language and reading skills. The best features of this book are the press piano keys, whose push buttons are so intriguing for the babies to play with. Parents especially like the calming and entertaining effect.

On each page of the book, there are nursery rhymes including Hey Diddle Diddle, Humpty Dumpty, Hickory Dickory Dock, Little Miss Muffet, The Mulberry Bush and Old MacDonald, with two different modes of playing.

Lamaze Counting Animals Soft Book

5. Lamaze Counting Animals Soft Book

Soft animal book with lively colours on 10 different pages

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The Lamaze Soft Book is the best baby book for counting the animals. This is an excellent choice for your 6 months old baby to learn and identify 10 different colourful animals.

The ability to develop the fine motor skills through holding and grabbing the pages, as well as the hand-eye coordination while turning the pages, are just some of the new experiences your baby will discover.

The Counting Animals Soft Book is an interactive book, with vigorous colours and high-contrast pages offering both visual and sensory stimulation. Parents can teach their babies to count and learn the animals in the best possible way, through a colourful book. The tiny creatures in the book offer many options to see, feel or touch, ideal for sensory stimulation.

Very suitable for bonding activities with your baby, while you are cuddling and mutually experience the beauty of knowledge. There is also a plastic hook, so you can attach it on your pram and carry it with you while out of the home. Super easy to clean and keep hygienic, this book will easily convert into your kid’s favourite toy and companion.

First Baby Days: Bath Time

6. First Baby Days: Bath Time

Ideal for creating a magical bath atmosphere

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Bath time will never be the same again once you introduce this book to your baby. As soon as your baby starts to understand the bathing process and the enjoyment it provides, you can easily start using this book in the bathtub. The best part of it is that it changes colours in the water and this will be a splendid experience for baby.

Babies will be delighted when they see the vivid pictures and images reacting to the water. Frogs, cute fishes, and other friends splashing in the water with the baby, can a kid ask for more?

Our experience shows that these types of books present a great experience, and yet your baby will also improve hand-eye coordination, which will be more challenging in the water and will further endorse their skills development. This book is made of child-friendly material, and it is suitable for water activities, just like a water toy.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Essential baby book with stunning vibrant images

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This is a very popular and loved classic baby book in Australia, in the mid-price range and with some excellent and satisfying features. It has vigorous and colourful images and illustrations on 26-pages, with an ideal size for baby’s fingers. Use it from day one and read to your baby about the Hungry Caterpillar, and they will always remember it as their first baby book!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar book has die-cut pages and finger-sized holes for exploring with little fingers. This book is also considered as one of the best for colour perception and it represents an optimistic approach to joyful everyday playtime. It is quite a sturdy book format, so it is a durable and lasting book, yet safe to play with. The new edition is also with an extra-strong cover made to last.

It is very good for learning and senses development, evoking strong emotions and teaching the child of the idea of empathy towards the caterpillar who is always hungry. This all-time classic favourite is a must-have piece of art for your baby’s library. We find it as an inspirational addition to the baby’s nursery, suitable for years to come.

Dear Zoo Cased Board Book

8. Dear Zoo Cased Board Book

Favourite family book perfect for tiny hands

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This has been one of the best baby books for decades. It is an absolute pleasure to read, making the animal sounds with your children, monitoring their reaction and enjoyment. It is known as the lift-the-flap book and is currently reissued in a more sturdy design, suitable enough for your baby’s hands.

The Dear Zoo Cased Board Book is loved by kids, parents and teachers alike, as it comes in 18 pages of colourful animals which should be discovered under the flaps. The story is quite simple, suitable as a first book for introducing the protagonists of the zoo. Also, the repetitive rhyme gives the child the ability to learn and try to repeat the sound themselves as part of the natural learning process.

Parents especially love the size of this book, as their children can hold it easily and entertain even on their own, watching the colourful illustrations. Also, it is just the perfect book for bonding time before sleeping and storytelling period, while imitating the animals or connecting the pictures with animals in the real world. The imaginative options are numerous and diverse.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

9. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

A lovely poem celebrating all the babies in the world

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This is such a sweet and pleasing picture book with some thrilling repetitive lyrics, encouraging baby to count using his fingers. The illustrations in the book are calming and very satisfying for the baby to become acquainted with their own existence and sense of belonging. This book is one of the best gifts for babies that have just started to get to know the world around them and are eager to explore it.

The Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes Board Book is a lovely nursery book full of warmth and appealing for the baby’s eyes, as it comes in 38 pages of a colourful story. Kids especially like the repetitions and counting parts as they try to imitate them, thus developing their cognitive knowledge.

It is very suitable for introducing the concept of counting and improvement of the listening, memory and vocabulary skills. In a very practical and fun way, you can create a teaching atmosphere for the baby and give him information about the world he lives in. Also, he will start to understand the notion of communication among individuals.

Baby’s Very First Black & White Little Library

10. Baby’s Very First Black & White Little Library

High contrast books for ultimate sensory development

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Some of the best books for babies 0-12 months are the ones in this collection, suitable for a newborn, practically from day one. The set features four titles in the following categories: Animals, Going Out, Babies and Faces. It is believed that these books help the baby to focus on the high contrast, black-and-white, which makes them suitable for those first months of life out of the womb.

The Baby’s Very First Black & White Little Library is an ideal tiny little librarian collection for exercising how to keep your child’s attention to the colourful images and encouraging motor skill development. As the books are small and lightweight with a padded soft-touch, they are perfectly suitable for baby’s hands to grab and hold. Once the baby starts sitting on his own, he can also sort them in the box, a real thrilling experience.

Babies will find it comforting to look at the different animals and with the help of their parents to learn their names. We consider these books as ideal for bedtime stories, as well as for cuddling and bonding with the tiny little infant, especially due to their small size and the ability for the baby to hold them.

How to choose a book for baby

Babies usually enjoy books with short and simple words that have a rhythm and rhyme. Also, they find it thrilling if there are some sound effects or repetitions. Books are the best way for indirect learning and stimulation. Here are some features to look for when buying the first baby book.

Safety. As babies tend to put everything in their mouth, be very careful with the material of the book and buy only age-appropriate books, otherwise, it would be just a waste of money.

Material. Nowadays, books are not only made of paper, and you may find books made of cloth material, waterproof or sturdy hard pages that are super convenient for babies.

Design. The baby book should be colourful and with high-contrast images. Babies like to explore the pictures just as much as the flip-flaps to make a peek-a-boo. Just as much as they like to see their image in a mirror, they also like to see baby faces or different animals and learn the sounds they make. Some books have different textures, such as finger trails or paper sound, or can emit music rhymes, these are all features that are very interesting and delightful to babies.

Cleaning. Depending on the material, you should be able to wash the cloth and waterproof books, while the ones from hard material are easy to clean with a wet wipe.

Tips for reading books to your baby

Sometimes it might be hard to set your tempered baby in a still position, however, it depends on the parent’s ability to make the storytelling as magical as possible so that it is entertaining enough for the baby. Do not give up and try more times, with different books and techniques and you will be able to see the benefits quicker than you imagine.

  • Turn off the TV or other noises and sounds, and set yourself and the baby in a quiet and cuddly place;
  • Read slow and practice correct pronunciation, not a baby language;
  • Focus on the pictures and point with your finger the things you read about so that the baby knows what you are reading;
  • Modify the tone of your voice according to the situations in the book;
  • Create a daily reading routine but change the stories you read.

By the age of one year old, babies are already able to understand simple tasks and recognise their name and other sounds. They can even pronounce some words, usually ‘mum’ and ‘dad’. It is never too early to create a baby library and encourage their imagination beyond borders. The most important thing is to be persistent and repeat those activities on a daily basis so that you are able to see your baby thriving and understanding the value of communication.

If you haven't already, we also recommend taking a look at this article from Raising Children Network (Australia), if you want to know more about the benefits of reading to a newborn baby.