“The Odyssey” by Homer
Okay, hear me out on this one. “The Odyssey” is a beautiful book. It’s from oral tradition, so it’s meant to be read aloud. It’s in verse. It will introduce your baby to beautiful sounds and it will give you a chance to revisit one of the most important works of literature. The Robert Fagles translation is a good one for this.
Shakespeare wrote beautifully. His poems, as we all learned in high school, are written in iambic pentameter, da – DUM da – DUM da – DUM da – DUM da – DUM. The rhythm perfectly mirrors a heartbeat, a sound familiar and soothing to your baby. How great would it be to introduce literature that she is already, on some level, familiar with? Try “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to get you in the mood for magic.
“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
While not classic in the “hundreds of years old” sense of the word, this is a great read, and I won’t say that about just any board book. It goes quickly, especially if there’s not a toddler trying to squirm off your lap. It’s fun to read, and the sounds of the alphabet will float off the pages.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2013; it has been updated over the years and remains one of the top-accessed baby articles on ParentMap.com.