Monday, May 20, 2013

5 Board Book Shower Gifts for Friends with "Taste"

We all have them. We might secretly want to be them. The friends who have impeccable taste. From iPhone cases, Saturday casual clothes or the workout towel they soak in sweat - everything is on trend. For those delightfully urbane childless friends with their perfectly curated modern homes who now find themselves imminently with child (facing the abyss of laundry and lego land-mines scattered about their pristine sustainably harvested wood floors) Milk Crate Castle would like to suggest 5 board books.

Getting, or even suggesting these books will make you look like a pro. Not only do you know what a trial it is to get a 5 week old to focus on a board book because you’ve been there and done that - and this book will get their precious fleeting attention - but also that you appreciate, respect, and perhaps are secretly envious of, your friends' clean design aesthetic. These books say “YES!” to carefully arranged floating bamboo shelving, glass end tables, and sculptural orchids in the foyer. With this gift you will provide these good friends with the precious illusion that they can hold onto their beautiful magazine ready home as if no garish, pandering disney princess or space ranger will ever be plastered on their walls by a sticker happy 3 year old.

Our Suggestions for Tasteful Board Books:

(1) Art for Baby

Nothing is more arrestingly toothsome than modern art. Except perhaps their new baby.

Even if you don't know the cover is Keith Haring's Radiant Baby at least you can expose your child to modern art so they don't grow up as uncultured as you. Of course since this is a gift it is highly likely that the new baby's parents do know it is the famous Radiant Baby and maybe they have even decided to decorate the nursery with a beautiful large scale print of it. If so you've hit the jackpot of "going-with-the-nursery-theme" baby gifts.

(2) Look, Look!

High contrast concentric circles get babies very excited, until they realize they aren't boobs.

This is a favorite board book in our home. One of my fondest memories of our children's babyhood is of Nick, in an insomnia-ridden haze, going off script and explaining the ridiculous structure of our government's ethanol subsidies to our 2 month old first-born as they both gazed mesmerized at the page with the sun and the "corn". The high contrast pulls even the youngest infant's, or sleep deprived parent's, attention. This is the perfect book with which to begin a daily reading ritual with your child at any point from around 6 weeks to 3 months.

(3) Pantone's Book of Color

Now your baby can list the Pantone colors of the year since 2008 as a parlor trick.

If your friend follows Pantone on Pinterest or shares the Color of the Year announcement on FB this is right board book for their little bundle. Recent studies have posited that the awkward positioning of color adjectives before nouns could be part of the issue which causes delayed recognition of colors and tones found in American children. This book could help make the difference as baby will learn to differentiate not just between related shades like red and pink but between subtle tone differences like "macaroni and cheese orange" and "goldfish orange" which have the object and adjective relationship in an ideal learning position for the wee ones' cognitive and linguistic skills.

(4) Charley Harper's 123s

Minimalist, mid-century wildlife can be a nice change for the tot addicted to Wonder Pets.

The best part about this board book is that it preps kiddos for the beautiful Charley Harper Coloring Books you can get them when they learn to stop chewing the points off of crayolas. If this doesn't turn the kids into veterinarians, conservationists, devout Audobon society members or artists I'll eat my hat.

(5) The MET's ABCs

A little Art history for Vassar class of 2030?

Even if minimalism and modernism are the way you roll its important to know your roots. This ABC primer showcases many works from a variety of eras and styles while giving parents the 411 in the back so you can provide a little context for the pictures as your child grows.

What are your favorite board book buys with design in mind? Help expand our palette; leave us suggestions in the comments below!

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