Elli writes…A confession: unwrapping fabulous but unexpected baby gifts leaves me with mixed feelings. A spontaneous ‘Wow, I love it!’ followed by an unspoken ‘But why didn’t I already know about it?’.
This is vain, I know. But it describes how I felt when I opened two beautiful board books given to my baby daughter on Christmas day.
I can’t say I would usually get hot under the collar about a board book – children’s books, yes, but the breeze blocks I’m talking about usually come in a palette of three gaudy colours with twee content and are more for chewing than reading.
Not so Charley Harper‘s ABC’s and 123’s. These are design classics by an American Modernist artist known for his stylized, graphic depictions of wildlife.
The look is retro and colourful, the content is creative and intriguing. This means that – not unlike The Simpsons – they work for both the little one and for the devoted mum or dad reading the book to their bundle of joy for the umpteenth time.
In ABC’s (Â£6.99 at Amazon), Z is for Zebra, of course, but you haven’t ever seen Zebra like these – a dazzle of them are collected together to form a sleek block of sandwiched stripes, like watching a herd through a kaleidoscope.
From one ladybug lounging, which is the cover image, to ten minnows swimming, 123’s (Â£5.95 at Amazon) also celebrates wildlife, my favourite being eight chickadees perching, in which the birds are reduced to a circle containing triangles but somehow manage to look extremely cute.
The books also double up as stylish room decor. Until my little one is old enough not to put them straight into her mouth, our copies are proudly on display on the nursery mantle piece, brightening a corner of the room.
ABC, 123, doh-ray-me, baby you and me now.