My two-year-old is easily bored with her board books.  She prefers books for older kids, usually those that say 6 and up. I can’t be sure she understands everything, but she understands enough. I think she likes to be challenged and learn new things. Curious, I searched the internet for how they define those age ratings on board books.

Apparently, there is no universally accepted method or system for these books related to comprehension of the concepts. It is all tied to reading the words, which my daughter will not do for a while. Where there are ratings, there are more than 16 different scales and rating systems. One common system, the Fry Readability Formula uses an equation, the average number of sentences (y-axis) and syllables (x-axis) per one hundred words and then plotted onto a graph. This is obviously something that a lot of people will find confusing and arbitrary. For instance, Hemingway was famous for short, simple sentences, but I would not have been comfortable reading For Whom the Bell Tolls in the third grade. In fact, there is a movement among librarians to leave age ratings off children’s books altogether.

There is one non-profit group, Common Sense Media, that attempts to rate books based on appropriate subject matter. They provide age-based guides based on what they feel is appropriate, such as educational value and positive models, and things to avoid, such as violence, scariness, sex, and consumerism. I personally love the consumerism addition in this system as I hate books that are connected to branded toys and characters.

Common Sense Media says that children age 2 cannot easily separate fantasy and reality, which makes books a bit more tricky. When can I read her The Hobbit? Watership Down? I can’t wait!

They also start to recognize and begin to imitate gender roles and develop an affinity for gendered toys. Which reminds me, I need to keep her away from princess stuff as long as possible and get more truck and science books. The only pink book we have is Oliva, but it is Oliva, so… I have to give that a pass.

For now, one of my daughter’s favorite books is I am Jane Goodall. Jane is a scientist and a girl and friends with animals, so it doesn’t get any better for her. I tell her all the time that girls make the best scientists. Some of the other books in this series are great as well, but I might steer clear of the Amelia Earhart one for a while. That one confused me a bit with bravery/recklessness leading to a happy ending.

For a few more days, you can enter to win a copy of I am Jane Goodall from Amazon.