Lovevery came out with stage-based book bundles a couple of months ago, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on them! These bundles, typically two books (but not always) that you can add to each play kit, are $18.
Book topics include going to the dentist, potty learning, sharing, and temporary separation. These topics are introduced at the right time for social-emotional learning and cognitive development.
Here’s what you need to know about the Lovevery book bundles, including pros and cons, our favorite and least favorite books, and if these bundles are truly worth it.
Disclaimer: All of the Lovevery book bundles were sent to me by the brand for the purpose of a review. This content is not sponsored or previously reviewed by the brand. I do make a commission if you click one of my links and decide to purchase.
Related: Are the Lovevery Play Kits Worth It?
What’s the deal with the Lovevery book bundles?
If you’ve never experienced a Lovevery book before, you may be wondering what all the fuss and hype is about.
Finding books that are perfect for your child’s developmental stage, feature real-life photography, and show diversity (including disabilities, face, and religion), is RARE. Most children’s books are silly illustrated tales, and we love those. Do not get me wrong.
But it’s increasingly hard to find books in this other category. Lovevery is really filling a gap in the baby and toddler book world by delivering books written at your child’s level that reflect real-life experiences back to them.
Pros of the Book Bundles
I’m just going to get right into it. There’s a lot to love when it comes to these book bundles.
- Tackles real-life topics: your little one can read stories about going to the dentist or having a sleepover, which makes it a lot easier to actually DO these things in real life.
- Age-appropriate: the topics in these board books are perfect for your child’s current age, which is amazing.
- Real-life photography: images of real people and situations is more impactful for babies and toddlers than illustrations. Lovevery explains: “According to Montessori philosophy, the time between the ages of 0 and 3 is the sensitive period for needing to understand the world as it is; young children are not yet ready to take in the nuances of fantasy and illustration. Our Book Bundles help your child make sense of their own experiences.”
- Unique features: so many of these books have unique features, like a lavender field in Leo & Melody at the Farm that smells like lavender when you scratch it, or the hide and seek lift-the-flap feature in Where is Crew’s Shoe?
- Lots of diversity: these books feature people from many identities and communities, including disability, race, religion, and family structure.
- Durable, high-quality: the actual books are sturdy and well-made – the board books are durable, and the fabric book is a clear standout as it’s innovative and very well done.
- Good value: these bundles are a really good value at only $18 per bundle. In most cases, that’s just $9 per book.
Cons of the Book Bundles
And while I love so many components of these books, I also have some criticisms.
- Must buy the full bundle: you can’t purchase just one book from a bundle – you have to get the whole thing. There are several cases where we LOVED one book from a bundle but didn’t care for the second one.
- Wordy hardcovers: the hardcover books for the older age ranges are super wordy, and I think a lot of the narrative is clunky and poorly written. In addition, a lot of the dialogue coming from children just doesn’t sound natural. (Would a toddler really say, “Do you have to go to the bathroom one more time? That might be a good idea.” I don’t think so!)
- Not much rhyming: hardly any of the books rhyme, so reading them aloud isn’t as captivating as other books can be.
- Some annoying details: there are some minor details in several of the books that bothered me, like in the book Opposites, closed/open is pictured as a child scrunching his face and then opening his mouth and hands. A door or drawer would’ve made a lot more sense here. In the book Things I Can Do, the picture that’s supposed to illustrate dancing really doesn’t look like dancing.
- Redundancy: some of these books are redundant, like the two contrast books in the bundle for The Looker Play Kit for Weeks 0-12 – these two contrast books are basically the same thing. Plus, do you really need them when you have contrast cards from the actual play kit? Like, how many contrasting images do you need in your house?
- Images of poop: The Ready to Go: Poop board book has an image of actual poop in it, and I just… I can’t. I know there’s a card that says it’s important for kids to see what “success” looks like, but it just comes across as super bizarre. I said what I said.
Our Favorite Book Bundles
Some of the book bundles stood out to me as must-haves, while others were forgettable.
Here is a list of our absolute favorite books from these bundles. I would add these bundles to your play kit subscription in a heartbeat.
- Silicone Sensory Book (The Senser Play Kit for Months 5-6)
- Peek-a-Boo Board Book (The Inspector Play Kit for Months 7–8)
- Plant a Seed, Watch it Grow Fabric Book (The Explorer Play Kit for Months 9–10)
- Baby Math Board Book (The Thinker Play Kit for Months 11–12)
- Colorful Foods Board Book (The Babbler Play Kit for Months 13, 14, 15)
- Where is Crew’s Shoe? Board Book (The Babbler Play Kit for Months 13, 14, 15)
- Leo & Melody at the Farm Board Book (The Companion Play Kit for Months 22, 23, 24)
- Olivia Goes to the Dentist Board Book (The Helper Play Kit for Months 25, 26, 27)
- When You Love a Living Thing Board Book (The Enthusiast Play Kit for Months 28, 29, 30)
I want to elaborate on how awesome each one of these books is because they’re just THAT good. Don’t walk to add these to your subscription. Run.
Our Least Favorite Book Bundles
I really like the full lineup of books, but in general, I’m just not a huge fan of the hardcover books, starting at Month 34. They’re super wordy, and some of the narratives are clunky and awkward. The Naming Ceremony is particularly bad, in my opinion.
Aside from the wordy story, there is often dialogue from children that just doesn’t match up with what a child would say. I often rewrite the story as I’m reading it to my daughter so her ears will perk up and she gets more excited.
As an example, would a 2-year-old seriously say the following line: “A ceremony is a bunch of steps you take in order that mean something important.” I get that this book was trying to define the word ceremony, but this was NOT the way to do it. If anything, that dialogue should’ve come from an adult or parent. It just bothered me.
In general, my almost 4-year-old likes these books and asks me to read them to her, but I think it’s more because she’s captivated by the images of real children. And again, the concepts and topics are good, but the execution falls flat for me.
I already mentioned earlier I’m not a fan of the image of poop in the Ready to Go: Poop board book. I know it was intentional, and lots of reasoning is given. But that’s not for us.
Finally, the two black and white contrast books included in the first book bundle for 0-12 months are redundant to me. I just don’t see why you would need so many contrast books and images, especially considering how many contrast cards and items are in the first play kit.
I also found some of the other books redundant. Do you really need two nearly identical books about potty learning (Ready to Go: Pee and Ready to Go: Poop)? There’s also a book called Opposites and another called More Opposites. I just felt like this was a missed opportunity, and more variety could’ve been given.
Are the Lovevery Book Bundles Worth It?
If you’re new here, I have a full Lovevery Amazon Alternatives blog series where I hunt down toy alternatives on Amazon. And I swear, finding book alternatives is one of the HARDEST parts of researching this series.
There are not many books available that feature images of real children doing real-life things. If I had to guess, I’d say 95% of all baby and toddler books on the market are illustrated.
For that alone, these book bundles are worth it. Yes, there are certain books that don’t stand out as much as others, but they’re all high-quality and educational.
And for the price? I think they’re a steal. If you want to be choosy about which bundles you get, please refer back to my list of favorites.
And thank you Lovevery for creating books that are SO hard to find anywhere else!
I’m sorry you disliked “The Naming Ceremony” so much. It’s my family who is featured in it.
(I’m Haley’s mom). I agree that the particular line you quoted should have come from an adult. But that isn’t what happened. That was her real ceremony (Feb 2021) and none of us adults said those words to her that day. Everything happened pretty organically (including pinguino falling from the chair), and so they included it as part of the book narration.
The story itself is super cool, and I love how Lovevery brings in lots of different perspectives. I bet that experience was very unique and fun! I do wish Lovevery did a better job with the narration, but I hope you didn’t take my comments as an attack on your family. Your family is lovely.