We got a package in the mail the other day from our friend, Kris G., in Indiana. In the package were two of these "books" for the Sprout. They are simply foam core with black and white images made from black sticky felt and Sharpie.
I was skeptical that Sproutie was ready to read books just yet, but I put the book down by her blanket during floor time and, wouldn't you know, she turned toward them and stared at them for several minutes without interuption. As she's gotten a little older she's gotten even more into her "stories" and will stare at the shapes for much longer than she'll look at anything else besides real human faces. In fact, I think she thinks the smilies ARE real human faces. Yesterday she had a whole conversation of cooing and grinning back at the smilies.
I think this is a really creative baby gift. Thanks, Kris! Mind if I copy your idea sometime?