A developmental tool/toy AND a book for your baby? Um, yes! If multifunction is the name of your game, check out Lamaze Soft Books.
I have two in my home library, and I highly recommend them for babies. The two I have are recommended for 6mo+ and 12mo+, but I used them with my daughter since she was only a few weeks old – obviously with supervision. These fabric books are soft but durable, colorful, and developmentally appropriate. On the back of the books, the creators include developmental milestones, suggestions for additional developmentally-appropriate ways to use the books, and additional play ideas related to the concepts in the book. The creator of the books also consult with a developmental expert.
Peek-a-Boo Forest by Joe Grassy, Illustrated by Tetsuya Hirose- This fun lift-the-flap book explores the forest, and on each page the reader finds an animal hiding in a forest scene. The easy, rhythmic, rhyming text flows nicely, and the illustrations are round, soft, cheerful, and bright.
Captain Calamari’s Treasure Hunt by Chung Liang, Illustrated by Tetsuya Hirose- This sweet underwater adventure follows Captain Calamari as he searches for treasure. He points out several different sea creatures and compares them to different kinds of treasure, but the sea animals are not the treasure he seeks. The book ends with a mirror, and Captain Calamari excitedly points out that you (the reader) are the treasure he’d been seeking all along.
These books are fantastic for sensory activities. They crinkle, they’re soft, and there are lots of things to find and identify. I don’t doubt that a baby would love interacting with these books.