Henry's birthday gifts were a huge success! He loves his new books, and I particularly love Big Machines from the DK Readers series. According to Montessori philosophy, young children are in a developmental phase where they are trying to understand the world. For this reason, the books we read to them should be non-fiction (or realistic fiction) and should contain real photographs whenever possible. While we don't follow this philosophy 100% (I love Go Dog Go and Are You My Mother?), I do find that Henry is most attracted to books with real photographs.
I'm going to use some of his birthday money (half of it is being put toward college savings) to buy more of the Level 1 DK Readers. As a reading teacher, I can see how adding these books to our collection now will greatly support and promote reading later down the line. Henry is in the stage where he likes books to be read to him over and over again. He's acquiring vocabulary (explicitly), as well as sentence structure (implicitly). Reading these same books over the years will create a really solid foundation for independent reading.
These won't be the only books we buy for him. It's important to read books that are above his level, too, so that we expose him to more sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure. But we'll definitely buy a handful of them. The text is the perfect amount for keeping him engaged, and he loves the photos. Building familiarity with them now will likely support his reading acquisition later on.