Board Book Roundup |Reviews

For those struggling to keep up with the demand for fresh and new board books, this roundup of recently published titles is just for you. Brooke Newberry, an early literacy librarian and new mom, has selected and annotated 50 must-have picks.

1701-BoardBks-CVs1Baby Faces. ISBN 9781465444660.

Baby Night-Night. ISBN 9781465443892.

ea vol: photos. 14p. DK. Feb. 2016. Board $5.99.

Baby-Toddler–Sturdy construction and an easy-to-grasp size make these board books perfect for little hands. Each spread features glittery texture and text instructing readers to express a different type of emotion. Real-life babies are shown on the recto page, which depicts the emotion. Babies love looking at other infants, and Baby Faces offers ample opportunities to do just that. In Baby Night-Night, a typical bedtime routine is portrayed. Children will enjoy the glittery elements on each spread and will be interested to see their own lives reflected on the pages. Both titles are recommended for purchase.

Baruzzi, Agnese. Look, Look Again. illus. by Agnese Baruzzi. 30p. Minedition. Oct. 2016. Board $12.99. ISBN 9789888341207.

Toddler-PreS–A unique counting book that invites readers to take a closer look at simple objects. Each spread identifies an object, such as a strawberry, and then encourages readers to fold out the page. Deploying a double fold, the images show increasing numbers of animals, from one to 10. White backgrounds and bright illustrations allow for easy counting and will captivate toddlers as each image transforms. The pages and folds are a bit fragile, but this is an ideal option for storytimes featuring guessing or predicting games.

Boynton, Sandra. Dinosaur Dance! illus. by Sandra Boynton. 16p. S. & S./Little Simon. Aug. 2016. Board $5.99. ISBN 9781481480994.

Toddler-PreS–Boynton is back with another winner. Her latest board book is all about dinosaurs. Readers are immediately told the dinosaur dance is beginning on the opening page. Each spread that follows involves rhyming couplets about dancing dinosaurs. Proper names, such as triceratops, velociraptor, and iguanodon, are used to identify each unique dinosaur. Movement possibilities are endless with the text, and this will be a great addition to storytime shelves.

Campbell, Rod. Dear Zoo: Animal Shapes. illus. by Rod Campbell. 20p. S. & S./Little Simon. Aug. 2016. Board $6.99. ISBN 9781481480697.

Toddler-PreS–The classic story Dear Zoo is reformatted in this new board book. The story remains the same (“I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet”), but the pop-up and lift-the-flap elements have been removed. In their place, each page has been formed in the shape of the animal that the zoo sends to the letter writer. While not as charming as the original, this version will hold up for multiple circulations by tiny hands. A purchase for most libraries.

Church, Caroline Jayne. I Love My Bunny. ISBN 9780545835961.

––––. I Love My Robot. ISBN 9780545835930.

ea vol: illus. by Caroline Jayne Church. 10p. Scholastic/Cartwheel. Jan 2016. Board $7.99.

Baby-Toddler–Tactile elements are found throughout these companion board books. Each offering introduces readers to a narrator and a favorite toy. A gentle adventure follows, as touch-and-feel fabrics and lift-the-flaps make the pages more interactive. Crisp black line illustrations depict the story in an easy-to-follow pattern. While the construction could be stronger, the books, as long as they last, will be enjoyed by children.

Church, Caroline Jayne. I Will Love You Forever. illus. by Caroline Jayne Church. 22p. Scholastic/Cartwheel. Sept. 2016. Board $8.99. ISBN 9780545942003.

Toddler-PreS–Those seeking a book expressing a caregiver’s unconditional love should look no further. The story shows the small child from infancy (“When I saw you for the very first time I was filled with joy that you were mine.”) all the way to toddlerhood, and a caregiver reminds the child that she will be loved forever. Crisp illustrations featuring thick black lines on a muted background make it easy to focus on the child on each page. A worthy addition to collections, but the thinner pages might present a problem with circulation.

Coté, Patricia. Where Are You Little Red Ball? illus. by Yayo. 24p. Tradewind. Apr. 2016. Board $8.95. ISBN 9781926890128.

Toddler-PreS–This Canadian import shows all the possibilities of a small red ball. Each page poses a question directly to the red ball: “Are you an apple hanging from an apple tree?/Are you a cherry sliding off a mountain of ice cream?” Christmas is specifically mentioned, with the page showing a traditional evergreen tree with presents underneath. The word toque is used to describe a stocking hat, which might confuse U.S. audiences. Nonetheless, children will enjoy guessing what each incarnation is, and the satisfying ending makes this a storytime crowd-pleaser.

Crews, Donald. Freight Train/Tren de carge. illus. by Donald Crews. 28p. HarperCollins/ Greenwillow. Aug. 2016. Board $5.99. ISBN 9780062457080. BL

Toddler-PreS–The classic picture book is now available as a bilingual board book. This much-needed adaptation is a great size and holds just as much appeal in this smaller format. The English text is at the top of each line, with the Spanish text directly underneath it. This will be a perfect storytime book for choral reading and one-on-one use at home.

1701-BoardBks-CVs2Curato, Mike. Little Elliot Big City. illus. by Mike Curato. 34p. Holt. Aug. 2016. Board $7.99. ISBN 9781627796989.

Toddler-PreS–This story about a quiet elephant in a busy city transitions to a board book format flawlessly. The gentle pencil drawings and muted palette make this an appealing choice for one-on-one reading. Older toddlers will enjoy having this story in a format they can browse independently.

Deneux, Xavier. Homes. illus. by Xavier Deneux. 16p. (Touchthinklearn). Chronicle. Mar. 2016. Board $14.99. ISBN 9781452145181.

Toddler-PreS–This offering presents houses for different people and creatures. Echoing previous books, Homes features a raised home on the verso, and the recto has a scooped out die-cut showing who lives inside the home. Each home is labeled with one or two words, and words describing the inhabitant and aspects of the home are also listed. “Castle/princess, sword, flag, crown, drawbridge, door, moat, water, waving, wielding, flowing.” The italicized verbs shown on each spread could be a potential conversation starter about the different parts of speech.

Deneux, Xavier. My First Touch and Feel Seasons. illus. by Xavier Deneux. 10p. Twirl Bks. Apr. 2016. Board $9.99. ISBN 9791027601417.

Toddler-PreS–Bright, crisp illustrations introduce seasons to the youngest readers. With each turn of the page, kids meet a child of indeterminate gender in a landscape appropriate for the season. For example, “Summer” features a beach and various objects one would find on a beach trip. The different items on the page are labeled: a T-shirt for summer, a fleece jacket for fall, a quilted coat for winter, and a slick raincoat for spring. These additions make the sensory aspect of the board book not only fun but educational as well.

DK My First Zoo: Let’s Meet the Animals. photos. 28p. DK. Apr. 2016. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781465448835.

Toddler-PreS–Clear, real-life pictures make this tiny picture dictionary perfect for young readers. Thirteen tabs along the top and side of the chunky board book make grasping and turning pages easy and allow children to quickly turn to their favorite type of animal. Each spread features plainly labeled animals grouped together, such as “Tropical Animals,” and includes a question for reader to answer. “How many birds can you see? Now count all the fish.” Little ones will look at this book over and over again, and it should be considered for purchase by most libraries.

Good Night Baby! ISBN 9781589252110.

Hello Baby! ISBN 9781589252103.

ea vol: illus. by Sarah Ward. (To Baby with Love). 10p. Tiger Tales. Mar. 2016. Board $9.99.

Baby-Toddler–Sweet-faced animals say good night in Good Night Baby!, a gentle bedtime book. Rhyming couplets introduce readers to eight different animals as they prepare for bed. “Bathtime, Penguin, blowing bubbles. Mouse is ready for cozy cuddles.” The muted pastel palette pairs nicely with the soft pencil illustrations. The companion book, Hello Baby!, contains the same eight animals and describes how they play during the day. Tactile additions on each cover will make this book attractive to little hands.

1701-BoardBks-CVs3Groves, Julia . Animal Babies: In the Forest. ISBN 9781846438783.

––––. Animal Babies: In the Meadow. ISBN 9781846438790.

––––. Animal Babies: In the River. ISBN 9781846438806.

––––. Animal Babies: On the Mountain. ISBN 9781846438813.

ea vol: illus. by Julia Groves. 14p. Child’s Play. Jul. 2016. Board $4.99.

Baby-Toddler–Gorgeous cut paper–style illustrations draw the eye in this four-part series. Each verso page features an adult animal, while the recto shows the younger version. Each one is labeled with the proper name, such as “leverets,” “foal,” and “chicks,” which will be sure to increase a little one’s vocabulary. The author chooses common animals but also ones that are rarely covered in board books. For example, In the River includes salmon. Animals are easily visible against solid colored backgrounds, making this an ideal pick for the youngest readers.

Hegarty, Patricia. Good Night Farm. illus. by Thomas Elliott. 10p. (A Touch-and-Feel Storybook). Tiger Tales. Sept. 2016. Board $12.99. ISBN 9781589252332.

Baby-Toddler–An owl flies around the farm saying good night to different animals in this charming bedtime book. Rhyming verse follows Owl as she stops in to check on different animals. The muted blue-green palette evokes a soothing feeling but makes the text difficult to read on certain pages. Each spread features a touch-and-feel aspect, which, combined with the gentle rhymes, will quickly make this a favorite bedtime read.

Kalluk, Celina. Sweetest Kulu. illus. by Alexandria Neonakis. 30p. Inhabit Media. Oct. 2016. Board $7.95. ISBN 9781772271119.

Baby-Toddler–This picture book adaptation about a new child born in the Arctic succeeds in its new board book form. While the language is sophisticated and the text is longer than most found in board books, the lyrical quality will capture children’s attention. The animated illustrations dominate each page and complement the text. This purchase should be considered to add diversity and elegance to board book collections.

Laden, Nina. Peek-a-Choo-Choo! illus. by Nina Laden. 22p. (Peek-a). Chronicle. Aug. 2016. Board $6.99. ISBN 9781452154732.

Toddler-PreS–Laden’s board book series continues in this new transportation-based guessing game. Die-cuts and the surrounding border hint at the mode of transportation before each fun reveal. Laden’s attention to detail and diverse cast of characters help this offering rise above most. Holes the perfect size for little fists to grasp and creative rhyming round out this top-notch selection.

Litton, Jonathan. Big Fish. illus. by Fhiona Galloway. 16p. (My Little World). Tiger Tales. Mar. 2016. Board $7.99. ISBN 9781589252158.

Toddler-PreS–Bright, simple illustrations convey opposites in this fun board book that makes fun use of a fish-shaped die-cut that gets progressively smaller. Little ones will enjoy grasping and flipping each page. Each spread stands alone, and there is no larger story. While the tale feels a bit choppy, this style is perfect for young listeners and makes the book an easy storytime choice, since pages can be skipped with ease.

Litton, Jonathan. I Love My Daddy. ISBN 9781589252172.

––––. I Love My Mommy. ISBN 9781589252165.

ea vol: illus. by Fhiona Galloway. 16p. (My Little World). Mar. 2016. Tiger Tales. Board $7.99.

Baby-Toddler–Each of these board books features young animals interacting with their mothers and fathers and thanking them for being so great. The mommies are given flowers by their children (“I picked these flowers just for you—I hope they last forever!”), while the daddies are given various things shaped like a star. Flower and star die-cuts appear throughout each book. Sentimental verses make these selections a little overly sweet, but they will be checked out often at most libraries.

1701-BoardBks-CVs4Litton, Jonathan. Touch and Trace Farm. illus. by Susanna Rumiz. 26p. Tiger Tales. Mar. 2016. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781589252202.

Toddler-PreS–Encouraging little ones to trace lines on every page, this board book is perfect for toddlers working on hand-eye coordination. Rhyming couplets instruct readers to trace lines of different shapes, and a small lift-the-flap shows the shape in a different way on each page. This offering is great for working on fine motor skills, which are essential to learning how to write. Unfortunately, the flaps on each page are thin and will not stand up to multiple uses. Luckily, even with damaged or missing flaps, this title will work for readers.

McNeil, Kelli. Sleepy Toes. illus. by Cori Doerrfeld. 26p. Scholastic/Cartwheel. Feb. 2017. Board $8.99 ISBN 9781338030723.

Toddler-PreS–Gently going through different body parts, this book will help soothe even the wiggliest child to sleep. “Are your fingers getting sleepy? So very, very sleepy?/All day long they felt along/touch, tickly fingers./And now it’s time to be still, hush. It’s sleepy time, no need to rush!” Bright, colorful illustrations complement the text and include a nonwhite character. Caregivers everywhere will want to have this book in their bedtime arsenal.

Magsamen, Sandra. I Love Hugs and Kisses. ISBN 9780545927963.

––––. Are You My Cuddle Bunny? ISBN 9780545927970.

ea vol: illus. by Sandra Magsamen. 10p. Scholastic/Cartwheel. Sept. 2016. Board $7.99.

Baby-Toddler–Gentle rhymes encourage caregivers to give hugs and kisses throughout the day in I Love Hugs and Kisses. Digital illustrations featuring animal pairs that look like stuffed animals are shown in various scenarios, such as getting a boo-boo and swinging in a field of flowers. Are You My Cuddle Bunny? follows a mommy and baby bunny. Each page focuses on snuggling and hugging. Overly sweet, but caregivers will always enjoy finding reasons to cuddle their little ones while reading.

Peekaboo Baby! illus. by Sarah Ward. 10p. (To Baby with Love). Tiger Tales. Mar. 2016. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781589252127.

Baby-Toddler–An assortment of animals play peek-a-boo while getting ready for a birthday in this simple lift-the-flap book. Each pastel-colored spread features a sturdy flap for little ones to grip and guess who they will find. These cheery animals, along with a surprise mirror, will bring a smile to all who read it. A perfect selection for baby storytime.

Reiss, John. Colors. ISBN 9781481476430.

––––. Shapes. ISBN 9781481476454.

ea vol: illus. by John Reiss. 34p. S. & S./Little Simon Oct. 2016. Board $8.99.

Toddler-PreS–Bright graphic illustrations dominate in these companion board books. In Shapes, each shape is introduced and shown in a variety of sizes. The following spread gives examples of the shapes in the real world, such as windows and doors. The book also attempts to explain three-dimensional objects that can be formed from each shape. Colors devotes four pages to each hue, showing a variety of objects. While the illustrations are busy, children will enjoy the colors and pore over the pages again and again.

Sophie’s Big First Word Book. 18p. (Sophie la girafe). DK. Feb. 2016. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781465444943.

Baby-Toddler–The beloved giraffe returns in a point-and-identify board book. Each spread focuses on a specific topic, such as toys, food, colors, and more. The pages are filled with bright cartoon images that will capture children’s attention. There are plenty of questions that encourage interaction (“Sophie says, ‘Which three things fly in the sky?’ ”). While not new or groundbreaking, this giraffe remains popular, as will this book.

1701-BoardBks-CVs5Williams, Sam. Snack Time. illus. by Sam Williams. 14p. (Noah’s Park). Little Simon. Sept. 2016. Board $7.99. ISBN 9781481442633.

Toddler-PreS–Rhyming sentences explain the adventure these sweet-faced animals (and one child dressed as an animal) take at Noah’s Park. The friends go for a sail, feed the ducks, eat a snack, and then head home. Thick black outlines complement the spare text and will help young readers focus on the illustrations. Small details, such as reminding everyone to wear a safety vest, make this offering even more delectable.

Yaccarino, Dan. Big Berry. ISBN 9780761187363.

––––. Birthday Cake. ISBN 9780761187349.

––––. Rainy Day. ISBN 9780761187356.

ea vol: illus. by Dan Yaccarino. 22p. (Dan Yaccarino’s Happyland). Workman. Aug. 2016. Board $5.95.

Toddler-PreS–This new series features three friends—Glub-Glub, a fish; Clyde, a dog; and Bink, a bird—who learn different lessons about life. Calling itself “a little moral story,” each book focuses on a specific issue. For example, in Rainy Day, readers discover that Glub-Glub does not like the rain. His face conveys his feelings perfectly as he gets dressed in his yellow raincoat. Once he is outside, he runs into his friends playing in the rain and puddles. Glub-Glub realizes that maybe the rain isn’t so bad after all as he joins them in the fun. Bright graphic illustrations allow for the tales to be told without referencing the text. A good choice for both storytimes and one-on-one sharing.

Yolen, Jane. How Do Dinosaurs Go to Sleep? illus. by Mark Teague. 12p. Scholastic. Aug. 2016. Board 6.99. ISBN 9780545941204.

Toddler-PreS–In this adaptation of the popular picture book, Yolen teaches readers about how dinosaurs go to sleep. The familiar illustrations show huge dinosaurs acting just like toddlers and include the proper name for each dinosaur underneath its depiction. The rhyming cadence of the text makes this a perfect read aloud for storytime. It will be difficult to keep this board book on the shelf with Yolen’s recognizable name and the popular subject matter. A worthy addition to most libraries.

Ziefert, Harriet. It’s Time To Go to Sleep. ISBN 9781609056018.

––––. It’s Time To Take a Nap. ISBN 9781609056001.

ea vol: illus. by Barroux. 16p. Blue Apple Bks. Aug. 2016. Board $8.99.

Toddler-PreS–This board book set is the perfect way to begin and end each day. In It’s Time to Go to Sleep, a young boy says good night to everything he said good morning to in reverse order. Starting in the city, moving through the garden and farm, and ending up at home, he is finally ready for bed. In It’s Time To Take a Nap, the same boy wakes up and says hello to everything he sees. “Good morning to the hills. Good morning to the sun.” He makes his way through the farm and garden while heading into town, saying good morning to everything he passes along the way. Once he’s finally said good morning to everything, he remarks, “By the time we’re done with saying good morning, it’s time…to take a nap!” These offerings are wonderful complements to each other and should be considered for purchase by most.

These books were selected and annotated by Brooke Newberry, early literacy librarian for the La Crosse (WI) Public Library.

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