Board Book Round-up, Part 2
New Series Entries
Aartx, Esther. “Look, There’s a…” series. Nosy Crow, 04/2019. [10p.] $7.99 each.
Look, There’s a Helicopter! 978-1-5362-0557-2.
Look, There’s a Tractor! 978-1-5362-0558-9.
Each book features die-cut holes for readers to look through, to find hidden elements. For example, in Look, There’s a Tractor!, the rhyming text asks where the hen went, while a pilot rescues people (and a dog) from a boat in Look, There’s a Helicopter! With only five spreads, there is not much here.
Alexander, Lori. Future Engineer. Illus. by Allison Black. Scholastic. 09/2019. [20p.] $8.99. 978-1-338-31223-2.
Part of the “Future Baby” series that began with Future Astronaut (06/2019), this compares a baby’s natural curiosity to that needed by engineers. This is a great way to encourage a preschooler’s interest in STEM topics, although the parent reader will need to explain some of the text describing what engineers do. The graphic full color artwork shows adults and children of various ethnicities and genders. Look for Future President, set to be published this December.
Alexander, Rilla. “Touch Words” series. Chronicle, 04/2019. [16p.] $16.99 each.
In these oversized board books, the main word is depicted using raised cut out letters, so the reader can feel the word letter by letter. The main item is also a raised cutout; for example, a cat or a bird in Animals, and eggs or a loaf of bread in Food. Each spread also contains a series of other related words in small print, making this helpful for emergent readers who are working on vocabulary. This series is especially useful to children with learning differences who need kinetic elements to help them. Although these books don’t have stories, many parents may seek them out for children who are struggling with reading.
Brantz, Loryn. Feminist Baby! He’s a Feminist Too! Disney Hyperion, 04/2019. [22p.] $9.99. 978-136802299-6.
In this companion to Feminist Baby (2018), which featured a baby girl, here an African-American baby boy is shown dancing, playing with a doll, and crying when he gets hurt. The rhyming text reinforces the concept that we can all be feminists and defy gender stereotypes, and the full color cartoon artwork adds joy and humor so the lesson goes down easy.
British Museum. “Early Learning at the Museum” series. Nosy Crow, 05/2019. $7.99 each.
First Words. 978-1-5362-0584-8.
In the fifth and sixth entries in this series, crisp color photos of museum artifacts illustrate each book. The text is made up of single words that caption each photo, which will be useful in building a toddler’s vocabulary. For example, Owl is shown in an 18th century wood engraving by Thomas Bewick, while a cat is depicted by a Japanese ceramic cat made in 2000. The final page of each book features a small reproduction of each piece with details on the artist, country, and year it was made. More for stuffy parents than for young children, this may be popular and does its job.
Cousins, Lucy. “Little Fish.” Candlewick, 03/2019. [20p.]
Little Fish and Mommy. $8.99.978-1-5362-0612-8.
Colors with Little Fish. $7.99.978-1-5362-0611-1.
Using a sing-song rhyme, Little Fish describes his special day with Mommy Fish, where they swim and play hide and seek. Not much happens, but the deeply colored, bold artwork is engaging, and the die-cut fish shaped pages may also attract toddlers. In the book on colors, fish and ocean creatures depict the various colors. Libraries may want these but only if the series is already popular.
Cousins, Lucy. “Maisy” series. Candlewick, 04/2019. [20p.] $8.99 each.
Maisy at Home. 978-1-5362-0385-1.
Maisy’s Day Out. 978-1-5362-0386-8.
In this offshoot from the popular picture book series and TV show, tabs are featured with a simple illustration. For example, flip to the page with the tab showing cookies, and see Maisy in her kitchen with a variety of foods. Each is captioned so readers can learn the words for plate, flour, eggs, etc. The items are all common to most homes, including clothing, furniture, swings, and a tree. These are great for emergent readers but not for a storytime.
Gomi, Taro. Little Plane. Chronicle, 03/2019. [22p.] $6.99. 978-1-4521-7450-1.
A little plane flies through dirty air from a smokestack, clips a tree, lands on a mountain, and finally flies home in another of Gomi’s books featuring a small vehicle (Little Truck, Little Boat). Both the plane and buildings have facial features but this could cause a child to be afraid of plane travel. The full color artwork is pleasant but the story doesn’t really make sense.
Jarvis. “Mother Goose Rhymes” series. Candlewick, 09/2019. [22p.] $8.99 each.
Mary Had a Little Lamb. 978-1-5362-1111-5.
This Little Piggy. 978-1-5362-1110-8.
Technically, there is no series title to these two new books originally published in the UK, but in each a popular Mother Goose rhyme is the springboard for a clever concept book. Colors are the focus of Mary Had a Little Lamb; she is followed by several other colorful animals including a pink hippo and blue bears. This Little Piggy shows ten pigs doing various things like knitting and dancing. Both books feature onomatopoeia and rhyme along with playful full color cartoonish art. These are clever and original and a great way to teach both concepts and to reinforce these popular rhymes.
Kastner, Emily. “Nerdy Babies” series. Roaring Brook, 05/2019. [22p.] $7.99 each.
This new science-focused series is published simultaneously in both hardback picture book and board book editions. Four ethnically diverse babies explore the ocean and outer space in these volumes. The text addresses the babies, asking them questions and pointing out facts about the title topic. The ocean book describes various animals, while the space title mentions each planet in the Solar System. Although these are too long for a baby storytime, many parents will seek these out due to the science subject matter.
Leung, Hilary. Will Giraffe Laugh? Scholastic, 01/2019. [38p.] $7.99. 978-1-338-21561-8.
This fourth book in Leung’s series on feelings is as equally successful as Will Ladybug Hug? and the other entries. In this book, Giraffe is grumpy – it is his normal personality. Others try to make him laugh or smile but he doesn’t until he falls in the mud. A great way to show young children that not everyone feels the same way, so let them be. Bold, deeply saturated colors in the cartoon-like artwork help to convey the emotions using facial expressions. The brief text offers engaging repetition, making this a great choice for a baby storytime.
Nichols, Lydia. “I Thought I Saw A…” series. Templar/Candlewick, 08/2019. [10p.]. $7.99 each.
Sturdy sliders allow the title animal to hide from the people looking for him. For example, the bear is partially hidden while riding in a car and a train; readers should be able to find him easily. The graphic color artwork is playful and has a modern feel, and the simple text has repetition. But with only five spreads, there isn’t enough here for a storytime.
Spiro, Ruth. “Baby Loves the Five Senses” series. Illus. by Irene Chan. Charlesbridge, 09/2019. [20p.] $8.99 each.
Spiro’s previous board books addressed quantum physics, quarks, and other topics that were not really toddler-friendly; this new series on the five senses seems better suited to what a young child can understand. Hearing explains that sound is made of vibrating molecules and shows the parts of the inner ear. It also briefly talks about those who cannot hear or need hearing devices to help them. Sight talks about the parts of the eye, how light is essential to sight and seeing colors, and those with sight disabilities. Colorful cartoon artwork depicts an ethnically diverse group of toddlers as well as the topic; parents may seek these out and find them useful.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool