Board Book Round-up, Part I
It’s that time of year again! Time to evaluate new board books for library purchase and use in baby storytimes.
New Individual Titles
Blackstone, Stella. Baby’s First Words. Illus. by Christiane Engel. Barefoot, 04/2017. [22p.] $14.97. 978-1-78285-321-3. A little girl is shown with her stay at home dad, until her other father arrives from work for bath and bed time. Throughout the book are captions for various items around the house, as well as names of animals, emotions, vehicles, and more. The story element adds interest to the word list, and the two fathers represent different ethnic groups (African-American and either Asian or Latino), which also makes this a desirable purchase. There are small tabs along the right side to allow readers to flip to specific sections of the book. Useful for vocabulary-building as well as its representation of a diverse family.
Ho, Jannie. Halloween ABC. Nosy Crow, 07/2017. [26p.] $6.99. 978-0-7636-9527-9. Upper and lower case letters are featured, set next to an illustration of a Halloween-related item, and the word or words for that item are also set onto the page. Items include apples, bats, cauldron, Frankenstein, ghost, quiver (in fright), and underpants (on a baby monster). The deeply colored cartoonish illustrations have appeal, and the letters are in large type, so this is designed for the youngest children. Not really scary but fun, and likely to be popular all year around.
Light, Steve. Have You Seen My Lunch Box? Candlewick, 06/2017. [18p.] $6.99. 978-0-7636-9068-7. A little boy gets ready for school in this fun “seek and find” story. “Where are my socks?” begins the narrative, with the background color of pink a clue to the pink socks on the facing page. The ink cartoons on white and one other solid color will help children identify colors, as the name for the colors appear on the final page along with the ‘lost’ items. Using this page, readers can try again and feel a sense of accomplishment. There is some repetition so this could also be used as an easy reader.
Murphy, Mary. Mouse Is Small. Candlewick, 08/2017/2013. [14p.] $7.99. 978-0-7636-9059-5. Originally issued in 2013 in board book form, this reissue preserves all of the features of the original. On each spread, the page on the right is cut into a curved shape (like a rainbow), and the shapes gradually increase in size. That design feature reflects the story, where each spread shows a slightly larger animal than the previous; for example, it begins with a mouse, but then shows a tortoise, then a pelican, then a zebra, and so on until the reader sees an elephant. The full color artwork features a different solid color background for each spread, so a parent can ask the child to identify the colors, and point out the animals as they accumulate in each spread. A clever and fun book that also would work for a baby storytime.
Nippert-Eng, Christena. What Is Baby Gorilla Doing? Holt, 06/2017. [20p.] $7.99. 978-1-62779-479-4. Color photos of individual baby gorillas are captioned with verbs describing the activity being performed: peeking, sleeping, eating, clapping, walking, etc. Each is set onto a solid pastel color background (and white), and were photographed at the zoo, so they are not dressed in clothing but look natural. A nice way to demonstrate verbs, this also does a good job of showing gorillas at play.
New Adaptations of Picture Books
Bell, Cece. Itty Bitty. Candlewick, 2009/2017. [24p.] $6.99. 978-0-7636-9313-8. A tiny dog finds a huge bone, and hollows it out to make a house. The narrative includes the repetition of the dog’s name Itty Bitty, which adds interest to a relatively uneventful story. The colorful cartoon artwork is pleasant and translate well to the smaller board book format.
Opie, Iona. On the Go with Mother Goose. Illus. by Rosemary Wells. Candlewick, 02/2017. [24p.] $8.99. 978-0-7636-9214-8. Mother Goose rhymes about travel are collected in this substantial board book, featuring delightful color illustrations by Rosemary Wells. The artwork and rhymes are taken from Opie and Wells’ previous oversized picture book collections of Mother Goose rhymes; this is the fourth board book spin-off from those earlier collections. Even though the rhymes don’t always mention modes of transportation, the artwork includes depictions of automobiles, motorbikes, horses, boats, and trains. Both popular and lesser known rhymes are included; this is sure to be popular and circulate, and very age appropriate for the board book audience.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool