Fall Board Book Round-up, Part II
Last month, this column looked at new individual board book titles, and those adapted from picture books. This month, we will briefly examine new entries in board books series. Here are some of the new series board books available, that may be good purchases for your library:
Board Book Series Busby, Ailie. “Seasons” series. Child’s Play, 2015. 12p. $4.99 each. Spring, 978-1-84643-741-0. Summer, 978-1-84643-742-7. Winter, 978-1-84643-745-8. Fall, 978-1-84643-744-1.
A first person voice describes things done in spring, including growing plants, playing outside, seeing baby animals, and more in this series about the seasons. Color cartoon-style illustrations, which appear to be done in colored pencil, feature a multicultural group of large-headed toddlers. Each entry mentions the seasonal weather along with clothing worn at that time of year, and popular foods to go along with that season. This series works well for the intended audience, with just the right balance of information and text to pair with the artwork.
Cocoretto. “What’s That Noise?” series. Child’s Play, 2015. 10p. $7.99 each. Snap! Snap! Guess the Animal! 978-1-84643-748-9. Choo! Choo! Guess the Vehicle! 978-1-84643-746-5.
Celebrating onomatopoeia along with vehicles, or animals, this clever series has a simple premise that will work well for storytime. Each spread gives the noise such as “Vroom! Vroom!’ along with the question “What’s that noise?” The page on the right opens up to show the answer, such as a motorbike. The storytime audience will quickly catch on and yell out the answers. The gatefold opening on each spread is quite sturdy, made of the same thick board pages as the rest of the book. And the deeply saturated colors of the illustrations are bright and lively, and will carry to groups. The combination of the question and answer and the vibrant artwork is perfect for the toddler crowd. There are two other titles in this series which were not seen by this reviewer: Toot! Toot! Guess the Instrument! and Tap! Tap! Guess the Toy! which are likely to be good purchases for libraries.
Srinivasan, Divya. “Little Owl” series. Viking, 2015. 16p. $5.99 each. Little Owl’s Colors, 978-0-451-47456-8. Little Owl’s 1-2-3, 978-0-451-47454-4.
Little Owl and other forest animals demonstrate numbers and colors in this effective series. For colors, readers see an orange fox, black bats, and so forth, ending with a rainbow. The short text describes what is seen in the illustrations, with the plus that the word for the color is printed in that same color (the rest of the text is gray or white). For numbers, many of the same animals are shown, along with both the numeral and word for that number in yellow text, all in caps, making the number stand out from the rest of the text. The illustrations resemble collage paper cutouts in deeply saturated colors, which will make it easy for a toddler to count the items mentioned, or identify the colors. This successful series is a solid library purchase.
Cousins, Lucy. “Go with Maisy” series. Candlewick, 2015. 16p. $5.99 each. Maisy’s Digger, 978-0-7636-8010-7. Maisy’s Racing Car, 978-0-7636-8011-4.
Maisy, the little white mouse found in several books and a TV series, is shown in a car race, and using a tractor to help construct a man-made pond. Each of the books is illustrated in deeply colored gouache paintings, showing Maisy and her animal friends doing the actions described in the narrative. If you have Maisy’s Plane or Maisy’s Tractor, published in Spring of 2015, then this two new titles in the series will be equally popular. The board pages seem quite sturdy, too.
Gillingham, Sara. “Busy Baby” series. Chronicle Books, 2015. 6p. $9.99 each. Trucks, 978-1-4521-4187-9. Friends, 978-1-4521-4188-6.
Best known as the illustrator of the “Ivy and Bean” chapter books by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall, Gillingham offers two unusual board books. Built into the middle of three spreads is a rotating disc that resembles the cartoon face of a baby, with a smile on one side and a frown on the other. Hopefully, children won’t be able to detach the disc; if they do, the book won’t make sense. Each story shows the baby in a typical situation, including driving a fire truck, cement mixer, and other vehicles, and playing with friends at preschool. The illustrations appear to be done using a printing technique, with soft colors on white backgrounds. The most memorable thing about the series is the disc gimmick; there are many other board books that are more appropriate for libraries.
Deneux, Xavier. “Touch Think Learn” series. Chronicle Books, 2015. 16p. $14.99 each. Farm, 978-1-4521-4517-4. Vehicles, 978-1-4521-4516-7.
Although these French imports don’t have a regular story, there are tactile elements to these sturdy board books that will appeal to some children. Each spread has a large raised object, like a donkey or a bus, which fits into a scooped cutout on the opposite page. For kinetic learners, these may help them identify and count the objects. The graphic full color artwork on white backgrounds feature some small details, so these illustrations won’t carry to a group. The text is the word for the featured item, such as Pig, along with a list of words relating to that item (curly tail, hooves, mud, etc.). There are four previous titles in this series, and two more scheduled for Spring 2016 on baby animals and homes, that libraries may want to purchase if they enjoy these. But overall, these are relatively limited in interest, but a big plus for special needs children so they are worth purchasing for libraries.
Davies, Benji. “Bizzy Bear” series. Nosy Crow, 2015. 8p. $6.99. Bizzy Bear: Dinosaur Safari. 978-0-7636-8170-8. Bizzy Bear: Space Rocket. 978-0-7636-8003-9.
The 11th and 12th entries in the Bizzy Bear board book series should appeal to fans of the earlier books. These full color cartoonish stories feature the main character and his other animal friends in interesting locations, including a zoo, castle, and firehouse. In one new entry, Bizzy is on a dinosaur safari. In another, he and two other animal friends fly to another planet and explore. The books in this series have a repetitive, rhythmic text that will inspire young children to chant along. The other stand-out feature is the sliding doors and other movables that are imbedded into the thick board pages. For example, slide the tab up and see tall dinosaur heads above the trees. Because the board pages are so thick, this should withstand library circulation.
Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool