Board Book Round-up
New Individual Titles
Brantz, Loryn. Feminist Baby Finds Her Voice! Disney/Hyperion, 05/2018. [20p.] $9.99. 978-136802279-8. In this follow-up to Feminist Baby (2017), the main character and her similarly diaper-clad friends have learned to talk! The simple rhyming text describes their activities, from taking a bath, to playing dress-up, to demonstrating for equal rights. The main character looks Anglo-American but her friends include an African-American girl. Even though it may be been aimed at parents, kids will enjoy the exuberant text and deeply colored cartoon artwork.
Cohan, Medeia. Hats of Faith. Illus. by Sarah Walsh. Chronicle, 08/2017/18. [10p.] $9.99. 978-1-4521-7320-7. Originally published last year by Shade 7 (a British Islamic publisher) and re-released by Chronicle Books, this is a simple look at head coverings used by various religions. Three of the nine represent Sikhs, three represent Muslims, and two represent Jews. Although this doesn’t cover all faiths, it is still a useful look at religions around the world and relevant to young children in diverse communities like those in the Bay Area. The full color illustrations resemble gouache paintings and show men and women (and two boys) of various ethnicities.
Diesen, Deborah. Pout-Pout Fish Halloween Faces. Illus. by Dan Hanna. 08/2018. [10p.] $9.99. 978-0-374-30450-8. With two die-cut holes on each page to reveal Pout-Pout’s googly eyes, this brief story shows the popular fish in various Halloween costumes, including a ghost, train conductor, and mummy. The rhyming text and soft watercolor artwork don’t really feel like a Halloween book; there are so many better choices available for the holiday.
Spurr, Elizabeth. In the Rain. Illus. by Manelle Oliphant. Peachtree, 03/2018. [20p.] $6.95. 978-1-56145-853-0. A young African-American girl and her mother play in the rain in this charming story. With deeply colored watercolor illustrations, the brief rhyme describes the action: “Clouds gather. Rain pours. Put on slicker. Go outdoors.” This could help parents talk about rain, rainbows, and weather in general.
New Series Entries
Beardshaw, Rosalind. Walk and See 1 2 3. Nosy Crow, 08/2018. [26p.] $7.99. 978-0-7636-9338-1.
Beardshaw, Rosalind. Walk and See Colors. Nosy Crow, 05/2018. [26p.] $7.99. 978-0-7636-9917-8.
Beardshaw, Rosalind. Walk and See Opposites. Nosy Crow, 09/2018. [26p.] $7.99. 978-1-5362-0248-9. Companions to Walk and See ABC (02/2018), these three concept books feature children of various ethnicities represented in the charming illustrations. In Colors, the narrative asks the reader to identify things of a specific color, such as a red ladybug, then to look for other things of that shade while a tractor, barn, and poppies are shown in the artwork. Nearly all of the items are things in nature such as flowers or animals, so most toddlers will be able to find the item requested. In the counting story, a numeral is shown and the animal or other item to count is identified, from one to twenty, making this a great learning experience. In Opposites, children play in the snow, captioned with just two words per spread, such as “Up Down” or “Tall Short.” All of these books are successful in teaching the concept, and the artwork is very pleasing.
Duskey Rinker, Sherri. Cement Mixer’s ABC. Illus. by Ethan Long. 10/2018. [20p.] $6.99. 978-1-4521-5318-6.
Duskey Rinker, Sherri. Dump Truck’s Colors. Illus. by Ethan Long. 10/2018. [20p.] $6.99. 978-1-4521-5320-9. Based on Rinker’s bestselling picture book Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (2011), both of these small board books feature adaptations of Ethan Long’s original illustrations paired with new rhyming text. The text of each is somewhat lengthy for the young toddler audience, and the alphabet book doesn’t always identify an item for each letter. The book on colors does a better job of teaching the concept, with the word for the color highlighted. Both contain a story, so this will engage listeners, but they may struggle with learning the concept. Not as successful as the original picture books, these are not a first choice but are serviceable.
Galbraith, Kathryn Osebold. Autumn Babies. Illus. by Adela Pons. Peachtree, 09/2018. [20p.] $6.95. 978-1-68263-066-2.
Galbraith, Kathryn Osebold. Winter Babies. Illus. by Adela Pons. Peachtree, 09/2018. [20p.] $6.95. 978-1-68263-067-9. These two entries in the “Babies in the Park” series celebrate the seasons, Autumn and Winter, with toddlers playing in the leaves or snow. The rhyming text is crisp: “Kites fly. Babies throw. Puppies fetch. Shadows grow.” The artwork is even more impactful, with deeply colored graphic style artwork, showing trees with circular foliage and children of various ethnicities. A recommended purchase; look forward to Spring and Summer in March 2019.
Leung, Hilary. Will Sheep Sleep? Cartwheel, 05/2018. [36p.] $7.99. 978-1-338-21562-5.
Leung, Hilary. Will Bear Share? Cartwheel, 05/2018. [36p.] $7.99. 978-1-338-21559-5. Using a question and answer pattern, these delightful board books show animals in common childhood situations, such as brushing one’s teeth. Listeners can call out “yes” or “no” depending on the scenario. Full color cartoon-like graphic illustrations clearly depict the action, with delightful facial expressions. A great combination of age-appropriate stories with the board format. Look for Will Ladybug Hug? and Will Giraffe Laugh? later this year.
Patricelli, Leslie. Big Kid Bed. Candlewick, 09/2018. [26p.] $7.99. 978-0-7636-7934-7.
Patricelli, Leslie. Tooth. Candlewick, 09/2018. [26p.] $7.99. 978-0-7636-7933-0. The distinctive diaper-clad baby is back in two more comic board books. In Tooth, the baby of indeterminant gender gets a tooth, then another, and learns to brush and learns what to bite (food) and what not to bite (people). In Big Kid Bed, the move from a crib to a bed is explained, with loving parents encouraging the move by putting lots of pillows on the floor. The deeply colored paintings, which may be gouache, convey humor as the exuberant baby interacts with others. The experiences described are very relevant to the life of a young toddler, and these two new additions should be as popular as the previous books in the series.
Spanyol, Jessica. Rosa Loves Cars. Child’s Play, 10/2018. [12p.] $4.99. 978-1-78628-125-8. In this companion series to “Clive’s Jobs,” Rosa is a girl of African descent who loves to play; other books in the series include Rosa Loves Dinosaurs, Rosa Plays Ball, and Rosa Rides her Scooter, all published in 2018. The text is comprised of dialogue from Rosa and her friends: “Stuck cat! Emergency! Fire engine to the rescue!” as well as onomatopoeia. The child-like full color artwork shows a diverse group of toddlers playing against white backgrounds. Originally published in the U.K., this describes a common toddler experience, and doesn’t subscribe to the stereotype that girls only play with dolls.
Spiro, Ruth. Baby Loves Gravity! Illus. by Irene Chan. Charlesbridge, 05/2018. [20p.] $8.99. 978-1-58089-836-2.
Spiro, Ruth. Baby Loves Coding! Illus. by Irene Chan. Charlesbridge, 06/2018. [20p.] $8.99. 978-1-58089-884-3. The fifth and sixth entries in this popular series introduces two new science concepts to young children. In Coding, the main point is to define an algorithm by showing a baby walking in a pattern to retrieve a train car. The text goes on to explain the algorithm is then used to make a code for a computer to use. In Gravity, the concept is demonstrated when baby throws food on the floor or goes down the slide at the park. Both books include more explanation than a toddler will understand but these are fun for many parents. Also, the charming full color artwork depicts babies with brown skin, celebrating diversity. Not suitable for storytime, these still may be worth purchasing for parents who want to encourage STEM learning for their little ones.
Strasser, Susanne. So Far Up. Charlesbridge, 01/2018. [22p.] $7.99. 948-1-58089-849-2.
Strasser, Susanne. So Light, So Heavy. Charlesbridge, 01/2018. [22p.] $7.99. 948-1-58089-848-5. Originally published in Germany and now translated into English, these two board books offer lots of fun and onomatopoeia. So Far Up has a cumulative text about a cake high in a tower; neighboring animals stand on each other to reach the cake. In So Light, an elephant on a teeter-totter waits as new animals jump on the other end to make enough weight to raise up the elephant. Both books have considerable repetition that will invite participation at storytime, and fun surprise endings. The graphic-style cartoonish artwork is dominated by turquoise blue backgrounds and depicts realistic animal characters. Emergent readers will enjoy these books, too, since the repetition will help them feel successful at reading the texts.
New Adaptations of Picture Books
Carle, Eric, editor. What’s Your Favorite Color? Godwin/Holt, 06/2017/18. [30p.] $8.99. 978-1-250-18420-7. Fourteen popular picture book author/illustrators join Eric Carle in this celebration of the concept of colors, which was originally published in 2017 as a full-sized hardback. The board version does not abridge or leave out anything, and the project is a fundraiser for the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Each spread features a phrase and illustration from the contributor; for example, Lauren Castillo says of white: “I love the way snow magically paints the world white.” Although the original picture book is best for storytimes, this is a nice board book for one on one sharing.
Cuyler, Margery. The Little School Bus. Illus. by Bob Kolar. Holt, 03/2014/18. [24p.] $7.99. 978-1-250-19645-3. A sing-song rhyming text and boldly colored graphic illustrations combine to celebrate school buses. Narrated by the bus, this will help children learn about the service a school bus provides. Because the board version is fairly large, this is a serviceable substitute for the original picture book edition. Buy if the companion book The Little Dump Truck is popular.
Diesen, Deborah. Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School. Illus. by Dan Hanna. FSG, 05/2014/18. [32p.]. $7.99. 978-0-374-30852-0. Pout-Pout starts school afraid he won’t be able to do math or other assignments but discovers his teacher will help him learn all of these things. Although this is not abridged, this adaptation of the popular picture book doesn’t work in the board format – the watercolor cartoon illustrations are too detailed for this small size, and the text at a paragraph per page is too lengthy. The rhyming text and plot are better suited to children old enough for school, not babies or toddlers. Stick with the hardback picture book.
Halpern, Shari. Dinosaur Parade. Holt, 06/2014/18. [24p.] $7.99.978-1-250-15524-5. This is a great example of an adaptation of a picture book that works just as well in the board book format because the simple full color graphic style illustrations and brief text do not lose anything in the smaller size. It is also an excellent example of a very brief informational/nonfiction text, suitable for toddlers and preschoolers, with a clear introduction to dinosaurs: “Here are some plant eaters. [turn page] These eat meat!” Each dinosaur pictured includes a small caption with its name, such as Allosaurus. A sure hit at baby storytimes and for parent/child sharing.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool