Pop-up, Toy, and Flap Books
Billet, Marion. Noisy Farm: My First Sound Book. Scholastic, 07/2017. [14p.] $9.99. 978-1-338-13220-5. Originally published in France, the charming cartoon illustrations show six different farm animals; press the small metallic button embedded in the animal to hear the sound it would make. The repetitive text asks “What does the [animal] say?” which makes this a great book for a baby storytime. Although this is a common theme for baby books, this is a nice variation. The small size and board pages make this appropriate for one on one or small groups. The battery-operated sound mechanism is concealed on the final page along with instructions on how to turn it on and off.
Bordet-Potillon, Sophie. My Very Own Checklist: My Busy Day. Illus. by Peggy Nille. Twirl/Chronicle, 08/2017. [8p.] $14.99. 978-1-02760-301-5. In this unusual oversized board book, a little mouse demonstrates skills many toddlers are acquiring, from getting dressed, to setting the table, and getting ready for bed. On each spread are spot illustrations of related objects along with the words for the object, facing a page with six sliding doors that show the skill learned. For example, “Washing Up” shows items such as soap, comb, brush, and more, and the six doors reveal the mouse getting undressed, taking a bath, and putting on pajamas. The board pages and imbedded sliding doors make this a very sturdy book, and great for one on one reading.
Cocorette. Construction (Wheels at Work). Child’s Play, 11/2017. [10p.] $7.99. 978-1-78628-083-1. From the outside this looks like a board book, but each spread has a gatefold page on the right that opens to reveal another character and some action for each truck that is shown. The book celebrates construction machines, including a concrete mixer, bulldozer, dump truck, and digger. The text basically labels the truck, and has a brief sentence: “Let’s dig… a hole!” The deeply saturated colors, graphic style artwork, and diverse men and women shown using the machinery combine for a very modern illustrative touch. Not particularly innovative but sure to be popular.
Cousins, Lucy. Beep, Beep, Maisy! Candlewick, 09/2017. [16p.] $12.99. 978-0-7636-9407-4. The little white mouse Maisy stars in this celebration of transportation. In each spread, Maisy sees a friend using a different mode of transportation, including Dotty on a tractor, Peacock on a bicycle, Eddie flying a helicopter, and more. The combination of one sentence per page on the deeply saturated color cartoon artwork works well, and the flaps are a bonus. The flaps reveal logical elements, such as puff of steam from the train, or passengers on Cyril’s bus. The text includes sound words which adds a phonemic element, making this a great read-aloud for storytime. Although this is the size of a typical picture book, the board pages and sturdy flaps make this a great choice for libraries.
Educational Insights. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel. Illus. by Lucia Gaggiotti. Candlewick, 09/2017. [14p.] $9.99. 978-0-7636-9465-4. Normally, books based on toys or games are not usually successful, but this is an exception. Inspired by the learning board game for preschools which helps teach colors, this board book with flaps asks readers to find the colored acorns. It also asks readers to count the acorns; the combination of the two concepts of colors and counting work very well even though the numerals are not included. Because only two flaps are on each spread, and the counting only goes to five, this is very good for babies and toddlers. Also, the flaps are quite sturdy so this should hold up to library circulation.
Godeau, Natacha. My First Ballet Book. Illus. by Christelle Galloux. Auzou, 10/2017. [18p.] $11.95. 978-2733852453. Eight classic ballet stories are celebrated in this board book with a battery-operated music box attached to the right side of the book. The idea behind the book is to introduce young children to the ballet, both to the stories and the music. Each spread contains the title of the ballet, the story’s author, the composer of the music, and one paragraph summarizing the story. The full color artwork is reminiscent of the work of Mary Blair, the noted Disney cartoonist. To hear the brief musical passages (approx. 10 seconds each), the reader pushes the button with the face of the main character from that story. The ballets featured include The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Afternoon of a Faun, and Swan Lake. This seems best suited to give as a gift to a young child who takes ballet lessons.
Robertson, Michael. Three Little Pigs: A Finger Puppet Theater Book. Scholastic, 08/2017. [12p.] $14.99. 978-1-338-15162-6. This unusual storybook has board pages, but the distinguishing factor is the four finger puppets held in plastic pocket on the front cover (wolf and three pigs). The color cartoon artwork and brief narrative retell the popular folktale, except it has a very different ending. The pigs invite the wolf into the brick house, with the phrase “THE END… or is it?” The finger puppets will surely get lost at the library and artwork and story (except for the ending) are not exceptional; this would be better as a gift.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool