Spring 2016 Board Books, Part III
In this final column on Spring board books, we will look at all the entries that came in after last month’s deadline. Be sure to check out the earlier columns on new individual board book titles, new entries in series, and board books that are adapted from picture books.
My Heart Fills With Happiness. Illus. by Julie Flett. Orca Books, 2016. [24p.]. $9.99. ISBN
In this joyful board book, children describe what fills their hearts with happiness, including walking barefoot on grass, singing, drumming, dancing, and listening to stories. Although this has universal appeal, the people depicted are Native American/First Nations, but there is nothing in the text to indicate a specific culture. It is in Flett’s deeply colored illustrations where we see the First Nations people. The pictures almost have a collage feel but appear to be done with gouache, showing a costumed girl dancing, a boy sitting on his father’s lap while the father drums, and other things that indicate the community being celebrated. This will please both parents and young children and fills a desperate need for more diversity in board books.
Vendittelli, Marie. Colors (Picture This). Houghton, 2016. [32p.] $7.99. ISBN 978-0-544-51264-1.
Nouvion, Judith. Numbers (Picture This). Houghton, 2016. [24p.]. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-544-51265-8.
Originally published in France in 2012, these simple concept books are illustrated with dramatic close-up color photos of animals. Colors has a brief text that begins with the name of the color, followed by a description of the pictured animal: “Pink like these flamingos by the lake.” Numbers has the numeral, then word for the number, followed by information on the animal: “2 Two Owls. An owl can turn its head to look back without moving its body.” The photos are outstanding and the factual nature of the text will appeal to a wide age range, from toddlers to emergent first grade readers. There are two other titles in this series, published in September 2015, Homes and Shapes, not seen by this reviewer.
Tildes, Phyllis Limbacher. Baby Animals Day & Night. Charlesbridge, 2016. [10p.]. $6.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-609-2.
A chipmunk, bobcat, otter, and skunk are each shown in two side by side ink drawings – daytime uses a white background, and night uses a black background. As it says on the back cover, “Bold black and white images stimulate eyesight and brain development.” So why is the final spread of a baby done using full color paints? Stick with Tana Hoban’s classic Black & White, What Is That?, Who Are They?, Black on White, and White on Black, which began the trend in black and white board books.
McGrath, Barbara Barbieri. “First Celebrations” series. Illus. by Peggy Tagel. Charlesbridge, 2016. [12p.]. $6.95 each.
Halloween Colors, ISBN 978-1-58089-533-0.
Thanksgiving Counting, ISBN 978-1-58089-534-7.
McGrath is probably best known for her math picture books featuring teddy bear characters, and these holiday board books have a clear, brief informational text as well. For example, “Look! Here is a pumpkin patch. Orange pumpkins are everywhere.” Each book weaves the concept, whether it is counting or colors, into the description of the holiday-related activities. The deeply saturated graphic illustrations are eye-catching but a little old fashioned. Mom is preparing dinner in a pink dress and apron, and the pilgrim and Native American girl are dressed as if they are wearing costumes in a school play. Still, these may fill a need. In the Fall of 2016, two new entries will be published: Valentine’s Shapes and Christmas Colors & Counting.
Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool