Spring Board Book Round-up, Part I
New Individual Titles
Allenby, Victoria. Good Morning, Grumple. Illus. by Manon Gauthier. Pajama Press, 2017. [28p.]. $14.95. 978-1-77278-014-7. Grumple does not like to get up in the morning, so his mama slowly sings him awake. The rhyming text and plot has originality while tackling a common topic, and the mixed media paper collage illustrations are not overly “cute;” they are reminiscent of the work of G. Brian Karas. The square size resembles a board book, but with a padded cover and cardstock pages. This Canadian import would be fun for a toddler storytime as well as for families to read at home.
Anon. Love You, Baby! Illus. by Sarah Ward. Tiger Tales, 2017. [12p.]. $9.99. 978-1-68010-517-9. With die-cut hearts on each spread, pastel animal illustrations, and a rhyming declaration of a parent’s love for baby, this is similar to a greeting card. With a sappy text such as “Baby, baby, you’re so sweet/ Toddling on your tiny feet,” this is better as a gift than for a library.
Bender, Rebecca. How Do You Feel? Pajama Press, 2017. [32p.]. $15.95. 978-1-77278-013-0. First published in Canada in 2016, this delightful story shows animals describing both how they feel in a tactile sense, and emotional feelings. Hedgehog asks various animals how they feel, such as the slimy snail or fuzzy duckling, and then hedgehog says he feels happy having his tummy tickled. The acrylic and colored pencil artwork depicts the animals and environment in a realistic way, and the text is clear but brief. With padded covers and cardstock pages, this will appeal to a wide age range and stand up to library circulation.
Gomi, Taro. What Do You Wear? Chronicle, 2017. . $6.99. 978-1-4521-5028-4. Originally published in Japan in 1980, this small board book shows an illustration of an animal, along with a descriptive sentence: “Rhino wears a warm coat.” The animal is not wearing clothing, just his regular skin or fur, but the point is made that animals come with “clothing” but humans do not. The full color artwork is well done, but the parent will need to explain the concept to the child, even though the final pages show a naked boy who gets dressed. Buy only if other Gomi books are popular.
Idle, Molly. Flora and the Chicks: A Counting Book. Chronicle, 2017. [20p.]. $6.99. 978-1-4521-4657-7. Idle’s “Flora” character from the award-winning picture books (Flora and the Flamingo, 2011) stars in her first board book. This wordless counting book only features the numerals for each number (not the word), along with deft watercolor illustrations on white backgrounds. Every other spread has a gatefold page to open to see the numeral and the chicks to be counted, as they hatch. Successful as a counting book and as board book that all libraries may want to purchase, although the fold out pages may not hold up to library circulation.
McGuirk, Leslie. Tucker Digs Easter! Candlewick, 2017. [28p.]. $7.99. 978-0-7636-8536-2. Tucker the little white dog is back in another holiday-themed story. The Easter Bunny asks Tucker to dig holes in which to hide the eggs, but Tucker does such a good job that the neighborhood children can’t find the eggs. The deeply saturated color cartoon artwork and brief narrative will appeal to a wide age range from toddlers to emergent readers, although the story is somewhat undramatic. Still, this will have an audience.
Muhle, Jorg. Tickle My Ears. Gecko Press, 2016. [20p.]. $9.99. 978-1-776570-76-8. ǂ A must-buy for all libraries, this interactive board book will also be a hit at baby and toddler storytimes. The reader is encouraged to tap the bunny’s shoulder, kiss him goodnight, turn off the light switch, and generally touch the pages to help the bunny go to bed. Similar to Tullet’s Press Here and Matheson’s Tap the Magic Tree, the interactive elements are low tech-no tech yet engaging. The soft pastel artwork is charming, with lots of solid color and ink outlines. Look for the follow up title Bathtime for Little Rabbit in August 2017.
Pallotta, Jerry. The Very Berry Counting Book. Illus. by Joy Newton. Charlesbridge, 2017. [10p.]. $6.99. 978-1-58089-784-6. This simple counting book uses various berries as the thing to be counted, including strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, and green and red grapes. Both the numeral and word for the number are included, and young children can count the berries in the close-up illustrations. The watercolor art on cream backgrounds is helpful in facilitating the counting, but the simplicity of the text also makes this a little boring.
Rayner, Catherine. One Happy Tiger. Tiger Tales, 2017. [22p.]. $9.99. 978-1-58925-234-9. Using watercolor and ink illustrations from Rayner’s picture book Augustus and His Smile (2006), the tiger demonstrates two bugs, three birds, and more. Both the numeral, and the word for the number is included in the brief text. The smiling tiger and the natural surroundings give this a somewhat “fine art” quality that will appeal to a wide age range, from toddlers learning how to count to older preschoolers learning how to read.
Surplice, Holly. Hush-A-Bye Bunny. Nosy Crow, 2017. [16p.]. $8.99. 978-0-7636-9459-3. Originally published in the UK in 2014, this charming story has a sturdy padded cover and thick board pages, perfect for babies and toddlers. The rhyming text describes parent and bunny preparing for bed, with the title phrase beginning the text passage on each page. Parent and bunny could be male or female, so this is a nice inclusive bedtime story. The full color artwork is engaging, too.
Ultman, Suzy. Masha and Her Sisters. Chronicle, 2017. [10p.]. $9.99. 978-1-4521-5159-5. Die-cut pages in the shape of Russian nesting dolls are the distinctive element of this board book, but it doesn’t have a story. It is an introduction to Masha and her smaller sisters. The five ‘dolls’ are joined at the bottom of the book by a small cloth tab that may not hold up the library circulation, making this more appropriate for home use only.
Walden, Libby. Bear Hugs. Illus. by Vicky Riley. Tiger Tales, 2017. [20p.]. $7.99. 978-1-68010-519-3. The rhyming text is a declarative ode from parent to child, bordering on the saccharine: “You’re super-cute and cuddly, as sweet as pumpkin pie.” The rhyme continues with more similes and metaphors, illustrated mainly with pastels and using animals as the loved ones. Perfect for parent to read to baby, this may be too detailed to use with a group.
New Board Book Series
Adams, Jennifer. My Little Cities New York. Illus. by Greg Pizzoli. Chronicle Books, 2017. [22p.]. $9.99. 978-1-4521-5388-9.
Adams, Jennifer. My Little Cities London. Illus. by Greg Pizzoli. Chronicle Books, 2017. [22p.]. $9.99. 978-1-4521-5387-2. Families going away on vacation will appreciate these simple books showing distinctive traits of major cities. For example, in the book on New York, the text says “Listen Quiet/Listen Loud, ” while the illustrations show the inside of a theatre, and then outside on a busy taxi-filled street. On the final spread is a key showing each location, including the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, the subway, Central Park, Yankee Stadium, Coney Island, and more. Pizzoli graphic art does a great job of showing the locations and the brief text is suitable for toddlers. In Fall 2017, look for titles on San Francisco and Paris. Recommended for all libraries.
Anon. Getting Ready. Illus. by Cocoretto. Child’s Play, 2017. [10p.]. Child’s Play, 2017. $14.99. 978-1-84643-886-8. First in a new series entitled “Tactile Books,” this features imbedded cloth on nearly every page, and a small zipper. The theme is getting up and getting dressed, so the reader can feel the teddy bear’s fur, touch the sheet on the bed, touch items of clothing, feel the rough toothbrush, and try out the jacket’s zipper. The binding, pages, and imbedded materials all seem quite sturdy, so this is likely to stand up to library circulation; it would also work quite well in a small storytime.
Arnold, Marsha Diane. Baby Animals Take a Nap. Illus. by Phyllis Tildes. Charlesbridge, 2017. [10p.]. $6.99. 978-1-58089-539-2.
Arnold, Marsha Diane. Baby Animals Take a Bath. Illus. by Phyllis Tildes. Charlesbridge, 2017. [10p.]. $6.99. 978-1-58089-538-5. Baby animals are shown napping and bathing in this charming series, using a very brief text. “Dust bath” captions a zebra rolling in the dirt, and “Holding-hands nap” shows a parent and baby otter floating on the ocean. The animals are not named but they are listed on the back cover. The realistic illustrations appear to be done using colored pencil and watercolor. The combination of the short text and charming but not overly-cute illustrations make these fun and useful; recommended for libraries, storytimes, and use by families. Even emergent readers will find these useful.
Davidson, Carli. Heads & Tails. Chronicle, 2017. p. $8.99. 978-1-4521-5137-3.
Davidson, Carli. Shake, Wiggle, & Roll. Chronicle, 2017. p. $8.99. 978-1-4521-5136-6. Color photos of dogs illustrate this delightful series. Each spread has two photos of the same dog; one in close-up to show eyes, nose, etc. and one of the whole dog. The final spread shows all of the dogs, captioned with their names and breeds (“Sansa – French Bulldog”). These sturdy board books have charm and will hold up to the rigors of library use.
Litton, Jonathan. Touch-and-Feel 123. Tiger Tales, 2017. [10p.]. $8.99. 978-1-68010-511-7.
Litton, Jonathan. Touch-and-Feel Colors. Tiger Tales, 2017. [10p.]. $8.99. 978-1-68010-510-0. Tactile elements are the key feature of these two brief board books, using cloth, plastic, or other imbedded items for the child to feel. In the counting book, only numbers one through five are covered, and in the color book, ten colors are described. A brief rhyming couplet is set on each page, with small words captioning each item for the beginning reader. These are serviceable but not particularly memorable.
Ranger Rick. My First Book of Animal Opposites. Imagine!/Charlesbridge, 2016. [22p.]. $6.95. 978-1-62354-062-3.
Ranger Rick. My First Book of Animal Hugs and Kisses. Imagine!/Charlesbridge, 2016. [22p.]. $6.95. 978-1-62354-061-4. Clear color photos of animals are the highlight of this series from the National Wildlife Federation. In each, a factual text describes what is happening: “Cheetah is fast. Tortoise is slow.” The combination of factual text and the photos make these a great choice to introduce young children to nonfiction.
Spiro, Ruth. Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! Illus. by Irene Chan. Charlesbridge, 2016. [20p.]. $8.95. 978-1-58089-541-5.
Spiro, Ruth. Baby Loves Quarks! Illus. by Irene Chan. Charlesbridge, 2016. [20p.]. $8.95. 978-1-58089-540-8. On the surface, it seems ridiculous that babies would appreciate the science concept described in each book in this series. How would a baby comprehend “Protons and neutrons stick together to make a nucleus”? Basically, these are for parents who want to show off how smart they are, but these books are fun. The full color cartoonish illustrations help to make the concepts more concrete, such as showing how a bird’s curved wing helps it fly. These work best as a gift to a new parent who works in the science field. In Fall 2017, two more titles will be published: Baby Loves Quantum Physics! and Baby Loves Thermodynamics!
Terada, Junzo. Animal Friends Barnyard Jamboree! Chronicle, 2017. [10p.]. $9.99. 978-1-4521-5189-2.
Terada, Junzo. Animal Friends Swimming Hole Party. Chronicle, 2017. [10p.]. $9.99. 978-1-4521-4983-7. Readers are asked to identify which animal is peeking over the top of the page in these unusually shaped board books. The top pages are all trimmed in curves or angles, to reveal most of the next animal’s face, making it easy for a toddler to guess. The final spread has three paper flaps that won’t last long, so this may be better for home purchase than for libraries.
New Entries in Popular Series
Anon. Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Illus. by Yu-hsuan Huang. Nosy Crow, 2017. [10p.]. $8.99. 978-0-7636-9240-7.
Anon. Happy Birthday. Illus. by Yu-hsuan Huang. Nosy Crow, 2017. [10p.]. $8.99. 978-0-7636-9505-7.
Anon. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Illus. by Yu-hsuan Huang. Nosy Crow, 2017. [10p.]. $8.99. 978-0-7636-9241-4.
Anon. Hey Diddle Diddle. Illus. by Yu-hsuan Huang. Nosy Crow, 2017. [10p.]. $8.99. 978-0-7636-9320-6. These board books contain lyrics to popular nursery songs, along side full color illustrations and double-thick pages with sliding elements imbedded into the page. Animals wearing clothing are the characters in all the books, demonstrating what occurs in the song. The sliding elements reveal what is inside a birthday present, or an animal popping up to greet the others. These are sure to be popular although they won’t replace singing the songs and doing the motions in storytime; they are better for at-home use. Earlier entries in the “Sing Along With Me” series include Wheels on the Bus, Hey Diddle Diddle, and Old MacDonald Had a Farm; click here to see past reviews. The publisher includes a QR code for those who wish to download the song. Even with the sliding elements these are sturdy and should hold up to library circulation.
Anon. Can You Say It, Too? Cheep! Cheep! Illus. by Sebastien Braun. Nosy Crow, 2017. [10p.]. $8.99. 978-0-7636-9329-9. This guessing game reinforces the concept of the sounds made by animals. In each spread, a parent animal is looking for someone; the reader lifts the flap to find the chick, lamb, kitten, etc. and the text gives the animal sound, too. The full color artwork is attractive and the flaps are quite sturdy, so this would be fine for libraries. The guessing game aspect and animal sounds will involve a storytime audience as well. Others in the series include Woof !Woof! and Moo! Moo!
Cousins, Lucy. Maisy’s Bus. Candlewick, 2017. [16p.]. $5.99. 978-0-7636-9406-7.
Cousins, Lucy. Maisy’s Sailboat. Candlewick, 2017. [16p.]. $5.99. 978-0-7636-9405-0. The seventh and eighth entries in the “A Go with Maisy Board Book” series, these two hand-sized books describe travel adventures with the little white mouse and her animal friends. The books are curved along the top and right side edges, to reflect the vehicle of the title, but these are very sturdy and will hold up to library use. The deeply saturated full color illustrations are well suited to babies and toddlers, and the direct texts are also easy to follow. Sure to be popular.
Kwant, Admar. Pip the Gnome and the Christmas Tree. Floris, 2016. [12p.]. $9.99. 978-178250-328-6. A little gnome asks some forest animals to help him trim the Christmas tree in this British import. The text, at two sentences per page, is a little long for a board book and the colored pencil artwork has too much detail for a toddler to discern, so this isn’t up to library standards.
Patricelli, Leslie. Hair. Candlewick, 2017. [26p.]. $6.99. 978-0-7636-7931-6. Patricelli, Leslie.
Nighty-Night. Candlewick, 2017. [26p.]. $6.99. 978-0-7636-7932-3. Even after more than a dozen of these delightful board books starring a baby with one springy hair, the humor doesn’t get old. Parents and older siblings will laugh at some things, and toddlers will laugh at the slapstick and deeply colored cartoon-like illustrations. In Hair, baby gets his (or hers, it is difficult to tell) first haircut, and in Nighty-Night, baby and parents go through a customary bedtime ritual (including the pants-less “Naked dance!”). The snappy rhyming text, relatable situations, and artwork add up to a winning series recommended for all libraries.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool