Original Board Books
Aroeste, Sarah. Buen Shabat, Shabbat Shalom. Illus. by Ayesha L. Rubio. Kar-Ben, 2020. [12p.] $6.99. 978-1-5414-4246-4.
A Sephardic Jewish family celebrates Shabbat, introducing a Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) word on each page. Because the words are in context and defined in each rhyming phrase, this will be clear to any reader. The full color graphic-style illustrations are serviceable but not particularly memorable.
Biniashvili, Freidele G.S. I Love Matzah. Illus. by Angelika Scudamore. Kar-Ben, 2020. [12p.] $6.99. 978-1-5415-5727-7.
Although the narrative ends with the phrase “Happy Passover!” this story is a celebration of matzah. The rhyming text and full color cartoon artwork complement each other, but the topic is very limited so this may not have wide appeal.
Francis, Suzanne. The Little Book of Big Ideas. Illus. by Mike Wall. Disney Press, 2019. [72p.] $14.99. 978-136804647-3.
Disney princesses show examples of colors, shapes, opposites, and emotions, using artwork from the films, and one sentence per page. For example, the Little Mermaid’s hair is red and the eels are green; all the other color items are from that same film. The other princesses are Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Mulan. The binding won’t last and there are better concept books, so skip this.
Hickman, Jessica. Alligator Seder. Illus. by Elissambura. Kar-Ben, 2020. [12p.] $6.99. 978-1-5414-6041-3.
Florida alligators celebrate the Passover Seder in the Everglades, with customary foods and the Four Questions. The watercolor artwork is quite attractive but one wonders why these are alligators and not people, even though they wear little yarmulkes. This may work best with families already familiar with Passover practices.
Ho, Jannie. Vehicles ABC. Nosy Crow, 2019. [24p.] $6.99. 978-1-5362-0815-3.
Bright colors and upper and lower case letters make this a very successful celebration of vehicles and the alphabet. Each letter has a clear depiction of the ambulance, bulldozer, or other vehicle along with the word to identify it and the letter of the alphabet. A winner for a wide age range, from toddlers who love vehicles to emergent readers.
Kimmelman, Leslie. You’re the Cheese in My Blintz. Illus. by Ramona Kaulitzki. Kar-Ben, 2020. [12p.] $6.99. 978-1-5415-3467-4.
Several families are shown doting on their infants in this celebration of the youngest family members. The rhyming text is well done, using some distinctive Jewish references in about half of the examples: “You’re the kick in my hora. You’re the potato in my knish.” Overall, this is relatable for most families and offers some information on Jewish culture that will be of interest.
Marshall, Linda Elovitz. Shalom Bayit: A Peaceful Home. Illus. by Ag Jatkowska. Kar-Ben, 2020. [12p.] $6.99. 978-1-5414-4247-1.
Various animal homes are described, including nests, trees, underground, and ponds, ending with a human family’s cozy house. The concept that home is peaceful is celebrated in this story with wide appeal. The full color artwork may have been done using watercolors, and shows animals in a variety of habitats.
Newman, Tracy. Havdalah Is Coming! Illus. by Viviana Garofoli. Kar-Ben, 2020. [12p.] $6.99. 978-1-5415-2163-6.
Family and neighbors celebrate the end of the sabbath day, which is called Havdalah. The full color art features round-faced people doing customary practices such as putting out the candle. This has a nice, repetitive text that will engage toddlers.
Takeuchi, Chihiro. Paper Peek: Colors. Candlewick Studio, 2019. [38p.] $14.99. 978-1-5362-1148-1.
Distinctive graphic artwork and die cuts make this for a wide age range. Readers are instructed to find items on each page, in an illustration that looks like wallpaper. Each spread focuses on a different color; for example, the black cat die cut reveals the illustration where crows, ants, bats, and penguins are hidden. There are also things to count, making this a multi-faceted concept book.
Board Books Based on Picture Books
Ada, Alma Flor and F. Isabel Campoy. Mama’ Goose. Illus. by Suarez, Maribel. Disney-Hyperion, 2004/2019. [18p.] $7.99. 978-136804541-4.
This bilingual collection of nursery rhymes celebrates those from Spanish-speaking cultures, and is a must for all libraries. Each spread offers the rhyme in both Spanish and English, along with colorful artwork reminiscent of the work of Helen Oxenbury. All of the rhymes serve as lullabies; offer a few sung at your baby storytime.
Antony, Steve. Thank You, Mr. Panda. Scholastic/Cartwheel, 2017/2020. [26p.] $6.99. 978-1-338-31276-8.
Mr. Panda distributes gifts to his animal friends, but often the items are the wrong size or otherwise not useful. Lemur reminds us repeatedly that “It’s the thought that counts,” even when he receives oversized underwear! A fun story with distinctive cartoon artwork, this works fine in the board edition but use the larger picture book for storytime.
Patricelli, Leslie. Huggy Kissy. Candlewick, 2012/2019. [26p.]. $9.99. 978-1-5362-1135-1.
In this new, larger edition, the covers are padded so this is great for a baby storytime or library circulation. Patricelli’s popular baby character is shown interacting with family members, giving hugs and kisses; the text has a nice rhythm and rhyme, too.
Pizzoli, Greg. The 12 Days of Christmas. Disney-Hyperion, 2017/2019. $7.99.
In this humorous take on the traditional holiday carol, a young elephant receives the gifts, but the parent is shown with a distressed facial expression as all the items crowd their living room. The text contains the cumulative lyrics while the boldly colored cartoon artwork adds to the fun; a nice edition for one on one sharing.
Schmid, Paul. Oliver and His Egg. Disney-Hyperion, 2014/2020. [28p.] $7.99. 978-136804542-1.
A boy finds an egg and imagines that it hatches a dinosaur and the two become friends. Later, other children find rocks that look like eggs and try the same thing. The soft pastel artwork contains collage elements of photos of eggs but the story seems too sophisticated for toddlers.
Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool