Spring Board Books, Part I
My allergies have alerted me that it is Spring again, and time for our semi-annual Board Book Round-up! Here is Part I, with some mini-reviews of new board book series and individual titles released in early 2015. Next month in Part II we will finish with new books with popular characters, and board books derived from picture books.
Board Book Series
Dicmas, Courtney. Wild! Series. Child’s Play, 2014. 14p. $4.99 each.
Wild! Bathtime. 978-1-84643-686-4.
Wild! Bedtime. 978-1-84643-687-1.
Wild! Mealtime. 978-1-84643-684-0.
Wild! Playtime. 978-1-84643-685-7.
Groups of parent and child animals are celebrated in these simple books with brief rhyming texts. In Playtime, dogs, weasels, herons, foxes, kangaroos, and lions are shown playing with their offspring, depicted in soft pastel colors with some colored pencil outlines. In each books, a wide variety of animals are included, from birds, to mammals, to ocean creatures. The scenarios are very relatable to human parent-child interaction, including bathing, getting ready for bed, and more, so these do a great job of reinforcing positive behavior. They also have a loving, joyous quality that can help parents convey affection to their children.
Thompson, Carol. Whatever the Weather Series. Child’s Play, 2014. 12p. $4.99 each.
Toddlers can learn words for various weather conditions along with onomatopoeia in this delightful series. From the crunch of footsteps in the snow to the plip-plop of raindrops, the brief text is well-matched to the light watercolors with thin ink outlines used in the illustrations. The round-headed, culturally diverse children shown in the pictures are similar to those in Helen Oxenbury’s work.
Yang, Belle. Hurry Home, Hedgehog!: A Bilingual Book of Sounds. Candlewick, 2015. 24p. $6.99. 978-0-7636-6598-2.
Yang, Belle. Squirrel Round and Round: A Bilingual Book of Seasons. Candlewick, 2015. 24p. $6.99. 978-0-7636-6597-5.
In 2012, Yang offered two delightful bilingual English/Mandarin books for toddlers – A Nest in Springtime which focused on numbers, and Summertime Rainbow which demonstrated colors. These two new books in the series also use animal characters in nature to teach a concept (sounds and seasons). Each spread features Chinese on the left and English on the right, with a two page gouache illustration under the texts. The pictures are quite pleasing and avoid the greeting card-look of many board books. The text is also distinctive, using onomatopoeia selectively. This format works very well, and children who only speak one of those languages can fully enjoy the book. The final page in each book contains the pinyin pronunciations for the Chinese.
Harrison, Kenny. “Hide and Seek Harry” series. Candlewick, 2015. 20p. $6.99 each.Hide and Seek Harry On the Farm. ISBN 978-0-7636-7370-3.Hide and Seek Harry At the Playground. ISBN 978-0-7636-7347-5. Two more books featuring this sweet hippo join the first two in the series which were published last Fall. A simple rhyming text describes Harry, who is hiding (in relatively plain sight) from two children. Even young toddlers will be able to pick Harry out in the illustrations, because he is only partially hidden. The full color digital illustrations have a cartoonish quality that will also appeal to this age group, making a nice series that gives the reader a sense of achievement.
Not the song by Guns and Roses, this is one of Church’s board books featuring a curly-haired blond child, also seen in How Do I Love You? (2009) and Goodnight, I Love You (2012). This latest book continues the theme with a rhyming text declaring “I love you in the morning at the start of every day.” Each spread continues with a sentence beginning “I love you…” which could invite repetition from the child listener. The full color illustrations resemble gouache or acrylic, with colorful patterned backgrounds. The covers are padded, and the pages are not board but laminated cardstock. This is a nice alternative for very young children to McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You? series, which have wordier texts.
In this Easter-themed board book, Patricelli’s signature baby is back to dye and later find eggs and candy. Only the Easter Bunny aspect of this religious holiday is mentioned, and this popular baby character is as silly as he is in more than a dozen other board books. The distinctive full-color acrylic artwork conveys much of the joy and humor of this series. Buy if you have a demand for Easter Bunny books for toddlers.
Individual Board Book Titles
Cohen, Miriam. Daddy’s Busy Day. Illus. by Ying-Hwa Hu. Star Bright, 2014. 28p. $8.99. 978-1-59572-668-1.
Using light soft-focused watercolors and a first-person text from a child’s perspective, this describes the day of a preschooler and the stay-at-home dad/caregiver. The child could be a boy or girl, and the depiction of dad shows him doing the laundry, making lunch, taking the child to the park, and more. Mom is seen at the beginning and end, going to work and returning home. A wonderful story in its ordinariness, this will have universal appeal and is perfect for the toddler age group.
Kar-Ben Publishing does a fine job of making books on Jewish issues of young people and this book is no exception. Using food and other everyday items, this counting book describes things a preschooler might find when visiting Israel. Some of the things shown like the Western Wall or camels are specific to that area of the world, but other things like friends or oranges can be found anywhere. The full color cartoon-like illustrations almost look like cut paper, and are very good are showing the thing to be counted. Although this would be most useful to a child visiting Israel, any child would benefit from learning about another country.
Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool