Anyone else overwhelmed by the sheer number of board books that have sprouted up in the past ten years or so? They’re a happy lot, but such an enormous one!
Board books, for me, fit the bill for a fairly small window of time. From the time a child can focus on the images, then hold onto the book and gnaw on the cover a bit, until he’s old enough to not eat everything he sees. After that, go for the real McCoy, say I. Most children can learn to be careful with pages and when accidents happen, there’s tape!
I browsed at the bookstore the other day to see what struck my fancy. Here’s what I found in five, perfect-for-babies categories:
What says Oink Oink?
Babies learn to make sounds long before talking and what fun it is! Abandon all propriety with these sounding-off books!
Hi! by Ethan Long (Abrams Appleseed; 2015)
Others in this series of animal greetings include Good Night! and Thank You! Get your woof on!
Animal Sounds, by Aurelius Battaglia (Golden Books; 2005)
Vintage Golden Book sweetness!
Cars Go, by Steve Light (Chronicle Books; 2016)
Get ready to vroooom like a race car and wee-oh-wee-oh like the police. There are a number of other titles in Light’s bold and snazzy series.
Do Cows Meow? by Salina Yoon (Sterling Children’s; 2012)
Do cows sing? Do cows cuckoo? All I know is cows go…Mooo! Jolly, with flaps to open those mouths wide.
Ideas are All Around!
Very basic concepts are what I look for in board books. Nothing too advanced.
I Hear by Helen Oxenbury (Candlewick; 1995)
Part of one of my favorite series which also includes I Can, I Touch, and I See.
Big or Small?, by Agnese Baruzzi (White Star Kids; 2017)
Brilliantly designed. Which describes anything by Agnese Baruzzi. Can things be big and small? Depends on how you look at them. Interactive book with sturdy unfolding pages.
Colors by Sara Anderson (Sara Anderson Children’s Books; 2009)
Gobsmacking. Cleverly laid out with graduated pages like you find in The Very Hungry Caterpillar. That goes for her book Numbers as well. Fabulous.
Flora and the Ostrich by Molly Idle (Chronicle Books; 2017)
Everyone is in love with Flora. Watch her and that gangly ostrich demonstrate opposites with aplomb. Clever and lovely.
Greet a world of diverse people!
One of the things I look for in books is a diversity of races and ethnicities. It’s never too early to ensure we’re presenting the beauty of a diverse world to our kids.
Clap Hands, by Helen Oxenbury (Little Simon; 1999)
Again, one of my favorites by the queen of toddler lit. Others in this oversized book series are Tickle Tickle, All Fall Down, and Say Goodnight. Beloved by our family.
Say Hello by Rachel Isadora (Nancy Paulsen Books; 2017)
Stroll through Isadora’s joyous diverse neighborhoods via her gorgeous collages. Even if you can’t get all those hellos pronounced properly in the variety of languages, the pictures are worth it.
Peekaboo Morning, by Rachel Isadora (G.P. Putnam’s; 2008)
Simple, happy, and featuring a black family. I love this little gem.
Little You by Richard Van Camp and Julie Flett (Orca; 2013)
This team turns out splendid, gorgeous work featuring Native families. This tender title with Flett’s bold artwork is sweet as can be.
Come face to face with a tiger!
Of course animals are riveting material for small ones…
Crowds of Creatures by Kate Riggs and Dogi Fiammetta (Creative Editions; 2017)
The lovely illustration work and inventive compositions really caught my eye in this one. More realistic drawings than most baby books.
National Geographic Dogs (National Geographic Kids; 2014)
If you want excellent animal photography to introduce the wide world of nature to your baby, you can’t beat the arkful of titles from National Geographic.
Polar Pack by Madeleine Rogers (Button Books; 2017)
Sizzling graphic design introduces animals of different habitats in this series which includes Jungle Crew, Safari Set, Sky Guys.
The Butterfly Garden by Laura Weston (Big Picture Press; 2017)
Elegant black and white design makes these pages mesmerizing. Flaps reveal the colorful caterpillars, butterflies, munched leaves, that you find in this magical place. Lovely.
Books designed to not only eat, but tug, open, slide, feel. Perfect for busybodies.
Where’s the Giraffe? by Ingela P. Arrhenius (Nosy Crow; 2017)
Such a jolly series from Nosy Crow featuring soft flannel flaps to lift and spy those hiding animals, plus a mirror at the back to find the baby.
What’s in My House? by Roger Priddy (Priddy Books; 2018)
Full of sturdy sliders to shift and flaps to open to snoop in the fridge and all over the house. Another book, What’s in My Truck? lets you discover the loads all those cool trucks are carrying.
Tails by Matthew Van Fleet (HMH Books for Young Readers; 2017)
A hefty book crackling with surprises. Textures to feel, tabs to pull. Exciting and interactive, as are a number of other titles from Van Fleet.
Toes, Ears, & Nose by Marion Dane Bauer and Kathy Katz (Little Simon; 2003)
Simple and enduring. Lift the flaps to find those toes hiding inside a pair of boots and a little nose sheltering beneath the scarf.
Look for more board books in my Welcoming Babies list. And that’s a baby week wrap!
I’ll be back next week to talk about one of Sweden’s most beloved author/illustrators and a super give-away!
I like your focus here on books specially suited for the age board books are necessary — it does seem that just about every picture book has a board book edition now! We have a LOT of those that probably never would have been board books years ago — so we’re bouncing between paper and board now as I won’t be replacing everything 🙂 My son’s pretty good with paper, but there are days I still wish everything was board LOL
Ha! Busy boy 🙂 Some picture books that get turned into board books have to be shortened due to that format so just be aware. The books would just turn monster-thick if they put in every page, but it is a little sad. That’s another reason I love the ones that were designed as a board book right from the start.
You’re so right and I try to be more careful of that after I hastily picked up a board book copy of Madeline and only realized after I got it home that it was abridged. That story is long enough I should have known! I hadn’t thought to check the fine print on the title page for signs of abridgment before then, but I do now 🙂
This is a great list! I agree that its never too early to teach diversity and inclusion. Books are a great way to start. Thanks for sharing! – Em
Thanks, Em! I learn so much from books, even children’s board books!
I love board books, will have to check some of these out!