In the What Were They Thinking? department…

Jean McElroy’s Let’s Count 123! (Simon and Schuster, May), a pleasant new board book that counts ten of the celebratory objects at a child’s birthday party (“1 cake / 2 candles / 3 party hats”), bills itself as “both chunky and lightweight!” The inside pages are not cardboard but paper-covered flat boxes (I think).

So, is the intent to lighten parents’ tote-bag loads? Or have there been many reported injuries of babies clunking themselves in the head with heavy board books? Is this new configuration meant to alleviate parents’ safety concerns? If so, they won’t: the inside boxy pages have wickedly sharp edges, a definite no-no in board book land. Let’s hope this is just the beta version, and that it’s back to the drawing board for “both chunky and lightweight!”

About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is executive editor of The Horn Book Magazine and coauthor, with Roger Sutton, of A Family of Readers (Candlewick). She is coauthor of the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott blog and has served on the 2008 Newbery committee and chaired the 2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder committee.

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