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Goo-goo gaga for graphic design

All the artsiest toddlers (and their parents) will be clamoring for these “coffee table board books” published by Appleseed, a new Abrams imprint catering to aesthetics-minded birth-to-five-year-olds.

French import Hippopposites (May) by Janik Coat brings the hip to opposites books. In every spread, a pair of hippos demonstrates the featured concept. The old standbys are there (small/large, light/dark), alongside less common concepts like full/empty, dotted/striped, clear/blurry, etc. Soft/rough adds a tactile element, while opaque/transparent, positive/negative, and front (full-on view of hippo)/side (a thin vertical line) sneak in some art- and color-theory.

Think yellow is a yawn and purple’s passé? Look to Pantone Colors (March) for raincoat, French fry, and giraffe yellow; rhubarb, mulberry, and velvet purple. Right-hand pages show the conventional color names while left-hand pages are made up of sample squares straight from the Pantone book.

Less mod but just as design-y are My Birdie and My Bunny (both March), illustrated by Jessie Ford. These “puzzle book” board books feature four removable pieces that fit back together to make a little picture. Cute animals, sturdy pages, and puzzle pieces: my two-year-old will be in heaven.

Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College.



  1. Intern Jessica says:

    Oh, I spotted this Alexander Girard board book while opening boxes yesterday!

    It definitely caught my eye, although I’m not sure why Amazon described it as a “highly anticipated tome.” It’s a board book, dude.

  2. Ha! I’m going to teach my toddler to say: “It’s charming! It’s whimsical!”

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