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Board Book Roundup: Winter 2015 Edition

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, now published every season. You can find the previous installments here. Don’t miss Viki Ash’s primer “What Makes a Good Board Book?” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine.

by Judi Abbot
Tiger Tales     24 pp.
3/15     978-1-58952-542-5     $7.99
“Little Elephant loved trains.” While taking a train ride he encounters several other animal-toddlers, each with his or her own vehicular obsession. Their interactions are initially fraught (“Cat didn’t want to play trains”), but a tunnel-related toy mix-up results in the new friends happily playing together with their trains, planes, and automobiles. Spare, rhythmic text chugs along (“Train-plane-digger-digger! Train-plane-car!”); expressive illustrations communicate the little guys’ emotional journeys. This adaptation captures all the vehicle-enthusiast energy of the fall 2014 picture book, including the winding train-set maze of the original endpapers.

by Janik Coat
Abrams Appleseed   36 pp.
3/15     978-1-4197-1514-3     $15.95
On each spread of this companion to concept book Hippopposites, a stylized blue rhino cleverly demonstrates the meanings of a pair of rhyming words: moon/balloon, shower/flower, etc. The rhino’s body position and placement on the page remain consistent throughout most of the book, allowing listeners to zero in on what is different about each illustration — often a humorously subtle change to the rhino’s facial expression. Some spreads create a bit of a narrative arc, e.g. caring (walking a tiny dog) and daring (carrying the dog across a tightrope). A few textured pages (bumpy, fuzzy) add to the fun.

gleiner_day with monsterA Day with Monster
by Kelli Gleiner
Blue Manatee Press     16 pp.
9/14     978-1-936669-26-4   $7.99
Minimal, patterned text takes listeners through the pleasant daily routine of a friendly, felted-sculpture monster (Cheer Up, Monster!): “In the morning, Monster wakes up, eats breakfast, and goes to work. In the afternoon…” Though Monster — with his laptop, coffee mug, and tie — is clearly an adult, much of his day (nap, bath, bedtime) will be familiar to toddlers. Plenty of homey details in the photographed scenes invite readers into Monster’s life.

hopkins_lullaby and kisses sweetLullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby
selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; illus. by Alyssa Nassner
Abrams Appleseed     42 pp.
3/15     978-1-4197-1037-7     $15.95
Thirty brief poems by contributors including Jane Yolen, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and X. J. Kennedy are organized by themes familiar to very young children — family, food, firsts, play, and bedtime. The poems are full of catchy rhythm and warm humor: “Water flowing / Bubbles blowing / Time to rub-a-dub. // Soapy giggles / Silly wiggles / Playtime in my tub,” reads Charles Ghigna’s “Bathtime.” Cheerful pastel-toned illustrations (both spot art and double-page spreads) portray anthropomorphized animal children and their families.

schnindel_babies and doggies bookThe Babies and Doggies Book
by John Schindel and Molly Woodward
Houghton     26 pp.
3/15     978-0-544-44477-5     $7.99
“Lots of things babies do, doggies do too.” Simple rhyming text relates some behaviors babies and doggies have in common: eating, playing, cuddling, etc. Stock photos of diverse babies on left-hand pages face photos of puppies engaged in similar activities on right-hand pages. A few of the behaviors are a bit of a stretch — such as “Babies and doggies stop to sniff” flowers — but the close-up photos are well chosen and smartly juxtaposed (not to mention adorable).

surovec_i see kittyI See Kitty
by Yasmine Surovec
Roaring Brook     34 pp.
1/15     978-1-62672-093-0     $7.99
In this picture-book adaptation, little girl Chloe wants a pet cat so badly that she “sees Kitty” everywhere: in cloud formations and cotton candy, in puddles and bath bubbles. Her vivid imagination helps her get by until — surprise! — her mother gives her a kitten of her own. Cartoonlike illustrations portray both Chloe and kitties with soft, rounded shapes, and allow young listeners to enjoy seeking out Kitty, too. The story is slight, but warm-hearted and relatable.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.



  1. Dear Katie:

    How lovely to see my LULLABY & KISSES SWEET noted here. Thank you.


  2. Katie Bircher Katie Bircher says:

    You’re very welcome! 🙂

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