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Board Book Roundup: Spring 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.

buzzeo_whose toolsWhose Tools?
by Toni Buzzeo; illus. by Jim Datz
Abrams Appleseed   18 pp.
5/15   978-1-4197-1431-1   $9.95

In this handy book — a “Guessing Game with 24 Tools!” — rhyming text on left-hand pages provides clues for kids to identify various tool-based occupations: “To build a house, start down low. / Whose tools are those? Do you know?” The right-hand illustration shows cartoony (they have faces) labeled tools: chalk line, chisel, joiner, float. Lifting the gatefold reveals a large spread of the mason at work: “I smooth cement until it’s flat.” Construction fans will be pleased; fans of gender and racial equality in children’s books should be, too, as men and women with various skin tones perform the tasks throughout. A companion book, Whose Truck?, publishes in September 2015.

harrison_hide and seek harry at the playgroundHide and Seek Harry at the Playground
by Kenny Harrison
Candlewick   22 pp.
3/15   978-0-7636-7347-5   $6.99

 

 

harrison_hide and seek harry on the farmHide and Seek Harry on the Farm
by Kenny Harrison
Candlewick   22 pp.
3/15   978-0-7636-7370-3   $6.99

The sight of a rotund, wide-eyed hippo standing behind a single sunflower, trying to hide, is sure to elicit giggles from preschoolers. These cute volumes play up the silliness of a hide-and-seek game with said hippo, Harry: “We’re at the farm with Harry today. / And hide-and-seek is what he wants to play.” Some of his hiding places aren’t so bad (you can only see his legs dangling from the apple tree in Farm), but others are downright ridiculous (clinging to the swing set, upside down and in plain sight, in Playground). The digital illustrations are all big smiles and bright colors. Hide and Seek Harry Around the House and Hide and Seek Harry at the Beach are also available.

long_hiHi!
by Ethan Long
Abrams Appleseed   22 pp.
5/15   978-1-4197-1365-1   $7.95

Unlikely animal pairs (owl and cow, bird and anteater) whose sounds happen to rhyme (“Hoo! Moo!” “Chirp! Slurp!”) greet each other in facing, cheerful illustrations. At the end a boy and his mother bid good-bye to readers. Clear illustrations of bright-eyed, cartoony animals add humor to the interactions (and, okay, a yak probably doesn’t actually say yak, but it is funny in context).

shuttlewood_around the worldAround the World: A Follow the Trail Book
by Craig Shuttlewood
Little Bee Books   12 pp.
5/15   978-1-4998-0075-3   $6.99

 

 

shuttlewood_through the townThrough the Town: A Follow the Trail Book
by Craig Shuttlewood
Little Bee Books   12 pp.
5/15   978-1-4998-0076-0   $6.99

Each double-page spread include a “trail” — a cut-out trough to trace with your finger — that allows children to image guiding creatures or vehicles through the scenes. For example: “You’re an eagle in the sky… / above the world you swoop so high!” Use your finger to follow the loop-the-loop path of a diving eagle, above mountains, over the ocean, past a hot-air balloon, etc. There’s lots to see along the way in each illustration filled with geometric shapes and subdued hues.

my first baseball bookMy First Baseball Book
Sterling   22 pp.
4/15   978-1-4549-1486-0   $6.95

 

 

my first basketball bookMy First Basketball Book
Sterling   22 pp.
4/15   978-1-4549-1487-7   $6.95

 

 

my first football bookMy First Football Book
Sterling   22 pp.
4/15   978-1-4549-1488-4   $6.95

 

 

my first soccer bookMy First Soccer Book
Sterling   22 pp.
4/15   978-1-4549-1489-1   $6.95

These very simple books include a sports term on each page illustrated with a vivid photograph. There are a few awkward juxtapositions of spreads (in both Football and Soccer, for example, it’s a little hard to tell where “Team” ends and “Sideline” begins), and those unfamiliar with the terminology won’t find any help with definitions. But young sports fans will enjoy the action and the varied images of kids roughly their own age participating on teams.

yonezu_circlesCircles
by Yusuke Yonezu
Minedition   28 pp.
4/15   978-988-8240-67-8   $9.99

 

 

yonezu_moving blocksMoving Blocks
by Yusuke Yonezu
Minedition   28 pp.
5/15   978-988-8240-70-8   $11.99

 

 

yonezu_squaresSquares
by Yusuke Yonezu
Minedition   28 pp.
4/15   978-988-8240-68-5   $9.99

Squares and Circles add new twists to the standard shapes concept books. Moving Blocks takes things a step further with surprising patterns and eye-teaser spreads. In all three volumes, die-cuts enhance the simple, saturated-hued illustrations by adding an element of concreteness — and stretching children’s brains.

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.

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