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Board Book Roundup: Summer 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.

boldt_max's mix and matchMax’s Mix & Match
by Claudia Boldt
NorthSouth   28 pp.
1/15   978-0-7358-4194-9   $12.95

This mix-and-match novelty book, with each page sectioned horizontally into thirds, features a series of animals that children can engage in various funny activities. The top third of the flip-page is a name, the middle is a verb, the bottom is a noun: “Ruth / juggles / pears,” for example. It doesn’t work perfectly every time (it’s hard for someone to do anything but “read about” “relativity”), but it’s the sort of book kids love to play with, especially with such endearingly silly creatures and activities from which to choose.

davenport_animal babiesAnimal Babies
illus. by Maxine Davenport and Cindy Roberts
Little Bee   12 pp.
8/15   978-1-4998-0058-6   $4.99

 


davenport_animal colorsAnimal Colors

illus. by Maxine Davenport and Cindy Roberts
Little Bee   12 pp.
8/15   978-1-4998-0057-9   $4.99

 


davenport_animal soundsAnimal Sounds

illus. by Maxine Davenport and Cindy Roberts
Little Bee   12 pp.
8/15   978-1-4998-0060-9   $4.99

 


davenport_jungle animalsJungle Animals

illus. by Maxine Davenport and Cindy Roberts
Little Bee   12 pp.
8/15   978-1-4998-0059-3   $4.99

The very simple, small-format books in the Tiny Touch series includes some tactile elements — “bumpy, textured pages” — to engage the youngest children’s senses. Each page features one creature and its name/color/sound; round-up spreads at the end of Colors, Sounds, and Jungle Animals invite participation (“Can you make all the animal noises?”). The creatures, with their big, round eyes, are mostly just really cute, in baby-pastel colors with some unobtrusive patterns on the pages (lots of little polka dots).

foster_jane foster's abcJane Foster’s ABC
by Jane Foster
Little Bee   26 pp.
7/15   978-1-4998-0074-6   $5.99

 

 

foster_jane foster's 123Jane Foster’s 123
by Jane Foster
Little Bee   26 pp.
7/15   978-1-4998-0073-9   $5.99

Foster, a U.K.-based designer, screen printer, handicrafter, and toy-maker, illustrates these simple concept books, covering the ABCs and numbers to ten, respectively. Of course, the content is nothing new; but the eye-catching bold-outlined geometric illustrations, combined with the small, square volumes’ thoughtful design, make them well worth a look.

fry_where are you blueDot Town: Where Are You, Blue?
by Sonali Fry; illus. by Holly Clifton-Brown
Little Simon   32 pp.
7/15   978-1-4814-3589-5   $8.99

Front and back end pages filled with smiley, rosy-cheeked dot characters (echoes of Peter H. Reynolds’s The Dot) in various colors and poses set the scene for this entertaining rhyming story. Pink Dot is hosting a party and almost everyone has arrived…except for Blue Dot. A sort-of game of Telephone ensues as the other dots speculate about their pal’s whereabouts (“‘Okay! Blue Dot is on his way.’ / ‘What? Blue Dot has joined the ballet?’”). Lots of fun for read-aloud participation.

heo_red light, green lightRed Light, Green Light
by Yumi Heo
Scholastic   22 pp.
7/15   978-0-545-74463-8   $6.99

Putting a fresh spin on transportation books, Heo gives some love to roads signs and their meanings. Children lift street-sign-shaped flaps to finish the rhymes in a jaunty, informative text: “Let’s share the road, but with who? / Wave hello: / As bikes ride, too!” Bold color and simple shapes, à la Byron Barton, make up the scenes, with some textured mixed-media and varied perspectives to visually shake things up.

marshall_big book of happyThe Big Book of Happy
by Natalie Marshall
Little Bee   16 pp.
6/15   978-1-4998-0090-6   $7.99

 

 

marshall_big book of sillyThe Big Book of Silly!
by Natalie Marshall
Little Bee   16 pp.
6/15   978-1-4998-0091-3   $7.99

In Happy, a girl and boy describe all the things that bring them joy, compared with analogous experiences for animals: “Fish are happy when they are swimming. I am happy when I am splashing!” “Owls are happy when they are hooting. I am happy when I am singing!” The offstage narrator of Silly presents the silliest scenarios he or she can think of (“Sometimes I want to be silly like an elephant riding a unicycle and blowing bubbles. How SILLY is that?”), occasionally soliciting listener participation: “…as silly as a fox dancing with a cat. Can you do SILLY dancing like that?” Both books, with their large trim size, bright colors, basic shapes, and eye-pleasing background patterns, should hold wiggly, giggly kids’ interest.

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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