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Board Book Roundup: Winter 2016 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.

carter_if you're a robot and you know itIf You’re a Robot and You Know It
by David A. Carter
Scholastic     14 pp.
9/15     978-0-545-81980-0     $16.99

Carter brings a futuristic twist to the familiar song. The text is entertaining enough (“If you’re a robot and you know it, / shoot laser beams out of your eyes”), but it’s the paper engineering that really sings. Pull the tabs to make the smiley, goofy-looking robots (one has a teakettle for a head) clap their hands, stomp their feet, etc., in such surprising, inventive ways that kids will definitely be happy — and they’ll know it.

carter_springSpring: A Pop-Up Book
by David A. Carter
Abrams Appleseed     12 pp.
2/16     978-1-4197-1912-7     $14.95

 

 

carter_winterWinter: A Pop-Up Book
by David A. Carter
Abrams Appleseed     12 pp.
10/15      978-1-4197-1823-6     $14.95

Prolific pop-up book creator Carter turns his attention to the seasons. Brief, sometimes lyrical texts (“Snowflakes fall from the sky, covering the sleepy earth in white”; “Who flits and flutters from flower to flower?”) are accompanied by fairly spare background illustrations that let the impressive central pop-ups shine. Captions help identify key flora and fauna.

franceschelli_dinoblockDinoblock
by Christopher Franceschelli; illus. by Peskimo
Abrams Appleseed     96 pp.
6/15     978-1-4197-1674-4     $16.95

Franceschelli follows Alphablock and Countablock with this dinosaur-themed entry. Chunky die-cut pages (which are cut to follow the outlines of the creatures) play a sort of guessing game with viewers: “I have a neck like a goose…” (page turn) “I am a coelophysis.” Useful pronunciation (“SEE-low-FYE-sis”) and clear illustrations of smiling dinos, along with two child guides, enhance the already great kid appeal.

holm_i'm grumpyI’m Grumpy
by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Random     20 pp.
1/16     978-0-553-53344-6     $7.99

 

 
 

holm_i'm sunnyI’m Sunny!
by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Random     20 pp.
1/16     978-0-553-53346-0      $7.99

My First Comics series. “Panels!” “Word Balloons!” “Sound Effects!” “Reading pictures is the first step toward reading words!” is this series’ motto. The Holm siblings (creators of the Babymouse series and others) introduce young children to comics in these books about a happy sun (Sunny!) and a grouchy cloud (Grumpy). The stories are very simple, entertaining, and easy to follow, with clear emotions nicely reinforced by the cartoony illustrations.

mdonald_solar systemSolar System
by Jill McDonald
Doubleday      24 pp.
3/16     978-0-553-52103-0     $7.99

 

 
 

mcdonald_weatherWeather
by Jill McDonald
Doubleday     24 pp.
3/16      978-0-553-52101-6     $7.99

Hello, World! series. These early science volumes give very brief but engaging overviews of their topics. Solar System starts with the moon and sun, then talks about each planet (plus dwarf planet Pluto), with one main fact per planet and another detail in smaller font. Weather asks a simple leading question to help identify each season (“Is snow falling?”), then presents clothing and activities for each one. In both books, eye-pleasing collages in bright colors with simple shapes illustrate the concepts.

reich_hamsters on the goHamsters on the Go!
by Kass Reich
Orca   24 pp.
3/16   978-1-4598-1016-7   $9.95

 

 
 

reich_up hamster down hamsterUp Hamster Down Hamster
by Kass Reich
Orca     24 pp.
9/15     978-1-4598-1013-6     $9.95

Up Hamster takes a group of energetic hamsters through a day of opposites-learning in rhyme (“Fast hamster / Slow hamster / Yes hamster / No hamster”). On the Go finds the crew testing various modes of transportation (“Hamsters in a car / Hamsters on a boat / Hamsters on a Moon rover / Hamsters on a float”). The rectangular little critters are so funny and expressive, with just their dot-eyes and straight-lined or oblong mouths, it may make listeners start clambering for a cute-rodent pet.

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Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She is a current member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee.

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