Board Book Roundup: Summer 2017 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.

Alphabet Family Band
by Sarah Jones
Blue Manatee    18 pp.
9/17    ISBN 978-1-936669-59-2    $7.99

On the first spread, “Auntie Bangs Congas / Daddy Enjoys Flute.” This ABC configuration (two or three letters per page form simple noun-verb-noun sentences) cleverly continues throughout, culminating in “you” zigging, zagging, and zooming during the family’s climactic beach performance. An appended spread prints the ABCs and pictures of some additional instruments.

Circle, Triangle, Elephant!: A Book of Shapes and Surprises
by Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi
Phaidon    24 pp.
5/17    ISBN 978-0-7148-7411-1    $9.95

This concept book starts out simply enough, with three shapes stacked up — little red triangle on top, medium-sized pink circle in the middle, big blue square on the bottom. On the facing page is “circle / rectangle / triangle,” so slightly different shapes and colors, but same idea. Then turn the page to find: “triangle / elephant?! / circle” and “elephant / elephant / rectangle.” It’s a funny surprise, and the spare, simple illustrations rely on both shape and pattern recognition and love of the unexpected to great effect for preschoolers.

by Leslie Patricelli
Candlewick    28 pp.
1/17    ISBN 978-0-7636-7931-6    $6.99

Patricelli’s endearing board-book baby is known for that single curly hair…but what happens when that hair needs a trim? A trip to the barber! Even though it’s one of those kid-centric ones with little vehicles to sit in, Baby is nervous (“Will it hurt?”) and even sheds a tear. But all it takes is one snip: “Now my hair is just right.” Another winning title by Patricelli about a childhood first — and fear.

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet
by Mrs. Peanuckle; illus. by Jessie Ford
Rodale Kids    28 pp.
9/17    ISBN 978-1-62336-872-2    $7.99




Mrs. Peanuckle’s Vegetable Alphabet
by Mrs. Peanuckle; illus. by Jessie Ford
Rodale Kids    28 pp.
9/17    ISBN 978-1-62336-870-8    $7.99

A is for Avocado. Bet you thought I’d say apple! Both are fruit because they grow on trees.” These engaging volumes provide a good deal of information about select fruits and veggies (“X is for Xigua, which is pronounced ‘she gwah’ and is a Chinese and African name for watermelon”), with just a couple of throw-aways (“I is for Ice-Cream, which is yummy with any fruit”). The entertaining geometrical illustrations show smiley plants and produce.

Quantum Physics! [Baby Loves]
by Ruth Spiro; illus. by Irene Chan
Charlesbridge    22 pp.
9/17    ISBN 978-1-58089-769-3   $8.99




Thermodynamics! [Baby Loves]
by Ruth Spiro; illus. by Irene Chan
Charlesbridge    22 pp.
9/17    ISBN 978-1-58089-768-6   $8.99

Thermodynamics’s brief, accessible text, accompanied by friendly and useful illustrations, provides an overview of how the sun’s energy powers all living things…including Baby. Quantum Physics is a more abstract exploration of the Schrodinger’s cat experiment: Baby’s cat climbs into a box; “In quantum physics, until Baby looks in the box, Cat is both asleep and awake.” Both titles accomplish their goal of making little kids curious about science.


Elissa Gershowitz

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

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