Board Book Roundup: Fall 2013 Edition

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, newly starting every other month. 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.

Opposites [TouchThinkLearn]
by Xavier Deneux; illus. by the author
Handprint/Chronicle    20 pp.
7/13    978-1-4521-1725-6    $14.99

Books that invite tactile interaction often rely on texture as their medium of choice, identifying things that are furry, fuzzy, slick, or sticky. Here Deneux uses dimension rather than texture to engage a toddler’s sense of touch. For example, the young reader can feel the difference between a rabbit that is outside (raised on top of the page) and the two rabbits that are inside (recessed within the page). Not every pair of opposites introduced readily lends itself to this dimensional approach, but Deneux is hugely successful in encouraging playful, hands-on exploration. Additional books in the series: Colors, Shapes, and Numbers.

Hello Dinosaur [Lift-the-Flap Good Day Book]
by DwellStudio
Blue Apple    10 pp.
5/13    978-1609053369    $8.99

Stylish graphics and a fairly subdued color palette complement sturdy die-cut gatefolds that open to reveal a quartet of silhouetted dinosaurs. Individual spreads feature a tyrannosaurus, a velociraptor, a brachiosaurus, and a stegosaurus. All four plus a triceratops are hidden beneath the final flap. The repeated question “Who is hiding?” extends the book’s invitation for active participation.

Global Baby Girls
by the Global Fund for Children
Charlesbridge    18 pp.
2/13    978-1-58089-439-5    $6.95

Like Global Babies and American Babies, previously published by the Global Fund for Children, this new volume features beguiling photographs of infants and toddlers. In this case, the portraits’ subjects are all female, and the text asserts that “baby girls can grow up to change the world.” Parents of boy babies can only hope that a similarly affirming look at male children won’t be far behind.

How Does Baby Feel? [Karen Katz Lift-the-Flap Book]
by Karen Katz; illus. by the author
Little Simon    14 pp.
1/13    978-1442452046    $6.99

Katz has become a frequent and dependable contributor to the board book world with books that feature her distinctive Kewpie doll–faced babies and lift-the-flaps. In this offering she describes various things that are happening and asks, “How does baby feel?” Lifting the flaps reveals the associated feelings, which range from hunger to happiness, concluding with love.

Bella Loves Bunny
by David McPhail; illus. by the author
Appleseed/Abrams    24 pp.
2/13    978-1-4197-0543-4    $8.95




Ben Loves Bear
by David McPhail; illus. by the author
Appleseed/Abrams    2 pp.
1/13    978-1-4197-0386-7    $8.95

In Bella Loves Bunny, McPhail provides a simple and reassuring day-in-the-life story of young Bella and her favorite stuffed animal. The pair enjoys a day filled with affection and fun that begins with a gentle “good morning” and concludes with a sleepy “goodnight.” The illustrations show the bunny in a series of lifelike poses that perfectly acknowledge Bella’s belief in the realness of her beloved companion. In Ben Loves Bear, McPhail tells a similarly winning story of a young boy and his special teddy-bear friend.

Tails Chasing Tails
by Matthew Porter; illus. by the author
Sasquatch    20 pp.
4/13    978-1570618529    $9.99

In an engaging guessing game of who is chasing whom, Porter leads readers on an energetic romp starring nine animals, each initially identified only by its distinctive tail. The page turns allow readers to confirm their guesses of who is next in the parade. The chase comes full circle when the elephant who began the adventure is pursued by a pink-tailed mouse. The simple, stylized animals are depicted on wood-grained panels that follow a color pattern of their own.

Hello Baby: Animals
by Roger Priddy; illus. by the author
Priddy/Macmillan     16 pp.
5/13    978-0312515973    $4.99



Hello Baby: Words
by Roger Priddy; illus. by the author
Priddy/Macmillan    16 pp.
5/13    978-0312515980    $4.99

Designed for the youngest end of the board book audience, these two volumes feature very simple high-contrast drawings of animals and familiar kid items on alternating black and white backgrounds. The strong backgrounds, along with the matte finish of the pages, the small trim size, and the uncluttered layouts, give the books a sophisticated appeal missing in many board books intended for infants.

Shapes [Rookie Toddler]
Scholastic    12 pp.
1/13    978-0531215791    $6.95

This addition to the Rookie Toddler series provides a simple yet effective introduction to shapes. Each spread includes a solid shape on the left accompanied by a photograph of a recognizable object on the right, allowing the young child to see the shape both in isolation and in context. In addition to the four shapes on the cover (triangle, square, circle, rectangle) the book includes a diamond shape. Recommendations for enjoying and extending the reading experience are offered on the final page.

You Are My Baby: Farm [Petit Collage]
by Lorena Siminovich; illus. by the author
Chronicle    12 pp.
3/13    978-1-4521-0643-4    $8.99



You Are My Baby: Safari [Petit Collage]
by Lorena Siminovich; illus. by the author
Chronicle    12 pp.
3/13    978-1-4521-0642-7    $8.99

Siminovich has created two animal books using a “book within a book” format. The larger part of each book features the adult animal, who provides a one-sentence description of the baby. The smaller portion, with inset pages and an independent page turn, shows the baby animal, thus giving young readers an opportunity for prediction before the reveal. This clever bit of book engineering also allows for mixing and mismatching fun.

The Finger Circus GameThe Finger Circus Game
by Hervé Tullet; illus. by the author
Phaidon    14 pp.
3/13    978-0714865317    $9.95

Die-cut holes invite the reader (or listener) to insert their fingers into each double-page spread and become the “world-famous finger worms,” the circus’s star attractions. The text, written in the style of a sideshow barker, calls upon the audience to gasp, marvel, laugh, and hold its collective breath as the worms perform a variety of acts. Tullet is not the first to explore the fingers-in-the-book device, but he uses it with great success.
Viki Ash
Viki Ash is coordinator of children’s services at the San Antonio Public Library. She has taught children’s literature and library programming at the School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman’s University, and has served on ALSC’s Newbery, Caldecott, Wilder, and Sibert committees.

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