Board Book Roundup: Winter 2013 Edition

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, now published 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.

amnh_abc animalsABC Animals [AMNH ABC Board Books]
by American Museum of Natural History
Sterling     18 pp.
9/13     978-1-4549-0386-4     $7.95
Beginning with the armadillo and concluding with the zebra, this alphabetic exploration includes some unexpected and lesser-known choices — N is for nudibranch (a shell-less marine snail); Q is for quetzal (a vibrantly colored bird). Illustrated with photographs on color-blocked pages and featuring large block letters, this is an engaging alphabet book for young naturalists.

by Christopher Franceschelli; illus. by Peskimo
Abrams Appleseed     104 pp.
8/13     978-1419709364     $16.95
Apropos to its title, this is a blockbuster of an alphabet book. The leading edge of each page is die-cut to form the shape of the highlighted letter, giving the young reader something to touch and trace as the pages are turned to reveal an object beginning with the appropriate sound. Most of these items (apple, balloon, lemonade, moon) are within the life experience of the toddler audience; some (octopus, violin, yachts) are less familiar; and some (ice cream, underwear) are just plain fun. The book’s pages are thick and sturdy; the ideas and illustrations keep it light and inviting.

by Taro Gomi; illus. by the author
Chronicle     16 pp.
4/13     978-1452108353     $6.99

Playing peek-a-boo is one of the pleasures of early childhood. And what better way to extend this game than through a cleverly designed book? Each double-page spread opens flat to reveal a face and an implicit invitation to peek through the die-cut holes. Both the text and illustrations are simple and spare. Five animals, plus a robot, a monster, and a human friend, are featured. While not recommended as a quiet and calming bedtime story, this book should be a surefire hit for active, playtime fun.

marshall_colorsMy Turn to Learn Colors
by Natalie Marshall; illus. by the author
LB Kids     12 pp.
9/13     978-0-316-25163-1     $6.99



marshall_numbersMy Turn to Learn Numbers
by Natalie Marshall; illus. by the author
LB Kids     12 pp.
9/13     978-0-316-25164-8     $6.99



marshall_oppositesMy Turn to Learn Opposites
by Natalie Marshall; illus. by the author
LB Kids     12 pp.
9/13     978-0-316-25166-2     $6.99



marshall_shapesMy Turn to Learn Shapes
by Natalie Marshall; illus. by the author
LB Kids     12 pp.
9/13     978-0-316-25165-5     $6.99

Marshall has created an attractive set of basic concept books featuring tabbed pages. The tabs make for easy page turns for both adult readers and independent preschoolers. (The decision to include some of the text in cursive type makes the set less useful as those preschoolers turn into emergent readers, but this doesn’t detract from the books’ initial appeal.) Colors features six fruits and vegetables (in a nod, perhaps, to parental concerns for nutrition) while Numbers pays tribute to nature by including woodland plants and animals. The illustrations are fanciful, rather than realistic, adding to the set’s stylish design.

priddy_alphaprintsAlphaprints: ABC
by Roger Priddy; illus. by the author
Priddy     28 pp.
9/13     978-0312516468     $9.99

Oversized fingerprint animals populate Priddy’s sensory journey through the alphabet. The fingerprints are rendered in raised ink, adding a tactile element to the reading experience. Many of the animals have unexpected collage elements — the iguana’s spikes are crayon tips and the rhino’s horns are carrots, for example. These additions encourage careful viewing and may well inspire some lively conversations. Rhyming text, generous white space, and unexpected color choices — the ant is purple, the koala blue, the walrus orange — add additional appeal. Overall, this is a happy book that invites children to touch, see, and listen.

by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis
Free Spirit     24 pp.
9/13     978-1-57542-425-5     $6.99



by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis
Free Spirit     24 pp.
9/13     978-1-57542-424-8     $6.99

These companion volumes depict, in warm black-and-white photographs, a diverse assortment of babies engaged in the title activities. Few parents need help understanding the importance of kids’ eating, but the act of reaching, among a child’s first exploratory efforts, is less likely to be celebrated, making the volume dedicated to it particularly appreciated. The books include simple rhyming text; the photos take center stage to keep pages turning. Cuddle and Move, additional offerings in the series, were not seen.
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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