I haven’t read board books in many years. They’re a little harder to judge than picture books because there isn’t a lot of substance to them. Board books are meant to teach very young children about pre-literacy skills – turning pages, reading from left to right, looking at pictures, etc. That being said there are some things that are very important – engaging pictures, reinforced vocabulary, and fun subject matter.
Here are 12 of the Cybils nominees in the Board Book category. As these are all board books, I am not including recommended ages.
My First Book of Animal Opposites by Ranger Rick
This book discusses opposites – small/big, awake/asleep, etc. – in the context of wild animals. I liked that the pictures were photographs of actual animals. In addition to growing the child’s vocabulary about opposites having the authentic images will aid in their animal vocabulary knowledge as well.
Eek! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton
Funny and entertaining, this book features chickens who are a little nervous about all of the weird things they’re seeing. They do not understand why people are dressed in costumes. They don’t know about Halloween. This book would be great for kids who are also a little nervous about this strange holiday. And the rhyming nature makes this a book I’m sure kids would want to hear over and over again.
Little Chickies / Los Pollitos by Susie Jaramillo
This bilingual book is two sided: one side is in English, and one side is in Spanish. Both tell the same story of little chicks that cry, “Pio!” when they’re hungry or cold. Their mother gets them corn to eat and lets them snuggle under her to sleep and keep warm. It’s a cute yet simple story, but great for exposing kids to Spanish early. And it has flaps that lift to make it more fun.
Look, Look Again by Agnese Baruzzi
This interactive counting book asks children to look again. Each spread features an image made from a folder page – one strawberry opens up to be 5 birds, etc. It’s very clever and sure to keep kids guessing from page to page time and time again. And unlike flaps or tabs, these page cannot be destroyed by little ones. This book is excellent.
I’m Sunny by Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm
Sunny the sun is happy because she has caught a ballon, but when Tizzy the tornado comes again, Sunny doesn’t want to share. Then she feels sad. Sharing makes them both happy. Told in comic book format, this story is cute but perhaps too advanced for the intended age group.
My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith
The narrator of this story lists the many things that fill her heart with happiness: dancing, singing, the faces of the people she loves, etc. Then she asks the reader what makes their heart fill with happiness. It’s a simple question that even 2 year olds can probably answer. Very cute book.
Beach Baby by Laurie Elmquist
This book lists a liteny of things that will still be there on the beach when the baby wakes from his nap. The writing is a little odd. There is no punctuation. It starts are a simple list, but then sentences begin to emerge. The inconsistent writing kind of bothered me even though the pictures and subject matter was cute.
This Is Not a Book by Jean Jullien
This book is so clever! It’s wordless and instead of telling a story, it’s a series of pictures of things that either lay flat (i.e. a tennis court), fold up like an L (i.e. a laptop), fold like a teepee (i.e. a tent), or open up and fit together (i.e. a 4 sided room). I’m not sure children younger than 3 would really get it, but it’s pretty fun for a parent to try to show them how it’s meant to work.
Baby Loves Quarks! by Ruth Spiro
Quarks are subatomic particles that make up protons and neutrons. I did not know that. This book explains the make up of atoms and how atoms make up all things in the world. They’re natures building blocks, just like baby’s blocks. There’s nothing like introducing concepts when kids are young, so they’re not so foreign. I love this book series. Very cool.
Hamsters on the Go! by Kass Reich
This book is a classic rhyming board book about the many ways that hamsters can travel – car, hot air balloon, float, submarine. It’s really cute and simple, but kids will love the pictures and the rhymes and probably ask for this book over and over again.
Steam Train, Dream Train Colors by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
Each page of this book features a different colored train car. It tells the color and the car type along with a two line rhyme describing the picture. Simple, perfect, lots of fun.
Papa Seahorse’s Search by Anita Bijsterbosch
This book isn’t really a board book. It’s a lift the flap counting book that’s printed on card stock thickness paper. It’s better suited for ages 2-4 because of the pages. It’s a cute 1-10 counting story about Papa Seahorse who is trying to find his missing baby. He looks all over the sea finding increasing numbers of other babies until he finds his own baby has been safe in his pouch all along.
Do you still read board books in your house? Have you read any of these books?
On the blog last year…