Board books are a fabulous choice for very young children. Their sturdy composition defies small clumsy fingers, and their often-complete stories are as good as many picture books. Some new board books are out just in time for the gift-giving season.
“Baking Day at Grandma’s” by Anika Denise and illustrated by Christopher Denise (Philomel) is the board book version of the charming picture book. It’s about young bear cubs going out on a cold, snowy winter day to visit Grandma and bake at her happy home. The text is filled with lyrical rhyme that flows beautifully, and the chorus of “It’s baking day! It’s baking day! It’s baking day at Grandma’s!” makes the story like poetry. Perfect for grandmas, perfect for bakers, perfect for anyone under (or over) the age of three.
Two sets of teaching board books are based on the very popular picture books series featuring “Peanut Butter” and “The Crayons.”
“The Crayons’ Book of Numbers” and “The Crayons’ Book of Colors” by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (Grosset & Dunlap). Both books not only teach counting and colors, both feature key parts of the book “The Day the Crayons Quit.” A perfect afternoon would be reading all three books together! Have youngsters find the picture from the picture book in the board book. Great “hide and seek” activity.
“Peanut Butter’s Yummy Numbers” by Terry Border (Philomel) is simply the old children’s song reworded:
Ten tiny peanuts jumping on the bread. One fell off and bumped its head. The baker saw the boo-boo and the baker said, “No more peanuts jumping on the bread!”
“Peanut Butter’s Tasty Opposites” is a simpler book. There are the pictures of all the food showing various opposites. It’s a great opportunity not only to teach opposites, but also to discuss the pictures and all the items in them. The adorable paper-clip illustrations are like those in the picture books. Kids will love them.
“Llama Llama Yum Yum Yum!” is a scratch and sniff book by Anna Dewdney (Grosset & Dunlap). It’s all about Llama llama’s day, and it’s filled with food and yummy food smells. The scratch and sniff technology is really amazing — the smells are really scrumptious! Kids will LOVE getting to read and smell delicious smells, and this book just might become a favorite read.
Who doesn’t want their tiny tot to eventually be a world traveler? Read to them from “The Tiny Traveler” series by Misti Kenison (Sky Pony Press) and they might yearn for places abroad. “Japan” is a book of nature filled with bamboo, cherry blossoms, waterfalls, and a Zen garden. “Italy” is a book of numbers, and kids will be counting pizzas, grape clusters and gondolas before you know it.
“The Hat” by Jan Brett (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) is a magnificent board book. It’s a clever story about a wayward sock (not a hat, but read the story) and how that sock inspires the animals. Like the picture book, this board book features not only the lovely central illustrations, but also the side illustrations showing what is happening elsewhere and what is going to happen. It’s great for encouraging even young children to make predictions and try some higher level thinking.
And who doesn’t want to be “Happy,” just like the board book (and song) by Pharrell Williams (Putnam)? Just like the picture book, this mini-version is small only in size. All the original illustrations and photographs are included, as are the words to the song. Read it and sing it — kids will love it!
Not exactly a board book, but a set of small books for young readers, is “Adventures in
Brambly Hedge” by Jill Barklem (HarperCollins Children’s Books). In the spirit of Beatrix Potter, the stories tell of the adventures of mice in long-ago Great Britain. The illustrations are clever and very detailed, and the stories will entrance readers of all ages. The four-book set includes “The Secret Staircase,” “The High Hills,” “Sea Story,” and “Poppy’s Babies.”
Please note: This is based on the final board books provided by the publishers for review purposes.