Four fabulous board books with animals, pirates, dragons and even a construction site

Board books are wonderful for kids of a wide range of ages. They are perfect for chubby young fingers that might damage the delicate pages of a picture book, but toddlers who love picture books also still enjoy these sturdy books that can be packed in a diaper bag. And these four board books, two fiction and two nonfiction, will be enjoyed over and over and over again.

rainforest animals“Rainforest Animals” is part of the “Hello, World!” series by Jill McDonald, and its colorful cover features a plethora of animals from, you guessed it, the rainforest. The gorilla and jaguar on the cover are facing each other, with a monkey, sloth, and macaw above. The brightness of the illustrations doesn’t indicate that inside this little gem are nonfiction pieces of information about the animals that will inform as well as entertain. From “Rainforests are warm, wet places full of tall trees, beautiful plants, and amazing animals” to the information about the bright blue morpho butterfly, “The other side of its wings is brown, which helps it hide when the wings are closed,” parents and kids alike will enjoy this informative little book. Other board books in this series include “Pets” and “Arctic Animals.”

My grandson, who is enthralled by construction vehicles and wants to be a ditch digger construction sitewhen he grows up, would not leave my house without the “Hello, World!” book, “Construction Site.” And although he knows all the different kinds of construction vehicles, their names and what they do, on the page with a bulldozer, he learned that “The big metal plate in the front is called a blade.” The illustrations are bright, and the shapes on the machines and in the construction sites are simple – lots of circles and rectangles and triangles, all colorful with lots of primary colors. It’s not only educational; it’s a pleasure to look and see all the special details that make this board book one to read often. There are screws in some of the large letters, a woman is manning the excavator, and a dog rides along in the front of the dump truck. All beautiful subtle additions to the primary story. (Doubleday Books for Young Readers)

go go pirate boat“Go, Go, Pirate Boat” by Katrina Charman and illustrated by Nick Sharratt is a board book that’s meant to be sung to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Two kids and their parrot pirate assistant hoist the sail and take off in their sailboat for “a pirate’s life.” They splash through the waves while followed by dolphins, sail though a storm followed by a blue whale, and find a treasure chest on a deserted island. There are octopuses and squid and a few sea gulls, all on this seagoing adventure in verse. Enjoy. (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

“There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight” written by Penny Parker dragonKlostermann and illustrated by Ben Mantle is another board book that can be sung or chanted or simply read aloud. The rhyming, rollicking rhythm of the verse is infectious, and after a few readings, you can expect listeners to chime in with this delightful twist on “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly….” The dragon doesn’t know why he swallowed the knight: “It’s not polite!” But after he swallows the knight, the knight’s steed (who gallops around at terrible speed), a cook, a lady, the castle, and finally, the moat, the dragon isn’t feeling well. Readers will enjoy the clever ending. (Random House Children’s Books)

Please note: This review is based on the final board books provided by the publishers for review purposes.

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