Babies! Babies! Babies everywhere! Yup – it’s time for some awesome board books for the littlest of readers. I’m going to group these newest editions of these books by content and by interesting packaging.
Let’s begin with some unique ways that publishers are creating cool and interesting ways to entice babies and keep them engaged in looking at the book. Sound can help keep young babies interested in a book. I Am An Ice Cream Truck, by Ace Landers, and illustrated by Paolo Miglian, is shaped into an ice cream truck which includes wheels at the bottom of the book. When pushing one of the wheels, the musical song of “Do Your Ears Hang Low” starts to play, with a similar sound of an ice cream truck. The simple story is about what you might find inside a vehicle little ones are magically drawn to when hearing a similar song in the neighborhood.
Little Duck Says Quack! and Little Puppy Says Woof!, by Judy Dunn, and photographed by Phoebe Dunn, are similar with photos of the subjects as they grow, and also with buttons to push in the corner of the book that makes the sound of the animal highlighted.
Disney’s Baby Einstein series has a new package, Fun With Animals Friendship Box, with 3 small books and the typical wonderful simple photos of animals. There’s also a small plush animal that’s included in this carrying box. There’s also Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey’s 1,2,3s which has 5 small books that are each shaped in a number with the content all about that number.
Flip-Up Counting and Flip-Up Shapes, both by Chuck Murphy, are cleverly packaged with a side bar that when pushed shows the concept taught. Youngsters will enjoy pushing the tab and likely learn the concept.
Salina Yoon continues to package unique books with bright, vivid pictures that seem to entice youngsters. Find My Feet! and Wings are her latest editions which have movable parts at the bottom of the books.
Marget and H.A. Rey’s “Curious George” series has 3 new books. Seasons has teachable spin-the-wheels that effectively show the different seasons. My First Words At The Zoo has a simple book with few words on each page as well as a cute t-shirt for babies. And Travel Activity Kit incudes the original story, stickers and card game in this box with a handle.
Gossie Plays Hide and Seek, by Olivier Dunrea, is actually one of my favorites of this bunch because it’s full of movable parts, pull tabs and even a game to play at the end. Little tikes will surely enjoy this book!
I love it when the publishers repackage a successful book or ever popular author for the younger set. Such is the case with Eric Carle’s Have You Seen My Cat? This fun read had a slide-and-peek on every page. And, finally, The Grasshopper Hopped!, by Elizabeth Alexander, and illustrated by Joung Un Kim, is a story about a grasshopper with each page allowing the reader to move a tab making the grasshopper hop.
The “Little” series from Scholastic has a great shadow book, What Am I? that allows the very young child to guess the shape by pulling out the tabs.
Looking for books with texture, here are some nice touch-n-feel books: Karen Katz’s Baby at the Farm, Lorena Siminovich’s I Like Bugs and I Like Fruit and Rachael Hale’s Bedtime Buddies and Baby Animals. Here’s a very colorful lift-the-flap book with baby covering the entire page: Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?, also by Karen Katz.
Now for some stories with great content. Move! by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, is another repackaged book that tiny hands can hold. The lenticular cover has a rabbit that “moves” over the title and each animal inside has the award winner Jenkins’ trademark collage shapes. The text flows along with the animal, teaching the essence of each critter.
Art for Baby, by various famous artists, has an assembly of simple black and white pictures for the new born with the premise suggesting that babies focus on high contrasts. There is also a fold-out frieze of the same pictures to hang in baby’s room.
Hide and Seek in the Jungle, by Sean Callery, and illustrated by Rebecca Robinson, is a Kingfisher publication which makes it very educational. The lay-out of this interesting book is very youngster-oriented with peepholes and lift-the-flaps.
My Circus, by Xavier Deneux, is a jovial contrasting book full of die-cuts with a familiar circus theme. This book is brilliant!
The Very Best Mother Goose Book Tower, is published by Candlewick and has four tiny books for easy carrying.
Blue Goose, by Nancy Tafuri, is an excellent book to teach colors.
And for humor, Wow It’s a Cow!, by Trudy and Jay Harris, and illustrated by Paige Keiser, is fun, funny and rhymes. Great fun!
Holly Evans Newton is an award winning reviewer with over 10 years of experience of searching for the best and most appropriate books for kids. Her 25 years of teaching school and raising 5 children has helped her tap into books that kids want to read. She presents book review programs for elementary schools throughout the country.