Review: You See, I See in the City by Michelle Sinclair Colman

You See, I See in the City by Michelle Sinclair Colman

You See, I See in the City by Michelle Sinclair Colman, illustrated by Paul Schmid (9781524715007)

A father and daughter travel the city together in this board book. They move quickly and enter the city together, noticing the skyscrapers and the newspapers. There are bakeries and fire hydrants, snacks and dogs. Even when the pair look at the same thing, they notice different aspects of it. There are men working in hard hats, but the little girl sees the steam rising in clouds. The pair stop to eat and play in their favorite cafe and finally take the subway together back home.

Told in a very simple rhyming lines, this board book invites young readers to take a look around themselves and notice small things. The father and daughter are engaged with one another throughout the book, laughing and playing with one another. The urban setting is a welcome one in board books as is the family of color. I also appreciate seeing a father shown as the sole caregiver for a small child.

A winning board book full of urban sights. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Alfred A. Knopf.

Bundles of Board Books

Animal Colors by Christopher Silas Neal

Animal Colors by Christopher Silas Neal (9781499805352)

This bright board book offers a mix of animals, colors and wordplay that is immensely engaging. The book takes one colored animal, mixes it with another animal and then ends up with an odd hybrid. For example, a blue whale and a yellow lion mix together to make a “Green Whion.” This continues through the book moving from primary colors mixing into secondary ones and then on to more complicated color combinations. The wordplay adds a delightful silliness to the book, making it impossible to quite guess what is on the next page. A colorful whimsical board book worth sharing. Appropriate for ages 2-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Birds of a Color by Elo

Birds of a Color by Elo (9781536200638)

In this board book, each bird shows not just one color but two. It takes little hands to help turn over the flaps to see the surprise color hiding behind wings, heads, beaks and more. The text of this book only shares the names of the colors, often hiding any words behind the flaps. There is a great sense of fun about this book, because the turn of the flap reveals a new side of that bird that is entirely unexpected. Playful and enjoyable, this is a great introduction to colors. Appropriate for ages 2-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Ciao, Baby! In the Park by Carole Lexa Schaefer Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride by Carole Lexa Schaefer

Ciao, Baby! In the Park by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Lauren Tobia (9780763683986)

Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Lauren Tobia (9780763683979)

In these two board books, Baby gets to explore their urban home. In the first book, Nonna takes Baby to the park where they see a squirrel, a grasshopper, and a pigeon before having to head home. Baby scooches and crawls toward each animal until they scamper, jump or fly away. In the second book, Mamma and Baby head across the city to visit Nonna. They have to take many types of transportation to get there, including a stroller, the bus, a boat and the train. When they head home after the visit, they take the vehicles back in reverse order. A loving and warm look at life in an urban setting with a Hispanic family at its heart. Appropriate for ages 1-3. (Reviewed from library copies.)

Opposites by Jacques Duquennoy Shapes by Jacques Duquennoy

Opposites by Jacques Duquennoy (9782747087001)

Shapes by Jacques Duquennoy (9782747086998)

These two board books are the first in the Zoe and Zack series. They feature die-cut pages that are sturdy enough to hold up to public library use. The opposites book offers clever uses of die cuts that turn stairs from up to down, rebuild castles with a single page turn, and bring back ice cream cones. Even more successful though is the shapes book where the two characters draw shapes together. The shapes are drawn partially on see-through pages that when turned form a complete shape. This clever mechanism makes for a dynamic book that will have children wanting to make their own shapes too. Two great board books with unique designs. Appropriate for ages 1-3. (Reviewed from library copies.)

 

Bountiful Board Books

Here are four new board books to enjoy with little ones:

Duck's Ditty by Kenneth Grahame

Duck’s Ditty by Kenneth Grahame (9781486713868)

From the song in The Wind in the Willows, this board book is a clever adaptation of the original that makes it just right for little listeners. The song and the book focus on the ducks dabbling in a pond. The ducks look for food and are very content with their quiet days spent along the riverbank. It’s a quiet book, celebrating contentment and simple pleasures. The book is a larger format of board book than many, making it very appealing. The illustrations have an organic feel, dappled with shade and sun and almost speckled with water drops. A great summer pick. (Reviewed from copy provided by Flowerpot Press.)

Little Truck by Taro Gomi

Little Truck by Taro Gomi (9781452163000)

Little Truck starts driving and is very fast. He passes bigger trucks as he goes. But when he comes to a very big hill, he slows way down and is almost unable to make it all the way up. It just takes a little help from that slower big truck to give him a nudge. Little Truck rushes off again, this time heading into a dark tunnel. But when only the big truck emerges from the dark, what has happened to Little Truck? This board book offers a wheeled version of what it is like to walk with an enthusiastic and energetic toddler. The book has plenty of action, an homage to The Little Engine That Could, and the danger of a dark tunnel. Exactly what little ones will love! (Reviewed from copy provided by Chronicle Books.)

Llamaphones by Janik Coat

Llamaphones by Janik Coat (9781419728273)

I am a big fan of this series and the third entry doesn’t disappoint at all. Here the book focuses on homophones and uses llamas on each page to demonstrate each word. There are lovely surprises inside like fairy sparkles, moving clock hands, and touch-and-feel pages. But it is the humor that carries the book, almost every page worthy of a smile if not a full guffaw. The book has art that is strong and graphic, making it something that would work with a group if you have time for them all to touch the pages. A great concept board book to share. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Wiggles by Claire Zucchelli-Romer

Wiggles by Claire Zucchelli-Romer (9781452164755)

This book offers places for little fingers to explore. It starts with a race track that scoops both pages and then becomes more and more complicated. Fingers dance and tap as the concepts of right and left are taught in a fun way. Fingers spin around spirals, they zigzag and hop, until finally all that is left to do is dance. Great fun to play with, the book teaches colors and even the littlest ones will love reading this with their adult. (Reviewed from copy provided by Chronicle Books.)

 

3 Colorful New Picture Books

Every Color Soup by Jorey Hurley

Every Color Soup by Jorey Hurley (9781481469999)

Through simple and colorful images, this picture book celebrates the colors of foods around us. The book walks readers through the ingredients in a pot of “Every Color Soup” made of vegetables and lentils. Lentils provide the blue, eggplants the purple, tomatoes for red, and so on. The result is a concept book that is inviting and offers plenty of space for little listeners to talk about food, colors and cooking. Have a plate of rainbow veggies ready to share after reading this one! Appropropriate for ages 2-4.(Reviewed from copy provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.)

Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal

Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, illustrated by Vashti Harrison (9781481420495)

Two children prepare for the Holi, the Indian festival of colors. They gather specific flowers in the garden to make the powder for Holi. The book names the colors and flowers, creating a lovely quiet moment. The family then heads out together dressed all in white with their bowls and plates of colors. They are joined by friends and neighbors until suddenly, the colors burst and the powder poofs. Everyone shouts “Holi,hai” and then they head home. The final pages of the book tell of the meaning of the festival about fresh starts, friendship and forgiveness. The authors offer a final note about Holi at the end of the book as well. The illustrations are digital and have a cartoon smoothness about them that is modern. The colors are rich and vibrant, just right for this book about Holi and colors. There are few books about Holi in a picture book format, so get this one on your library shelves. Appropriate for ages 2-4. (Reviewed from copy provided by Beach Lane Books.)

Holi Colors by Rina Singh

Holi Colors by Rina Singh (9781459818491)

This board book is illustrated with photographs awash in color. The images vibrantly show Holi both with close-ups of people’s faces covered in colors and in images where the air itself is filled with color. The text is gently rhyming and invites even the youngest readers into the joy of Holi and a delight in the saturated colors on the page. Joyous and bright, this board book is just right for every library. (Reviewed from library copy.)

3 Brilliant Board Books

Circle, Triangle, Elephant By Kenji Oikawa

Circle, Triangle, Elephant! By Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuchi (9780714874111)

Following a pattern of naming the stacked shapes in order, this book immediately surprises readers by inserting elephants, boats, birds, lemons, and busses into the stacks. It is a very simple premise made entirely engaging by the surprises on each new page. Children will love to help name the items in the stacks and won’t even realize it’s a concept book at all. The images are bright colored and bold, each element easily recognized and named. Colors and other elements can be pointed out as well as this is bound to be a favorite. Appropriate for ages 1-2. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Opposite Surprise by Agnese Baruzzi

 

Opposite Surprise by Agnese Baruzzi (9789888341375)

With large flaps to lift, this board book asks questions about opposites that become more complicated and interesting once the flap is lifted and the picture is revealed. “Small or big?” opens to reveal two trucks, one of which may have seemed big without the other in the image.”Empty or full?” has an image of a fish tank that seems crowded with bright red fish, or is it? The illustrations are simple and bold and will lead to discussions about how they could be interpreted. This is a board book that begs to be shared and talked about. Appropriate for ages 2-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Pizza! By Lotta Nieminen

Pizza! By Lotta Nieminen

This one is best kept for library programming or for families to own, because it has one loose piece that will likely get lost in libraries without a creative way to attach it. But it is so charming that I had to recommend it anyway. The book uses an actual recipe for pizza making that then uses interactive elements to involve young children in the process. Salt and flour pour by pulling a tab. Children can use the spoon to stir. The best element though is a panel with “dough” that has just the right texture. Make sure to have some baking supplies ready to make pizza with children after sharing this one. Yum! Appropriate for ages 2-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)

2017 Top Board Books

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Baby’s First Words by Stella Blackstone and Sunny Scribens, illustrated by Christiane Engel

The entire book is merry and bright, just right for all families to enjoy.

Before & After

Before & After by Jean Jullien

This book is silly and fun and will result in lots of conversation with little ones.

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Cook in a Book: Pizza! By Lotta Nieminen

Make sure to have some baking supplies ready to make pizza with children after sharing this one. Yum!

Flora and the Chicks by Molly Idle

Flora and the Chicks by Molly Idle

A charming counting book sure to please.

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Flora and the Ostrich by Molly Idle

Expect the youngest Flora fans to adore this one.

Hello Humpback!

Hello Humpback by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd

This is an exceptional board book that belongs in all public libraries.

Lines

Lines by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Melinda Beck

A simple concept book about shapes that shows how our entire universe features squares and circles.

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Opposite Surprise by Agnese Baruzzi

This is a board book that begs to be shared and talked about.

The World Shines for You by Jeffrey Burton

The World Shines for You by Jeffrey Burton, illustrated by Don Clark

A great book to share aloud with one or two children and discuss the pictures together. There is so much to explore here!

5 Brilliant Board Books (Plus a Bonus Book!)

Looking for some great new board books for your library or classroom? Here are some of the best of the new ones:

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Flora and the Ostrich by Molly Idle (9781452146584)

This board book pairs Flora with an ostrich to demonstrate opposites. With fold-out pages, there is plenty for small hands to explore here. The unfolding pages add to the feel of dance and movement that are present in all of the Flora books. Expect the youngest Flora fans to adore this one. The flaps are sturdily made and should withstand library and classroom use. (Review copy provided by Chronicle Books.)

Hello Humpback!

Hello Humpback by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd (9781550177992)

This board book is a glorious look at the West Coast shown through the eyes of a First Nations artist. The illustrations glow with light, whether it is dawn appearing through the pine trees with a bear nearby, an eagle on a branch silhouetted against the setting sun, or an orca breaching into a rainbow sky. The animals and trees are done in raised ink on the page, so little hands can explore the book in a tactile way as well. This is an exceptional board book that belongs in all public libraries. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Lines

Lines by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Melinda Beck (9781481490740)

Lines combine on the page to form squares and circles. Then children can locate those shapes in the town and on the road. The book then swoops outward, showing how entire cities and roads are created from these building block shapes until readers are finally looking at the solar system going round and round in circles. A simple concept book about shapes that shows how our entire universe features squares and circles. (Review copy provided by Simon and Schuster.)

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Motor Mix by Emily Snape and Rilla Alexander (9781452148380 & 9781452148397)

These two books in a new series offer flaps that let young readers mix and match their vehicles into crazy new ones. As the vehicles change, so does the text of the book, allowing them to explore different regions, make different noises and use different verbs to describe what they are doing. It’s great fun and just right for little vehicle lovers. These are sturdy enough to stand up to public libraries and classrooms. (Review copies provided by Chronicle Books.)

BONUS BOOK! This picture book is just right for the toddler crowd too!

I See a Cat

I See a Cat by Paul Meisel (9780823436804)

Told in the simplest of text, this book invites children to enjoy a dog’s day as he looks out the window. He gets intrigued when he sees a cat and then a bird, lazily looks at a fly and a bee. But when a squirrel passes the door, he gets very very excited! The day goes by with rounds of wild barking and calm sleepiness until the dog’s boy returns home and they can go outside together. And there’s a squirrel out there!

This picture book from a Geisel Honor winner shows a clarity and understanding of children’s sense of humor. The book reads aloud wonderfully and the pace changes swiftly adding to the fun. Share this with toddlers who will join in barking at the squirrels. (Review copy provided by Holiday House.)

 

 

 

Bunches of Board Books

Before & After

Before & After by Jean Jullien (9780714874081, Amazon)

Jullien captures the difference between before and after in this board book. With changes shown through the illustrations, they are funny and sometimes surprising. Long hair before turns into short hair after and then long hair again way after. Question marks are used to ask if the egg really came before the chicken. A roller coaster ride shows a change in hair and expressions as father and child take a wild ride. This book is silly and fun and will result in lots of conversation with little ones.

Reviewed from library copy.

Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden by Laura Weston (9780763693176, Amazon)

This board book has sturdy flaps to open. The book is done in lino prints, strong and graphic. They are done in black and white, opening the flaps shows the colors of butterflies, milkweed and leaves. The flaps open for the butterflies in ways that let their wings flap cleverly. Finding the flaps will have readers running their hands over the pages, making it a sensory experience that way too. The board book uses few words and shows the lifestages of monarch butterfly in a tangible and lovely way.

Reviewed from library copy.

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Say Zoop! by Hervé Tullet (9781452164731, Amazon)

OK, so this isn’t really a board book, but it’s just right for little hands! The thick board covers open to sturdy pages and invite little ones to play. Just like his earlier books, Tullet invites children to interact with the pages, this time using noises as well as pressing dots. This will result in lots of silly noises, simple at first and then growing into complexity that is silly and hilarious. Just go with it! Share it with older kids too!

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

 

 

Bunches of Board Books

Here are some of my favorite recent board books:

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Baby’s First Words by Stella Blackstone and Sunny Scribens, illustrated by Christiane Engel (9781782853251, Amazon)

This board book is also available in Spanish. A baby spends her day with her two dads exploring everything from morning to night. Things in their lives are labeled with words, including objects and actions. There are animal noises, foods, clothes, vehicles, and feelings. The entire book is merry and bright, just right for all families to enjoy.

Reviewed from copy received from Barefoot Books.

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Blanket of Love by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes (9781481489720, Amazon)

One of the books in the New Books for Newborns series, this book uses gentle rhymes and a soft rhythm to introduce all sorts of blankets to little listeners. There are blankets of grass, snow, sand, water, stars and much more as different families explore being outside together. The book ends at bedtime, indoors and cozy under a physical blanket. Gentle and loving, this is a lovely book.

Reviewed from copy received from Little Simon.

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Getting Ready by Cocoretto (9781846438868, Amazon)

This is a novelty board book just waiting for little fingers to explore all of the surfaces. Done in a simple style, it offers a fuzzy teddy bear, a blanket to pull back, a zipper to tug, and a door to open. There are other surfaces as well like corduroy pants, t-shirts and socks. All waiting for help, so get ready to play.

Reviewed from copy received from Child’s Play.

The Very Berry Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Joy Newton (9781580897846, Amazon)

Count from one to ten in this counting board book that features lots of berries. There are berries that children will recognize like strawberries and blueberries and also new ones to explore. The vintage feel of the book is very appealing and it’s a great way to explore berries and numbers all at once.

Reviewed from library copy.

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Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals by Mo Willems (9781484767467, Amazon)

Just right for sharing aloud, this board book will be appreciated by parents and older siblings as they prepare for a new baby. Using signs similar to those at airports or on large machinery, the book is a wonderfully warm welcome to new babies that combines warnings of the bad things that can happen like ice cream accidents and the wonder of a new member of the family.

Reviewed from library copy.