Review: ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing

ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing

ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing, illustrated by Paulina Morgan (9781786037428)

From the very first page, this board book grapples with social justice issues and demands that even tiny children start to think about our world in a more open way. A here is for ability. This book doesn’t stop with just the associated word though, it offers a definition that is accessible for small children, taking each concept and building on it throughout the book. Ewing uses great skill in distilling large and complicated subjects such as race, gender and xenophobia. Her text is uplifting and inspiring to read.

The illustrations are filled with characters of different races, religions, abilities and genders. They are small and friendly, clambering around on the letters and shapes and bringing a bouncy and joyous energy to the entire board book.

A board book that advocates for diversity and inclusion. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: My First Busy World by Eric Carle

My First Busy World by Eric Carle

My First Busy World by Eric Carle (9781534443914)

Beloved author, Eric Carle, brings us a board book to explore and touch. The pages are filled with special cut outs, a mirror to look at yourself in, and textures. There are flaps to lift, sparkly elements, and windows to look through. The book is also filled with elements that are labeled. These are basic things like different foods, what you see outside, and what is in your bedroom. Parents can also talk about colors, the child’s own family members, and much more along the way.

Just right for the youngest of children, this board book is done in a larger format than most. The design is one that invites talking about what is on the page with little children. They are encouraged to count stars, touch different items, and explore the universe inside the book fully. Done in a robust format, the book will stand up nicely to use in a public library setting too.

An inviting book to explore. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Little Simon.

Review: Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka

Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka

Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka (9781776572311)

Leap into this great board book for toddlers! On one page, the animal is sitting waiting to jump, then with the turn of the page the animal launches into the air. Each jump is accompanied with a merry and silly noise that is some version of “boing!” Sometimes there are additional syllables to create even more fun. The format turns the book lengthwise so that the animals can jump even higher. The illustrations are simple and joyous.

A delight of a board book sure to get everyone jumping. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Gecko Press.

Review: My Art Book of Sleep by Shana Gozansky

My Art Book of Sleep by Shana Gozansky

My Art Book of Sleep by Shana Gozansky (9780714878652)

This is the second board book in a series that links fine art to a single concept. In this case, the book is focused on sleep. In the book, you will find 35 images of art works from a variety of time periods and cultures that depict sleeping in a number of different ways. The book explores naps and also getting ready for bed and bedtime. It also looks at dreams and what you might see in them. The book also shows sunsets and night skies.

Accompanying the art is a simple set of sentences that cleverly tie together the disparate pieces of art. It offers a loose connectivity to the images that makes the book able to be shared aloud. The use of the connecting words is a critical element here that makes more than an art collection and turns it into a bedtime story with amazing art. Each piece of art is also labeled with its title and artist. The book ends with more information on each piece of art.

An intelligent look at art for the youngest of children. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: You Are Light by Aaron Becker

You Are Light by Aaron Becker

You Are Light by Aaron Becker (9781536201154)

Caldecott Honor winner Becker has created his first board book and what a beauty it is! The book almost glows with light and comes fully alive when raised toward the sun or a lamp where the colored circles shine. As the pages turn, light is celebrated. The way that it warms land, sips the sea, makes the rain, makes crops grow, and lights the moon. Particularly though, the light in each person is celebrated.

This board book is wonderfully simple and exceptionally designed. As pages turn, the primary colors overlap to form secondary colors and a complete rainbow, yet another way that light enters our lives. The poetry is effective and evocative, speaking to the power of light in our world. Still, it is the design and colors that truly make this book something particularly special.

Just right for learning colors and seeing a little one’s connection to the world. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick.

2018 Best Board Books!

2018 was a great year for board books! Here are my picks for the ten best board books of the year:

Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride Holi Colors by Rina Singh

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

A loving and warm look at life in an urban setting with a Hispanic family at its heart. – My Review

Holi Colors by Rina Singh (9781459818491)

Joyous and bright – My Review

Little Truck by Taro Gomi Opposite Surprise by Agnese Baruzzi

Little Truck by Taro Gomi (9781452163000)

Exactly what little ones will love! – My Review

Opposite Surprise by Agnese Baruzzi (9789888341375)

The illustrations are simple and bold and will lead to discussions about how they could be interpreted. – My Review

A Pile of Leaves by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin Shapes by Jacques Duquennoy

A Pile of Leaves by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin (9780714877204)

Clever and a delight to explore, this board book is like breathing crisp fall air in book form. – My Review

Shapes by Jacques Duquennoy (9782747086998)

This clever mechanism makes for a dynamic book that will have children wanting to make their own shapes too. – My Review

Toesy Toes by Sarah Tsiang Wee Beasties Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard by Ame Dyckman

Toesy Toes by Sarah Tsiang (9781459813427)

The book has a simple format, bright colors and a rollicking rhythm that keeps the pace brisk and lively. – My Review

Wee Beasties: Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths (9781534410800)

One of those special board books that has a real story arc, this one is funny and filled with love. – My Review

You and Me by Rebecca Kai Dotlich You See, I See in the City by Michelle Sinclair Colman

You and Me by Rebecca Kai Dotlich (9781568463216)

These are images of a loving African-American family that celebrate being an older sibling. – My Review

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

A winning board book full of urban sights. – My Review

Bunches of Board Books

Car, Car, Truck, Jeep by Katrina Charman

Car, Car, Truck, Jeep by Katrina Charman, illustrated by Nick Sharratt (9781681198958)

Sung to the tune of “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” this board book will quickly become a favorite for any little one who loves vehicles. The book is filled with all sorts of cars, trucks, boats, and planes. Each one carries a rhyme with it and creates all sorts of motion on the page. The illustrations are bright and friendly, inviting the littlest readers to explore their thick lines and bold shapes. This is one beeping good board book.

Reviewed from copy provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

A Pile of Leaves by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin

A Pile of Leaves by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin (9780714877204)

Just right for fall reading either one-on-one or with a small group, this board book offers a unique experience. With only a preface containing words, the book opens to reveal see-through pages that form a leaf pile. Readers turn the pages, removing one layer of leaves at a time and discovering interesting things hiding in the leaves. There is a worm, ants, a mitten, a key, a grasshopper and more. Beautifully, the leaves continue to pile on the pages to the left, creating a new pile to explore. Clever and a delight to explore, this board book is like breathing crisp fall air in book form.

Reviewed from library copy.

You and Me by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

You and Me by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Susan Reagan (9781568463216)

This exceptional board book tells the story of an older sibling with a very adorable new baby in the house. Sharing time with Grandma isn’t easy,  but the older sibling is patient. The baby has lots of cute things that they can do, but so does the older sibling. In the end, the baby finally goes down for a nap and it’s time for the older child to be paid a lot of attention. The poem in this board book is gentle with rhymes that sway. The illustrations are truly amazing, filled with eyes alight with joy and both siblings wonderfully androgynous as well. These are images of a loving African-American family that celebrate being an older sibling.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

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.)