Animalphabet by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sharon King-Chai (9780525554158)
Immediately upon opening this book, young listeners are presented with flaps to lift. It invites them to explore and find out what is going to happen. The book is an alphabet book presented as a guessing game where flaps and page turns reveal the answers. The book begins with ant for A and moves all the way through the alphabet using animals for each letter, ending with the logical zebra. As each animal enters, the book asks a question of the reader. Moving on from ant, the text asks “Who is fancier than an ant?” The answer of butterfly is hidden by a bouquet of flowers that has tantalizing cut outs.
The book is a journey and a quest, from the answering of the questions with animals that start with a specific letter to the turning of each page to reveal a new creature. The questions are helpful at times, jumping high cues the kangaroo’s entrance, for example. Other times, readers will need to think a bit before guessing. The book forms an entire circle, moving from zebra right to ant as the answer for the final question in the book.
The illustrations play a huge role in the pleasure of this book. They are filled with peep holes, flaps to lift, pages to open and much more. The illustrations are full of bright colors, entire habitats, and jaunty animal figures. The joy here is a tactile and mental one combined, making it a very successful and never-dull alphabet book.
Beautifully designed and executed, this one will be a favorite. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.
Here are four new board books to enjoy with little ones:
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 (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 (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 (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.)
Two very different board books to enjoy!
Deep in the Forest by Josef Antòn, illustrated by Lucie Brunelliere (9781419723513, Amazon)
This picture book is a large format, even larger than most picture books. The pages are board and then have sturdy flaps to open as well. Behind each flap is the animal that has been hiding and then that flap includes questions that will have children exploring the intricate illustrations even more closely. The illustrations are dark, mysterious and give you the feel of exploring a forest filled with wild animals.
Flora and the Chicks by Molly Idle (9781452146577, Amazon)
Idle turns to a board book format in this follow-up to her popular dance-filled Flora picture books. This book is a counting book will robust fold-out pages that let children discover with page turns the number of eggs hatching. Flora tries to keep track of all of the little chicks, but there’s quite a few as the number climbs all the way to ten. A charming counting book sure to please.
Oliver by Christopher Franceschelli
This minimalist board book has an interesting novelty piece at the end. On most of the pages there are only an egg and one line of text. The text explains the limitations of being an egg. An egg can roll from side to side, even stand on its head, but still it is just an egg. Until something happens.
In this book, the final moment where the egg becomes something else is told through a non-removable ribbon that runs through two pages. Turn the page and the egg is transformed into a chick. The process of turning that page is fascinating and will have children turning the page back and forth from egg to chick to egg.
The book has a sturdy feel that would make it a novelty book that could survive a public or school library. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Lemniscaat.