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.)

Funny Lunch

Funny Lunch by David Catrow

This second Max Spaniel book offers mayhem and fun with a pizza theme.  Max is not a dog, he is a chef!  He and his cat friend have a restaurant where they serve pizzas.  When one customer refuses the special and orders chili instead, he is given a scarf, hat and mittens.  When another orders a hot dog, a panting dog with a fan is served.  Trouble arrives by bus with an order of 100 pizzas with everything!  Max cannot make pizzas that fast and ends up with a mess instead.  Luckily great pizza is only a phone call away.  Even better, Max got to enjoy the pizza too.

Catrow successfully mixes very simple beginner reader words with pictured filled with funny details and merriment.  The jokes are classic and there are some that only those looking at the pictures will find.  Catrow’s watercolor illustrations ooze giggles and laughs as well as pizza sauce and cheese.  They add another dimension of fun to the book.  The relationship between Max and his cat friend is a good one that plays out primarily in the illustrations. 

A frolic of an easy reader, this book will be enjoyed by young pizza and dog lovers.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.