As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

May 16, 2011

Great Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

Goodnight MoonReview by Laura Madsen, mom, veterinarian and writer

I love books, and have been reading to my kids since they were babies. Most of our board books have long-ago disintegrated, but there are a few that the girls still cherish, even at ages four and six. These board books all feature appealing illustrations and rhythmic text that holds the attention of little kids.

First, the classic GOODNIGHT MOON, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947). Babies like the gentle, soothing text (“Good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere”) while toddlers like to spot objects in the illustrations (mittens and kittens, clocks and socks).

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? Board Book (Once Upon A Sign)Another classic is BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE? by Eric Carle (1967). The text repeats for each animal: “Yellow duck, yellow duck, what do you see? I see a blue horse looking at me.” As in Carle’s other works, the illustrations are creative cut paper.

Dinosaur Roar! Board BookA more recent title is DINOSAUR ROAR, written by Henrietta Stickland and illustrated by Paul Stickland (1997). The text teaches opposites (fast and slow, above and below) and the illustrations are gorgeous, brightly-colored watercolor paintings. The expressions on the dinosaurs’ faces are brilliant, especially “Dinosaur clean,” a dainty peach-and-periwinkle therapod who is filing his nails and looking aghast at “Dinosaur slimy,” a goofy green sauropod dripping slime and muck.

Pajama Time!And finally, a shout-out to Sandra Boynton, who has published a number of board books with fun texts and cute illustrations. My kids’ favorites are PAJAMA TIME (2000), in which an assortment of animals put on their jammies and get ready for bed (“Get yourself set to pajama-dee-bop—it’s Pajama Time”), and MOO, BAA, LA LA LA (1984), which teaches the noises made by different animals (“Rhinoceroses snort and snuff and little dogs go ruff ruff ruff”).

Board books make great baby shower gifts!


Anonymous said...

These are some great board books, Laura! I love Sandra Boynton's stuff. And I love BROWN BEAR! I also love Don and Audrey Wood's books, like PIGGIES and THE NAPPING HOUSE, both of which are available as board books. Thanks for this great post!

Emilee said...

I love Sandra Boynton. But my own toddler has surprised me by what she likes and doesn't like. Familiarity is a big thing, which is why we read the same book over and over again. But she has absolutely no interest in Good Night Moon.

They might not be classics, but I've found that books with photographs (not illustrations) of other babies and children are always my daughter's favorites.

Alix said...

My son loves all these books, the dinosaur one is current favourite - the pictures are great! He also loves The Paper Bag Princess, On Your Potty and the Snowy Day.