Stack Overflow: Board, Not Bored

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Today’s Stack Overflow is all about board books! My youngest daughter is almost four, so she’s careful enough with paper pages, but board books are still great for tossing in a bag, and she likes having a stack of them in her room to read on her own. Here are the latest board books we’ve been enjoying at my house.

Fly! Xavier Deneaux
Fly! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Fly! by Xavier Deneux

This big, chunky board book has a few surprises inside: each two-page spread has a piece that can be popped out and fit into another part of the page, illustrating part of the story. (Or, pull them out and play with them … but don’t lose them!) Bird flies from one page to another, a yellow sun flips over to become an apple-covered tree, egg pieces are peeled away to reveal baby chicks. It’s a really fun use of the thickness of the double-layered board book pages. Some of the pieces can be a little hard to pry out, even with the little finger notches provided, so your toddler might need some assistance.

Animal Friends
Animal Friends. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Animal Friends: Barnyard Jamboree! and Swimming Hole Party! by Junzo Terada

Each of these books features five different animals on their way to an event—each time you turn the page, an animal joins the group. On the last page, the animals have made it to the jamboree or the swimming hole, and there are some additional little flaps showing some objects that can be passed between animals on the last spread. There’s not much of a plot to speak of: each page just asks who’s coming next—and you can see the next animal peeking over the cut-out page. The artwork is very cute, though in Barnyard Jamboree it’s a little confusing to have an anthropomorphic cat accompanied by a regular cat.

Masha and Her Sisters
Masha and Her Sisters. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Masha and Her Sisters by Suzy Ultman

This is a cute (but short) board book for those who love Russian nesting dolls. Each of the five sisters has a name and a hobby, and flips down to reveal the next larger sister. The artwork is lovely, with little details about each sister’s hobbies on the front and back (except Masha herself, who isn’t a flap but makes the back of the book).

Little Oink

Little Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace

This is a new board book edition of a funny picture book about a little pig who just wants to be neat. He loves being organized and putting things away, but his parents insist that he mess up his room and muddies up his clothes before he’s allowed to go out and play. It’s a silly twist on the stereotypical kid who doesn’t want to pick up, and the illustrations are really adorable. Will it get your kid to clean up? Well, probably not. But you can enjoy the story anyway.

What Do You Wear?

What Do You Wear? by Taro Gomi

Taro Gomi is a well-known picture book illustrator, and this book features his interpretation of what various animals are wearing: sheep wears a fluffy jacket, snake wears a snug stocking, zebra wears striped pajamas, and so on. My daughter thought it was endlessly hilarious to refer to the animals’ hides and fur as clothes, so this book is a good giggle-inducer.

Mommy Snuggles, Daddy Dreams

Mommy Snuggles and Daddy Dreams by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben

These two are upcoming titles in a series, which also includes titles like Daddy Cuddles and Mommy Loves. Each book depicts various animals with their parents performing the titular action: “Daddy flamingo dreams on one leg” and “Mommy kangaroo jumps with her joey in her pouch.” Of these two, I like the Mommy Snuggles better because it gives the name of the juvenile animal as well, and shows the mother animal in action. Daddy Dreams just shows a bunch of dads sleeping, and doesn’t give the juvenile names. The animal paintings are lovely, though.

Flora and the Chicks

Flora and the Chicks by Molly Idle

Molly Idle’s wordless Flora books are adorable—Flora interacts with a flamingo, a penguin, and peacocks, mirroring their dance-like movements and plumage. The books have some flaps to lift to enhance the feeling of movement. Flora and the Chicks is in board-book format, and it’s a counting book, with Flora overseeing a nest full of chicken eggs as they hatch one by one. There are still some flaps to open, but this one’s a little safer for younger hands because of the thick pages and full-page flaps.

My Little Cities

My Little Cities: London and New York by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

These two books introduce your wee ones to famous landmarks in two big cities. Each one has its own simple rhyming verse, with adorable depictions of things like the Statue of Liberty, Buckingham Palace, and more. The last spread of each book lists all of the locations along with a few fun facts about each one.

Move!
My daughter demonstrates Move! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Move! by Lolly Hopwood, YoYo Kusters, Luke Flowers

This book got away from me and wound up in my toddler’s room for a while, so it’s a little older but is definitely worth looking for. The book has a circular hole in the middle and two handles on the edges. Each page asks you to imagine the book as something different: a steering wheel for a car, a giant dinosaur mouth, a surfboard. The back cover is even part of the action: pretend it’s a crown and wear it on your head. My one caveat: if your kid likes this book as much as mine does, it’ll start coming apart at the seams after a few rides on that surfboard.

ABC Animals

ABC Animals! by Rufus Butler Seder

This one isn’t technically a board book, but it has thicker-than-usual pages. It’s a Scanimation book: the illustrations use a striped window to animate images in a clever way as you open and shut the pages. This book takes you through the alphabet, showing how various animals crawl, fly, swim, and scamper.

ABC Animals
Here’s how it looks in motion! Photos: Jonathan H. Liu

The Scanimation pages are a lot of fun—and if you like those, Seder has several other titles availableABC Animals is a slightly wider format than most of the other titles, to make room for the four images per page.

Disclosure: I received review copies of these books.

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