Trying to decide the next course of action for my board book review series.
Way back in early 2017 (actually end of 2016 but the first post went up in 2017), I started reviewing diverse board books. We had little kids again, and with my newfound passion for diverse literature, I wanted to build a collection that was diverse from the very beginning and do better by our youngest children.
My first priority was books with black children or African-American authors, but it was also important to me that our board books represented the world around us, so pretty soon I was collecting more books so that other groups were represented as well. Our daily life does not, to my knowledge, include Native Americans, so I wanted to be sure to represent #ownvoices indigenous board books. A few people have also given us diverse books (either from our wish list or just because they’re awesome).
I also wanted to include both fiction and nonfiction, and have been surprised and very pleased with the amount of diverse nonfiction I was able to find.
Our 35th board book was enjoyable, but would read better in a larger format.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole.
Little Simon, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2015, orig. pub. 2005.
Picture book converted to board book format, 32 pages.
The true story of two male chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo who became a family, and their adopted daughter Tango.
This is a picture book converted to a board book. Such conversions are always tricky. Some cut valuable information and lose the meaning of the story or the grace of the illustrations. Others simply shrink down the size of the book and create a hybrid that might not work for either the original picture book audience or the babies and toddlers that typically use board books.
Between a rambunctious good morning to adoptive parents to a good night to everyone, our 39th board book manages to show a wide variety of families.
Good Night Families by Adam Gamble, illustrated by Cooper Kelly.
Good Night Books, 2017.
Board book, 20 pages.
A showcase of a wide variety of families going through their days.
This book is a bit of a mixed bag. First, let’s get some of the negatives out of the way. The font is awful – a dead giveaway that this wasn’t produced by a regular publishing house. There also isn’t a great flow to this book, it’s a series of vignettes that at times feels choppy and awkward.
Our 25th board book is a must-have for early education and preschool programs.
Rain Feet by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell.
Orchard Books, Scholastic, 1994.
Board book, 10 pages.
A young boy dresses for and interacts with rain and puddles on his street in this simple and joyous spring board book.
When I was looking specifically for #ownvoices board books about black boys, this series kept coming up. I purchased this book because it was recommended as the first in the series, but taking a look at the author’s website, it appears that they can be read in any order (which is good, since this isn’t the first book).
This series is called the Joshua books, but in this particular book the protagonist isn’t named. In fact, much like Peter of The Snowy Day, he is alone exploring his wet urban world and wearing distinctive (in this case yellow) seasonal gear.
Our 26th board book sorely disappoints with unrealistic illustrations.
Good Morning Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson, Illustrated by George Ford.
Cartwheel, Scholastic, 1992.
Board book, 10 pages.
A little girl starts her day.
Most of the diverse board books we’ve found have been somewhere between mediocre and excellent. This one certainly tries, but can’t overcome unrealistic illustrations.
If you’re familiar with infants or toddlers, you might have found the cover image a bit… off. Sadly, the interior is just as bad if not worse. The perspective on the second page is way off, making the image look fairly creepy. Although the little girl featured is still in a regular crib, she’s then pictured sitting alone of top of the toilet, using the towel bar to keep from falling!