Board Book Review: Good Night Families

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.

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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.

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Good Night Families by Adam Gamble, illustrated by Cooper Kelly.

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.

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Board Book Review: Rain Feet

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.

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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.

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Board Book Review: Good Morning Baby

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.

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Good Morning Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by George Ford.

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!

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Board Book Review: Hip Hop

Our 14th board book is simple but surprisingly delightful.

The Hip Hop Board Book by Martin Ander.
Dokument Press, Arsta, Sweden, 2012.
Board book, 22 pages.

“Rap, Breakdance, Graffiti, & DJ:ing – now for the very youngest!  The Hip Hop Board Book is a different, colorful picture book about culture and everyday life with fun and clear pictures for small children.  A charming book with lots of humor and attitude.” ~Back Blurb

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The Hip Hop Board Book by Martin Ander.

I wish I remembered finding this board book.  It’s not brand-new, but hasn’t gotten much buzz – and it’s from Sweden, although the text is in English.  Perhaps Amazon recommended it to me when I was ordering some other hard-to-find board books.

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Board Book Review: Shades of Black

Our 31st board book is a beautiful exploration of the many types of Black skin, hair, and eyes.

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney, photographs by Myles C. Pinkney.
Cartwheel Books, Scholastic, 2006 (originally published as a picture book in 2000).
Nonfictional picture book converted to board book format, 24 pages.

This book that validates the appearance of ALL black children, whether they have dark or light skin and blue or onyx eyes.

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Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney and Myles C. Pinkney.

The catch phrase here is “I am Black.  I am unique.”  These words open and close the book and separate the various sections.

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Board Book Review: Pretty Brown Face

Our 44th board book has a wonderful message for brown-skinned toddlers.

Pretty Brown Face by Andrea and Brian Pinkney.
Red Wagon Books, Harcourt, 1997.
Board book, 16 pages.

A young child discovers the wonders of fir own face.

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This simple but well made book is sure to appeal to a wide variety of families and childcare professionals.  There are only two characters – a small child encountering a mirror and a male caregiver (presumably father, but never named as such).  At first I assumed the child was male, but no pronouns or male references are used, so this book could work nicely for a child of either gender.

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Board Book Review: Story of Rosa Parks

Our thirteenth board book, this simple biography of Rosa Parks proved more engaging and interesting than expected.

The Story of Rosa Parks by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Steven Walker.
WorthyKids/Ideals, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007.
Board book biography, 26 pages.

This deceptively simple biography of Rosa Parks covers all the major events in her life in a manner appropriate for even the youngest children.

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The Story of Rosa Parks by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Steven Walker.

Honestly, I was surprised by this book.  We have several of Pingry’s religious board books, and they are solid additions to the church rotation but not especially moving.

If we teach kids about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. as toddlers, then by grade school they should be ready to learn about Lonnie Johnson, Fannie Lou Hammer, Dave the Potter, Mae Jemison, and more.  Then in middle school they can move on to studying people like Claudette Colvin, Misty Copeland, Ida B. Wells, and John Lewis.  That’s the ideal, right?

This book was purchased for Baby.  I did not expect the older kids to show any interest in it.  However, N picked it up under the guise of “reading to baby” and kept looking at it even after Baby went off for a diaper change.  My new reader wanted to use it for reading practice.  The kids sat through more than one reading of it.

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