Board Book Review: Happy!

Our 21st board book delights parents and toddlers alike.

Happy by Pharrell Williams.
Putnam, Penguin Random House, New York, 2015.
Board book, 30 pages.
Lexile:  AD410L  ( What does AD mean in Lexile? )
AR Level:  1.7 (worth 0.5 points)  .

A board book (also available in picture book format) based on the popular song.

Happy cover resized
Happy by Pharrell Williams.

I just love song picture books and board books because they have so many applications.  Toddlers can look at the pictures.  Older children can read the words independently.  And everybody in between can sing the song!  These are nice for allowing children to read at a bit higher level than they are ready for, because they can use prior knowledge of the song lyrics to decode the words.  They can also be helpful for engaging reluctant readers who love music.

However, this type of book is challenging to do well.  Luckily, Williams and his team have done a great job converting this song to board book format.  Now, I will say that if you’ve never heard the song, this book might not make so much sense to you – the lyrics don’t exactly coalesce into a story.  But take a minute and go listen to the song, I’ll wait!

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Happy!”

Board Book Review: Feast for 10

This classic board book follows a large family as they prepare a dinner for ten.

Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell.
Clarion, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1993.
Board book, 28 pages.
Not leveled.

Follow one family from store to sitting down at the table as they prepare for dinner and count to ten – twice!

Feast for 10 cover resized
Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell.

This book mesmerizes my toddler who will sit and flip through the pages over and over again.  Our most recent pre-reader loves that she can participate by counting the numbers, and it’s been helping her recognize number words too.

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Feast for 10”

Board Book Review: Little Trailblazer

The 41st board book in our collection ultimately underwhelms.

This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer by Joan Holub, illustrated by Daniel Roode.
Little Simon, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2017.
Nonfiction board book, 24 pages.
Lexile: not leveled
AR Reader: 4.6 (worth 0.5 points)  .

A board book about ten empowering women’s lives.

This Little Trailblazer cover resized
This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer by Joan Holub, illustrated by Daniel Roode.

This has been one of the most difficult board books for me to review.  For many I have a fairly strong opinion, or at least one of our children does, so there is a bit of a guideline.  If this was one of our first board books, I might have liked it better.  But this is our 41st board book, and the general reaction of our family has been indifference.

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Little Trailblazer”

Board Book Review: Cradle Me

Our 46th board book is a favorite, and has further uses for language learners.

Cradle Me by Debby Slier.
Star Bright Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012.
Board book, 12 pages.

Ten different babies in ten different cradle boards showing ten different emotions or actions.

Cradle Me cover resized
Cradle My by Debby Slier.

This has been a surprise favorite of our children.  I knew from Global Babies and other series that they would enjoy seeing real photographs of other babies, but I had no idea this basic book would hold their attention so well.

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Cradle Me”

Board Book Review: Dream Big, Little One

“Dream big, little one. There’s so much you can do. Just look at all the leaders who came before you.” pages 1 and 2

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison.
Little, Brown, and Company, Hachette Book Group, New York, 2018.
Board book nonfiction, 26 pages.
Not leveled.

A board book adaptation of Harrison’s popular book Little Leaders.

dream big little one cover resized

We already have more board books than one family really needs.  But after spending so long hunting for great diverse board books, I still get excited about new releases, especially one like this that has excellent role models for our daughters.

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Dream Big, Little One”

Board Book Reviews: What Next?

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.

Continue reading “Board Book Reviews: What Next?”

Board Book Review: Mister Seahorse

This book about fish families also promotes inclusive lessons about human families.

Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle.
Philomel, Penguin Young Readers, New York, 2004.
Board book, 32 pages.
Lexile:  AD470L  ( What does AD mean in Lexile? )
AR level:  2.5 (worth 0.5 points)  .

Mister Seahorse caries his eggs until the time comes for them to hatch.

Mister Seahorse cover resized

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Mister Seahorse”

Board Book Review: Tango Makes Three

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.

And Tango Makes Three cover resized
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole.

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.

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Tango Makes Three”

Board Book Review: Loving Me

While the families in our 45th board book are all indigenous, this book will appeal to any family, and doubles as an early reader.

Loving Me by Debby Slier.
Starbright Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2013.
Board book, 10 pages.

Baby learns about four generations of family through photographs of Native families.

Loving Me cover resized

I first learned about this book through Debbie Reese’s review.  This book is also on her list of recommended board books.  Since I decided to put my purchase dollars towards Julie Flett‘s books instead, this was gifted to us from our wish list!   I’m so glad, because this slim board book will have a variety of uses.

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Loving Me”

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.

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.

Good Night Families cover resized
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.

Continue reading “Board Book Review: Good Night Families”