Board Book Round-Up (March 2019)
The ABC OF Musical Instruments by Ailie Busby
Join a cast of forest animals as they bang their drums, blow their oboes and party from A to Z. An alphabet book in a traditional format (A is for …, B is for …), what makes this especially beautiful is the use of pattern. The designs were inspired by Jane Austen’s garden, and by the lining of a coat thought to have belonged to her which is in the care of the Hampshire Cultural Trust. Pages alternate from a colour-blocked letter with a patterned background to a colour-blocked letter with a patterned background.
The book has a lovely vintage feel but is lively and appealing for young readers.
123 Tea Party by Ailie Busby
A little fox is setting out a tea party for his friends. How many cakes does he need? How many pots of tea. Count from one to ten and join little fox and his friends at the end as they celebrate with a tea party.
Plain block backgrounds allow the patterned numbers and details to stand out. As in The ABC Of Musical Instruments, the patterns were inspired by Jane Austen’s garden and at Chawton. This is a very pretty book. Fox is helped along the way by a flock of birds and everything about his tea service is totally Cath Kidston.
Early numeracy is important but teaching children the basics of afternoon tea is inspired.
Say Hello To The Gruffalo. Based on the book by Julia Donaldson And Axel Scheffler.
A stroll in the wood. Off we go! Who is coming to say hello?
Join the famous mouse on a walk through the woods and meet the characters known and loved from the original picture book. This would make a gentle introduction to The Gruffalo for children too young for the original book. It is also a lovely rhyme.
The book has peek-through pages. Characters are first seen through round windows which then frame the mouse when the page is turned. This allows plenty of play and is a good big space to stick little fingers through.
A thoughtfully designed companion to a favourite book.
Gruffalo, What Can You Hear? Based on the book by Julia Donaldson And Axel Scheffler.
A hiss in the leaves, a hoot in the trees …
This lovely little book introduces words for sound, especially focusing on the animals featured in The Gruffalo. Three sentences extend over the course of the book, making it the perfect size to enjoy on the go.
The book clips on to the buggy with a strap, which can be dettached if the book is unclipped and given to a tiny child. The strap is made from stretchy elastic so the book can be pulled a little way around from where it is attached.
Give the gift of reading on the go, and introduce a small child to the Gruffalo.
Pets by Jane Foster
Reptiles and birds. Big and small. Say hello to the animals most commonly adopted as companions.
With a word and a picture, this is the perfect vocabulary builder. Point at the pictures and follow the letters of the word until your little reader learns the words for our animal friends.
I adore the design, with bright, contrasting colours, subtle patterns on the pages with the words and funky retro-style animals which could be straight out of a 1960s picture book. Elder siblings might enjoy using this as a catalogue for drawing inspiration. This would be a lovely way to bring the bigger kids into a reading experience designed for the very young.
This is part of a series of books. Think first 1000 words split into bright, attractive volumes. Why wait until your child is old enough for paper pages when you can start with such beautiful and fun books?
Who’s Hiding At The Seaside? and Who’s Hiding In The Woods? by Katherine McEwan
There are animals hiding everywhere.
Take a trip to the seaside. Go for a stroll in the local woods. Who do you expect to find?
The answer is there are more animals out there than many of us realise. With an increasingly urbanised population, and dwindling knowledge of the natural world, it is important we introduce a love of the outdoors early so that the next generation grow up to love and protect the world.
Microhabitats are introduced, from a windy cliffside to a rock pool. Lift back the flaps to find out which animals inhabit each area. On the reverse side of the flaps are facts about the animals. As these are cardboard flaps, I would recommend these books to the oldest board book readers, although many of the parents I speak to on Twitter are absolute pros at keeping cardboard flaps safe (or letting them get damaged in the name of education. Also a good call.)
The illustrations pick out the different textures you would expect in each habit and capture the movement of leaves and grass blowing in the wind. A beautiful introduction to the outdoors.
Hello, Mr Dinosaur! by Sam Boughton
Take a tour through the time of the dinosaurs. Just how big was a velociraptor? What did a triceratops eat? Learn some basic facts about each dinosaur until you too are a fully qualified dino-spotter.
With the dinosaurs illustrated from different angles and the textures of their bodies really thought out, this is one of the most attractive introductions to the subject which I have seen in a long time. I love the paint and crayon effect of the pictures and the way the landscape is shown alongside the animals. Many children are shown touring the prehistoric world, which makes the subject feel less remote than it can in books which show only the unknown.
The end pages fold out into a big dinosaur display which also acts as a memory test of the dinosaurs’ names. This will keep young enthusiasts busy and engaged.
The book has cardboard flaps and challenging facts and would be perfect for slightly older board book readers. This would be perfect for older children with small siblings – this was a specific group we catered to when I worked as a bookseller because some parents just didn’t want to buy paper books when they were in danger of being wrecked, but also wanted to keep their nursery aged children engaged.
An insightful and attractive introduction to a popular topic. Highly recommended.
Ottie Elephant In The Town and Marley Bear At The Farm by Melissa Crowton
Where are the animals off to today? What do the hear? What kind of objects might they find? Take a trip out and about with an animal friend and explore the vocabulary relevant to different settings.
With felt flaps to lift and scrunch, mirrors for play time, textures to stroke, and hide and seek games in the pictures, these books are high on play value. They are bright and attractive with lots of primary colours and simple patterns.
Although the book follows the animal through one location, it could be opened on one page to play a game. This makes them great books for on the bus or train because they will keep your little reader distracted without it being a disappointment if the story can’t be finished.
Thanks to Nosy Crow Books, MacMillan Children’s Books UK, Templar Publishing and New Frontier Publishing UK for gifting the books in this feature. Opinions my own.