Learning + Fun = Concept Board Books

Lynn: Board books keep getting better and better. Not only are they doing an excellent job of presenting basic concepts for the youngest readers, but doing so in fun and creative ways. Learning has never been so entertaining. We have four new wonderful examples of the form to share today.


Wiggles by claire Zucchelli-Romer

First up is Wiggles (2018), a Touch, Think and Learn book by Claire Zucchelli-Romer. “Your little fingers just want to dance,” begins this zippy, interactive board book. Each page-turn offers brightly colored, die-cut shapes and instructions for children to tap, slide, and trace them. Concepts being introduced include right and left, colors, shapes, and direction. Robustly designed to withstand many, many repetitions, this engaging book will delight toddlers while making learning fun.



Cindy: Board books that invite their young readers to play are always popular, and My First Toolbox is especially fun. It’s called a “Press Out & Play” book, and features removable tools like a double-ended wrench kids can use to spin two different-sized bolts, and a hammer and nails kids can pound into slits in the edges of the page. The book also doubles as a counting book. With the brightly colored tools and pages, kids can learn colors, too. I’m not the target audience here, but I couldn’t resist removing and trying each tool. Very young carpenters, like Jameson (son of my manufacturing technology teacher), will have even more fun!


Lynn: My Opposites: Early Birds Book is the third book in a series from the Cornell Lab Publishing Group, which hopes to encourage a new generation of bird watchers. These wonderfully illustrated birds demonstrate various examples of opposites like day and night with a bunting and an owl, or wet and dry with two waxwings, one in and one next to a bird bath. The illustrations show authentic details of each bird’s appearance, and there are enticing tabs for small fingers to select. Back matter identifies each bird with a picture and includes a QR code that allows young readers to hear each bird’s songs and calls. How cool is that?



Llamas are all the rage right now, so get on trend with a creative board book featuring this odd creature. Llamaphones (2018) by Janik Coat takes on homophones. “See” has a llama wearing glasses, while the opposing page has a llama neck deep in the “sea.” In “missed,” a basketball flies over a llama’s head and misses the net, and the facing page has a llama obscured by layers of gray “mist.” Some pages have a flaps or are raised or indented to add to the wordplay fun. Take a “peek” at this book featuring an animal often found on a “peak.”



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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