Now Boarding: Board books that go beyond the ABCs

By Published On: May 30th, 2012

Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book? Babies […]

Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book? Babies are no different. The next time you cuddle with your little cuties, open a book that makes them laugh, learn, wonder and dream. These five board books, reviewed by Jessica Schein, deliver just that.
Touch the Art: Pop Warhol’s Top introduces 20th Century artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and David Hockney to your baby without the hassle of a visit to the museum and with an added touch-and-feel bonus. Not just for looking at any longer, kids can tug Marilyn Monroe’s eyelashes in Warhol’s famous portrait or grasp lettuce in Claes Oldenburg’s take on American eats, “Two Cheeseburgers, with Everything.” Delightful for both eyes and hands, Touch the Art: Pop Warhol’s Top is a total sensoryexperience kids will love.
Few do silly, read-aloud board books like Sandra Boynton and Hippos Go Berserk is no exception. When one lonely hippo calls two, and then they call three, the story turns into a fun, boisterous party that comes alive thanks to Boynton’s amusing, animated illustrations. Parents, take note: fun is only half of it. The book also serves as a counting exercise from numbers one through nine and back down again, making it an entertaining learning experience you and your child will want to repeat.
Through six short poems paired with bright, appealing collage-work author/illustrator Betsy E. Snyder shows young ones the natural world through the eyes of a small bluebird in Haiku Baby. From snow to sun and leaves to flowers, readers will enjoy following bluebird’s whimsical journey, meeting new animal friends along the way, and playing with the side tabs in this engaging format. Ending with a sweet story about the moon, Haiku Baby is a perfect pre-bedtime treat.
Called a “masterpiece” by The New York Times and a “glorious celebration of the simple joys of childhood” by Kirkus Reviews, A Good Day by Kevin Henkes asks the question: can a bad day become good? Thanks to the cheerful outlook of little yellow bird, white dog, red fox, and brown squirrel the answer is yes. Henkes’ art perfectly captures the animals’ worried and then elated emotional switch in a way kids can relate to. A Good Day is a very good book for teaching children about optimism.
Say Hola, Hello, and Salam to kids around in the world in Global Babies. From Guatemala and Greenland to Peru and Afghanistan, the close-up photos of faces from countries on nearly every continent will captivate children and introduce them to the concept of a global community. Along the bottom of each page is the sweet message that no matter where they live, what they wear, or how they feel, babies everywhere are beautiful, special, and loved. A portion of the proceeds go to the Global Fund for Children.

Jessica Schein has spent her career working in children’s books. She worked in the marketing department at three major kids’ publishing houses for nearly eight years and then jumped to the retail side in 2009, where for more than two years she was a Site Merchandiser and the Young Adult Books Editor at Recently Jessica left corporate life behind to focus on her own writing. She is currently working on two novels for middle-graders. You can follow her on Twitter or Tumblr.