Book Lists Picture Books

Books I Love: Board Books

Ella likes books (perhaps it’s my daily threats to turn her out on the street if she doesn’t like books?). She smiles and kicks her feet and looks at both pages very intently. Even when she’s particularly grumpy, she’ll settle right down and pay attention to a number of books in a row. It should not surprise you that we do quite a lot of reading around these parts.

I’ve quickly developed favorites and those are the ones I go for again and again when I read to her. And as I was thinking about possibly sharing the ones I like best, Lady Susan suggested that I do so and, well, that was all the encouragement I needed. . .

So, without further ado, a few board books I love. And we can all pretend Ella loves too. It’s not like she can tell me I’m wrong.

Piggies is, perhaps, my very favorite board book. It’s such an excellent mix of big bright images, and hilarious little details. I like the lap-size version because it makes the hands just about life-size and the piggies easier to see. Although, since I do most reading to Ella lying on the floor, holding the book above us, I live in fear of dropping this heavy thing on her face.

Animals Talk, along with Counting, are new to me. They only have five pages, each with the animal above a single word and a close up pattern on the opposite side. They are bright and colorful and a quick book before a nap. I can elaborate, or I can just read the five words and be done. Really, what more can you ask for? (A million dollars).

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a total classic, of course, and for good reason. The illustrations are so bright and clean, the rhyme scheme is delightful, and it’s a nice length. My brothers loved this book, so much so that, more than a decade later, I can still recite the whole thing from memory. It’s a keeper.

I love Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin’s book and Click, Clack, 123
is no exception. My library mentor gave me this one and also Click, Clack, ABC, which I like but not quite as much as 123. The drawings are so fun and sweet, with lots of white space, which, I’ve discovered, is really important to me in a book.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a favorite from my childhood. I love Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations and the design of the book itself delights me, with the illustrations alternating between black and white and color, full page spreads, and multiple panels on some pages.

Good Night, Gorilla makes me laugh. It has sparse text and rich colors and in board book format, the pages just shine. Funny and sweet, I love this book.

And of COURSE Goodnight Moon is on the list. What kind of mother do you think I am? This book is the epitome of a bedtime story for me. I also love her less well-known The Big Red Barn.

I have fallen completely in love with Sandra Boynton. The kindergarten teacher at one of my schools gave me Pajama Time! and it’s among my very favorites. Bart and I both find ourselves singing the words – it’s so ridiculously catchy. It’s fun to have a riotously loud book to read to your little baby. I also really enjoy her Moo Baa La La La.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is just a few years old, but it has the feel of a classic. I love Helen Oxenbury’s bright, clean illustrations and the text of this book is so sweet and beautiful. This is a perfect baby shower book.

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  • Reply Sherry December 6, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Ella gets grumpy? My child is never going to get grumpy. He's going to be perfect.

    Somebody gave me (him? us?) We're Going on a Bear Hunt, and it is not one I grew up with, but one that I'm very excited about nonetheless.

  • Reply nancy December 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I love all those book but you need to all Big Red Barn to your collection. It was Sophies favorite.

  • Reply Stacy December 6, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Surprisingly, with all the books my girls have, I haven't read any of these…..

    I like to read Sandra Boynton – Horns to Toes is the best, in my humble opinion. In 'Moo, Baa, La, La, La' I like to read the 'La,La,La' part like Jerry Seinfeld does in the episode called "The Voice" – needless to say that when Madeline started talking and copying the Voice, it was utterly hilarious.

  • Reply Jeff, Vicky and Kira December 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I'll have to try those!! Our (my) favorite is "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" by Kate Toms – we have the larger sized book so there are textures to some of the stars. My 4 yr old loves to sit w/her baby brother and we all read it together – she is able to read parts to him as well.

  • Reply the Danosaur December 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I can't decide who likes Sandra Boynton more, the kids or the adults. I LOVE her books. On a non-kid note (no pun intended) she did a CD many years ago called Pigorian Chants, which is a barn-themed album Gregorian Chant style. It is hilarious.

    You probably have library hookups, but I want to know how you acquire board books at a price that doesn't send you into coronary arrest. I want to get the whole Boynton collection but even on eBay I was looking at a fortune. Do you have a secret???

  • Reply alisonwonderland December 6, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Good Night, Gorilla was my now 14yo daughter's favorite as a little one. My oldest (now 20yo) loved – and memorized – Sandra Boynton's The Going to Bed Book. My baby (now 11yo) loved Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom (by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert).

    Enjoy your reading with Ella! (Your post has made me feel a bit nostalgic.)

  • Reply G December 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I think my favorite Boynton is "But Not the Hippopotamus"

    My other favorite board book is "Sheep in a Jeep" by Nancy Shaw

  • Reply Anonymous December 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    My favorite is Jamberry. All my kids loved it, their favorites were Jamberry, Moo,Baa,LA,LA,LA, and Goodnight, Gorilla. I also love any Sandra Boynton.

  • Reply Mary December 6, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Sandra Boynton is definitely a favorite at our house. My kids love her "Going to Bed Book" and we used to read it every night. I also love Goodnight Gorilla. So fun!

  • Reply amber waves of grain December 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    As I started reading this, I thought "I wonder if she'll have any Sandra Boynton books listed," and you certainly didn't disappoint. Moo Baa La La La and Barnyard Dance are two of our favorites! I just love kids books!

  • Reply Kimberly December 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I'm always looking for new book ideas for showers. Thanks! I, too, love Sandra Boynton. Hippos Go Berserk is my favorite. Jonah's favorite is "Moo, Baa, La, La, La". Gossie by Oliver Dunrea is Josh's favorite board book. It has beautiful illustrations and a cute story.

  • Reply Lisa December 6, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    You should check out Olivier Dunrea's board books. They feature the cutest little ducklings. Peedie, Ollie the Stomper, and Gossie and Gertie are some of our family favorites. They're bright and simple, with plenty of white space. I think you'll like them.

  • Reply Jess December 6, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Oh, these books! We have a bunch of them already, just waiting for Piglet (including Piggies, obviously), but I will have to look into the rest.

  • Reply Lisa December 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Did I write ducklings? They're actually little goslings.

  • Reply Lonica December 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I'm always interested in new books to read–we have a serious library addiction around these parts. I picked up a copy of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" at a libary Scholastic sale. Its a board book version that includes little sliding windows of the item being "seen". I love the interactive format and Amelia does too. It's a great take on a classic!

  • Reply Mary December 6, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Karen Katz is also a great author for board books! We love her "Counting Kisses" book. When we had little babies we would read it and as we read a page we would stop and then do those kisses where ever the book said to (knees, toes, fingers, nose, etc). It was always a book read with lots of laughs and giggles. My mom read it with my neice when she was a baby so I guess now it's a family tradition!

  • Reply Packrat December 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    There are so many great books. I just answered this (almost the same) question on Sherry's blog, so if you are interested…

    Sort of random, but the other day I picked up Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear. It was 10 cents at the thrift shop.

  • Reply Laurie December 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I love Sandra Boynton too. We read the Belly Button Book & The Going to Bed Book at least every other day. They are both just so adorable. Also, Good Night Moon just gets cuter as my son gets older. When I get to the part about "the quiet old lady who was whispering…." he looks at me & puts his little finger in front of his mouth & says, "Hushhhhhhhh." Melts my heart!

  • Reply emandtrev December 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I too love board books. My girls really like Karen Katz board books as well as a cute one called "Little Blue Truck," anything by Sandra Boynton, and the Pigeon books by Mo Willems.

  • Reply Kay December 6, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Today at the BookFair I saw a STARWARS board book!! That's just weird!!!! I did see another one that Ella would love, but after a full day as a SuperHero/SuperReader – cannot remember what it was!

  • Reply Mad Hadder December 7, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Find Boynton's Christmastime for a rollicking read. I gave 7 copies of it away for gifts one Christmas.

  • Reply Amy Sorensen December 7, 2010 at 4:52 am

    I had to smile at this…I remember when Haley was about 2 months old (she's 15 YEARS old now!) and I discovered Sandra Boynton. I loved that moment of my life, standing in B&N and reading The Going to Bed Book and wanting to weep with happiness just because the book was SO GOOD!

    You NEEEEEED to get If You Were my Bunny. It has adaptations of lullabies, with animals instead (like…hush little cottontail instead of baby). Once I learned the songs I sang them all the time and never got tired of them!

  • Reply Lady Susan December 7, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Yeah! The post I have been waiting for! A couple of these are ones that we have been enjoying too, but there are some new titles I need to check out. Perhaps I will send this along to the In-laws so they will know what books to give Finn for Christmas. 😉

  • Reply Julie Anne December 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Your blog is such a service. Reading isn't something I really grew up with, not what I think of when I think of my childhood, the way you do.

    I love reading to Reagan and Lincoln and want it be a huge part of their childhood. I don't "know" books the way you do, so I love the way you introduce books. I have especially loved the books for young children you've been doing lately, since that's my main focus. Although, your comment that you'll start chapter books "in a couple years" made me think that I could probably start reading a chapter book with her.
    Do you think it's just practice? Because she gets bored with books that have too long of text (some picture books are quite lengthy) so I've really been sticking to the board and short texts books. Any advice?

  • Reply Miri December 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I loooove Brown Bear and Panda Bear, and Goodnight Gorilla is one of my very favorites. In fact, all four babies in my family are getting that book for Christmas this year.

  • Reply Peaceful Reader December 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I love all your choices and would add Owl Babies, the board book version by Martin Waddell-it is a just-perfect bedtime read-aloud. Jamberry is a great one as well!! Happy Reading!

  • Reply Janet December 8, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Board books have become one of my go-to baby gifts so thank you for posting your faves!

  • Reply McCulloch Moments January 12, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Trey and I can still quote some of these favorites in our sleep 🙂

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