The Children’s Book Review | February 17, 2015
The best board books of 2014, as picked by the editors and contributors of The Children’s Book Review.
By Nina Laden
Publisher’s synopsis: Read the clue . . . guess the animal . . . giggle wildly . . . and repeat! At long last, board book virtuoso Nina Laden has created a companion to her beloved classic Peek-a Who? (one of Scholastic magazine’s 100 Greatest Books for Kids with more than 800,000 copies sold). Colorful pictures and a lively, rhyming text help children predict what animal is peeking through die-cut windows. The anticipation of what’s hiding on the next page and the bright, engaging illustrations will keep youngsters laughing and learning all the way to the surprise ending.
Ages 0-4 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1-4521-1175-9
By Richard Austin
Publisher’s synopsis: Could there be a cuter way to learn colors and numbers? Announcing a new line of board books featuring the irresistible Teacup Pigs of Pennywell Farm. Small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, the Pennywell pigs are an adorable lot. They’re also naturals in front of the camera—especially the camera belonging to Richard Austin who, as their exclusive photographer, knows just how to capture their big personalities.
The Pocket Piggies board books marry the inherent appeal of Teacup Pigs to the sweetness of the board book format. The photographs are full-color, full-page, and up-close. The subjects are classics: On each spread of Pocket Piggies Colors!, one of the beloved piggy models is paired with an object or animal of a different color—like a little piggy holding a red guitar or checking out a yellow chick.
Ages 1-4 | Publisher: Workman Publishing Company | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0761179801
By Edward Gibbs
Publisher’s synopsis: Look through this eye-catching book’s special spy hole to discover a world of animal colors!
Have you ever played the I-spy game? Debut artist Edward Gibbs takes the game to a whole new level in this picture book with spy holes. Peeking through the pages, children will be able to spot a different colored animal every time, and guess what it is using a simple, factual clue. Bold illustrations and die-cut holes will absorb young readers as they learn about colors and animal names.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Templar | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0763671631
Publisher’s synopsis: A subject dear to children’s hearts is in the spotlight as Leslie Patricelli’s beloved baby character returns.
Everybody does it: Kitty, Doggie, Daddy — even Mommy! And when Leslie Patricelli’s beloved bald baby does it while running, it sounds like a train. This frank and very funny look at a certain noisy body function is perfectly suited to the youngest of listeners, while their giggling older siblings will be happy to read it aloud.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Candlewick | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0763663216
Publisher’s synopsis: I LOVE YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH, GOOD NIGHT, I LOVE YOU, and now TEN TINY TOES!
Caroline Jayne Church brings her adorable toddler art and lovely rhymes to this joyful twist on the tried-and-true classic, HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES, AND TOES. From ears that wiggle to bellies that giggle, TEN TINY TOES is sure to inspire little ones as they learn to celebrate their “mouth, ears, eyes, nose, and a love that grows and grows.”
Ages 0-4 | Publisher: Cartwheel Books | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0545536011
By Kenny Harrison
Publisher’s synopsis: Harry likes to play hide-and-seek, but it’s hard to hide a hippo! Little readers will love being in on the joke as they spot the formidable Harry.
Harry the hippo is fond of hiding around the house and is sure he is hard to find. But his hiding places — under the flowerpot, behind the doghouse, in a bubble bath — aren’t always quite right for concealing a hippo. Luckily, Harry loves to be found!
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Candlewick | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0763666026
Publisher’s synopsis: When Cow gets her hooves on the farmer’s car, she takes it for a wild ride through the country. Moooo! But a bump in the road brings this joy ride to a troublesome end. Moo-moo. . . Has Cow learned her lesson about living life in the fast lane? Moo?
Pairing two talented creators who managed to tell a complete story with just one word—MOO—this imaginative story will have readers laughing one moment and on the edge of their seats the next, as it captures the highs and lows of a mischievous cow’s very exciting day.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0802738028
By Ashley Wolff
Publisher’s synopsis: Explore the world of color with Baby Bear in this clever and adorable story now available as a Classic Board Book!
Baby Bear has so much to learn about the world! From the moment he wakes until it’s time to curl up and go to sleep, he explores outside with his mama. They see green leaves, blue jays, brown trout, and—best of all—a patch of yummy red strawberries.
From bestselling author-illustrator Ashley Wolff, here is a clever concept book that combines engaging and intricate linocut illustrations with a story that enthusiastically encourages children to identify a variety of vibrant colors. Young readers will delight in this chance to join Baby Bear as he discovers the colorful wonders of his lively, leafy forest home.
Ages 2-4 | Publisher: Little Simon | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1481415033
Publisher’s synopsis: From award-winning author/illustrator Frann Preston Gannon comes this celebration of wiener dogs (dachshunds) in all their variety–perfect for dog-lovers of every age!
Simple rhyming text and boldly graphic, funny illustrations show off the comically lovable proportions of the dachshund, with its short legs and long body, spirited nature, and cheerful temperament. Author Frann Preston Gannon reveals a surprising variety of wiener dog looks and shows kids all the fun these little dogs have as they visit the beach, cavort in the snow, dig in the garden, jump to the ceiling, and even ride a skateboard–all the while giving a lesson in opposites.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: POW! | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1576876794
By Petr Horacek
Publisher’s synopsis: What do the animals say? Celebrated author-illustrator Petr Horácek explores the question in a colorful novelty board book for babies.
“Heehaw,” says the donkey! “Meow,” says the cat! Babies are invited to turn the sturdy pages and learn the many sounds that animals make. In a lively board book, multi-award-winning author-illustrator Petr Horác? ek’s vibrant illustrations depict charming animals that babies will love — along with a fun novelty surprise.
Ages 1-4 | Publisher: Candlewick | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0763667801
If you like our list of the best board books of 2014, see our list of all the best kids books of 2014 (Coming soon!) or check out our “Best Board Books of 2013” list.