The Best Board Books of 2018
The Children’s Book Review | January 3, 2019
There are so many special qualities about board books. Starting with the obvious, they are stronger and sturdier than the average picture book, and they are usually brightly colored, often interactive, with limited (and usually engaging) text. These reasons make them a great choice for the youngest readers—they can also double as beginner reader books for kids ready to read on their own. This list represents some of our favorite board books—the board books we feel represented the best of 2018. Ready. Set. Read!
Written and Illustrated by Janik Coat
Publisher’s Synopsis: Llamaphones, Janik Coat’s much-anticipated follow-up to Hippopposites and Rhymoceros, features witty words that sound the same but are spelled differently—and have different meanings. Like the other books in the series, this one features surprising novelties, including a touch-and-feel element, making homophones an easy and fun concept to learn.
Ages 2-4 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | March 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1419728273
Illustrated by Kyle Kershner
Publisher’s Synopsis:There’s a TARDIS cookie jar in our kitchen. A Picard air freshener in our car. And we won’t even mention Harry Potter in the bathroom. We’re geeks and proud of it! But is there nothing for baby? Inconceivable! Introducing 100 First Words for Little Geeks, a deliciously nerdy primer for kids learning their first words! Forget apple and dog. Little geeks are ready for holy grail, warp core, and intergalactic catastrophe (okay, forget that last one, but they’ll learn tribble and that’s about the same thing). Packed with hilarious illustrations and 100 words every geek baby should know (before any others, of course), 100 First Words for Little Geeks is the perfect board book for geek families everywhere. Great Scott!
Ages 1-3 | Publisher: Familius | May 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1945547959
Written and Illustrated by Elsa Mroziewicz
Publisher’s Synopsis:Who could be hiding behind the lift-the-flaps in this uniquely-shaped board book? Brimming with colorful art that children will want to pore over, this clever book is full of hidden animals, each making a different sound. Can you figure out who each one is? Lift the triangular flaps to see who peeks out! This beautifully designed book is sure to provide a delightfully interactive experience.
Ages 1-3 | Publisher: minedition | September 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-9888341573
Publisher’s Synopsis: Feminism begins at home—and My First Book of Feminism (for Boys) is where it begins!
Simple illustrations paired with engaging, rhyming text make the compelling, age appropriate argument that girls and boys are equal, plain and simple. Humorous, familiar scenarios are treated as teachable moments for very young boys (ages 0-3) who will ideally grow up without ever questioning women’s equality. From “no means no,” to “women’s rights are human rights,” important, grownup ideas are made clear and fun for young, impressionable minds. This is the book every mom should read to her son!
Ages 3+ | Publisher: Downtown Bookworks | November 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1941367629
Publisher’s Synopsis:This book is bursting with cars, buses, planes, trains, trucks, diggers–and many more Things That Go. And with a text set to the tune of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, vehicle-obsessed little ones will never want to put this book down!
Ages 2+ | Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books | October 2, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1681198958
Written and Illustrated by Claire Zucchelli-Romer
Publisher’s Synopsis: Little fingers twist and turn, zig and zag, moving on, over, and through pages filled with fluorescent die-cut dots and playful, grooved paths. This brilliant application of the groundbreaking TouchThinkLearn format compels the youngest learners to explore and engage with their world in a hands-on, multisensory way. The premise is simple: Hear an instruction, repeat its words, and playfully trace out its action. Multiple modes of perception combine to inspire and instill a deeper understanding of essential concepts and language. TouchThinkLearn: Wiggles offers a priceless way to play, read—and have fun—together!
Ages 2+ | Publisher: Chronicle Books | April 3, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1452164755
Written and Illustrated by Ross Burach
Publisher’s Synopsis: What’s the best way to say hello to anyone you meet? A handshake? Too formal! A hug? Too scary! The answer is a hi-five, of course! With his flair for hilarious cartooning and charismatic characters, author-artist Ross Burach crafts a brilliant original concept board book that will have young children laughing and hi-fiving their way to developing critical social-emotional skills.
Ages 2+ | Publisher: Scholastic Press | August 28, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1338245677
Written and Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Publisher’s Synopsis: Best-selling picture book creator Christopher Silas Neal is diving into the world of original board books with Animal Shapes, a book that humorously mashes up animals and shapes to create a unique and funny object!
When a cozy cat meets a circle, they make a . . .
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: little bee books | March 27, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1499805345
Written and Illustrated by Betsy Snyder
Publisher’s Synopsis: Dream big! Young readers help characters pursue their aspirations—from driving a race car to traveling to Mars— just by wiggling their fingers! But wait! There’s even more fun. In an impressive gatefold finale, kids help a firefighter, astronaut, artist, and more come together to follow their dreams. With interactive holes on every page and a satisfyingly funny touch-and-feel cover, this charming board book offers a uniquely entertaining way to play and read together.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | May 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1452162140
Illustrated by Kelly Hill
Publisher’s Synopsis: A must-have board book for Anne of Green Gables fans, with charming, hand-embroidered illustrations.
Iconic moments from the beloved L.M. Montgomery classic are celebrated in this adorable concept book. Artist Kelly Hill creates vignettes of the most recognizable scenes from Anne of Green Gables, including Anne and Diana’s first meeting, Gilbert pulling Anne’s hair, Anne’s puffed-sleeve dress and even Anne and Diana sharing raspberry cordial!
Each scene has its own color, with simple text and tactile, gorgeous works of art created from cut fabric and embroidery.
Part of a series of Anne concept books, Anne’s Colors is a perfect way to introduce future fans to this winning character.
Ages 1-3 | Publisher: Tundra Books | May 21, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0735262843
Created by Tamara Shopsin and Jason Fulford
Publisher’s Synopsis: What color is a banana? It can be at least 25 different shades, according to this artful swatchbook of versatile subjects. An inversion of the way we typically look at color, this book challenges readers’ predispositions towards using a particular crayon for a particular object. 11 items are each presented alongside a grid of color ranges: the “apple” page features yellows, greens, and reds; the “egg” page a range of greens to grays; even “grass” is surprising, with suggestions of pink. The read-along text is playful and philosophical, poetic and factual… all towards expanding readers’ assumptions. Inspired by the Whitney Museum’s approach to looking at art, these books provide a new way to look at the world.
Ages 2-4 | Publisher: Phaidon Press | May 30, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0714876603
Created by Clever Publishing
Publisher’s Synopsis: This over-sized Search & Find padded board book is a great educational tool that teaches children numbers.
More than 700 real-life images throughout the book feature various cars, toys, shapes, animals, and birds. Children can easily recognize the images as part of the daily world. Each spread features objects of the same color and multiple activities to practice counting to ten.
Photo books are incredibly popular for the intended audience as is the big format, thick board pages with rounded corners, and padded cover – a great gift for pre-schoolers!
Ages 2-4 | Publisher: Clever Publishing | September 11, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1948418386
Written by Elisa Parhad
Illustrated by Alexander Vidal
Publisher’s Synopsis: Los Angeles is…surfing waves and fashion faves, citrus fruits and long commutes, lowrider cruising and poolside snoozing, zipping cars and Hollywood stars. From taco trucks to tar pits, this stylish primer to California’s City of Angels, illustrated by Alexander Vidal, is spot-on for toddlers and first-time travelers.
Ages 1-4 | Publisher: Cameron Kids | May 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1944903237
Written by Ame Dyckman
Illustrated by Alex G Griffiths
Publisher’s Synopsis: Help little ones learn how to give a BIG gentle hug with this first story in the brand-new Wee Beasties series from New York Times bestselling author Ame Dyckman.
Huggy the Python loves to hug. The only problem is, he hugs WAY too hard.
WAIT! Can you show Huggy how to give a gentle hug?
Wee Beasties is a new board book series from New York Times bestselling author, Ame Dyckman, featuring silly animals doing the things they love just a little TOO much. In this first book about Huggy the Python and all the things he loves, little ones will learn how to give a big gentle hug.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Little Simon | May 29, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1534410800
Written by Markette Sheppard
Publisher’s Synopsis: Light can be so many things! The twinkle of a faraway star, a firefly captured in a jar, a mother’s love, a turtle dove . . .
Lyrical text and crisp, cheerful illustrations illuminate What Is Light?, each page revealing the sparkle found in a child’s simple but extraordinary world. Young readers will enjoy discovering the special glow in everything from nature to the smiles of loved ones. The light revealed on the final page makes a fitting finale for this sweet, bright tale.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Agate Bolden | June 12, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1572842472
Illustrated by Sandra Magsamen
Publisher’s Synopsis: So going to sleep
is not just for you.
goes to sleep too!
In the tradition of soothing bedtime books like Goodnight Moon, this original new offering from Sandra Magsamen is perfect for snuggling up and showing your sleepyhead that everyone and everything goes to bed. Animals and fun surprises are waiting to be revealed under each spread’s sturdy lift-the-flap, and the final page features all of the animals cuddled up together, ready for sweet dreams.
This is a brand-new novelty board book from Sandra Magsamen, the bestselling creator of over 30 baby and toddler books, with sales of over 3 million copies worldwide.
Ages 1-3 | Publisher: Cartwheel Books | April 24, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0545927994
Written and Illustrated by Monte Shin
Publisher’s Synopsis:In this creative wonder, artist Monte Shin uses shape and symmetry to turn what look like random squiggles into recognizable forms. This uniquely interactive book needs the reader’s help to finish the pictures, because they can only be seen using the attached fold-up mirror. Once the mirror is in place, readers can spin the central art on each page to reveal not only an array of fun abstract shapes, but a delightfully surprising final image. Enormously fun to play with, little ones will get a taste of how this book works on the MirrorPlayBook YouTube video or by using the QR code on the back cover.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: minedition | September 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-9888341535
Illustrated by Nicola Slater
Publisher’s Synopsis: A group of musicians is traveling to a café for a surprise celebration. Press the buttons to hear them play their instruments . . . and join in with the whole band at the end to wish one little otter a very happy birthday! With a flute, guitar, violin, and piano, plus a rousing “big band” chorus and a splendid light-up birthday cake, this delightful little book makes the perfect birthday gift.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Nosy Crow | April 3, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763699437
Written by Ruth Spiro
Illustrated by Irene Chan
Publisher’s Synopsis:Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners.
Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores the ups and downs of gravity. When baby drops food from a high chair, why does it fall? Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!
Ages 1-3 | Publisher: Charlesbridge | May 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1465468550
Written and Illustrated by Sara Gillingham
Publisher’s Synopsis: A first book of boats for the youngest enthusiasts, featuring 15 different boats and a bonus nautical flag per vessel.
From sailboats to ferry boats, tankers to clippers, young readers will learn to identify and define a range of floating crafts. Each of 15 boats and ships are presented by name, illustration, and simple description, written as engaging, read-aloud text. In addition, each is adorned with a different nautical flag whose message is decoded as secondary text for the extra curious. Printed in four stunning Pantone colors, this refreshingly stylish and informative introduction to boats will pop off the shelf in the “things that go” section!
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Phaidon Press | May 25, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0714876719
Written and Illustrated by Susie Jaramillo
Publisher’s Synopsis: Little Sunny Sunshine/Sol Solecito is the 6th book in the bilingual (English & Spanish) nursery rhyme collection from Canticos.
Inspired by “Sol Solecito“ and “Luna Lunera“, this book features an adorable little piggy who spends his days soaking up the sun and enjoying every moment of the day.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Encantos | March 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1945635113