A ROUNDUP OF DELIGHTFUL DIE-CUT BOARD BOOKS
Three new books your children will love!
Masha and Her Sisters
by Suzy Ultman
(Chronicle Books; $9.99, Ages 2-4)
Masha has four sisters and though they’re very different from one another, they fit together just beautifully in this treat for matryoshka doll fans. Presented in a clever 10 page, die-cut novelty book format, these colorful, folksy nesting dolls may be ubiquitous in Russia but never cease to entertain youngsters and adults. I know because I have a rather large collection of them at home from my many trips to Moscow and St. Petersburg. A great intro to Russian culture and storytelling because little ones can create their own tales about each sister represented: Natasha, Galya, Olya, Larisa, and Masha.
All About Spot
by Eric Hill
Frederick Warne/Penguin BYR; $9.99, Ages 3-5)
I don’t know any child who isn’t enamored of this adorable yellow dog with brown spots. This 10 page dic-cut board board in Spot’s familiar shape, is sturdy enough to withstand countless hours of reading and is a perfect way to share the carefree joys of childhood, or puppyhood in Spot’s case. Using simple rhyme, Hill brings Spot out into the rain and sun, introduces a few of his friends all having fun and makes spending time with Spot a highlight of any little one’s day.
Big Bug Log (A Bugsy Bug Adventure)
by Sebastien Braun
(Nosy Crow/Candlewick Press; $9.99, Ages 3-7)
Designed to resemble a log, this new die-cut board book is full of trails to follow, flaps to lift and lots of irresistible bug characters your kids will adore. “Bugsy Bug is going to see his grandma. She lives somewhere inside the Big Bug Log.” Now it’s your child’s turn to help Bugsy Bug choose the correct way to get there while encountering some cool places along the way including Mrs. B’s Treats, a busy restaurant, a library, a bedroom, a spider’s web and charming house on Hopper Street that Bugsy Bug’ grandma calls home. Definitely recommend picking up a copy of this and all Braun’s other board books, too!
The Princess and the Presents written by Caryl Hart
with illustrations by Sarah Warburton
(Nosy Crow, 2014, $16.99, Ages 3-7)
One pampered princess + one over-indulgent king + one birthday celebration = three times the number of presents the palace can hold. The Princess and the Presents, a picture book written by Caryl Hart with illustrations by Sarah Warburton, is an over-the-top funny story that reminds us all of what’s really important in life.
Princess Ruby is as cute as can be in her pink frilly dress, pink shoes, and pink tiara. Her poof of unruly red hair completes her sweet look. But, Princess Ruby is far from sweet. She’s used to always getting her way. She bosses the servants, pushes her dad, and throws temper tantrums when she thinks she hasn’t gotten enough presents.
“But where’s my giant tree house?”
bawled the greedy little tyke.
“you promised me a cell phone,
three puppies, and a bike!”
The palace creaks, groans, and ultimately explodes from the precarious piles and pillars of presents pushing up against its walls. Only then, is Princess Ruby remorseful, as her father is trapped beneath the rubble.
“What have I done?” wailed Ruby.
“The best gift I ever had
is buried in a pile of bricks.
PLEASE! Help me save…my DAD!
Everyone comes to help save the king, who had taken cover in a cardboard box. Ruby miraculously makes the most of the mess, and, as all fairytale princesses do,
Lived happily ever after with her daddy (in a tree).
The palace walls are not all that explode in this book. Warburton uses vivid colors that pop off the pages. I poured over them a number of times relishing the details of her visually pleasing mixed media illustrations.
Interior artwork from The Princess and the Presents by Cary Hart with illustrations by Sarah Warburton, Nosy Crow © 2014.
Cary Hart has a way with rhythm and rhyme. Her words fly easily off the tongue and are sure to elicit a “read it again” response from little ones.
– Reviewed by MaryAnne Locher
Rita Zobayan reviews two board books in the fun and engaging new Nosy Crow Tiny Tab series.
Very young children love interactive books—pulling tabs, lifting flaps, and discovering who or what is hiding underneath. An added bonus is that the kids get to practice their fine motor skills. Nosy Crow presents two such board books in its “A Tiny Tab Book” series for children ages 0-3 ($7.99). These sturdy and chunky board books are 10 pages with 4 tabs that are each pulled twice. The adorable illustrations are by Jannie Ho, who perfectly captures the bright colors, friendly features, and cute details that make Nosy Crow books so delightful.
Teeny Weeny Looks for His Mommy: A Tiny Tab Book with illustrations by Jannie Ho, Nosy Crow.
In Teeny Weeny Looks for His Mommy the mouse is trying to find his mother. He looks in all manner of places: behind the apple tree, in his pirate ship, in the flower bed, and in his playhouse, to name a few hiding spots. During his search, Teeny Weeny finds his friends: That must be Mommy behind the wall! Oh no, it’s Bear! Could Mommy be in the tree? No, that’s Monkey, and Bird with her chicks! His friends are fun to find, but where can his mommy be? Your children will enjoy helping Teeny Weeny find her.
Bunny Boo Has Lost Her Teddy: A Tiny Tab Book with illustrations by Jannie Ho, Nosy Crow.
In Bunny Boo Has Lost Her Teddy the little rabbit must get ready for bed, but she has misplaced her favorite lovey. She looks in the laundry room and the bathtub, but Teddys’s not there. She searches all over. Is he on the shelves? No, that’s Hippo, Mouse, and Penguin! Is he having tea with Koala? No, that’s Zebra and Owl. The search is great fun, but Bunny Boo has to get to bed. Teddy must be somewhere! Only your kids can help find him!
Let it Snow!
A Winter-Themed Review From Rita Zobayan.
The holidays are over, but winter is still in full force in parts of the country! Grab a blanket, your favorite warm drink, and cuddle up to enjoy these wonderful winter stories.
You Make Me Smile by Layn Marlow is a sweet and simple story about a little girl who makes a snowman smile. As the first snow falls, a normal day becomes special for the girl who ventures out of her warm house to create a snowy friend. She gathers her materials and builds a buddy, and while the oncoming seasons may separate them, they will once again be able to share their friendship at winter’s return.
I enjoyed the clever play of words during the description. Is the narrator the girl describing the snowman or vice versa?
You’ll be cold, cold, cold, with a radish-red nose. Your arms may be stiff, but your eyes are going to shine. A long woolen scarf around your neck should keep you warm, but the cold doesn’t seem to matter to you, because…today is the special day…when you make me…smile.
The illustrations and typography suit the story well. They are inviting and warm, even though they depict winter. Look for small details, such as the girl’s watchful father, his birdhouse, and its inhabitants. You Make Me Smile certainly brought a smile to my face.
(You Make Me Smile by Layn Marlow, Holiday House, $16.95, Ages 3 and up)
In Pip and Posy: The Snowy Day by Axel Scheffler, Pip the rabbit and Posy the mouse are excited to play in the snow! There’s so much to do: leave big footprints, catch snowflakes on their tongues, make snow angels, and go sledding. But when it comes time to create a snow creature, they can’t agree.
“Snowmouse,” said Posy.
“Snowrabbit,” said Pip.
Posy was so mad at Pip that she threw the snow creature’s head at him. Oh, dear! Then Pip was even angrier with Posy, so he pushed her very hard and she fell in the snow. Oh, dear! Now Pip and Posy were both very cold and very sad. Poor Pip! Poor Posy!
Will they work out their differences? Can they remain friends? Pip and Posy: The Snowy Day shows children that even best friends can disagree, and that kindness and consideration are really what makes for a great friendship.
Snow can seem magical—its stark purity, its delicacy as it falls, and its ability to create what can seem like another world. When It Snows by Richard Collingridge takes us on a magical journey with a little boy and his teddy bear. On his adventure, the boy finds polar bears, skiers, “the place where the snowmen live,” and the Queen of the Poles who introduces him to “tiny fairies that glow” and “thousands of elves and other magical creatures.” But the best wonder of all is revealed at the end, and it is one that readers will hold dear.
The illustrations with muted colors and shading perfectly create a feeling of other-worldliness and capture the wonder seen through the boy’s eyes. My four-year old daughter was captivated by this book, I think, mostly because of its sense of fantasy. She even said, “I want to go in there,” pointing to the book, which just goes to show that a book dealing with snow can bring warmth to your heart.
(When It Snows by Richard Collingridge, Feiwel and Friends, 2013; $16.99; ages 4 and up)
It’s a Most Wonderful Time To Give Books as Gifts
Reviewer Ronna Mandel shares her selection of favorite books from 2012 to help make filling those stockings less stressful. There are really tons more I’d love to mention, so if you are hankering to expand your list, just click here now to browse through the covers on our Pinterest page for more ideas.
Most Original and Pro Mom Picture Book
The Insomniacs (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $16.99, ages 3-5)
by Karina Wolf and illustrated by The Brothers Hilts.
What Color Is My World?:
The Lost History of African American Inventors,
($17.99, Candlewick, ages 8 and up) by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
co-written with Raymond Obstfeld and illustrated by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford.
Best Board Books to Teach Colors and Opposites
PANTONE: Colors ($9.95, Abrams/Appleseed, ages 1 and up).
Hippopposites ($14.95, Abrams/Appleseed, ages 2 and up) written and illustrated by Janik Coat.
Most Clever Follow-up Book
This Is Not My Hat ($15.99, Candlewick, ages 4 and up)
written and illustrated by Jon Klassen.
Most Uplifting Picture Book
Because Amelia Smiled ($16.99, Candlewick, ages 3-7) by David Ezra Stein.
The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket ($16.95, Workman Publishing) by Katie Workman with photographs by Todd Coleman.
LIAR & SPY ($17.99, Random House, ages 9-12) by Rebecca Stead.
Wonder ($15.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, ages 8-12) by R.J. Palacio.
Best Young Adult (YA) Novel
Between Shades of Gray ($8.99, Penguin paperback; ages 12 and up) by Ruta Sepetys.
Best Silly Books for Preschoolers
Icky, Sticky Monster: A Super Yucky Pop-up Book ($12.99, Nosy Crow, ages 3 and up) by Jo Lodge.
Poopendous!: The Inside Scoop on Every Type and Use of Poop ($16.99, Blue Apple Books, Ages 4 and up) by Artie Bennett.
BabyLit board book series including Dracula: A BabyLit Counting Primer and A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer both by Jennifer Adams with illustrations by Alison Oliver ($9.99, Gibbs Smith, ages 1 and up).
A Boy Called Dickens $17.99, Schwartz & Wade, ages 4-8) by Deborah Hopkinson with illustrations by John Hendrix.
Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmore ($16.99, Dial Books for Young Readers, ages 5 and up) by Tina Nichols Coury with illustrations by Sally Wern Comport.