Board books teach with pizazz, fun

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Lo­cal/na­tion - By Lee Lit­tle­wood

Board books are a fan­tas­tic, sturdy and hand-fit­ting way for ba­bies and tod­dlers to learn about the world. These brand-new books are in­no­va­tive, mod­ern and in­cred­i­bly fun.

“House” by Michael Slack; Chron­i­cle Books; $18.99.

Shaped like a house, this boxed set of five board books in­tro­duces first words us­ing dif­fer­ent parts of a house — liv­ing room, bath­room, kitchen, garage and bed­room — with the books all fit­ting in­side. This smart con­cept pro­motes early vo­cab­u­lary de­vel­op­ment, pat­tern recog­ni­tion and open-ended play. And the box will thrill tots who love to tote things around. But the set’s star fea­ture is its mid­cen­tury mod­ern art­work on ev­ery board page, with muted col­ors and shapes straight out of the 1950s.

“A Pile of Leaves” by Ja­son Ful­ford & Tamara Shopsin; Phaidon; 22 pages; $18.99.

Also retro-tinged, this au­tumn-col­ored book be­gins with an ac­etate page with a yel­low leaf and trim. Tots can browse the page to see a red leaf and some orange ones. As kids turn the pages, they peel back lay­ers of the leaf pile col­lage, which even­tu­ally ends up on the left-hand side of the book. They’ll also have fun spot­ting other things amid the leaves, in­clud­ing a snake, a key and a mit­ten.

In­spired by the way artists see the world, “A Pile of Leaves” is pub­lished with the Whit­ney Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art and ends with the names of each kind of leaf and item in the pile.

“Peek-a-Who?” by Elsa Mroziewicz; Michael Neuge­bauer Edi­tion/Minedi­tion; 44 pages; $11.99.

Tri­an­gle-shaped with a dog’s face on the cover, this lift-the-flap book be­gins by ask­ing “Who says Woof Woof ?” and un­veils a friendly dog wav­ing its paws. Next up, kids open flaps with “Who says Meow?” and spot an artsy-painted cat with large ears; then a snake, pig, cow, turkey and more. Each an­i­mal is dec­o­rated beau­ti­fully, adding an el­e­ment of high art to the glossy geo­met­ric pages. Ba­bies will en­joy fig­ur­ing out which sounds comes from what an­i­mal, and will have fun lift­ing the unique flaps.

“Hush Now, Ban­shee!” “Mon­ster ABC” and “Get Dressed, Sasquatch!” by Derek Sul­li­van & Kyle Sul­li­van; Hazy Dell Press; 30 pages each; $14 each.

Rhyming pic­ture books are preva­lent, but rol­lick­ing, fun ones are rarer. These three thick board books star mon­sters, from a blue mer­maid­like ban­shee to a bearded Sasquatch who doesn’t like wear­ing clothes, as well as a whole al­pha­bet of other hi­lar­i­ous crea­tures.

Per­fect for Hal­loween sea­son, these three books fea­ture in­cred­i­bly imag­i­na­tive and funny art­work. “Mon­ster ABC” has de­cid­edly kid­friendly rhyming word­ing: “G is for Ghost who gave us a start, H is for Hob­gob­lin who smells like fart.” Older preschool­ers will en­joy the hi­lar­ity while learn­ing let­ters in “Mon­ster ABC,” count­ing in “Hush Now, Ban­shee!” and ac­cep­tance in “Get Dressed, Sasquatch!”

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