Lodi News-Sentinel

Board books teach with pizazz, fun

- 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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