A Treasury of New Board Books

A Treasury of New Board Books

Sophia is turning out to be as much of a bookworm as her sister. She just loves sitting and turning the pages of her board books. And when I sit her in my lap and read to her she chortles and beams and claps her hands with excitement. So I put books high on the priority list for her birthday.

I must confess that the collection of board books I’d accumulated for Bella has grown a little tired. I’ve read them all so many, many times and I was really ready for some new faces. Though I don’t think I can ever really grow bored of Goodnight Moon, The Snowy Day and The Going to Bed Book.

Between the books we bought and the books Sophie received from her very generous grandparents on both sides, we’ve got a nice new library.

Of course, Bella has swooped down on every new bunch of books and demanded that they be read to her. She is a real bookaholic! I’ve read them to her, while emphasizing that they do belong to Sophia. It is such fun to have both girls perched in my lap as I read. Though we are still working on how to manage the mechanics of sharing when three people are all trying to turn the pages at different rates.

Anyway, here are all of the new books we’ve added to our collection in the past week:

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson

The pictures made me fall in love. Cute fuzzy owl babies, rich detail, lovely play of light and shadow. But the text is charming too. It’s soon going to be a favorite around here I can tell:

The owl babies thought (all owls think a lot)
“I think she’s gone hunting,” said Sarah.
“To get us our food!” said Percy.
“I want my mommy!” said Bill.

I already love Sarah and Percy and Bill, who always says, “I want my mommy!”

Time for Bed by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer

I saw this book in the store a couple of years ago and fell in love with the beautiful illustrations of mother animals and their babies and the simple rhyming text.

It’s time for bed little goose, little goose,
The stars are out and on the loose.

And then I promptly lost the piece of paper on which I’d scribbled the publication information. I’m so glad I rediscovered this book while browsing on Amazon.

I Love You As Much by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by Henri Sorensen

The concept for this book is very similar to Time for Bed, mother animals and their babies and a rhyming text.

Said the mother goat to her child,
“I love you as much as the mountain is steep.”
Said the mother whale to her child,
“I love you as much as the ocean is deep.”

Again, the pictures are lovely. The text is sweet. It ends with a mother snuggling with her baby, “I love you as much as a mother can love.” The book is as much a treat for mother as it is for baby.

My New Baby illustrated by Annie Kubler

No words, just a story in pictures about all the things the toddler and his parents do with the new baby. There’s the excitement of a party, grandparents visiting, and the new baby receiving presents. There are sweet scenes of big brother sharing toys with the new baby and being distressed at the baby’s cries. There are the familiar rituals like diaper changes, bath time, going for a walk, bedtime. I especially liked that there are two scenes of the mother modestly nursing the baby, while the big brother looks on eagerly and while brother helps daddy make dinner. The book ends with a special bedtime story for toddler and parents after the baby has been put to bed.

If You’re Happy and You Know It… illustrated by Annie Kubler

Another Kubler book. I really like her soft illustrations of babies. This is the familiar children’s song, with pictures showing the babies acting out various lyrics. I like that the cute cheerful babies are all about Sophie’s age. Playing with blocks, clapping hands, rolling on the floor, playing peek-a-boo, walking holding onto a finger. It’s just perfect for us.

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle

Reminiscent of other Carle books we have (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, A House for a Hermit Crab). The grouchy ladybug tries to pick a fight with every creature it meets, working its way up through progressively larger and larger animals from another ladybug to a blue whale. The other animals refuse to be cowed by the ladybug’s bullying ways and agree to fight whereupon the grouchy ladybug backs down, saying they’re not enough of a challenge. Each encounter takes place at a different hour, with a small clock face in the upper right corner illustrating the time. Too old for Bella; but easy to ignore. Bright colors, familiar animals. Fun.

Counting Kisses by Karen Katz

The book counts down from “ten little kisses on teeny tiny toes” to “one last kiss on your sleepy dreamy head. And now it’s time for baby’s bed.” I like the colorful illustrations with lots of patterns and visual interest. Cute baby gets kissed by mom, dad, grandmother, big sister, dog and cat.

Opposites by Sandra Boynton

Boynton’s familiar animals act out pairs of antonyms: tall and short, hot and cold, wet and dry. In rhyming couplets. What’s not to like?

We Go to Mass by George Brundage

I tend to be a tough critic when it comes to catechetical materials for kids; but I’m rather pleased with this simple Mass board book. Each page shows a picture of the Mass with a simple accompanying text. I’m not in love with the illustrations; but they aren’t ugly and do highlight clearly the important parts of the Mass. I like the large crucifix behind the altar. I think its good that they are drawn so as to appeal to the widest possible Catholic audience. There are no female altar servers, it isn’t clear whether the girl is receiving communion by mouth or in her hand. The Mass is celebrated ad populum, so it is clearly Novus Ordo; but otherwise the book doesn’t seem to take sides in what are frequently controversial matters.

I really like the text. It is simple and clear and echoes the language of the Mass: “We praise God in union with the Angels and the Saints,” It doesn’t water down Eucharistic theology: “We worship Jesus as the bread is changed into His Body,” and “We receive Jesus in Communion, God’s greatest Gift to us.”

I think this will be a useful book for the girls to bring to Mass to help them follow along.

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