The Top 100 Board Books Poll Countdown: #70-61
It’s getting down to the wire, but we’ve still a ways to go until the Top 20. Today’s listing of contenders has a certain level of sophistication at work. New names appear on the list, like Lane Smith and Marla Frazee, while others solidify their status (Boynton, Katz, Oxenbury, etc.). The oldest book on today’s list came out in the States in 2005, and as for the newest, several others hit shelves in 2016.
#70 – Dinosaur Dance by Sandra Boynton (2016)
“This is a very fun book to read aloud with a kiddo with the high-energy rhythmic rhyming and onomatopoeic action words.” – Elizabeth Sweeny
Seems kind of unfair. Sandra Boynton has been dominating the board book scene since the 80s, at the very least. You think she’d let the rest of the creators out there have a turn in the spotlight. And yet here we have a 2016 Boynton, fresh off the printers, doing very well for itself. Very well indeed. You win this round, Boynton!
#69 – It’s a Little Book by Lane Smith (2011)
“Rather than trying to just reformat his classic for older kids, It’s a Book, he adapted it in an original way for toddlers. They can even act it out.” – Emily Schneider
So let’s break this one down a bit. Here you have a board book, referencing a picture book, which emphasized books over electronics. Truth be told, I actually prefer the board book to the original. It’s a clever adaptation. As the publisher put it, “It’s a Little Book asks what a book is for–Is it for chewing? Is it for wearing?”
I vote chewing.
#68 – It’s My Birthday by Helen Oxenbury (2010)
“A ‘little red hen’ story in which the animals co-operate. I love how the cake ingredients are sourced–naturally and organically, for the most part, but the cat just opens the refrigerator.” – Carol
In a way you could call this the ultimate cat wish fulfillment fantasy. If they could open refrigerators, none of us would be safe.
#67 – I’m a Firefighter by Brian Biggs (2016)
“Another title where I wish I could vote for the whole series! Tinyville Town is amazing – not only is the cast diverse, but these are engaging community helpers books for the tiniest readers, which used to be hard to find. I use the series in storytime often but the firefighter one the most because it has the best vehicle for kids who like trucks, and you get to make siren noises. Plus there’s a dog and spaghetti, both of which kids love! What more could you ask for from a board book?” – Cara Frank, Clermont County Public Library
Sound the alarm! The doggone Firefighter book (part of the Tinyville Town series) beat the friggin’ Librarian book in the series (at #86)! Apparently the fact that this blog is read by librarians means NOTHING to them. Where is your loyalty, people? In all seriousness, though, I’m pleased to see another Biggs inclusion. Ditto the fact that he wrote this title as “Firefighter” and not “Fireman”.
#66 – Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, ill. Marla Frazee (2016)
“Another beloved favorite we’ve read over and over. Even though it’s wordier, Carl loves it. I love how the book goes from babies being born until they turn 1. Love the diversity too.” – Cheryl Gladfelter
Marla Frazee! When you think about it, her most famous children’s book was about a baby (Boss Baby, eh?). She just happens to be naturally adept and drawing them, and this book proves that fact beyond a shadow of a doubt.
#65 – All Fall Down by Mary Brigid Barrett, ill. LeUyen Pham (2014)
“Beautifully illustrated by LeUyen Pham, this multicultural book has a fun rhythm and lots of chances to repeat the ‘ALL FALL DOWN’ refrain.” – Danielle, Ames Public Library
It was a big surprise to me, when I took this home for the first time, to discover that this book is not merely an illustrated version of Pat-a-cake, as the title implies. Danielle, as it happens, is entirely correct about how marvelous that chorus of “ALL FALL DOWN” is, when reading it aloud one-on-one, or to a large group. I always make sure to stress the “DOWN” part of the sentence, making my voice itself tumble down, as if from a great height.
#64 – What Does Baby Love? by Karen Katz (2014)
“I love all of Katz’s lift-the-flap books for babies and I use them in Baby Time often; the babies love seeing the surprises under the flaps.” – Beverly, San Antonio Public Library
Now you didn’t seriously believe you could make it through the rest of today’s list without a single Karen Katz spotting, did you? I should tally up the author/illustrators that are on these lists the most. Who do you think would win when it comes to a showdown between Katz and Sandra Boynton? My money’s on Boynton, but just barely.
#63 – My Friends by Taro Gomi (2005)
“So sweetly Japanese in sensibility.” – Carol
Though the publication date says that this book came out in 2005, I suspect its origin was much earlier since Taro Gomi is usually published initially in Japan. If his style looks familiar to you, you’ve probably encountered his best known work, Everyone Poops, at some point in your travels. This year I recently read his utterly charming The Crocodile and the Dentist (out this August with Chronicle Books) which came out decades ago in Japan and in 1994 here in the States. Be sure to look for it.
#62 – Maisy’s Fire Engine by Lucy Cousins (2009)
“Again, it was so hard to pick just one title by Lucy Cousins, but I use this one in storytime as well, and it ties in both vehicles and community helpers – double bonus!” – Cara Frank, Clermont County Public Library
Well, I’ll be hornswaggled. Maisy made the list! As ubiquitous as tends to be on shelves, I just assumed she’d split her own vote too much. And look! Firefighters again! I sense a theme today.
#61 – Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham (2006)
“Is he a white dog with black spots or a black dog with white spots? Young children relate to ambivalence about being dirty so the format is perfect.” – Emily Schneider
Now there’s a surprise. I do like that publications of this book these days give Margaret her due in terms of the art. Didn’t always used to be the case. I’m curious to see how effective a board book adaptation of this story could be. Must be pretty good or it wouldn’t have made the list, eh?
Top 100 Board Books Poll Results
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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