The Top 100 Board Books Poll Countdown: #60-51
I don’t like to pick favorites but the ten books featured on the list today might well be my favorite board book run of this series. I mean, where else are you going to find animals of the Native Northwest, imports, picture book adaptations, high contrast titles, and books with removable components?
#60 – Jane Foster’s ABC by Jane Foster (2015)
“Simple text, but sophisticated in illustration and concept. Also love the cities (especially the Washington DC one—being on the outskirts of northern Virginia with many DC commuters in our community, it’s one of the most popular ones.)” – Jennifer, Fauquier County Public Library
Illustrator and UK-based textile designer Jane Foster figured out something that some designers haven’t. If you’re going to write a book for children that utilizes clean lines and classic design elements, make it a board book. Here, Jane’s style pops and fills the page. You practically want to print her images out and frame them. Nice to see one of them on our list here today.
#59 – I am Dreaming of . . . Animals in the Native Northwest by Melaney Gleeson-Lyall (2017)
“I love the bright colorful illustrations! This book makes me so happy!” – Elizabeth Sweeny
In 2011 I was in Stratford, Ontario putzing about in the various little stores they have there. While doing so I stumbled on some of the absolutely jaw-droppingly gorgeous Native Northwest board books that Canada seems to do so well, and that America simply doesn’t do at all. This particular board book features illustrations from 10 Northwest Coast Indigenous artists. Gleeson-Lyall lives in Vancouver and is a Coast Salish, Musqueam writer. The book is particularly keen for baby and toddler storytimes because each animal is has an action that kids can replicate.
#58 – Good Night, Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson (1992)
“Oversize; pairs with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” – Mary, Parkway Central Children’s Department
Does the name Cheryl Willis Hudson ring any bells? It should. After all, she’s the vice president and editorial director of Just Us Books, an independent publisher of black-interest books for children and young adults. But you may have seen her name most recently because of an upcoming anthology We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, out in September. Long before she was editing in this fashion, however, she was a prolific author. This is just one of her many books. I’m pleased as punch to see it showing up on our list today.
#57 – Tickle My Ears by Jörg Mühle (2016)
“Just irresistible. Who doesn’t want a book that teaches a child how to put someone–one’s self, obviously–to bed?” – Carol
You know, when I initially began this board book polling endeavor, I was worried that all the submissions I’d receive would be strictly American. Instead, I’ve been happily surprised by the sheer number of imports I’ve come across. This German import (not French, for once) is as good an example as I’d be able to come up with for including as many international board books as possible here.
#56 – Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (2012)
“A masterpiece of poetry and illustration made available for young children without cutting out essential words or images, as board books sometimes do.” – Emily Schneider
Ah, Madeline. While the board book adaptation of the classic picture book does away with those epic endpapers and gorgeous scenes of Paris, it does a pretty decent job of keeping the storyline understandable and coherent. I’m always a bit curious about the reasoning behind putting Caldecott Medals on board book adaptations. In this form, the book never would have won such an award. Should it be allowed to sport the Medal then? Food for thought.
#55 – Tubby by Leslie Patricelli (2010)
“It was so hard to pick just one title from her baby series, but this is the one I use in storytime the most. The best part is that parents find this one funny, which is rare with board books. I can’t give enough love to this “everyman” baby who is gender-neutral, funny, sweet and relatable – this baby has it all! Leslie absolutely deserves the #1 spot.” – Cara Frank, Clermont County Public Library
So this one time I’m working in the Central Children’s Room in the main location of NYPL when who should walk in the door but Leslie Patricelli herself. Her book Higher, Higher had just come out and I believe it had been reviewed in the Times that very week. Thrilled, we asked her to sign the guest book. I don’t think she ever would have introduced herself, but her friend told us who she was and we were grateful for it. Thank you, oh friend of Leslie Patricelli!
As for Tubby, it’s now also available in a Spanish/English edition!
#54 – 10 Minutes Till Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann (2001)
“perfect timing, great humor, so much to look at, zillions of fur-babies!” – Paula Guiler, Greentown Intermediate School
Peggy Rathmann is the Gary Larson of children’s books. It’s not often that an author/illustrator leaves the scene at the height of their popularity, but such was the case with Ms. Rathmann. Fortunately, she produced enough book fodder that we can rejoice in this title showing up on our list today. As with all her books, there are loads of small details, alongside some pretty cute and cuddly tiny creatures.
#53 – Black and White by Tana Hoban (2007)
“(accordion-style)” – Allison Knight, Dayton Metro Library
Meet the board book that almost single-handedly raised my baby children. As Allison mentioned here, it’s an “accordion-style” book. That means, you can open it up and park it in front of a baby’s growing eyes. I used to put my babies on the ground and then surround them with high contrast board books. By gum I was going to get them into books, one way or another. I wouldn’t call this a library book, but for new parents you’d better put it on the MUST HAVE list.
#52 – Give and Take by Lucie Félix (2016)
“My daughter loves how interactive this one is. Too fiddly for library circulation though.” – Michelle, Waimea Public Library
I like Michelle’s choice of words here. “Too fiddly” is precisely correct. This book contains removable elements i.e. little cardboard pieces that come out and go back in. That kind of format wouldn’t pan out in a library, but recall that I didn’t name this the Top 100 Board Books for Library Shelves poll. All board books must be taken into account at the end of the day. And this beauty really does belong on as many shelves as possible.
#51 – Clive and His Babies by Jessica Spanyol (2016)
“I love Clive. All of his books are great, but I especially love this one, both for showing a young boy being nurturing and kind and because my daughter loves her babies just as much!” – Danielle, Ames Public Library
Clive! My new favorite board book hero. He has so much working in his favor. One: He is named Clive. Have you ever met a toddler with the name of Clive? Wouldn’t you want to? Two: Clive upsets gender roles like there’s no tomorrow. In this book he’s tending to his babies. In a different one he’s pretending to be a nurse. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again : You go, Clive!!
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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