The Top 100 Board Books Poll Countdown: #50-46
Now that we’ve crested the fifty-mark, I’m going to slow things down a spell and start counting down by fives. Keep your eyes open wide, folks. These next few books are doozies:
#50 – Jamberry by Bruce Degen (1995)
The legacy of Bruce Degen can be nicely sliced into two distinct categories. On the one hand is his longstanding work on the Magic School Bus series (Frizzle then, now, and forever, people). On the other, this book (though I’ll confess I believe his work on Jazzmatazz never gets enough credit). Hope you like berries, because this book is positively rife with them.
#49 – The Babies and Doggies Book by John Schindel, photography by Molly Woodward (2015)
Proof that you can be in this business and think you’ve seen it all while COMPLETELY missing something cool. On the surface, this book appears to be a pretty basic no-brainer. Babies are cute. Doggies are cute. Babies and doggies together are super cute. But it’s not enough to just throw a whole bunch of babes and pups together. You actually have to have a photographer that knows what she’s doing. There’s a reason this book leaps beyond “gimmick” into legitimate classic board book territory. But you’ll have to see it for you yourself.
#48 – Circle, Triangle, Elephant by Kenji Oikawa, ill. Mayuko Takeuchi (2017)
Without the book in hand, it can be difficult to determine if a book is an import or not. That said, I think it appropriate that the same week that my podcast discusses the most popular picture book import from Japan in America, this book also comes up. The creators, as it happens, are an award-winning husband-and-wife illustration team based in Tokyo. Who knew they had such a clever title in them. Extra Bonus: This makes for a particularly funny readaloud. Be sure to really ham it up whenever you get to the ill-placed elephant.
#47 – Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora (2008)
“airs with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Tick Tock Cuckoo Clock” – Mary, Parkway Central Children’s Department
It seems crazy to me to think that this book wasn’t a board book from the start. Yet it started life in 2002 as a picture book, and it really wasn’t until 2008 that someone had the bright idea to render it fodder for the chew-happy. And let me tell you, the critics just fell over themselves in love with this book when it first came out. I think my favorite description of the art came from PW when it penned this chewy, delicious line, “The lustrous organic palette and simple, repetitive text make a cozy combination”.
#46 – Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (1999)
When I was in library school, this was one of the books cited, even at the time, as a board book classic. The book itself is quite old, the original American hardcover dating back to 1979. And, as with other books on our list today, new life was breathed into it when it became a board book. I’m happy to report that Allan is still going strong, producing books to this day. If you haven’t seen his magnificent Goldilocks Variations, you are missing out.
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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