The Top 100 Board Books Poll Countdown: #15 – 11
I always like to include the publication dates of each of these board books when I present them on my lists. I do this partly because I’m interested in watching what constitutes a “classic” board book. If a book was originally a picture book and then was converted to a board book later, is it more likely to end up on this Top 20 list? Can we pinpoint a “boom time” in board books where the quality went through the roof? Some of these questions will have to wait to be answered until we have more data. Other questions, however, will be answered in today’s results. Let’s see if you can parse them:
#15 – Yummy, Yucky by Leslie Patricelli (2003)
It’s hard to pick a Leslie Patricelli book, but this is probably my favorite. – Gesse
When last seen, Leslie Patricelli’s genderless baby cropped up on this list at #55 with the book Tubby. A good book to be sure, but it is clear that the board book that the most hearts and minds gravitate towards has to be Yummy Yucky. Don’t yuck my yum, folks. This truly is a great book.
#14 – My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Grey Smith, ill. Julie Flett (2016)
Sweet, with beautiful illustrations by Julie Flett. The children in this book are clearly Native American and First Nations, which is unusual in picture books and board books. I’ve loved cuddling with both my babies as we discussed what makes us happy. – Danielle, Ames Public Library
I’m so proud of my readers. Years ago when I conducted polls for children’s novels and picture books, the number of titles containing Native characters was zero. On this year’s board book poll we’ve seen that number far outstripped, and at least one such book appears in the Top 20 on today’s list. Flett has been an artist to watch for a while, and if she looks familiar to you then that’s because she was last seen at #39 for Richard Camp’s Little You.
#13 – Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins, ill. Eric Gurney (1998)
This book has amazing rhythm to share with babies and toddlers. Not only is it fun, but think of what it’s doing for their phonological awareness! – Danielle, Ames Public Library
Because I’ve been reading the chant since my son was a speck. Because I have kept bumping up my GoodReads rating until it is now 5 stars. Because it sometimes feels like the refrain is my heartbeat. Because our second copy is in tatters after only 8 months. – Megan Kelly
The original book may have come out in 1973 but this Perkins/Gurney joint is still going strong. My mother and I have a long and ongoing debate as to whether or not this book was read to me as a child. I know it must have been, since the phrase, “dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum” has been tattooed onto my very gray matter. And now, if I have my way, I’ll engrave on the brain cells of my own children. Too catchy to ever be left alone.
#12 – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, ill. Helen Oxenbury (1997)
I first heard this tale in the dark around the campfire. Who doesn’t love making mud sounds and saying “swishy-swashy”? – Elisabeth
I think the general rule with “Bear Hunt” is that if there is a version that can be produced out of the original then it SHALL be produced out of the original. Honestly I’ve lost track of all the iterations of this book over the years. The puffy large board book. The pop-up book. The puzzle. The one where you could pull tabs and change the scenes. I’ve yet to see one set to music, but surely that’s just around the corner. Honestly, the regular old board book edition is the most innocuous of the bunch, and perhaps the most effective. True, you don’t necessarily get that emotional punch of seeing the bear walking away by moonlight that’s in the picture book version’s endpapers. But for storytimes, this one really cannot be beat.
#11 – Peek-a-Who! by Nina Laden (2000)
A hit with babies – Michelle, Waimea Public Library
And an excellent example of what I consider a genuine grassroots board book, at least in terms of its popularity. This is the kind of book I’d like to see more of. The one that parents recommend to parents, librarians bring up regularly in storytimes, and booksellers rediscover periodically. Since its release it has spurned many sequels, but for me the original is always best.
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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