31 Days, 31 Lists: 2019 Board Book Reprints & Adaptations
Why spend an entire day discussing reprints and adaptations in the board book genre? Well, it all goes back to the fact that these books consistently sell well. And when something is a success, publishers will try very hard to take advantage of that fact any way that they can. You can hardly blame them. Still, the fact of the matter is that only some picture books truly work well when adapted to a board book format. I think we’ve all seen those adaptations that try to cram too much text into too little space (I call it the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Problem). I also like to include on this list those books that have been out-of-print for a while and have come back. Sometimes they were originally board books. Sometimes they weren’t.
Last year I had 19 on the list. This year I only seem to have 12. Now what does THAT say about the state of board books today? Probably that I’m getting pickier as I age.
2019 Board Book Reprints & Adaptations
Apple by Nikki McClure
Nom nom nom nom nom.
I’m sorry. I’m supposed to say more than that, aren’t I?
Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs, ill. Shane W. Evans
Awww. Nice to see this one return in a new format. Now I’m as skeptical of celebrity written picture books as the rest of you, but I did like how Diggs wrote this title. It isn’t the only self-esteem-about-your-skin book out there, but it may be one of the very few now available to the youngest of readers. And that’s not something to ignore.
Egg by Kevin Henkes
Of course it makes sense to board bookify (is that the term?) all the recent Kevin Henkes titles. Though he did have a middle grade novel out this year, for the most part his recent work has been very much on the younger side of the equation. And while I don’t feel that a lot of picture books benefit from the board book adaptation method, this is just perfect. They pushed this one out around Easter (clever dogs) but honestly you can promote it any old time of the year.
Giggly Wiggly Playtime Rhymes by Michael Rosen, ill. Chris Riddell
I don’t know if it got a lot of attention here in the States, but I was quite fond of Rosen & Riddell’s 2015 collection of original rhymes, A Great Big Cuddle. You know I’m a big fan of a book if I keep a copy for myself, and that one has a place of honor on my son’s bookshelf. Initially I didn’t recognize that the rhymes in this book were just lifted from that one, but it didn’t take long to figure out. The selection is a good one. The youngest stuff has been adapted very nicely into a board book of original rhymes. Good for those of you searching for new bouncy rhymes for very small tykes.
Good Night, World by Willa Perlman, ill. Carolyn Fisher
I know it’s just a sweet bedtime book but the title, even when it was a picture book, always struck me as a little dire. “GOOD NIGHT, WORLD!!!” Morbid thoughts aside, this is lovely. Fisher’s art, all swirls and deepening colors, is paired perfectly with Perlman’s lilting text. There’s a lot for little eyes to look at on these pages (always a plus) and at the back you even get sixteen different ways of saying goodnight in other languages (with pronunciation guides to boot).
Mamá Goose by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, ill. Maribel Suárez
I was quite surprised to hear that this book came out originally in 2004, but that was right at the beginning of my librarian career, so maybe that’s how I missed it. I’m very pleased to see Hyperion putting it out again in a board book form. Bilingual lullabies (nanas) are expertly paired with Suárez’s gentle art. The trick is in the translation, of course. And I can attest that the English versions of these rhymes are top notch. They work beautifully, so that you could read both the English and Spanish, just the Spanish, or just the English, and the book holds up no matter what. Kudos for this reprint.
Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz, ill. Eda Kaban
Perfect. I loved the picture book version of this when it was originally released, so this just makes perfect sense. And it’s such a good adaptation (the font is big enough and there isn’t anything lost in the art) that I half wonder if this book was intended to be a board book from the very start. Ideal for storytimes (I can attest from firsthand knowledge that it sings aloud very well, though you should probably practice the ending beforehand) and great for all those little truck-obsessed hooligans that come through your storytime doors.
Over the River and Through the Wood: A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Maria Child, ill. Christopher Manson
Apparently this came out as a board book originally in 2007 but has since fallen out of print. I pretty much pull the full picture book version of this out every year and subsequently subject my children to my overly enthusiastic rendering of the song. What I like so much about this version (aside from the art) is that it doesn’t skimp on the verses. One of the problems with adapting a picture book to a children’s book format is that there aren’t enough words to justify the 32 pages. This song, however, has all sorts of stuff going on. And, as Manson figured out, you can basically fill these pages with what the sleigh is seeing and passing as it winds its way to grandma’s.
Press Here by Hervé Tullet
I should probably write more than that.
Really, the only question in my mind right now is, “Wait… Press Here wasn’t a board book before 2019?” Nope. Why is that? Easy answer. It was selling too well in the picture book version. So Chronicle Books bided its time, waiting until sales slipped. Ah, they’re going down slightly at long last? Let’s roll out the latest edition, this time in board book form. In my home we’ve adored Tullet’s “The Game Of” board book series for years. To have this book in a board book form just feels like he’s coming home.
Red Sled by Lita Judge
Oh, I remember this book! It originally came out as a picture book in 2011 and it was a real delight. A nearly wordless story told with fun sound effects (it’s really hard to go wrong with a good “Gadung, Gadung, Gadung, Gadung”) and lots of visuals. There’s not a lot to it plotwise. Kid (with a red hat) has a sled. It gets borrowed by the local woodland animals at night. Then the kid gets in on the fun. Note the use of the red with both the hat and the sled. This adapted very smoothly to its board book format, losing little in the transition. One of the more successful adaptations. It’s part of S&S’s “Classic Board Books” series, by the way, which is one of the rare series to make a point of highlighting picture book to board book adaptations.
You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, ill. Melissa Sweet
You know, I think I like this book even better as a board book than I did as a picture book. Nothing appears to have been lost in the transition from large to small format. I like the gentle rhymes (“sandy shores” with “upon high tors” is nothing short of inspired). Plus, full confession, I’ve a weakness for bird books in general. Go figure.
Interested in the other lists? Here’s the schedule of everything being covered this month. Enjoy!
December 1 – Great Board Books
December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations
December 3 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books
December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds
December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books
December 6 – Funny Picture Books
December 7 – CaldeNotts
December 8 – Picture Book Reprints
December 9 – Math Books for Kids
December 10 – Bilingual Books
December 11 – Books with a Message
December 12 – Fabulous Photography
December 13 – Translated Picture Books
December 14 – Fairy Tales / Folktales / Religious Tales
December 15 – Wordless Picture Books
December 16 – Poetry Books
December 17 – Easy Books
December 18 – Early Chapter Books
December 19 – Comics & Graphic Novels
December 20 – Older Funny Books
December 21 – Science Fiction Books
December 22 – Informational Fiction
December 23 – American History
December 24 – Science & Nature Books
December 25 – Unconventional Children’s Books
December 26 – Unique Biographies
December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books
December 28 – Nonfiction Books for Older Readers
December 29 – Older Reprints
December 30 – Middle Grade Novels
December 31 – Picture Books
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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