Never Bored – Board Books for Babies

Little books for little hands to grasp. Big world concepts for small minds to soak up. Board books are often baby’s first introduction to the relationship between sound and words and pictures. They also represent a delightful extension of love between parent and child as their worlds widen. These next few board books ensure these shared reading experiences are both entertaining and memorable.

At the Zoo I See by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells

This is the first in the Young Art board book series by young Indigenous Australian artists. Home grown and little hand worthy, it is a brief but merry parade of animals you might find at the Zoo. Some you’d have to look hard for, like the ‘prowling quoll’ and ‘queenly cassowary’ chicks, others are more immediate and recognisable like the ‘surprised lion.’

Button’s stripped bare text is spot on for toddlers and two year olds but includes some jolly adjectives to keep little minds tuned in and turning. I love Wells’ painted and ink illustrations – expression plus! Collect them all for your 0 – 4 year-olds.

Magabala Books February 2017

The Thank You Dish by Trace Balla

Meal times at our place are often a mixed plate of dedicated eating, distracted concentration and animated conversation. The Thank You Dish draws on these around-table -scenarios as one family sits down to enjoy their meal.

Grace, appropriately named, begins to give thanks for the various food stuffs she spies on her plate. There are some rather abstract references such as praise for kangaroos. Her mother questions her seemingly disassociated references, receiving a logical answer each time.

‘Why would you thank kangaroos?’ asks Mama.

‘…for not eating all the carrots,’ said Grace.

As the meal progresses, a show of thanks is given for the famers, alpacas who provided the wool to knit the scarf that kept Uncle Fred from freezing as he caught their fish, road workers who built the roads enabling transportation of goods to market and so on.

The Thank You Dish is a fun, delightfully drawn nudge at kids to think outside of the box or plate as it were; to be truly grateful for the food on their plates and the zillions of small acts that contribute to it getting there in the first place. It’s a story of gratitude and sharing with the encompassing notion that food is the heart and soul of a community and thus should be revered.

A powerful pocket sized picture book, fun for pre-schoolers but suitable for older readers as well.

Allen & Unwin March 2017

The You’re Series by Shelly Unwin and Katherine Battersby

Oh, those first five years of a child’s life, how they sweep by, each day a miracle, each birthday a momentous, memorable milestone. Throughout each new year of baby’s life, so many small but wondrous discoveries take place. Many of them are divinely captured in Unwin’s debut picture book collection, The You’re Series.

Five buttery looking and feeling board books describe in gorgeous rhyming verse all the wonder, curiosity and excitement experienced by youngsters (and their besotted parents) throughout their early childhood years. Each tummy tickle, new step, fresh experience (like puddle splashing!),  bike ride, new friendship and so on paint a happy picture from which to draw on your own ‘first time’ memories.Far more than just number inspired, counting books (although the gentle nod to numeracy skills is fabulous), You’re books are true keepsakes.  One and Two are genuine board books; thick sturdy pages will defeat the most dedicated page rippers. By Three, solid board gives way to robust paper pages, which along with the more refined text, acknowledges the developing child and their increased ability to comprehend and appreciate the importance of their age. By age Five, the concepts are more sophisticated and pre-school pre-emptive; we are introduced to the five vowels and five days of the school week for instance.

Battersby’s illustrations, an addictive combination of drawings and collage, are superbly character driven and oozing with cute appeal. I love the whole package, all five of them! The You’re Series was released as a complete five book collection so would make the perfect gift pack for expectant parents or indeed singularly at any point of pre-school age celebration. And the best bit? Each gorgeous compilation ends with a tender reminder to enjoy the age that you are now, ‘take it nice and slow’ as we’ll never be that age again.

Allen & Unwin May 2017

 

Published by

Dimity Powell

Dimity Powell likes to fill every spare moment with words. She writes and reviews stories exclusively for kids and is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. Her word webs appear in anthologies, school magazines, junior novels, as creative digital content, and picture books. Her junior novel, PS Who Stole Santa’s Mail? debuted in 2012. The Fix-It Man is her first published picture book with EK Books in 2017. Dimity is a useless tweeter, sensational pasta maker and semi-professional chook wrangler. She believes picture books are food for the soul and should be consumed at least 10 times a week.

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