Showing posts with label board book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label board book. Show all posts

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit


The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson illustrated by Eleanor Turner (Frederick Warne) HB RRP $16.99 ISBN 978-241352885

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is a small board book based on the original tales of Beatrix Potter and illustrated in the same style as the famous author/illustrator. Peter Rabbit is in trouble for knocking mincemeat onto his burrow floor so is sent to his Aunt’s to fetch a cup of suet. On the way he catches up with his cousin Benjamin Bunny who is also in trouble. While they are playing, along comes William the turkey. The two boys reveal to him that Mrs McGregor, the farmer’s wife, is planning to bake him for Christmas dinner.
What follows are (unsuccessful) ways in which the rabbit cousins try to hide William. When Mr McGregor comes into the yard waving a cleaver, he is unable to find his turkey so has a turkey-less Christmas dinner.

This is a simple story with a happy outcome which is sure to be enjoyed by young readers. It is most suitable to be read by an adult to children aged 3 to 5 years.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Peppa Pig Digger World


Peppa Pig Digger World (Penguin Books) HB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9780241321133

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is a heavy-duty board book with thick cardboard wheels which rotate when turned. Peppa and George are visiting Digger World where they are welcomed by Mr Potato. Both Peppa and her brother George play on diggers in the sand pit filling buckets of sand. Then they go on the next ride to use soft building blocks to build a world which qualifies them as digger drivers. On the way home they help real digger drivers to build a wall. However, Peppa pushed the wrong button and the wall collapses. No worried. Dad says, ‘Building things up, then knocking them down – it’s all part of the fun with diggers!’

This simple, fun story is told in five double-page spreads which, like all Peppa books, are brightly coloured with simple illustrations. Sure to be a hit with readers aged 3 to 5 years.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

At the Zoo I See

At the Zoo I See by Joshua Button, illustrated by Robyn Wells (Magabala Books) HB RRP $9.99   ISBN 9781925360455

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

I have a newly acquired attraction to board books.  From a literary viewpoint I have seen them evolve and become much more focused on the importance of both visual and written language and At the Zoo I See by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells displays this.

In this book we are introduced to nine animals that could be seen at the zoo – a mix of native and exotic animals; a macaw, a quoll, a jaguar, an anteater, a wombat, an elephant, a lion, a gorilla and a cassowary.

What makes this book work is the combination of the adjectives used for each animal and the expressive illustrations -- they just made me smile and enjoy this book so much more. Written text is extremely important because it introduces children to infrequently used words and word combinations and the visual text confirms this and gives a secondary view of the meaning – Joshua and Robyn have synergized this well.

And all this is contained within a few pages of a board book suitable for children from newborns up to kindergarten age.  

Brook Tayla writes a blog called [email protected] and would love you to drop by, read some reviews, leave a comment and follow by email so you get to receive all the latest reviews.


Saturday, 1 April 2017

Squares & Other Shapes

Squares & Other Shapes with Josef Albers (Phaidon) HB RRP $14.95 
ISBN 9780714872551

Reviewed by Stephanie Ward

Focused on Albers’ modern series Homage to the Square, the second book in the First Concepts with Fine Artists series, Squares & Other Shapes, introduces young readers to shapes. From wobbly rectangles to sunny side up squares and bouncing circles, the most basic shapes are highlighted within Albers’ modern masterpieces.

Seeing various types of shapes in different formats creates a unique learning opportunity for the youngest readers. Squares sit within squares, circles come in many colours and sizes and triangles are oblong as well as flattened to reinforce the concepts of shapes. In addition, the back page with facts about Josef Albers life allows adults to expand on the lesson with information about the artist and his art.


These early concept board books are the first two in the First Concepts with Fine Artists series from Phaidon featuring famous artists and their art. It’s fantastic to see beautiful artwork re-imagined in a context suitable for the youngest eyes and in a way that helps them take their first steps into the art world. The next title in the series entitled Birds & Other Animals with Pablo Picasso will be published in Spring 2017.


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Baby Dance by Katrina Germain, illustrated by Doris Chang (Raising Literacy Australia Inc) HB
ISBN 9780994385321

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This book was sponsored by an Australian organisation with an early intervention literacy campaign educating parents to read to their children from birth. The Little Big Book Club was officially launched in 2005 and in the following year, 20,000 families across the state with a baby aged 0-12 months were given the first free 'reading pack for babies'.

A board book with rounded corners for babies to handle safely, Baby Dance has one or two lines on each page starting with ‘Baby hears, baby beat/Baby steps, baby feet’. Its first pen and wash illustrations are of a wombat, followed by other Australian animals such as a cockatoo, anteater and marsupial mouse. Each of the actions described is something any baby does, such as yawning, peeping, waving and blinking. Thus a parent reading to his or her baby can perform the actions as the words are read aloud – a great bonding experience!

Simply worded, designed and illustrated with lots of white space, this is an ideal book to share with a child from birth to two years.




Monday, 16 January 2017

Making Up

Making Up by Jan Ormerod, illustrated by Freya Blackwood (Little Hare Books) HB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9781760128999

Reviewed by Liz Ledden

Making Up is a short board book consisting of a tale extracted from Ormerod and Blackwood’s picture book Maudie & Bear.

Feisty Maudie takes offence when Bear laughs at her dancing. Bear explains he is laughing with her rather than at her; however, Maudie is quite a strong-willed little character and doesn’t accept this. Bear is gentle yet persistent in attempting to coax Maudie out of her bedroom and make amends, until he finally comes up with an idea to bring them back together.

The contrast between petulant Maudie and patient Bear captures the irrational moments of the toddler and preschool years. It also suggests the endless love of a parent or carer, even in the face of difficult behaviour. Maudie is a flawed and very real character, who reflects the emotional highs and lows experienced by the two to five year old set, the book’s target market. Blackwood’s gentle illustrations capture the moods evoked in the story beautifully.

Other books in the series include The Bike Ride, with further titles to come in 2017.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Atlas of Miniature Adventures

Atlas of Miniature Adventures by Emily Hawkins, illustrated by Lucy Letherland (Quarto Children’s Books) HB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9781847809094

Reviewed by Daniela Andrews

‘Big things get a lot of attention’ …

… So this pocket-sized reference book instead sets out to celebrate the ‘mini marvels’ around the world. It features tiny animals and plants, tiny model villages, tiny toys and tiny countries.

The information is presented by continent. Each section opens with a double page, highly illustrative map, featuring small icons to depict the locations of the small wonders unique to the region. The icons are accompanied with some brief, explanatory text. There is a small inset showing the continent’s location on a world globe. Some selected small-scale wonders on the map are presented in more detail in the pages that follow. (Curious readers will no doubt go away and research the others!)

There is an interesting selection of miniature marvels presented in extra detail, such as Berlin’s glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course, South Korea’s tiny teddy bears, San Francisco’s itty-bitty postal service and Australia’s desert goby fish. These double-page spreads always feature two insets – one showing a map with the item location, and another with either a fun fact about the item, or a useful illustration to show the item’s scale.

The book closes with a fun ‘Can You Find?’ section, featuring miniature picture cut-outs and prompting readers to go back through the book to spot them.

Lucy Letherland’s coloured ink, detailed illustrations in this book are fantastic – there is so much to look at on every page. (Even the endpapers are a feast for the eyes!) This is a great educational book for readers aged 7 and up.



Monday, 7 November 2016

Cheeky Animals

Cheeky Animals written and illustrated by Shane Morgan (Magabala Press)
HB RRP $9.99 ISBN 9781925360431

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

This board book for very young readers is narrated in a simple and happy way. The protagonist is a traditional, indigenous Australian who finds himself in funny and playful scenarios with a variety of Australian animals.

The text uses rhyme and repetition to engage readers, with couplets that begin with ‘Look at the....’ which introduces the reader to each animal and ‘See the....’ which shows the protagonist engaged in a funny way with that animal. 

The illustrations bleed from edge to edge and on each double spread there is a scene which is boarded. I would have preferred it to be more consistent with the left side that introduces each animal, but this does not take away from the story. Shane Morgan uses a simple, desert colour palate with simple but expressive drawings.  The animal smiles when they trick the protagonist are cheeky while at the same time endearing.  The illustrations have a cartoonish feel about them and could be seen as a child’s very first and basic introduction to comic books and graphic novels.

I love the size of Magabala board books because they are perfect for little hands and laps and they are also light weight and durable enough for multiple re-reads.

This board book will bring smiles to those who read it and I’m sure will lead to discussions about what other animals would do. This is a great book for extended adaptations.

Brook Tayla writes a blog called [email protected] and would love you to drop by, read some reviews, leave a comment and subscribe.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Animals in My Garden

Animals in My Garden written and illustrated by Bronwyn Houston (Magabala Books) HB RRP $9.99 ISBN 9781925360448

Reviewed by Brook Tayla

In this board book readers are introduced to counting from one to ten in numbers and words with corresponding pictures and names of Australian animals.

The front cover is appealing with a selection of animals amidst fauna, but it is upon turning the first page that you are really drawn into a very tactile and engaging counting adventure.

Bronwyn Houston’s illustrations lure you to touch the pictures: I have run my finger along the snake on page one many times (and I don’t like snakes!) She presents semi-camouflaged animal groups of various sizes, against very bright garden backdrops, which works really well.  It encourages touching, pointing and finding the right amount of animals. It is the interplay of these techniques that encourages learning and makes it fun at the same time.

The first thing I noticed about this board book was its design.  The size is perfect and it is light - yet sturdy enough for the repeated and rough use associated with very beginner readers.

This board book is suitable from birth to pre-school level and I can see it being read over and over again. It would appeal to all children in this age bracket and be a favourite with parents, early childhood carers and kindergarten teachers. 

Brook Tayla writes a blog called [email protected] and would love you to drop by, read some reviews, leave a comment and subscribe.



Thursday, 3 November 2016

Little Faces: Don’t Wake the Tiger!

Little Faces: Don’t Wake the Tiger! by Carles Ballesteros (Quarto Children’s Books)  HB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9781784936242

Reviewed by Daniela Andrews

Oh no! You woke the tiger! Quick, turn the page …

This little board book features charming Venetian page movements, giving young readers a bit of a giggle as they watch themselves ‘accidentally’ wake each jungle animal with a simple page turn.

The story features bright, colourful illustrations and is quite playful. Readers are asked to tiptoe past the tiger, panda, lion and elephant without waking them up. Though the text encourages children to get involved, the illustrations also feature a monkey to take responsibility for waking up each animal. Circular cut-outs cleverly frame the sleeping animals on the right, and the monkey on the left.

My toddler loves turning the pages in this book and watching the animals’ expressions change, over and over again. At the end of the book, the tiger, panda, lion and elephant are all awake … but the monkey has fallen asleep. The ending didn’t faze my toddler as he wasn’t so involved with the story. My older children (aged 3 and 5) were a bit confused – they wanted to continue the pattern of the story and wake the monkey too!

For this reason, I’d recommend the book for those aged 3 and under. It’s a great book to read aloud and enjoy with young children. And if the older ones are listening too, and want an ending that’s a bit more interactive … try asking them if they’re still awake, then tickle them when they pretend to be asleep!



Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Little Faces: Meet Happy Bear

Little Faces: Meet Happy Bear by Carles Ballesteros (Quarto Children’s Books) HB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9781784936259

Reviewed by Daniela Andrews

Oh dear … How can we make Happy Bear happy again?

Young readers will be fascinated with the Venetian movements in this little board book, allowing them to watch the bear’s frown change to a smile with a simple page turn. The story follows a simple, repetitive pattern while teaching basic emotions – the bear feels worried, angry and sad and the reader must turn the page to make him happy again.

The playful text encourages children to involve themselves in the story. How will they make the bear happy again before turning the page? My 5-year-old chimed in with some creative ways – ‘we could make him a vegemite sandwich!’ My giggly 3-year-old was making funny faces at the page. My 20-month-old was so fascinated with being able to control the facial expressions that he simply wanted to turn the pages back and forth, over and over. In the story, it’s actually Little Mouse who is responsible for cheering up the bear, which did confuse my older two kids at first. (After all their efforts, they’d rather the text congratulated them, not Little Mouse!) Regardless, it’s a fun little book that’s great for reading aloud to children.

The illustrations are bright and colourful. Circular page cut-outs cleverly frame the bear’s face on pages to the right, and Little Mouse to the left. My 20-month-old enjoys playing peek-a-boo through these cutouts too, thus adding another interactive element to the story. This book will mainly appeal to kids under the age of three and the Venetian movements so far seem quite sturdy in the hands of my page-turning toddler! 




Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Creation

The Creation written and illustrated by David Miles (EK Books) HB RRP $14.99   ISBN 978-1-939629-55-5

Reviewed by Elizabeth Vercoe

If you like your Creation stories with ‘lift and look’ foam flaps, then this tiny offering may be just the ticket.

The Creation is a colourful foam board book which manages to distil into 10 simple pages what religious folk have grappled with for thousands of years – the first seven days of earth’s creation, as represented by the Christian bible.

Kudos to author and illustrator David Miles. The book is quite delightful, with interestingly shaped panel pieces to ‘pop out’ using tiny fingers (and only tiny fingers will do the job well, as I found out the hard way with my big fat damage-y ones!).

‘The creation took seven days, but your child will love this book forever.’

A bold claim which may or not have its basis in truth – however it is certain that the colour and simplicity of the book will appeal to small people.
If you are open to the authority of the biblical voice, then this is a delightful go-to book for sharing with a cuddle, or for quietly exploring alone.


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Swap

The Swap written by Jan Ormerod, illustrated by Andrew Joyner (Little Hare Books) HB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9781760128760

Reviewed by Liz Ledden

Winner of the CBCA Book of the Year in the Early Childhood category (2014), The Swap has been released in board book format.

Little Caroline Crocodile is jealous of her baby brother and the attention he receives. The more Mama Crocodile gushes over him, the more jealous Caroline becomes. The illustrations build on the text, with Andrew Joyner’s depictions of Caroline cleverly conveying her emotions. When Mama Crocodile heads into the Hat Shop to swap a hat that’s not quite right, Caroline gets an idea. She takes her brother to the Baby Shop, and attempts to swap him for some other animal babies. However, their cute features belie an array of difficult traits, leading Caroline to take another look at her baby brother.

The Swap examines sibling jealousy in a really fun way, with highly engaging characters, and a big dose of humour and mayhem as Caroline interacts with all the potential replacements for her brother. A heart-warming, satisfying conclusion rounds the story off perfectly.

The Swap would make a wonderful gift for a toddler or pre-schooler grappling with the arrival of a sibling. This new format’s sturdy, square-shaped pages are perfect for little hands, allowing the longevity this timeless tale deserves.


Saturday, 20 December 2014

There’s a Hole in my Bucket

There’s a Hole in my Bucket [with CD] illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Scholastic Australia)
HB RRP $12.99 [Board book]
ISBN 978-1-77543-234-0
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

There’s a Hole in my Bucket is a board book version of the well known song of the same name. In this book, the long-suffering Liza is depicted as an often grumpy goose, while dear Henry is a happily goofy goat.

The illustrations throughout this board book are delightful. Henry keeps getting distracted by all manner of things – like a clothesline full of clothes – and Liza, who starts off cheerful, gets more and more frustrated with him.
The text dances along the pages, echoing the playfulness of the lyrics and the humour is wonderfully alive in both the words and pictures.
This is a fun and attractive board book for both babies and their older readers.
Along with the board book is a CD which is performed by New Zealand comedians the Topp Twins. They sing with wonderfully goaty and goosey voices to great effect.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Wheels on the Bus


The Wheels on the Bus [Board book] The Wheels on the Bus [Board book] illustrated by Mandy Foot (Lothian/Hachette)
BB RRP $12.99
ISBN 9780734413116
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

This great little in-house board book offers a new slant on the ever-popular nursery rhyme/song. The driver and passengers are all Australian fauna, and Mandy Foot's bright and quirky artwork tells a great story.

The cute Wombat bus driver is taking his passengers on a trip around Australia. At Coober Pedy the wheels get stuck and help is needed from Kangaroo. In Tassie, Joey, chased by a Tasmanian Devil, is hoping the doors of the bus won't shut until he is aboard. At Bondi Beach a surf-lifesaver koala is on duty and Emu is eager to step out of the bus to go for a swim, but Kangaroo is keen to hop back in the bus...

There is plenty more fun and action throughout the book. Toddlers will laugh at the bus becoming water-borne on the Great Barrier Reef where the wipers certainly need to swish a lot. In the outback the emu family find the track especially bumpy, and when the baby emus and joey start to waah! their mothers are quick to shhh! them as the bus crosses a Darwin creek full crocodiles.

Young readers will enjoy singing the song, naming the animals, and looking for the green gecko on each spread. The music score is found on the end page while a map of Australia on the inside cover shows all the destinations, lending a further educational aspect to this delightful board book. 

Friday, 28 January 2011

I Like Peas

I Like Peas by Lorena Siminovich, illustrated (collages) created by Lorena Siminovich (hardie grant EGMONT)
HB RRP $14.95
ISBN 978-184877382-0
Reviewed by Lillian Rodrigues-Pang

I Like Peas is a touch and feel board book for children aged one and above. This board book is one of a series based on nature called ‘petitcollage’ other titles in the series include I Like Bugs and I Like Fruit. The book has a natural feel with a wooden finish on every second page.

I Like Peas presents a simple depiction of opposites. Lorena Siminovich uses vegetables and the vegetable garden to demonstrate above and below (carrot), inside and out (peas), short and tall (corn) etc. She employs warm colours and includes a touch and feel section on every two-page spread. The textures are presented in a range of shapes for little fingers to discover and play with.

The illustrations are large enough for little eyes and hands and the colours whilst warm contain variety on every page. I’m fortunate to have a two year old who is enjoying this book very much. In particular she likes putting her fingers into the pea shaped holes to feel the fabric beneath. I am happy as it presents vegetables that she doesn’t always enjoy eating – maybe this will help?