Over the past months, my one-year-old son and I read all 175 board books available at our local library. (Read reviews of them starting here!)
This post gives you the top 10 board books from the entire project, not counting classics. Goodnight Moon, It Looked Like Spilt Milk, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? and others are of course fabulous, but you’ve already heard of them. Since the point of this project was to discover new books, I’m not including classics in the top ten.
Drum roll, please!
… you’re not doing it, are you?
With or without a drum roll, I present the best board books my local library has to offer!
10. My Dad Is the Best Playground by Luciana Navarro Powell
Dad is a swing, a climbing wall, a seesaw, and more. A fabulous father’s day present, honoring active dads everywhere.
9. Baby Dance by Ann Taylor, illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden
Baby’s crying, so Daddy dances with her. This one is very simple and short, but I was struck by how perfectly the illustrations capture Baby’s emotions. This book gave me feels. Read it and see if it gives them to you, too.
8. Ollie by Olivier Dunrea
Ollie the gosling doesn’t want to hatch. Gossie and Gertie try everything to make him come out. It’s funny, it’s cute, and the story has a great message about stubbornness, conveyed in terms toddlers will understand.
7. Tall by Jez Alborough
Bobo the baby chimp wants to be tall, so he climbs on progressively bigger animals, until he falls and Mommy saves him. With minimal words and lively art, this book is an easy read that still conveys a touching, funny story.
6. Sleepy Beasties by Neecy Twinem
These “Beasties” books are simple in content, but the art is the best we’ve seen in this series. Vivid, rich, and beautiful. Sleepy Beasties was the first one we reviewed, but I recommend them all.
5. The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli
Baby plays with his birthday present – a box! Clever, funny, and with simple art that draws baby’s eye.
4. What’s Wrong, Little Pookie? by Sandra Boynton
Pookie is crying, and Mama tries to guess why. By the end, Pookie can’t remember what upset him. Excellent rhyming and meter, with a hilarious ending.
3. Bizzy Bear Pirate Adventure by Benji Davies
A short book with sliders that move parts of the page around. Its excellent construction foils attempts by little fingers to tear off the moving pieces. There’s an entire series of these, so check out the ones that appeal most to you.
2. Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash! by Suse MacDonald
A look-through book that layers multiple cut-outs to make colorful, vivid illustrations. Also, you can turn the book around at the end and read it backwards, seeing even more cleverly layered cutout art. All this in a counting book. Brilliantly conceived and executed.
1. Little Owl’s Day by Divya Srinivasan
We saw this book in week 2 of the project, yet it still stuck with me. The art is beautiful. The story is fun. The concept is brilliant. Everything about this book is fantastic, and that makes it our number one read for this project.
There you have it! The top 10 board books, chosen out of 175 titles. I hope you’ve enjoyed this project and found a few new books to add to your own collection.
Have your own board books to recommend? Share them in the comments!