Boardbook Bonanza: A Look at Four Upcoming Titles From Randomhouse Books For Young Readers

I was sent the following delicious boardbooks for review and because I have a 3 year old niece, I tried them all on her to see how she liked all of them. No nieces were harmed in the writing of this review. Can’t say the same for my eardrums. My niece found the monster trucks hilarious for reasons I can’t fathom. Anyway, on to the short, snappy reviews.

The first title is I Am a Monster Truck by Dennis R. Shealy and illustrated by Bob Staake.

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NB: The edition under discussion is not a golden book but I couldn’t find a cover of the Randomhouse edition which doesn’t have the golden border but it does have the same cover.

The boardbook is pretty simple and is mainly the monster truck discussing his monster truckiness and the his racing and you know, destroying other weaker cars who cannot live up to his majesty. Mudenstein (yes, the mosnter truck has a name) also talks about his friends in the demolition derby and it’s all great fun. This is one of those books whose success depends majorly on the delivery of the story when it’s read out loud. There are plenty of opportunities for sound effects and the vivid art will keep your kid’s attention even if they’re not otherwise interested in the story. My niece doesn’t like cars unless they’re crashing (she’s a strange one) and they crash a lot in this book. All in all, this book promises a lot of fun for both the caretaker and the child. It’ll be available in bookstores on January 12th.

The next one on the pile is Noah’s Ark by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Christopher Santoro.

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The best thing about this one is how the 30 flaps included in the book allow the child to interact with the book and make the reading experience much more tactile than it would be. The story is not overly religious in tones and in fact can be told simply as a tale if you’re not the religious. My niece adores an animals and she had a lot of fun flipping back the flaps to reveal the. The art is bright and I particularly liked how the flaps show characters and animals in prior action thus inserting an unexpected skein of humour into the otherwise straightforward story. This, too, is available on January 12th.

The next one is my niece’s favourite and I totally understand why.

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Shhh! This Book is Sleeping by Cedric Ramadier and Vincent Bourgeau allows the child to put the book through the same questions that they face every time they go to bed. I don’t know about your kids but getting my niece to bed can be an Olympic sport on some days and having this book to question (Have you brushed your teeth? Have you gone pee-pee?) helps. I found this approach refreshing and innovative in the way the reading experience encourages interaction with the book. By presenting the book as a character (equivalent to a child), the reading experience changes and I dare say the evolves in a certain way. I found this book to be charming and as I said, Zara adores it. This, too, will be available on January 12th and if you need help sending your monsters to bed, this may help.

The last one of the lot is my favourite simply because it so beautifully written and drawn.

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Love You, Hug You, Read to You! by Trish Rabe and illustrated by Frank Endersby is an ode to the relationship between parents and children that is sustained and perpetuated by the time shared when the children are read to. Using various animals to portray the parents and children, Endersby creates warm, cozy images that evoke a sense of home and safety that all children should have in their lives. The writing, too, is in rhyming verse and adds to that sense of childhood. This book is just so gorgeous and would make an amazing gift to your children, grandchildren or any other children not in isolation but as a promise to read together. The art, as I mentioned, is amazing:

Love You, Hug You, Read to You! is available in bookstores now.