I would like to give a special shout out to Chronicle Books for their generous donation of peek-a-baby farm, Pigs in a Blanket, and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Dump Truck's Colors. I'm always happy to feature board books sent directly from publishers on my site and it's always such a pleasure to receive new titles that I haven't heard of before! Thank you, Chronicle Books!
1. peek-a-baby farm by Mike Orodan
This book! When I opened the package my first reaction was, wow! Using creamy greens, red and redish-oranges, buttery yellows, and if you look closely I'd say purples and black, the color pallet sets the stage for what seems to be a trending new type of board book (let's call it the minimal pallet trend).
While many beautiful board books use a wide array of colors, I love the idea of keeping the color pallet to a minimum for the littlest book-absorbers in order to allow them to see each page as a whole, as opposed to being distracted by one bright object after another (which is not to say that that's a bad thing, but rather a different style of board book).
Mike Orodan's minimal pallet, to me, is a natural next step for children in the 6-12 month age range who may have been used to looking at black and white board books as infants. Illustrators like Nikki McClure, Laura Weston, Bastien Contraire, Loren Long, (Otis series) and Julia Groves come to mind as other artists who also use a minimal color pallet on each page in their board books.
With high praise for the illustrations, the text is also impeccably rhythmic and reminds me of the text from Anna Dewdney's Little Excavator. From rabbits to cows, pigs, sheepdogs, horses, and a donkey, the farm is busy with animals and their babies. "Rooster and hen make a proud little peep. Peek-a-baby chicks hatch! Cheep, cheep, cheep!"
2. Pigs in a Blanket by Hans Wilhelm
I never cease to be amazed by board book design creativity. The two opening flaps to Pigs in a Blanket are held together by a magnetic clasp which, in my opinion, adds a certain excitement factor to the beginning of the book. As three little pigs go through their day, they're an energetic bunch and they like to play! From pigs in wigs, pigs in tutus, pigs in aprons, pigs in rain boots, pigs in costumes, and pigs in robes, these little pigs have had a busy day! Three little tired pigs are ready for bed. "Pigs in pjs brush their teeth. Pigs in a blanket go to sleep!" Goodnight, pigs!
3. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site Dump Truck's Colors by Sherri Duskey Rinker
In anticipation of Three Cheers for Kid McGear! which releases in September, I thought I'd include Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site Dump Truck's Colors. In keeping with Sherri Duskey Rinker's other Goodnight, Goodnight Construction site books, Dump Truck's Colors maintains its rhyming rhythm as dump truck goes about his day surrounded by blue sky, gray truck smoke, brown rocks, red landscape stone, yellow sand, green pipes, and other colorful items down in the construction site.
My only hesitation towards the book is that I found the highlighted, color-coded text a tad distracting as a reader and adds little value to the age group for which the board book is intended. A two year old, for example, wouldn't be interested in, or notice the highlighted color names on each page. A four year old, on the other hand, might be interested in noticing and reading the color names but if I purchased this book for my four year old I'd likely buy the hardcover copy, not the board book.
Many board books are abridged from their original hardcover sibling and I think Dump Truck's Colors is an instance where I would have liked to have seen a hardcover edition and a board book edition---the hardcover edition with color-coded, highlighted text, and the board book edition without.
However, you can never go wrong with a Sherry Duskey Rinker book. She has created a magical world of construction vehicles (along with illustrators Tom Lichtenheld, A. G. Ford, and Ethan Long) that will be remembered and cherished for generations!