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Wow Wow Wibbzy: Board Book Bonanza

January 11, 2012

I’m trying to make a dent in all the new and replacement books that have come in the past four weeks.  Let’s see how I do!

Happy Birthday, Dora! by Diana Michaels does what very few 8×8 Dora The Explorer books do: turn an episode into a (tolerable) book.  If there’s one thing I don’t miss about my daughter being little (besides diapers, not sleeping in past 6am, and about a zillion other things), it’s not having to watch–or, rather, listen to–Dora the Explorer anymore.  Unfortunately, her shrill voice is now stuck in my head forever.  This book deviates from the usual formula because it’s Dora’s birthday, and Dora’s birthday means a day off from “backpack, backpack,” ridiculously long pauses, and even Swiper’s swiping.  Kids who love Dora will of course love this, but parents who can’t stand the show can probably make it through this one a lot easier than the others.

Richard Scarry’s Egg in the Hole is my least favorite Richard Scarry yet.  There are some clever ideas here–the fuzzy hole in the books, the loop around the pig’s curly tail, but the mouse’s declaration of (spoiler!) the birth of the chick is just plain worded poorly.  [Super sarcasm paraphrase!] “Something great happened!  Your egg fell and cracked and broke!”  [Pause for crying babies.]  “No, don’t worry, it’s a chick now!  Isn’t that great!”  [Baby psychologist bills start to pile up.]

And usually I love me some Scarry.  As I recently said to my co-worker, it’s probably more nostalgia than anything else.  AND we got in my all-time favorite when I was little, but that’s a story for another day.  It’s all board books this time!

It seems odd to be critical of a board book, and yet “critical” is the right word for how I feel about DK’s Flapastic First Words by Charlie Gardner.  First issue is the foam pieces on the apple on the cover.  I was expecting something foamy inside, and I was disappointed.  Second issue was that the flaps use related words to the question asked of the page’s scene, but I think what would work better is a little bit busier of a scene (not much!) and a find-it with the words.  For example, one page is of a teddy bear in front of a clothesline and asks “What does teddy wear?”  The answer is “Sweater,” but the flap says “What other clothes do you see?”  I thought the pictures would all be from the clothesline, but they aren’t.  That makes no sense to me.  Seek and finds are awesome, even simple ones like that could be.  Still my gripes are minor.  DK does what it does, and the pictures and colors are crisp and words will be learned.

Corduroy’s Party is probably my favorite of the “Corduroy is devoid of humans” board book series.  It’s simple and it’s fun and, for a second, I forgot that Corduroy originally belonged to someone, not lived in a creeptastic world of sentient stuffed animals.  I made my roommate put away her stuffed animals.  They were on the couch and the bookshelf, staring at me.  And yet I still keep my teddy bear around in my room.  I don’t know.

Eric Carle’s The Secret Birthday Message is a book I’m going to have to check out in large form too.  I’ve read some of the others, but not this one before.  It’s die-cut and super-cute, although I hope it’s got a little more content when it’s not a board book.  The surprise at the end is a bit of a downer though.  What an expression!  I love the idea of Eric Carle more than the art of Eric Carle.

Busy Gorillas by John Schindel is soooo cute!  I love gorillas, and your child will too.  The words are simple, similar but not quite rhyming (“Gorilla laughing/gorillas dashing”), accompanied by photographs.  My prediction is that children will be surprised to see how many expressions and actions are the same as our own.

 I have more but I’m out of time!  Maybe tomorrow…

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