2017 Board Book Finalists

Bears Are Big
by Douglas Florian,  illustrated by Barbara Bakos
little bee books
Nominated by: Jennifer W

What happens when an award-winning poet writes a board book? Douglas Florian, as in his poems for older readers, calibrates each word in this small book for our youngest of readers. On the surface, the story is a common one for board books, a story of animal opposites, but while the words admit differences, paradoxically the illustrator perspicaciously hints at the ways the animals share the world contentedly.. Bears Are Big is a delight with brilliant bursts of color on every page, lovely clever and surprising text, and a gentle message of peaceful coexistence.

Deb Nance, Readerbuzz

Changing Faces: Meet Happy Bear
by Nathan Thoms, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
Harry N Abrams
Nominated by: Charlotte

Meet Happy Bear by Carles Ballesteros enthralls young ones as they watch the panels slide and see Happy Bear’s expressions change. The interactive participation to make the bear happy again is a roller coaster ride of emotions, but is ultimately satisfying. The adorable expressions on Happy Bear, the sense of empowerment by being able to make the bear smile, and finding what Happy Bear really needs makes for a delightful and exciting read for young readers.

Tiffa Foster, The Picture Book Review

Circle, Triangle, Elephant: A Book of Shapes and Surprises
by Kenji Oikawa and Mayuko Takeuc
Nominated by: Tiffa




This hilarious shape book approaches shapes in a fresh, unique way. Surprises throughout break up the pattern of shapes and provoke laughter because they are so unexpected. The book helps babies and toddlers recognize shapes and colors, and also notice what doesn’t belong. Simple, bright and cheerful illustrations only enhance the kid-like text. This is a fantastic read-aloud that will be read and re-read!

Kirstine Call, ReFoReMo

Hair (Leslie Patricelli board books)
by Leslie Patricelli
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: aquafortis

Hair, by Leslie Patricelli, is one that you will be asked to read again and again, and you won’t mind! Patricelli’s bold illustration style brings to life a simply drawn baby in need of a haircut. Literally, one haircut. As the baby takes us through the emotions and steps of getting that first haircut, you won’t be able to resist laughing. That single curly hair grows to hilarious lengths! Toddlers on the verge of a first haircut will be given a chance to rehearse the process, and toddlers that have experienced getting a haircut in a salon will enjoy the connection as they point out all the things they did just like the baby in the book.

Nicole Levesque, Bluestocking Thinking

One Happy Tiger
by Catherine Rayner
tiger tales
Publisher/ Author Submission

One Happy Tiger is, indeed, one happy tiger. Readers can’t help but smile back at his quietly pleased expression as he explores the jungle, taking time to notice the smaller creatures along the way. Not simply a counting book, this pretty little board book explores adjectives such as thoughtful, watchful and curious as well. Illustrations are simple enough to catch a baby’s eye – the bold tiger on a pastel background – yet make a pleasant change for parents from the usual cartoony board book illustrations. One that we think parents and libraries will be happy to keep on their shelves for years to come!

Ami Jones, A Mom’s Spare Time

Peek-a Moo!
by Nina Laden
Chronicle Books
Nominated by: DLacks

With all the fun of the classic game of peek-a-boo, Peek-A-Moo takes babies to the farm. The brightly colored illustrations complement the creative rhymes and the small size of this book is just right for little hands. Small windows cut into the pages allow babies and
toddlers to predict what’s coming next. This is a book little ones will want to read themselves, again and again.

Andrea Mack, That’s Another Story

When Your Lion Needs a Bath
by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Little Simon
Nominated by: Julie Rowan-Zoch

Exploring the funny things that might result when your lion needs a bath, this 26-page board book is sure entertain little ones and older ones as well. While dealing with a simple and intriguing concept of dealing with your pet lion, it also reads like a picture book. In addition to its engaging antics, it offers delightful illustrations and most importantly, a fun read for all (no matter what age they may be).

Lynne Marie Pisano, My Word Playground