So what do we mean when we say “Board Book Adaptations” exactly? Well, you’re probably familiar with the phenomenon of taking a picture book and chopping it down into a board book When this is done poorly the end product is strange and squished. The most egregious example of this might be the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs board book. With a long text appropriate for older readers, the type is tiny and even if you could read it you’d bore the toddler on your lap almost instantaneously.
That said, some board book adaptations from picture books are dead on the money. Today, we celebrate those adaptations in 2016 that really went above and beyond the call of duty.
2016 Board Book Adaptations
Black? White! Day? Night! by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Actually, Ms. Seeger released a bunch of her books in a smaller, more board bookish format this year (Lemons Are Not Red, One Boy, and Walter Was Worried). My favorite, however, remains this one. A perfect little blending of lift-the-flap playfulness with some pretty stellar art.
Digger Man by Andrea Zimmerman & David Clemesha
Actually, I have a bone to pick with this one You know that insidiously clever thing publishers do when they’ll put the book jackets of related titles on the back of the book you’re reading to a kid? And then the child will insist with all kinds of whines and moans and groans that they absolutely 100% MUST have the other books, and why aren’t we going to the library RIGHT NOW to get them? I’ve been there. And I’ve been there because of this book. This feels like it should have been a board book in the first place, but that’s okay. There is an advantage to looking at the other two books in the series (Train Man and Fire Engine Man). I now can draw the connections between the toys on the hero’s floor (including the rainbow astronaut) from book to book. Check it out. You’ll see what I mean.
Edible Colors/Edible Numbers by Jennifer Vogel Bass
Utterly beautiful produce photographed against a white background. Lois Ehlert may have cornered the market on alphabetical produce, but clearly colors and numbers were still up for grabs. Great adaptations.
A Kiss Means I Love You by Kathryn Madeline Allen, photos by Eric Futran
Of all the books on this list, this was the one I was literally waiting for for years. A Kiss Means I Love You (an insipid title that belies the brilliance inside) came out originally in 2012 when I my daughter was a one-year-old. Naturally, the moment my second child grew old enough to appreciate books with thinner pages, that was when the board book version was released. It doesn’t matter. Run, don’t walk, to give it to a baby you know. And, while you’re at it, also by the companion board book (also out this year) Show Me Happy, by the same author/illustrator team.
Night Owl by Toni Yuly
Yuly has a style that was born for board books. When Night Owl was first released I liked it just fine, but I think I actually prefer it in its current board book incarnation. It just makes good clean sense.
Numbers by John J. Reiss
I think this constitutes the oldest book on this list adapted to a board book format since the original came out in 1982. I’d love to know the sheer amount of work that went into this adaptation. Did they find the original art? Did they just get a book, scan it, and touch up the art’s brightness on a computer? No idea. Just a lovely product in the end.
Sing by Joe Raposo, ill. Tom Lichtenheld
Of the books on this list, this is the one you can actually sing. It was always a little too short to truly work as a picture book. As a board book it’s a much better fit. La la la la la . . .
This Train by Paul Collicutt
I need to find the original picture book just to double check, but this book made for an ideal adaptation. The limited word count, incredibly bright and beautiful pictures, and sheer swath of different kinds of trains works. Be sure to also check out this year’s board book of This Plane, by Collicutt too.
Whose Shoes? A Shoe for Every Job by Stephen R. Swinburne
When Tana Hoban died she left a great big concept-book-gap in the marketplace. You can only reprint her books so many times before they get dated. That’s why I’m eternally grateful for books like this one. Shoes + occupations = a winning team.
Interested in the other lists of the month? Here’s the schedule so that you can keep checking back:
December 1 – Board Books
December 2 – Board Book Adaptations
December 3 – Nursery Rhymes
December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds
December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books
December 6 – Alphabet Books
December 7 – Funny Picture Books
December 8 – Calde-Nots
December 9 – Picture Book Reprints
December 10 – Math Picture Books
December 11 – Bilingual Books
December 12 – International Imports
December 13 – Books with a Message
December 14 – Fabulous Photography
December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales
December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year
December 17 – Older Picture Books
December 18 – Easy Books
December 19 – Early Chapter Books
December 20 – Graphic Novels
December 21 – Poetry
December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction
December 23 – American History
December 24 – Science & Nature Books
December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Titles
December 26 – Unique Biographies
December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books
December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books
December 29 – Novel Reprints
December 30 – Novels
December 31 – Picture Books