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The Top 100 Board Books Poll Countdown: #45-41

The other night I saw the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? about the life and work of Mr. Rogers. So much of the film discusses the emotional life and development of small children and I was continually struck by the fact that while I understand that the focus was on television and televised entertainment, there never seems to be any talk about books. Maybe that’s changed since the 1950s and 60s, though. Maybe discussions along these lines are now conceding the role board books play with small children. Certainly today’s books can speak to the emotional needs of the young, to a certain extent. And what better book to do so than our first today:

#45 – The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (1991)


This is one of those books that give one momentary pause, wondering if the intended audience is indeed the child reader or, instead, the adult who needs that bit of reassurance about perpetual, sustaining parental love just as much as their kid does. Kate and I delved deep into that topic on one of our episodes of Fuse 8 n’ Kate, so check it out in case you’re looking for, not answers exactly, but a discussion certainly.


#44 – Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton (2000)


Maybe after the last Top 100 Board Books post you found yourself thinking, “Gee. I haven’t seen a lot of Sandra Boynton in a while”. Consider that problem corrected today. A board book shelf won’t be lacking in bedtime fare, but I think it’s fair to say that one more book on that topic never hurt.


#43 – Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara (2015)


“I think A is for Activist gets recommended more often, I actually like this one better. Largely because it’s trying to do a lot less. It’s only counting to 10 and only has one line per number (as opposed to the 3, 4, and more, line sections for many of the letters in the alphabet book). I like the way it gently introduces ideas like urban farming but not every page is capital-A Activisty — there’s also sidewalk chalk and making music.” – Elizabeth Sweeny

Early in the poll results we saw a plethora of different activism titles. Nothing much has resurfaced in that vein until now. I was very pleased to see this book get numerous votes on the poll. And, along the same lines, I’m a little ashamed that this is the first I’ve heard about it.


#42 – Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss (1996)


Some Seuss adapts to board book forms better than others. Generally, I tend to avoid the board books that tackle his wordiest subjects (like If I Ran the Circus) and his longer easy books (like Cat in the Hat or even Green Eggs and Ham). His easy books that relied less on plot and more on interstitial ideas, like this one, are in many ways the most successful.


#41 – Whose Toes Are Those? by Jabari Asim, ill. LeUyen Pham (2006)


Now don’t panic if you find that the original 2006 edition is out of print. I have just seen that there is a new edition of this book scheduled for publication from Little, Brown in 2019 and it’s with a slightly different cover, like so:


Good thing too. This is the second time the Asim/Pham duo has made this list, and we’d want to make sure all of their books were ready and accessible to readers.

Top 100 Board Books Poll Results









About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.