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The Top 100 Board Books Poll Countdown: #35-31

Before we go too much further into the poll list, I want you to look at this little graph I pulled today from my most recent copy of Publishers Weekly. Tell me what you see here:


Did you notice the board book numbers? How they are conspicuously higher than all other types of books? This isn’t a fluke. With every PW I read I see over and over again that board book sales are going up and up and up with no indication that they’re going to fall. To what do we ascribe this? Is it the fact that bookstores like B&N are promoting them more heavily? That more parents know about them? That there are simply more board books flooding the market and meeting needs? If you have any insight on the matter, please let me know.

And now, the list:


#35 – Mommy, Mama and Me / Daddy, Papa and Me by Lesléa Newman, ill. Carol Thompson (2009)



Trust Newman to break down not just the barriers of single sex families with picture books (Heather Has Two Mommies) but board books as well. Before these books came along the only board books I could think of with same sex parents (prior to 2009) was a sweet little Spanish board book series about a kid named Manu. These books helped to improve the situation, and they’re still going strong to this day.


#34 – Ten Nine Eight by Molly Bang (1998)


“Such a sweet bedtime story. Lovely, quiet illustrations.” – Cheryl Gladfelter

The original book actually dates back to 1983. Brilliant to think that even now Ms. Bang is going strong. Why, here in 2018 her latest book When Sophie Thinks She Can’t has gotten all sorts of good reviews. But it was this little counting book (it may indeed be my favorite board book counting book) that many of us know best. I’m just a sucker for the girl’s relationship with her father, and the lovely lilting language. Plus it’s hard to read this and not covet a seashell mobile for your own child.


#33 – Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, ill. Helen Oxenbury (2011)


Wow. It’s been ten years since this book originally came out in picture book form. I remember hearing about it in New York at a presentation when both Fox and Oxenbury were in NYC at the same time. I even wrote it up and while it’s now missing its pictures, the reporting holds. Apparently they spoke at the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature’s 99th birthday of the Children’s Book Committee under the auspices of Lisa Von Drasek. As a publisher once said of it at a librarian preview, when you read this book you feel immediately like you’ve read it before. Like it’s a classic you somehow forgot from your own youth. For my part, I recommend that if you get a board book version, get that big squishy one. It’s ideal for storytimes with groups.


#32 – Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton (2000)


“Still a bedtime request after 2 years.” – Michelle, Waimea Public Library

“It’s hard to pick one Boynton book. They’re all fun. This is a interesting counting book that wraps up a clever way. Plus, love the drawing of hippos going berserk.” – Cheryl Gladfelter

The paperback of this preceded the board book, which is interesting and so of goes against the Boynton grain. I always think of her books as originally out in board book form. Yet lo and behold this book was apparently released in paperback in 1986. Here’s what that cover looked like:


#31 – Baby Faces by Margaret Miller (1998)


This one’s tricky. I found two different editions of Miller’s classic board book, and opted to put the older edition here. But, in all fairness, the more recent 2009 book is probably the one people think about when they think of Baby Faces at all. So let’s put that one up here as well:


Why there aren’t more Margaret Miller books in this world I’ll never know.


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.


  1. Hippie Go Berserk is recited on an episode of ER. ????

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      There is nothing about that sentence that I do not love.

    • ALSO – I remember Hippos Go Berserk from sophomore year of college – so it had to have been published in 1976 or 77. I think I am still word perfect on that book!

  2. Margaret says:

    Hippos Go Berserk was a hardcover before it was a paperback or a board book (Little, Brown, 1977).
    In fact, it would appear to have been Boynton’s first published book of any format. The autobiography on her website says, “And I’ve written/illustrated a lot of books for discerning children, and some other books for peculiar adults. I wrote my first children’s book, Hippos Go Berserk, in 1977 as a January Project while I was still a student the Yale School of Drama.”
    All of which is to prove that she was alarmingly precocious on top of all her other astounding talents.

  3. Jane Venus says:

    Re Board book sales… is it perhaps ( your wonderful list aside) that many more titles are being put out in board book format… regardless of whether that is the appropriate format. I had a Early Childhood educator tell me that her center only buys books in board book format … for all ages because they last longer. It is no longer a format for only toddlers and babies.