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Inside A Fuse #8 Production

The Top 100 Board Books Poll Countdown: #5 – 1!

We did it!

We really and truly did it. You voted. The votes were tallied. And now we’re finishing up the last remaining titles on the Top 100 Board Books Poll Countdown. Some of you have asked if this will appear in a nice printable format, so I’ll work with SLJ to see if we can’t make that happen. Until then, enjoy the last remaining books. I know I sure as heck have.


#5 – Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (1999)


One of the best ever lift the flap books, perfect for building suspense and engagement! – Gesse

The absolute favorite of both my children, this one has flaps and animals. How can you go wrong!? – Danielle, Ames Public Library

How indeed? Campbell’s classic was possibly the first board book I encountered when I took my library science courses in grad school. It has had a steady staying power ever since its early days as a standard picture book. The board book adaptation just made good clean sense after that. Plus, those little flaps have always been oddly sturdy, all things considered.


#4 – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr., ill. Eric Carle (1996)


(The Version with the sliding panels.) – Dani

(the sliding windows one) – Allison Knight, Dayton Metro Library

I think this was the only time that folks made very clear that there was a specific version of this book that should be included on this list. If you are looking for this exact edition, the ISBN is 031250926X. Carle’s classic book has been around for decades, but the board book adaptation was particularly choice. I used to perform this during my toddler storytimes and remember the near uproar I caused the week I tried to switch it out with Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? Never made THAT mistake again!

#3 – Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton (1984)


I love sharing Boynton books with young people and this is one of my favorites. The pattern of: “expected thing, expected thing, expected thing, unexpected thing!” is just HILARIOUS to toddlers. – Gesse

the “oops!” gets the reader every time!– Paula Guiler, Greentown Intermediate School

This made my son (and myself) laugh every time. You can see here:

– Elisabeth

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what’s the most popular Sandra Boynton title of all? You’re looking at it, toots. It’s the only book on today’s list that wasn’t a picture book first, and for that reason it may well be my favorite inclusion here today. Quite possibly the world’s most perfect board book.

#2 – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1994)


What can I say? We love the colors, the art, the way the pages get larger and smaller. Such a classic. – Danielle, Ames Public Library

This is one of my favorite picture book stories whether in board book or hardback format, because it teaches young children so many things in one book. – Beverly, San Antonio Public Library

My sister and I discussed this book on our podcast, when rating classics. I maintain that what it does is near perfect. It’s a counting/seasons/colors/healthy eating / life cycle of a butterfly book. And it has cool holes you can poke your fingers into. Amazing.

#1 – Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, ill. Clement Hurd (1991)


The oversized lap edition is perfect. The dream-like atmosphere and bold colors make this size something like watching a play for the youngest readers. – Emily Schneider

Because it should be here.​ – Paula Guiler, Greentown Intermediate School

We read this story as part of our bedtime routine every single night. We’ve had it memorized for months. I love watching him flip the pages back and forth between the colored page and the black and white illustrations. We also have two cats (one is now deceased) named White Cat and Brown Cat. The illustrations has one cat that’s mainly dark colored and one that’s white. We always say Goodnight White Cat, Goodnight Brown Cat when we read (even though White Cat is no longer with us). – Cheryl Gladfelter

And there you have it. This feels familiar. When I conducted my picture book poll back in the day, this and Hungry Caterpillar wrestled for the top spots there too. If you can find the lap edition, it’s well worth it (though I fear it’s out of print these days).

Thanks for reading!


Top 100 Board Books Poll Results









#35 – 31






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. Julie Green says:

    Thank you for doing this series!! I have absolutely loved and looked forward to each post, and my 7 month old has greatly enjoyed his bursting home library!

  2. Laura Reed says:

    Only one board book in the top 5!?! The rest are picture books first, board books second. I am board book snob and I just don’t agree. In my mind, Black & White by Tana Hoban will always be number one, followed by any Boynton book. My two cents. 🙂

  3. I so agree about Blue Hat, Green Hat! (I love the other two, but they aren’t true board books.) But what a classic that one is! It helps that we had it when my 30-year-old child was small. But it really is that good.

  4. So interesting to me to read the comments regarding “true” board books vs board books that were first picture books. Does this issue have anything to do with age appropriateness? How well do board books compare to the picture book equivalent? Surely board books are more durable for the very young. Just curious to learn more since I do not have personal experience with board books.

    I hope someone has time to discuss my questions.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      It’s an interesting question. I did consider including a requirement in the parameters of the poll early on stating that the book had to start its life as a board book and not a picture book. Yet there are so many picture books that I honestly think work better as board books. Freight Train and Goodnight Gorilla come immediately to mind. Maybe “better” isn’t quite the right word here, but the literary world would be a poorer place without these particular iterations.

  5. Megan Kelly says:

    My summer reading goal with my son was to read everything on this list –our interlibrary loan van has gotten a workout and we have gained many new favorites. Thanks for sharing! (Sorry about the Comic Sans comment–I really do love Boynton!)