Before having a little one of my own, I did not know a lot about board books, nor did I spend a lot of time reading or looking through them. Yes, I ordered them for the library and I would, almost on a daily basis, recommend them to new parents. And I would explain to said new parents that this type of book was durable, easy to wipe off and thanks to its size, good for small hands to manipulate, but I did not put a lot of thought into what was actually happening story-wise, or illustration-wise inside the books. However, after many hours of reading board books with my little one I have discovered that not all board books are created equally. Some are heads above the competition and tops on my current favorites list is the Bizzy Bear series from Nosy Crow publishing.
Currently, there are four Bizzy Bear titles available, Let’s Go and Play!, Let’s Get to Work!, Fun on the Farm and Off We Go! The library owns multiple copies of each of them, so I have been fortunate to read all the titles numerous times. My little one’s favorite is Bizzy Bear: Off We Go, but they are all wonderfully creative. In Off We Go, Bizzy Bear employees various modes of transportation and on the final page ends up relaxing aboard a sailboat.
While the story in each book is clever and the illustrations are bright, engaging and depict things that children can relate to their own lives, the best parts of the books are the movable elements—pull out tabs, sliders, and in Off We Go, a fancy, roundabout that features a turnable wheel—and the heavy, duty construction of the pages. I have no idea how the books are constructed to be so sturdy, but I can attest to the fact that they will stand up to heavy abuse. Trust me, my little one loves Bizzy Bear—so much so that all I have to do is start reciting Bizzy Bear, with or without the book, and crazy fast crawling to my lap ensues—and is not gentle when “reading” the stories alone.
Fans will be happy to know that there are two more titles that feature Bizzy Bear—Pirate Adventure and Fire Rescue—due out in January of 2013. You can bet the library will be getting multiple copies of both titles, but due to their popularity, you might want to place a hold on them soon.
I cannot say enough great things about Bizzy Bear—he is akin to a rock star in my house. Also, please note, that I owe a big thank you to Betsy Bird, fellow librarian and big-time School Library Journal blogger for my introduction to Bizzy Bear. Her blog, where she offers a full review of one of the Bizzy Bear titles, plus some other board books, can be found at http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/afuse8production/2012/04/23/board-books-2012-what-works-what-doesnt/#_.