Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baby board books go Big

Daughter Lucy and I were in Prairie Lights Books last week and I noticed a re-issue of The House in the Night- the Caldecott picture book winner from a couple years ago. It's now in board book form, but it is immense- thick as an Iowa pork chop, maybe two inches or more. Regard the middle photo- I have one of Sandra Boynton's classic board books on top for comparison. AND, other new board books close by were equally as chunked out. Not for little hands anymore. Then, also very weird to me is a new thing called a "lap book", which is a board book but a standard PICTURE BOOK size, like 14" by 16". Lucy is holding another re-issue, of Goodnight Moon. Lovely as a small board book, but this new lap book rendition is gi-normous. They are odd, because they are too heavy for a child to open easily themselves. And that is part of the charm of a board book. What gives? Board books should be one of the last genres- if ever- to go digital, as they are meant to shared with the very young and give these smallest of "readers" a chance to explore Story on their own terms. But I'm not sure if making bigger board books is all that good a trend. Maybe making picture books these extreme size board books- morphing the two kinds of formats- will give them both more staying power. What will the face of story-telling look like for the youngest in the next few decades?

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