KidPages: 6 Board Books for a 1-Year-Old

Jun 2, 2015

6 Board Books for a One Year Old

Last week, Clark had his first birthday. Talk about fast. Sometimes I catch myself looking for Clark-the-baby, and I realize with a start that he's Clark-the-toddler now. He wrestles with his brothers and laughs hysterically at their slapstick humor. He has opinions on what he will or will not eat. He thinks he is capable of doing anything he sets his mind to.

He is not yet to the stage where he will sit quietly on my lap and listen to a stackful of stories (but I'm trusting that, just like with the other boys, it will come). However, he already seems to have an attachment to books. He loves to sit on the floor and page through them. He likes to pick them up and carry them around. Sometimes he even sits for a few moments and lets me point things out to him (those are the times that give me the most hope for the future).

In honor of his birthday, I thought I'd share six of our favorite board books. I'm using the classification "board book" rather loosely to encompass any book with sturdier pages, even if they're not an eighth of an inch thick. I wish I could say these are all destroy-proof books, but they're not (do such books exist? Even the Indestructibles don't stand much of a chance against the mighty skills and tenacity of a one-year-old). However, I feel pretty confident in saying that these books will be well-received by even the hardest-to-please little ones.

6 Board Books for a One Year Old

1. Simms Taback's Farm Animals, Simms Taback
Even though I'm specifically mentioning Farm Animals here because it's the one I just bought Clark for his birthday, we love all of these giant fold-out books. (The first one we read in this series was City Animals, which came out when Aaron was just a baby.)  Each page is a "Who am I" guessing game. At first you can only see a quarter of the picture, along with the first clue ("I have a snout"). Then the page unfolds to reveal more of the picture and the second clue ("I have a curly tail"). Finally, it unfolds the rest of the way to reveal the entire, large-scale picture. I'm not a fan of books that are so mammoth in size a child can barely hold them up. But I love this one because you get the big pictures that are the main advantage of a big book, but then it all folds down into something quite manageable.

6 Board Books for a One Year Old

2. I Say, You Say Colors!, Tad Carpenter
I should start with the disclaimer that soon after I checked out this book from the library, I heard a loud rrrrrip from the living room and found Clark with the first flap in his hands. (Of course we were one of the very first patrons to check it out.) So this one doesn't win sturdy points for sure. But I love the bright illustrations. And I think it's a fun one to read aloud: "I say apples, you say . . . RED!" (P.S. There are several more books in this series.)

6 Board Books for a One Year Old

3. In My Jungle, Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich
Okay, I admit it. I don't love this book for the words or the pictures or the size or the length. In those respects, it's nothing special. The one and only reason it made it onto this list is because I'm a sucker for the finger puppet that pokes out through the middle of each page. I like wiggling it around and making it talk to Clark. And the good news is that if you also fall prey to the cuteness of the finger puppet, then there are many more books in this series for you to check out!

6 Board Books for a One Year Old

4. Animal Spots and Stripes, Britta Teckentrup
A lot of Britta Teckentrup's books fall into the board book category, and I love pretty much all of them. Clark got this one for Easter, and I love the way the cutout page opens up to reveal either the spots or the stripes, but I also considered getting Odd One Out or Run Home, Little Mouse or Up and Down. I'm telling you, you just can't go wrong with Britta Teckentrup.

6 Board Books for a One Year Old

5. I Spy Pets, Edward Gibbs
This is I Spy for the very youngest reader. Each page shows you a small part of the animal through a cutout circle while giving you a couple of hints: "I spy with my little eye . . . something with bumpy skin. (I like to snap up insects.)" Then the next page reveals the entire animal: "I'm a Chameleon." (As you can see, the pets featured in this book are not limited to just your standard cat and dog.) Also, find me a child who doesn't delight in peering through a hole in a book. (And if you like this one, then be sure to check out the other books in the series.)

6 Board Books for a One Year Old

6. Swing!, Rufus Butler Seder
Even Mike can't resist this book. It uses a technique called scanimation so that as you open up the page, it looks like the figure is moving: hitting a ball or riding a bike or doing a cartwheel. I don't really know how it works (it has something to do with a striped layer over the top that, when moved across the page, shows you different parts of the image), but the effect is mesmerizing. Each sequence looks very realistic. (If you want to know more about the process or see more of his books, check out Rufus Butler Seder's website.)

Those are some of our current favorites. What are some of yours?

P.S. For more of our favorite board books, check out these posts from the past:


  1. These all sound great! I'm going to check these out and perhaps add a few to read aloud to my kids this month. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, this is going far back for me! I remember That's Not My Train, which had different textures on each page, and started us off on a long journey of train fascination. Also, some book that had pictures of babies in dinosaur costumes that my little guy adored.


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