Our Top Ten Tastiest Board Books by Kathy Anne Cowie

It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I truly appreciated board books. I’d collected picture books since I was old enough to buy them, so I had quite a few by the time I was in my 20s. (Possibly related to why I didn’t get married until I was almost 35…but that’s a story for a different blog.)


The first time I watched helplessly as my beloved toddler dragged my book across the floor with only a corner of a page grasped tightly in her grimy fist— a hard-covered. dust-jacketed, Caldecott winner — I finally understood the allure of the board book. So durable, so easy to hold, to tug on, to use when building a fort. So… tasty!


My daughters loved to flip the pages of their board books, loved to hear the stories when we read them aloud, and most of all, they loved to chew on them. We would push their double stroller along the sidewalks of our town, and the girls would take advantage of our distraction by teething on a book. When admiring glances turned to concern, we would stop, feign surprise, then gently pry the dampened book from a surprisingly fierce grip, saying, “ah, they just love books!”


In the years since, I have tried without much luck to winnow down our various picture book collections. Well, theirs, at least, because mine are in slightly better shape. But those scrappy board books keep missing the cull, and I come across them now and then in a big old basket we used to keep when there was still a baby’s room in our house. These books are beloved, and on any given day, if someone in my house were to call out, “Each peach, pear, plum…” you would probably hear an answer, “I spy Tom Thumb!” immediately after.


These are the books we still choose when we are asked to bring a book for a baby shower, or recommend for a special gift. There are newer, flashier ones (we have been known to buy the Romeo and Juliet from the Little Master Shakespeare series for certain hipster babies), but these ten will never let you down. They offer a special kind of magic, and, for my daughters at least, their first real taste of great literature.






The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry,

and The Big Hungry Bear

Written by Don and Audrey Wood

and illustrated by Don Wood




Time for Bed

Written by Mem Fox

and illustrated by Jane Dyer


 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Written by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault

and illustrated by Lois Ehlert




 The Going to Bed Book

Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton




 Good Night, Gorilla

Written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann




 Guess How Much I Love You

Written by Sam McBratney

and illustrated by Anita Jeram



 We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Written by Michael Rosen

and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

But Not the Hippopotamus

Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton




 Pat the Bunny

Written and illustrated by Dorothy Kunhardt




And our favorite, which always invites audience participation,





Each Peach Pear Plum

Written and illustrated by Janet and Allan Ahlberg





Kathy Anne Cowie is proud to be a member of the Nerdy Book Club. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and piles of books. She is a partner at  c-squared design, a graphic design firm, and a business book reviewer for a John Wiley & Sons journal. Connect with her on Blah, Blah, Blah, Book Blog, Twitter (@KathyAnneCowie), or with the rest of her family and friends on Goodreads