“U is for Underwear” – Christopher Franceschelli, Alphablock
The Alphablock board book is totally my jam. The fact that it’s the first in a series of 4 adorable board books, makes me want to do a happy dance! Why do I love thee? Let me count the ways! One, the colorful, modern but retro illustrations are incredible. Two, the peekaboo cutout illustrations match up on both sides of the pages even though the pictures are different. Three, my kids love guessing what is going to be on the other side of a peekaboo page. Four, I don’t get bored reading them over and over and over again. (Toddler problems, AMIRITE?)
Seriously though, my boys and I each have a favorite in the series. I adore Alphablock because it is a fun way to teach both the Alphabet (with the full-page letter on each page) and also words that start with the letter. My oldest (in pre-k) loves Countablock because the words in that one are mostly sight words and he can recognize numbers up to 100, making it easy for him to read the book to me. Dinoblock was a favorite of my littlest guy because it compares modern animals to prehistoric dinosaurs. However, on Saturday he turned 3 and we gave him Cityblock which is his new favorite. I had to read it 4 times in a row when he got it. He loves when we take him downtown so this lighter, less educational version of the guessing game was a reminder of exploring Philly.
Any of these are worth adding to your library and Alphablock, in particular, is one of my go-to baby shower gifts. I can’t wait to see what the author comes out with next.
What board books get you excited to read? Do you own any of the books in this series?Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli, Peskimo
Published by Harry N. Abrams on August 6th 2013
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Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli, Peskimo
With thick pages cut into the shape of each letter, children and parents will enjoy this peek-through guessing game around the letterform itself. Sprinkles, hot fudge, and cherries hint at I’s ice cream sundae, while aquarium accessories hint at F’s fish. As readers interact with the pages, they will familiarize themselves not only with the 26 letters and associated words, but also with each letter’s physicality—angles, holes, and curves, both front and back. With Peskimo’s animated, stylish visuals, this fresh ABC book encourages readers to manipulate the alphabet in a whole new way.
Note: illustrations have a retro feel, with imperfect variations in color and texture.
Praise for Alphablock
"All the parts together make an appealing and fun way for youngsters to interact with the alphabet, and for slightly older children to enjoy the clever artwork."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"The straightforward vocabulary, cheery vintage-style graphics, and neat incorporation of cut-out letters make for a sharply designed package."
"With a pleasing, retro feel, Peskimo’s art uses bold colors in a slightly muted hue and the weathered look of woodblock prints… A visually captivating delight for careful little ones."
"While it’s graphically sophisticated enough to please adults, little children can happily flip through this book on their own."
—The New York Times
"The baby, toddler or nursery-schooler who tears the gift wrapping off Christopher Franceschelli's Alphablock may think that she has just opened a toy, for how lively and tactile the thing in her hands will be."
—The Wall Street Journal
Parents 10 Best Children’s Books of 2013
Published by Harry N. Abrams on August 5th 2014
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Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli, Peskimo
Following on the heels of a successful abecedary, Countablock features thick pages cut into the shape of each numeral, creating a peek-through guessing game around the number form itself. One acorn becomes . . . one oak tree! From snowmen to puddles and eggs to chicks, quantities are illustrated twice: both before and after their “transformations.” As children interact with the pages, they will familiarize themselves not only with the numbers 1–100 and associated quantities, but with each numeral’s physicality—angles, holes, and curves, both front and back. Die-cut numerals include 1–10, and 20–100 by tens. Illustrated by hip British design team Peskimo, this fresh take on the 1-2-3s encourages readers to manipulate numbers in a whole new way.
Note: illustrations are in the style of vintage screen prints, with imperfect variations in color and texture.
NAPPA Silver Award Winner
Published by Harry N. Abrams on June 30th 2015
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Cityblock by Christopher Franceschelli, Peskimo
Following in the footsteps of the groundbreaking Alphablock and Countablock, Dinoblock features thick pages cut into the shapes of dinosaurs! Readers will be introduced to more than 20 different kinds of dinos via die-cuts of their unique silhouettes and the illuminating comparisons to familiar things from a young child’s world. I stretch high like the ladder on a fire truck. I am a Brachiosaurus. As children touch the pages, they have a chance to guess the dinosaur and appreciate the uniqueness of its silhouette. A final gatefold delivers a roundup of all the dinos included. This hands-on approach, delivered in colorful pages by hip British design team Peskimo, makes for an immersive, age-appropriate introduction to a favorite topic of childhood.
Published by Harry N. Abrams on September 6th 2016
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Cityblock explores city life in an exciting and unique way, from up in a high-rise building to down in the subway. Divided into three sections—things that go, things to see, and things to eat—it features 24 different aspects of city living. As with the other acclaimed books in the series, die-cut icons hint at the larger context on the next spread. Each section opens with a full city scene but gradually focuses in on the small, unique neighborhoods that make the city large and grand. This clever book will attract young readers living in a metropolis as well as those in the countryside with urban life that pops off each page.