The Kids Are All Right

Board Books, Patterns, and More Great Kids’ Books!

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Margaret Kingsbury

Contributing Editor

Margaret Kingsbury grew up in a house so crammed with books she couldn’t open a closet door without a book stack tumbling, and she’s brought that same decorative energy to her adult life. Margaret has an MA in English with a concentration in writing and has worked as a bookseller and adjunct English professor. She’s currently a freelance writer and editor, and in addition to Book Riot, her pieces have appeared in School Library Journal, BuzzFeed News, The Lily, Parents,, and more. She particularly loves children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, and any books with disabled characters. You can read more about her bookish and parenting shenanigans in Book Riot’s twice-weekly The Kids Are All Right newsletter. You can also follow her kidlit bookstagram account @BabyLibrarians, or on Twitter @AReaderlyMom.

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hitting up the pool and nearby creeks to cool off lately.

Today I review two fantastic new releases plus four great new board books.

Bookish Goods

Cover of Rainbow Reading Tee by signaturetshirts

Rainbow Reading Tee by signaturetshirts

I’ve been eyeballing this cute tee for a while now. $14+

New Releases

Cover of Patterns, Patterns Everywhere by Kellie Menendez

Patterns, Patterns Everywhere by Kellie Menendez

This is a beautifully illustrated rhyming picture book celebrating patterns found in nature. Menendez explores patterns in the ocean, in jungles, in the sky, and more. Back matter includes a description of what patterns are as well as connections between various fields and making patterns. It’s a book that welcomes children to find patterns all around them.

Cover of Saudade: Our Longing for Brazil by Ana Crespo, illustrated by André Ceolin

Saudade: Our Longing for Brazil by Ana Crespo, illustrated by André Ceolin

This is a wistful picture book that any child who has moved away from their home will appreciate and find themselves reflected in, though it centers the experiences of a Brazillian mother and daughter who now no longer live in Brazil. On a hike, Mamãe explains to the young narrator the meaning of saudade, a Portuguese and Galician word recalling the ache of remembering something you once had. The two both feel saudade for their former home in Brazil, missing times spent playing with cousins beneath a waterfall, favorite foods and music, being physically close to grandparents, and more. It’s a simple, beautiful narrative full of nostalgia.

Riot Recommendations

Sometimes board books do not get the same kind of coverage as picture books and middle grade, and I admit, I can be guilty of that, too. So today I review four new board books that I love.

Cover of The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

The award-winning picture book has now been turned into a board book along with The Old Boat. This makes them more accessible for toddlers and hardier for inclusion in classroom libraries. If you haven’t read this one yet, it’s about a red truck on a farm. The farmers have a daughter, and as the years pass, we watch both the truck and the girl grow older. The truck is retired, but when the girl becomes the farmer, she works on it to bring it back to life. It’s a heartwarming, lovely story.

Cover of Hello Hello Shapes by Brendan Wenzel

Hello Hello Shapes by Brendan Wenzel

Wenzel has two new board books out this year: this one and Hello Hello Colors, both of which are fantastic and so inventive. In Shapes, Wenzel draws animals into unique shapes. Eight tree frogs form a triangle; parrots, a Japanese macaque, and a Madagascar tomato frog make a pear shape; and more. In Colors, he writes a little poem about the colors with animals of all shades and types. The back of both books lists all the animals, a note about animal conservation status, and stars indicating the conservation status of the animals in the book. I love that this can be read in multiple ways depending on the age of the child. Babies and early toddlers will love the bright colors and faces, older toddlers can learn early concepts, and preschoolers and kids can learn about conservation.

Cover of A Bear, A Bee, and a Honeytree by Daniel Bernstrom, illustrated by Brandon James Scott

A Bear, A Bee, and a Honey Tree by Daniel Bernstrom, illustrated by Brandon James Scott

My daughter loved this as a picture book, and it’s such a great choice to offer in board book format. It’s about a very hungry bear who spies a bee hive in a tree. Mmmm, honey, thinks the bear. But a determined bee is going to make acquiring the honey a bit difficult for the hungry bear. Bernstrom writes really evocative stories that are perfect read-alouds. This one gets lots of laughs.

Cover of Pie Love You by Steph Stilwell

Pie Love You by Steph Stilwell

The queen of food puns returns with another foodie board book. This rhyming board book features many beloved pies: apple, lemon meringue, cherry, and more. Each page has a cheesy food pun related to the pie, like “You’re the apple of my pie!” My daughter laughed so hard when she read it! Also check out her other foodie board books: A Pizza My Heart and What’s for Breakfast.

Cover Zoo at the library, the kids are all right

Our local library branch is killing it with its children’s programming this summer. Last weekend, the zoo stopped by to discuss and show three animals: a box turtle, an opossum, and a boa constrictor. The kids had about a million questions for the poor zookeeper. I assume he’s used to it!

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, Bluesky, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

All the best,

Margaret Kingsbury