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The Evolution of Board Books

Babies’ eyes light up when they touch a board book. Tiny little fingers carefully explore stiff cardboard pages and then bang the pages with their flat hands, joyfully celebrating the noises that they can make. Babies teethe and drool on the rounded corners of these sturdy books to soothe swollen soar gums. Toddlers study images on the cardboard pages absorbing colors, shapes, and storylines. Little ones squeal with delight recognizing familiar animals and favorite characters. Meanwhile parents and loved ones marvel at the magical discovery taking place. Board books are such a normal part of today’s baby, toddler, and childhood years that some people may take these little gems for granted. They may not realize that these sturdy books have a long history behind them that shaped them into what they are today.

In celebration of board books and the brilliant people who created them, Mommy Moo Moo presents a history of their existence, from the alphabet tablets and hornbooks that inspired them to the new stories of today. We do not propose that this list is complete. In fact, we are hoping that you will help us fill in the blanks and the missing pieces. Consider us the BoardBookapedia for board book research. Let the journey begin!


i Bailey, Merridee L. “Hornbooks.” The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 6.1 (2013): 3-14. Print.

ii Richard Sherry, A treatise of schemes [and] tropes very profytable for the better vnderstanding of good authors, gathered out of the best grammarians [and] oratours by Rychard Sherry Londoner. Whervnto is added a declamacion, that chyldren euen strapt fro[m] their infancie should be wel and gently broughte vp in learnynge. Written fyrst in Latin by the most excellent and famous clearke, Erasmus of Roterodame (London: Iohn Day, 1550).

iii Bailey, Merridee L. “Hornbooks.” The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 6.1 (2013): 3-14. Print.

iv “The British Battledore.” Library. Hofstra University, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.

v “The Royal Battledore.” Library. Hofstra University, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.

vi Parayno, Salud M. Children Literature. N.p.: Katha, 1997. Print.

vii Kaplan, Allison G. “From Board to Cloth and Back Again: A Preliminary Exploration of Board Books.” Children and Libraries (2012): 41-44. Print.

viii Kaplan, Allison G. “From Board to Cloth and Back Again: A Preliminary Exploration of Board Books.” Children and Libraries (2012): 41-44. Print.

ix Kaplan, Allison G. “From Board to Cloth and Back Again: A Preliminary Exploration of Board Books.” Children and Libraries (2012): 41-44. Print.

x Kaplan, Allison G. “From Board to Cloth and Back Again: A Preliminary Exploration of Board Books.” Children and Libraries (2012): 41-44. Print.

xi Kaplan, Allison G. “From Board to Cloth and Back Again: A Preliminary Exploration of Board Books.” Children and Libraries (2012): 41-44. Print.

xii Silvey, Anita. Children’s Books and Their Creators. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995. Print.

xiii “Discover Illustrator Helen Oxenbury.” HarperCollins.com. HarperCollins Publishers, 2014. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.

xiv “Sandra Keith Boynton: THE UNBELIEVABLY FASCINATING AUTOBIOGRAPHY.” SandraBoynton.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.

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