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Monday, June 13, 2011

Children's Author Spotlight: Sandra Boynton

If number of books by the same author is the benchmark, then Sandra Boynton is clearly the favourite author around here. She's a prolific writer of children's stories. Her subjects are adorable and silly animals such as pigs, cows, turkeys, cats, dogs, and her flagship hippos. There may also be the occasional monster or dinosaur.

If you want a taste of Boynton's sense of humour, just visit the sandraboynton.com home and introduction pages. The silly doesn't stop at the text of the story itself. It's all the little details that make the difference in Boynton's work.

Often the stories are accompanied by, or may even have been born out of, a silly song. This one, Your Personal Penguin, sung here by Davey Jones of The Monkees, is my favourite to sing:

Of course, it's not all about being silly, though for many kids (and their parents) that would be enough. Some of these stories have wonderful messages about love, family and friendship, and some teach kids their alphabet, rhyming, colours and animal sounds.

Sandra Boynton began designing greeting cards in 1973, and has designed thousands of them since then. One of her first and still most popular designs is “Hippo Birdie Two Ewes”. In 1977, Sandra wrote her first published children's book, Hippos Go Berserk. In the 1990s, Barbara began writing and recording music with Micheal Ford. Together they have recorded over 60 songs! My personal favourite is "Cows", performed by The Seldom Herd, from the Grammy award nominated Philadelphia Chickens.

I can wholeheartedly recommend these books by Sandra Boynton, which are staring at me longingly from the bookshelf as I write this review:

Barnyard Dance!
"Everybody sing along—because it's time to do-si-do in the barnyard with a high-spirited animal crew! From Boynton on Board, the bestselling series of board books, here is BARNYARD DANCE, with Sandra Boynton's twirling pigs, fiddle-playing cows, and other unforgettable animals. Extra-big, extra-fat, and extra-fun, BARNYARD DANCE features lively rhyming text and a die-cut cover that reveals the wacky characters inside. Guaranteed to get kids and adults stomping their feet. Main selection of the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club. Winner of the 1994 Gold Medal from the National Parenting Publications Award." (source: Amazon.com)

Your Personal Penguin  
"Your Personal Penguin is a read-aloud, listen-along favorite for young children and the grown-ups who read to them. Fun to hold, the book tells the story of a slightly bewildered hippo and the loyal penguin who wants nothing more than to be his pal." (source: Amazon.com)

Belly Button Book
"Featuring a beachful of bare-bellied hippos—including one tiny baby who can only say “Bee Bo”—the Belly Button Book is the latest quirky addition to the phenomenally successful Boynton on Board series. Every page captivates with Sandra Boynton’s inimitable illustrations and joyful rhyming text." (source: Amazon.com)

Birthday Monsters!
"You hear your door come crashing down—those birthday monsters are in town! And they're going to wreak havoc in the most extraordinarily rude ways. What fun! From Boynton on Board, the 8-million-copy-bestselling series of extra-big, extra-fat, and extra-fun board books, here is BIRTHDAY MONSTERS. Featuring Sandra Boynton's lively rhyming text and inimitable illustrations, this story about a madcap crew of lovable party crashers will appeal to kids and adults alike. Main selection of the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club." (source: Amazon.com)

The Going-To-Bed Book
For a little one who is reluctant to go to bed, sometimes a silly book is just the ticket. And when it comes to silly books, Sandra Boynton is the undisputed queen. In The Going to Bed Book, an ark full of animals watches the sun go down and then prepares for bed. They take a bath ("in one big tub"), find pajamas, brush their teeth, do exercises up on deck (imagine an elephant jumping rope, a moose lifting weights, and a pig doing handstands), and finally say good night. (source: Amazon.com)

Boynton's Greatest Hits: Volume 1
These short, hilarious books are perfectly suited to toddler tastes, with their small size, few words, cheerful colors, funny jokes, and silly animals. Blue Hat, Green Hat is all about getting dressed, and stars a very silly turkey who just doesn't get it. (Feet in the hat, pants on the head, etc.) His continuing refrain is "Oops." Moo, Baa, LA LA LA! investigates the sounds animals make, including pigs who sing. Doggies is "a counting and barking book" about the many sounds dogs can make, and A to Z frolics through the alphabet with amusing animal antics from an aardvark admiring to a zebra zigzagging. Parents love Boynton as much as kids do, and these four books in a compact boxed set will no doubt become household favorites!

Snoozers : 7 Short Short Bedtime Stories for Lively Little Kids
"Here are seven different Boynton bedtime stories for little listeners. Guided by the colorful picture tabs, children can find whichever story they want to hear. And the next one. And then this one. Okay, now this one. And now this one. Ooo, and this. Oh, please, just ONE more?" (source: Amazon.com)

These Sandra Boynton books are recommended for "all ages up to a hundred and moo" (sandraboynton.com), but they're enjoyed most by children 1 to 4 years old.

There are so many other great Sandra Boynton books that we look forward to reading! See the full list here: Sandra Boynton's 'Swell Books' page

Sandra Boynton's new book, Amazing Cows: Udder Absurdity for Children, is available at Amazon.com. You just have to read 'An Interview with the Author' to understand what it takes to write a Sandra Boynton book.

Sandra Boyton's even newer book is Happy Hippo Angry Duck, and it is available at Simon and Schuster.

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Leslie said...

Hi Cookie, where were these books when my kids were little, I love the title of Hungry Hippo, Angry Duck, It brings chuckles with just that, but what a wonderful bedtime story. Thanks for sharing.

Stacey Donaldson said...

She certainly does have a nice selection of books. Hungry Hippo reminds me of one of my favorite games when I was a kid! LOL

Cookie’s Mom said...

Leslie, there are so many great kids books out now, aren't there? Hard not to spend a small fortune!

Stacey, I remember that game! Much fun!

Anonymous said...

My absolute favourite short person writer! We LOVED snoozers. "I'm not tired!"
Our dogeared copies still have pride of place on the bookshelf even though my short people have grown.
Thanks for reminding me! ;-))

Cookie’s Mom said...

B, you may have, in fact, given us our first Boynton board book, Barnyard Dance!

Julia said...

She's my favorite children's author! We have so many of her books and they are some of my faves to read! Visiting from voiceboks!


janie said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog!

The Going to Bed Book and Snoozers are two of my tot's fave bedtime book! :)

Cookie’s Mom said...

Thanks for visiting, Julia and Janie!

KJ Kron said...

I just looked at my book shelf (for little Xavier) and my favorite book is a Sandra Boynton, but it's not listed here. "But Not the Hippopotamus" makes me laugh. Knowing that here other books are also good, I'll have to check them out.

Cookie’s Mom said...

KJ, thanks for reminding me of that title! It's one we haven't read yet.

CylestialChola said...

Hi! I just found you today through Voiceboks, and am now a follower. I loved reading your blog, and was mentally taken back to the days of reading these adorable types of books with my twins. They are 12 now, but we still read together everyday! I hope you can check out my blog and perhaps follow too! Be well. http://cylestialchola.blogspot.com/

Cookie’s Mom said...

CylestialChola, thanks for visiting and following. I'm following you too. Thank-you for your well wishes. I hope you and yours are well also.

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