Thanks to Ambie Valdés for providing a review copy of this book.
Before I get into this review, let me first say that this is a review of a board book. Board books are books typically aimed at very small children, like babies and toddlers. If you don’t know any of those, you’re probably not the target market. But if you do know small children, or people with small children, you might be interested in
Board Game Day is an upcoming book from Ambie Valdés with illustrations by Rachel Kremer. If you don’t know them, Ambie Valdés is one of the hosts of the podcast Board Game Blitz, and Rachel Kremer is one of the creators the webcomic Semi Co-Op. This collaboration was born from something Valdes wrote for her twin toddlers, and the final product will be Kickstarted this summer to fund a full printing.
The book is pretty short, around 16 pages, and is basically a story about preparing for a board game day. The main characters, a pair of pandas, go through the process of planning, inviting friends, playing, and saying goodbye.
I got a prototype PDF of this book to look at, and while it does have some very cute art already, it’s definitely not in its final form. However, the characters are all in place – the only thing really missing is much of the board game cover art. There are a few games in place, and my 7-year-old daughter had fun looking at those and is looking forward to seeing what shows up in the final version.
The main concept of the book, getting ready for board game day, isn’t necessarily one that will be relatable to the target market. Babies and toddlers aren’t really going to be preparing for an event like that, or really even playing most of the games shown. Still, if you have some of those games on the shelf (we have Animal Upon Animal and Rhino Hero Super Battle, which both make an appearance), you can show them and give them some concrete examples. And when they see you having a board game day, you can introduce that concept to them through the book, and it will just reinforce the ideas.
The book is written in rhyming couplets, which I always like to see in children’s books. I’m a music therapist in my day job, and we find that when working on concepts like speech and academics, rhythm and repetition are both great ways to encourage learning. This game has both – the rhythm of the rhymes, and the repetition of the phrase “board game day”. There’s only one slightly awkward rhyme that occurs across a page turn, but that’s mostly because of the big illustration for the first part.
My wife is a children’s librarian, so I wanted to get her perspective as well. She liked the cute art, and liked how the book portrays the characters having fun with one another and not getting into fights over their board games. She also mentioned how repetition is very good for young kids.
IS IT BUZZWORTHY? I think this is going to be a very good board book for gamers with young kids. The appeal might cross into the non-hobbyist sector since board games are getting more popular, but I imagine most of the audience will be people who know a little more about the games that are shown. I think it’s a good thing to have more board game related media out there, so be sure to check it out when the Kickstarter goes live on July 18.
Thanks again to Ambie Valdés for providing a review copy of this book, and thanks to you for reading!