Board Book

Review: I thought I saw a … series by Lydia Nichols

Review: I thought I saw a … series by Lydia Nichols

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I thought I saw a penguin. Is it behind the sunshade?

A trip to the beach gets exciting as a penguin pops up in different places, while a monkey causes havoc in a supermarket. Everywhere is made more exciting by the appearance of an animal friend, and what better game to play than hide-and-seek. 

Slide the picture across, around and up and down. A sandcastle pops up, doors open and close and monkey slides out behind the shelves. These innovative sliders add heaps of fun as the animals are found in whole new ways. Readers will enjoy guessing and remembering how the animal will be revealed. 

There’s heaps of fun to be had on a trip outside. 

These books are not only great games, but they also introduce different things which happen in ordinary locations. Vocabulary is built as the reader is introduced to location-specific words like sunshade, beach hut and parasol. This will be absorbed without anybody noticing – they’ll be having far too much fun with the sliders to realise that they are learning. 

While the cardboard is sturdy and the sliders are friendly to little fingers, they also move in complex ways. It is recommended that this book is shared with an adult or older reader, and smaller readers might need help to manipulate the sliders. This is actually fantastic news because it helps develop fine motor skills.

A friendly and fun series which introduces readers to the outdoor world. 

 

Thanks to Templar Publishing for my gifted books. Opinions my own.

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Board Book

Review: Hello House and Hello Garage by Nicola Slater

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Review: Hello House and Hello Garage by Nicola Slater

Ludo is looking for some friends to play with. 

As he travels around the neighborhood, Ludo looks into similar places. In one book he looks into houses. In another he looks into garages. This offers the reader some lift-the-flap fun as they peek inside different buildings and vehicles. Who is inside? What are they up to? 

A bright and cheerful series which introduces young readers to the different things they might find in the local area. 

Tiny people are insatiably curious. What might be a five-minute walk for an adult can drag out into fifty – and that’s not just about the footsteps. Time must be factored in to read street signs and admire insects and wave to passersby. Do you remember being small? Every walk was a learning journey and things which adults took for granted were endlessly fascinating. 

These beautiful books allow readers to explore and to talk about the amazing things they see around them. Background details such as bridges and ponds, cars with open bonnets and cars being hosed down will all provide talking points. These differences are all talking points to people who are seeing them for the first time. What on earth is happening to that car? Why does that bridge look different from the one I’ve seen? The books are not overloaded with details but everyone is thought through as if the designers have seen the world through a toddler’s eye. 

The cast of animal friends will be popular with fans of Peppa Pig and Hello Duggee. Donkeys work alongside rabbits. One of the houses is home to a range of woodland creatures. It is a thriving and pretty world and the characters all look friendly. 

The colour palette is a refreshing mix of natural colours, bright colours, and pastels. While the backgrounds are in a sugary blue, there are plenty of natural details which prevent this from becoming overly sweet. This will make the series more popular with adult readers. 

A gentle series which has resisted becoming sickly sweet. These books offer an introduction to different buildings and places via a lift-the-flap adventure. 

 

Thanks to Nosy Crow for my gifted books. Opinions my own.

Board Book

Review: Little White Fish series by Guido Van Genechten

Review: Little White Fish series by Guido Van Genechten

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Little White Fish is ready to learn. Whether he’s looking for his Mummy, having a birthday party or playing with his friends, he is always soaking in new information. 

Colours, numbers and prepositions are covered by the first three books in this series. They are woven into the narrative in a way which means the reader can choose just to read the story, although the texts are rich with learning opportunities. 

Little White Fish stands out against a black background. If you think this is an odd choice for an ocean story, just wait until you see how striking the fish and corals look in the dark. It reminds me of a fuzzy felt set I had when I was small, where vibrant colours stood out against a black background. 

The ocean is a big place, but there is always a happy face around the corner to help a tiny fish. These stories are charming in a way which avoids being sentimental. 

Although the age recommendation on the back is two years, these would be lovely to read to a smaller child. The bright colours and happy faces would attract tiny eyes, even if they were too young to pick up the information. 

A lovely series with huge potential. Looking forward to seeing what happens next in the ocean. 

 

Thanks to Catch A Star Books for my gifted copies of the Little White Fish stories. Opinions my own.

Board Book · Uncategorized

Board Book Round-Up (March 2019)

Board Book Round-Up (March 2019)

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The ABC OF Musical Instruments by Ailie Busby

Join a cast of forest animals as they bang their drums, blow their oboes and party from A to Z. An alphabet book in a traditional format (A is for …, B is for …), what makes this especially beautiful is the use of pattern. The designs were inspired by Jane Austen’s garden, and by the lining of a coat thought to have belonged to her which is in the care of the Hampshire Cultural Trust. Pages alternate from a colour-blocked letter with a patterned background to a colour-blocked letter with a patterned background.

The book has a lovely vintage feel but is lively and appealing for young readers.

123 Tea Party by Ailie Busby

A little fox is setting out a tea party for his friends. How many cakes does he need? How many pots of tea. Count from one to ten and join little fox and his friends at the end as they celebrate with a tea party.

Plain block backgrounds allow the patterned numbers and details to stand out. As in The ABC Of Musical Instruments, the patterns were inspired by Jane Austen’s garden and at Chawton. This is a very pretty book. Fox is helped along the way by a flock of birds and everything about his tea service is totally Cath Kidston.

Early numeracy is important but teaching children the basics of afternoon tea is inspired.

 

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Say Hello To The Gruffalo. Based on the book by Julia Donaldson And Axel Scheffler.

A stroll in the wood. Off we go! Who is coming to say hello?

Join the famous mouse on a walk through the woods and meet the characters known and loved from the original picture book. This would make a gentle introduction to The Gruffalo for children too young for the original book. It is also a lovely rhyme.

The book has peek-through pages. Characters are first seen through round windows which then frame the mouse when the page is turned. This allows plenty of play and is a good big space to stick little fingers through.

A thoughtfully designed companion to a favourite book.

 

Gruffalo, What Can You Hear? Based on the book by Julia Donaldson And Axel Scheffler.

A hiss in the leaves, a hoot in the trees …

This lovely little book introduces words for sound, especially focusing on the animals featured in The Gruffalo. Three sentences extend over the course of the book, making it the perfect size to enjoy on the go.

The book clips on to the buggy with a strap, which can be dettached if the book is unclipped and given to a tiny child. The strap is made from stretchy elastic so the book can be pulled a little way around from where it is attached.

Give the gift of reading on the go, and introduce a small child to the Gruffalo.

 

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Pets by Jane Foster

Reptiles and birds. Big and small. Say hello to the animals most commonly adopted as companions.

With a word and a picture, this is the perfect vocabulary builder. Point at the pictures and follow the letters of the word until your little reader learns the words for our animal friends.

I adore the design, with bright, contrasting colours, subtle patterns on the pages with the words and funky retro-style animals which could be straight out of a 1960s picture book. Elder siblings might enjoy using this as a catalogue for drawing inspiration. This would be a lovely way to bring the bigger kids into a reading experience designed for the very young.

This is part of a series of books. Think first 1000 words split into bright, attractive volumes. Why wait until your child is old enough for paper pages when you can start with such beautiful and fun books?

 

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Who’s Hiding At The Seaside? and Who’s Hiding In The Woods? by Katherine McEwan

There are animals hiding everywhere. 

Take a trip to the seaside. Go for a stroll in the local woods. Who do you expect to find?

The answer is there are more animals out there than many of us realise. With an increasingly urbanised population, and dwindling knowledge of the natural world, it is important we introduce a love of the outdoors early so that the next generation grow up to love and protect the world.

Microhabitats are introduced, from a windy cliffside to a rock pool. Lift back the flaps to find out which animals inhabit each area. On the reverse side of the flaps are facts about the animals. As these are cardboard flaps, I would recommend these books to the oldest board book readers, although many of the parents I speak to on Twitter are absolute pros at keeping cardboard flaps safe (or letting them get damaged in the name of education. Also a good call.)

The illustrations pick out the different textures you would expect in each habit and capture the movement of leaves and grass blowing in the wind. A beautiful introduction to the outdoors.

 

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Hello, Mr Dinosaur! by Sam Boughton

Take a tour through the time of the dinosaurs. Just how big was a velociraptor? What did a triceratops eat? Learn some basic facts about each dinosaur until you too are a fully qualified dino-spotter.

With the dinosaurs illustrated from different angles and the textures of their bodies really thought out, this is one of the most attractive introductions to the subject which I have seen in a long time. I love the paint and crayon effect of the pictures and the way the landscape is shown alongside the animals. Many children are shown touring the prehistoric world, which makes the subject feel less remote than it can in books which show only the unknown.

The end pages fold out into a big dinosaur display which also acts as a memory test of the dinosaurs’ names. This will keep young enthusiasts busy and engaged.

The book has cardboard flaps and challenging facts and would be perfect for slightly older board book readers. This would be perfect for older children with small siblings – this was a specific group we catered to when I worked as a bookseller because some parents just didn’t want to buy paper books when they were in danger of being wrecked, but also wanted to keep their nursery aged children engaged.

An insightful and attractive introduction to a popular topic. Highly recommended.

 

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Ottie Elephant In The Town and Marley Bear At The Farm by Melissa Crowton

Where are the animals off to today? What do the hear? What kind of objects might they find? Take a trip out and about with an animal friend and explore the vocabulary relevant to different settings.

With felt flaps to lift and scrunch, mirrors for play time, textures to stroke, and hide and seek games in the pictures, these books are high on play value. They are bright and attractive with lots of primary colours and simple patterns.

Although the book follows the animal through one location, it could be opened on one page to play a game. This makes them great books for on the bus or train because they will keep your little reader distracted without it being a disappointment if the story can’t be finished.

 

Thanks to Nosy Crow Books, MacMillan Children’s Books UK, Templar Publishing and New Frontier Publishing UK for gifting the books in this feature. Opinions my own.

Board Book

Review: Nibbles Numbers by Emma Yarlett

Review: Nibbles Numbers by Emma Yarlett

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Look out! Nibbles the book-munching monster is back, and this time he has munched his way into a book of numbers. He’s obviously taken in what he has read, though, because clever Nibbles munches the right number of holes in every page. Count along with him from one to ten. 

A clever and entertaining format which will raise smiles from children and their adult readers. 

What works about this is sheer design. An apparently simple idea which is executed to perfection. The book introduces numbers from one through to ten. Every number has its own double-page spread. The monster nibbles the correct number of holes in every page so that the reader can count along.

Iimg_8356t is difficult to remember as adults that children don’t automatically understand that numbers represent a quantity. When you think about it, children encounter arbitrary numbers too, (the number 12 bus, for example, has nothing to do with the number 12). Counting along and adding one every time is a brilliant way for children to familiarise themselves with the idea of quantity. 

The idea of a book-munching monster is hilarious. The reader releases nibbles from his cage as the start of the book by lifting a flap, and off he goes, all the way through the end cover. I bet these look lovely as a series and raise lots of smiles when the naughty monster gets to work on the books. There is great humour in something fictional apparently destroying books because this is exactly what young readers are told not to do. 

A bright and engaging book which will encourage children to early numeracy. 

 

Thanks to Little Tiger Press for my gifted copy of Nibbles Numbers. Opinions remain my own. 

Blogmas 2018 · Board Book · christmas

Review: Where’s Santa Claus by Ingela P Arrhenius

Review: Where’s Santa Claus by Ingela P Arrhenius

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Where’s Mrs Polar Bear? Where’s Santa Claus? Lift the felt-flaps and find all of our festive friends. A hide-and-seek book perfect for sharing with the very tiniest of readers.

Christmas with a tiny baby must be hectic and wonderful. Everyone is enthusiastic to introduce the concept of Christmas, even when the child is too young to fully understand. This book would be a lovely starting-point – introduce the familiar festive characters while the tiny-tot enjoys the tactile flaps and engaging pictures. 

The felt flaps are a brilliant idea. They are attractive for tiny hints to stroke and grab at and are easier to lift than traditional cardboard flaps. Poking or pushing the flaps from almost any angle leads to movement. This would be a brilliant way of teaching babies and tiny-tots how to engage with lift-the-flap books.

The illustrations are bright and bold with lots of colour-blocking and geometric design. They will hold the attention of babies too young to take interest in detailed pictures. At the same time, they are attractive to have on the bookshelves. There is a series of similar books and they would look very cute together.

With its baby-proof flaps and shiny mirror, this is a great option for the youngest people on your shopping list.

 

Thanks to Nosy Crow books for my copy of Where’s Santa Claus? Opinions my own.

Board Book

Review: Matchstick Monkey – Colours

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Monkeys grey and monkeys red, 

Monkeys green and pink,

Monkeys yellow, orange, blue – 

Who’s quickest, do you think? 

 

Monkeys of all different colours a leaping through the trees, leaving colourful trails in their wake. Loops and zig-zags and bouncy-hills – all the trails are different shapes and colours. 

Matchstick Monkey is best-known as a teething toy. It is the saviour of sleep and parent-kind. The monkey motif has been used on blankets and towels. Now your little one can share in the monkeys’ adventures through this beautiful board-book. 

img_6948This board-book would make a beautiful introduction to colour. It also introduces the language of line-shape – loops and zig-zags and bounces are drawn in bright, glittery trails. I love the design. A book like this could easily have induced a headache in the adult-reader but the white background and minimalist design counterbalance the splashes of colour. 

The raised glitter-trails provide a game for the young reader and offer early practice of hand-eye coordination. With a little practice, children will pick up the game and be able to play it by themselves. This would be a lovely book to leave in the buggy or the back of the car. Small children will be engrossed in following those glittery lines. 

If a child took to this, it would be lovely to make your own trails – try crayons, paint or messy play. Trace different lines in sand and mud until your child has the vocabulary for colour and line-shape. 

This board book will give children hours of fun and is gentle enough to be enjoyed by the reader-adult. A big thumbs-up to the Matchstick Monkeys. Here’s to the adventures of learning and play. 

 

Thanks to Ladybird Books for sending a copy of Matchstick Monkey – Colours. Opinions my own.