Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Toddler Touch First Words and First Numbers

The Toddler Touch series has been developed to lead on from Ladybird's very successful Baby Touch series. There are currently two books: First Words and First Numbers. I've used them with Rosie and she's really enjoyed them but she's more into her stories at the moment and they are also slightly young for her. I think they are more suitable for 1-2 years old. It's probably also the format. Board books with touch and feels just don't hold Rosie's attention in the way they used to (she's now 2 and a half). It's interesting finding this out with your own child. When I was working in book publishing I would merrily propose board books for much older ages! She does like books with bits you can remove however! I hate them! They end up all over the house. Another thing I never realised when I was busy making books that had about 50 removable pieces in them!

But although they don't hold her attention as much as they would if she was a bit younger she definitely enjoys exploring the books with their lift-the-flaps and touch-and-feel trails. And she particularly likes to display her counting skills with the First Numbers. Each book has a trail to follow, apart from just being good fun they are there to encourage pre-writing skills, if you can follow a twisty line with your finger then it's one step towards using a pencil.

First Words follows themes and displays them in engaging ways. The Food theme is arranged as a teddy bears picnic and the Outside theme is arranged as a walk around a park. It works well since you can use them to generate discussions and ask your child what they like best and what they would choose etc.

I think the design and illustrations work really well for these books and they look fresh and fun. They're easy to use and clear in what they're setting out to do.

I do have to put in a small caveat here and admit they are written by me. So I am going to be biased towards them! I don't gain from any sale of them though so although it's slight self-promotion it's not for monetary purposes.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

We have Stick Man on loan from our excellent and thankfully so far untouched library but I think I might buy it since we both love it. The version we have has an audio CD with it which is really good as well.
It's the story of Stick Man who lives in a tree with his Stick Lady Love and his stick children three. One morning Stick Man goes out for a jog and ends up having an adventure that takes him far away from his family and home. Amongst other things he's picked up by a dog, played pooh sticks with, decorates a sandcastle and a snowman and eventually ends up on a fire. Will he ever get back to the family tree?

The audio is lovely. It's read by Imelda Staunton and because of the beautiful text is a joy to listen to. It also has activities after the story has been read which is a nice bonus.

The artwork is gorgeous (well you wouldn't expect anything else from Axel Scheffler!) and the rhythmic jolly text is lovely to read aloud. It has a christmas theme so is slightly unseasonal right now but we still enjoy it!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie On the Road by Joel Stewart

Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie On the Road is a book that we return to again and again! For some reason we don't have the first book Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie. I must correct that very soon!

It's the story of Dexter Bexley and his friend the Big Blue Beastie. They're thrown out of town for hooting too loudly and so they start to wander the world. On their way they meet the marvellous Sir Percy Peckett and his love a sleeping beauty called Princess Phillipina. Sir Percy is desperate to wake Princess Phillipina up but she is sleeping soundly... until some loud hooting rouses her! When she wakes up she takes Sir Percy to task for not slaying the frightful dragon and Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie volunteer to do it instead. I mustn't give away the whole story but it ends with a travelling band and a lot of fun!

The combination of dragons and princesses is always irresistible to Rosie, add in a hooting boy and a big blue beastie and I can tell why she requests it again and again! I love the language in this book. It's delicious to read. It also has little offside bits of text in speech bubbles. The artwork is beautiful, it's so dreamy and has lovely detail to it. It's quirky and original. Love it!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig

I feel like we've come to Angelina a bit earlier than I expected but I think that's partly due to Rosie doing Baby Ballet and loving it. Therefore anything that involves ballet is a firm favourite. We started off with Angelina's Christmas (which is lovely) but have since bought the first book Angelina Ballerina.

Angelina is pretty well known. There's a new series on Milkshake with different artwork from the classic books. I haven't watched it with Rosie because I really prefer the classic books, I think there's an older TV series as well with the original artwork but we haven't watched that either.

The first book introduces Angelina and her passion for ballet. She can't think about anything else! As a consequence she's always late for school, never tidies her room and is always getting into trouble. Then her parents come up with the perfect solution. Ballet lessons! Angelina is suddenly a model mouse.

The artwork is beautiful with lots of detail and plenty of things to point out and discuss. The story is sweet, not too long to read to a two year old(!) and well told. We're looking forward to gradually collecting the rest of them!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen

Good Little Wolf is a great first picture book from author/illustrator Nadia Shireen. We've been reading it regularly for a while and I noticed last week that it is up for the Waterstone's Children's picture book prize.

It's a lovely twist on the age old wolf story with a surprisingly shocking ending that Rosie loves! Rolf is a good little wolf and friends with little old lady Mrs Boggins and a little pig but then he meets a big bad wolf and finds out that real wolves howl at the moon, blow little pigs houses down and eats up little old ladies. Rolf is no good at howling at the moon, he manages just a little whistle. And he can't seem to blow his friend's house down but when he's presented with Mrs Boggins, tied up in her own knitting wool by the big bad wolf, a strange sensation comes over him. AROOOO! He howls, frees Mrs Boggins and ties the big bad wolf up instead. Then they all sit down to tea and cake. "Will you stop eating people up, Big Bad Wolf?" asks Rolf. You'll have to read the book to find out what the big bad wolf answers!

The writing is lovely and the illustrations are beautiful, really clean and spare but with a great sense of colour. All in all we can't wait for Nadia's next book!