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Book reviews - activity books (page 7)

There are all sorts of activity books available now, some of them featuring characters from well-known children's stories. They can be a very good way to get your child involved with books. This section includes lots of great ideas for entertaining your children at home - many of which will support the work done in school - so do try some of them to encourage and develop your child's creativity. There are also books which involve children as they try to solve the puzzles.


Lift-the-flap and Colour Ocean by Alice Bowsher

These are ideal colouring books for young children, with broad lines to keep the colouring in the right place. This series, published by Frances Lincoln, comes from the Natural History Museum. The flaps to lift are a novel touch for colouring books, and children will enjoy these, with all the extra colouring opportunities. The animals are shown in their natural habitats, from shallow waters to the sea bed, and brief rhyming text describes what is to be seen. It's a good way to encourage children to do some extra research after enjoying the colouring. There's plenty of scope for creative and imaginative colouring.

Lift-the-flap and Colour Jungle by Alice Bowsher

Children can create their own colourful habitats with this new series from the Natural History Museum. There are five scenes to colour plus flaps that lift to reveal animals in their natural habitat - and offer even more colouring. The scenes vary from the depths of the jungle to the tree canopy and the accompanying rhyming text teaches about the environment. It's clever too, because other creatures appear as the colouring is done - for example, there's a ladybird hidden with the sloths - a nice added touch and something for children to spot.

My Trains Activity and Sticker Book from Bloomsbury

Train journeys are very exciting for children, and now they can have even more fun with this colourful sticker book. From packing to go on a journey, to travelling to the station and all the experiences of a train journey including eating lunch, through to the arrival at the destination, children can experience all the fun. There are all sorts of activities to enjoy, and these will encourage thinking, problem solving and reasoning skills. There's a maze to navigate, things to spot, choices to be made... and over 350 stickers to decorate the various scenes. The perfect companion for a train journey.

Super Search Adventure on the Trail of the Whale by Camilla De la Bedoyere

I really like the way this book draws the reader in by encouraging young readers to be a part of the activities and story. Otto the octopus can't find his best friend Hula the humpback whale. The seahorse says she must have left clues so it's off on an undersea journey. Every page is packed with intriguing information, memorable animal characters, rhyming riddles and fun activities. It's really child-friendly in its approach, making it both fun and memorable.Richard Watson's beautiful, bright illustrations will keep children enthralled with inventive details to spot everywhere - there is so much to see and enjoy.

Super Search Adventure Where is the Bear? by Camilla De la Bedoyere

Suki the rabbit needs help from young readers of 5+. She's on a mission to deliver a present to a bear named Ping - but who is he, and where does he live? The book takes children on an engrossing interactive journey, during which they will learn lots about a wide variety of habitats. An additional special feature of these books is provided by the foldout cover flaps. On the front flap, children can tick off all the creatures they have spotted through the story - a great way to learn about the animals, and to encourage observation. On the back flap, children can chart their journey, helping them to learn where various places are in the world. An unusual and really effective series of books.


Drawing Cartoons Letter by Letter: Create Fun Characters from A to Z by Christopher Hart

Encourage children to start learning to draw with this simple to follow book which takes a fresh look at numbers and letters. Step by step, Hart's clever tutorials show how to turn an A into a clunky robot, a B into a buzzing bee, a C into a chomping dinosaur and so on. These inventive cartoon characters are really to draw with easy-to-follow completely visual instructions - so no need for children to be able to read to create their own super cartoons. The book provides an unusual way to engage children with letters and numbers and is a good way to learn alphabetical order and the shapes of numbers and letters. Every letter of the alphabet appears in both upper and lower case, as do numbers 0 to 9. The cartoons are simple to copy and produce excellent results, giving children confidence to further develop their own drawing skills. Published by Sixth & Spring Books, April 2017, ISBN 978-194202153.

LEGO® NEXO KNIGHTS Ultimate Factivity Collection from DK

DK's Factivity series is an excellent combination of fascinating facts coupled with engaging activities that really capture children's attention. This book features the young knights Clay, Lance, Axl, AAron and Macy, as they embark on epic quests to defeat their monstrous foes in the exciting, magical land of Knighton. Learn all about the characters and their powers through games, sticker activities and puzzles, in chapters headed Meet the Knights; Meet the Monsters; Power Up! and Save the Kingdom. The stickers allow children to peice together Jethro's monstrous new headquarters. NEXO KNIGHTS fans are going to love this and will feel so well informed by the end of the book. It's a great way to inspire the imagination and creativity, as all the activities can be done right on the pages of the book - and then children have their own personalised book to treasure. Of course, this is DK, so you are guaranteed a really well presented book with excellent graphics and really high quality photographic stickers.

Ultimate Factivity Collection Pirates from DK

Pirates have an enduring fascination for children and this book is guaranteed to feed that enthusiasm to great effect. With a whole mass of facts and varied activities, children will get to know the salty swashbucklers who once terrorised the oceans. Hours and hours of creative and imaginative fun for rainy days or holidays, this is a super book, full of variety. Readers will draw their own desert island, design fearsome flags, and discover gruesome pirate illnesses - creative activities and facts combine to perfection. Categories in the books include Read and Create; Draw and Learn; Fact Challenge; Test Your Knowledge and Stickers - a good mix of activities ensuring there is something of interest to everyone. There are over 500 lovely stickers, both photographic and drawings; a great variety to produce freally good results, bringing the pages alive and personalising them. Whether your child is already an enthusiast for the topic, or you are trying to interest them in a new subject, these books are brilliant.

Scratch and Draw Under the Sea by Susie Linn

This book really does deliver on the promised results - I found it really addictive as I scratched off the coating to reveal the wonderful colours underneath, which really are appropriate for the subject of under the sea. It's really simple to do with amazing results. But there is much more to the book - the fun is far from over when the pictures are revealed; this underwater animal-themed title includes step-by-step instructions to learn how to draw all kinds of amazing sea creatures including dolphins, whales, jellyfish, fish, an octopus and more. There is also an exciting marine-themed adventure story to complete, and a cool writing and drawing tool especially for using on the scratch and sketch pages. Plus there are instructions for making more scratch and draw cards so the art fun can go on and on. So much to encourage creativity and imagination packed into one neat spiral-bound book. It's unusual and very effective.

Search and Find Space by Joshua George

Perfect for children of age 5+ (or for younger ones to share with adults), they will be realy challenged to search and find over 1,000 out-of-this-world space things in this full colour activity book. There are all sorts of different scenes, each with a large colour picture plus illustrations around the edges to show what needs to be found. It's not as easy as it seems, as the objects are all differently sized, adding an extra level of challenge. From alien starships and rockets, to astronauts and creatures that live in galaxies far, far away, children must search the busy space scenes to find every hidden item. This is the sort of book that really encourages extending the ideas - as well as search and find, there are lots of opportunities to make up stories, extending the brief accounts which accompany each scene, and to extend knowledge, based on the detailed pictures and masses of small images.

Fuzzy Farm (Fuzzy Play Books) by Erin Ranson

This is a lovely update on the traditional Fuzzy Felt toy, with lots of different fuzzy felt scenes all themed around the farm. Children can create scenes and change them to their heart's content with the 28 fuzzy felt pieces included. From milking in the morning, through a rainy lunchtime and finishing up with a peaceful night's sleep, the story takes us through a busy day, meeting animals and finding about the work on the farm. For each picture, there are prompts that show children which pieces will complete each picture - and I am sure they will want to create their own scenes too! The pieces stick securely to the scenes, and can be stored back in the clear packet to keep them safe between playing.

Rainforest Masks: Ten 3D Rainforest Masks to Press Out and Make bt Gavin Rutherford

Pop out and play with these amazing rainforest creature masks which include a toucan, a jaguar, an iguana, a tamarin, a frog, a butterfly, a tapir, an otter and a macaw are waiting to be brought to life inside these pages – all they need is imaginative and creative children. The masks are really striking, very well illustrated and made from stiff card. There is also information about each creature. A brilliant book for classroom topics use, and as rainforests are such a popular school project, the book will be really well received. It's an excellent way to encourage children to act out scenarios using the masks, as well as producing a lovely display.

Star Wars Topps Classic Sticker Book from The Topps Company

The enduring popularity of the Star Wars brand is testament to the impact it has made on people since it exploded into theaters on May 25, 1977. That same year, Lucasfilm teamed with the Topps Company, Inc. to create the very first tie-in collectibles a series of trading cards and stickers that have since become iconic. Star Wars Topps Classic Sticker Book is the first sticker book to collect a selection of these iconic stickers many of which are reproduced in their original size making this the perfect nostalgic memento for fans of all ages to enjoy.

The Amazing Emoji Puzzle Book: Packed with Totally Awesome Emoji Puzzles and 200 Emoji Stickers from Carlton

Emojis are very popular so it's a great idea to base a whole puzzle book on them, to encourage children to enjoy the 80+ creative and educational puzzles. Puzzle fanatics and emoji lovers alike will enjoy tackling these brainteasers and using the emoji stickers to solve the problems (the stickers are also great to decorate their things with, too). The book contains a wide range of puzzles, including visual puzzles, missing-emoji games, logic problems, and more brain-busters.It's colourful and enticing, and these puzzles really help children develop problem-solving, concentration and thinking skills - and have fun at the same time.

Cool and Calm Colouring Kids Fairy Sticker book (Cool & Calm Colouring) by Eugénie Varone

A 24-page colouring book with 21 magical fairy scenes to complete, plus 190 colour-your-own stickers to add to the pages. The colour-your-own stickers are a great idea, giving children the opportunity to put their own interpretation onto stickers rather than always having ready-made ideas. The scenes include dreamy fairy mermaids, magical woodland creatures, pretty fairy patterns, and much more; girls will love them. Many of the pictures are richly detailed so adults may have a go too!

Cool and Calm Colouring Kids Dress Up (Cool & Calm Colouring) by Christine Alcouffe

Colouring is hugely popular and the relaxing benefits have become really well known - children and adults alike benefit and these pictures are perfect for young fashion lovers. There are 21 super-trendy scenes to colour and decorate with stickers, including chic Paris, the bright lights of New York, the classic style of London, a photoshoot on the beach, as well as fashions from the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s - all very nostalgic! The colour your own stickers are perfect to allow children to design their own outfits and embellish them just as they want.

i-SPY Nature: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

i-SPY books have an enduring popularity - I loved them, my children enjoyed them and now I am introducing my grandchildren to them. It's a clever formula that really engages children with the world around them, encouraging them to be observant and widening their knowledge. They are wonderful to keep children happily and purposefully occupied on journeys, on holiday, on day trips from home and even in the park or garden.  In i-SPY Nature, spotters can search for over 140 sights. Each object is accompanied by a good colour photo for identification, plus a summary of useful information. Each object is allocated a score, ranging from 5 for easy to spot items such as common nettle, to Top Spots which earn 30 points eg an otter. Once 1000 points are gained in the book, children can  for a certificate and badge. send This fun activity book encourages children to explore a range of outdoor environments, from down by the sea to town and country animals, in search of i-SPY points. A fun, interactive way to encourage curious children to learn about the world around them. The range of difficulty of finding the objects is nicely varied, and the 1000 points for a badge can be gained without finding everything - a good way to ensure children don't get despondent about near-impossible finds.

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i-SPY at the Zoo: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

The books are divided into colour-coded sections, which is useful for wandering around and spotting; they also include detailed indexes to help spotters. As well as zoo animals, the broad scope of this title includes insects and countryside animals - a good way to keep interest going when not at the zoo. Children love these fun and fascinating i-SPY activity books – with over 60 other i-SPY guides in the series, there is something for every interest. The selection I was sent, which you can view here, is ideal for the summer. You may also like the geographical ones which cover London, The Isle of Wight, the Cotswolds and many other places. A new introduction is the Holiday Sticker Book - blank outlines are part if colourful scenes, ready for the sticker when spotted. Children still score points and this book is ideal as an introduction for younger i-SPYers. I think i-SPY books are brilliant; they encourage observation, help learning and are great for cooperative working. They are excellent value too so I'd encourage you to stock up; great party bag gifts too.