Book reviews - babies & toddlers

Wheels and Wings by Alison Jay

Alison Jay's lovely crackle-glazed illustrations are coupled with a varied selection of touchy-feely textures to make this book a real feast for the eyes. From the shiny silver car bonnet on the front page, you go through to a fluffy mane and a soft sail and many more fascinating textures to explore. The rhyming text encourages children through the book. And on each page, there is something for the young reader to look out for, thus encouraging observational skills and keeping interest alive. A well produced, durable book with rounded corners, this is a lovely book.

My First Animal Book by Alison Jay

This cuddly cloth book is a lovely way to introduce your baby to the wonderful pictures of Alison Jay. Suitable to use right from birth,  your baby will love to feel and cuddle the book, and as she grows, she will learn to turn the 'pages' with your help whilst enjoying the pictures of popular animals - and listening to the noise each makes.There is far more detail in the pictures than normal for cloth books, giving it lasting appeal. This is just one book in Alison Jay's nursery collection - two more are on this page but do look out for the rest.

One, Two Cockatoo by Sarah Garson

This is a very appealing chunky counting board book and the pictures had me chuckling. Through the lovely rhyming story, one cockatoo is joined by two cockatoos, then three... The antics of these charming birds are very entertaining - watch them as they jive, splash, play peek-a-boo and have lots more adventures. But the best picture for me is the cockatoos drying out in the sun - just look at the book cover alongside to see what I mean! The very best bit is at the end though, when there's a new arrival. A really lovely first counting book.

Puddletown Tales by Gretal Parker

This is a book to share with your little one, who will be entranced by the multi-layered pop ups. Mrs Mouse is baking for her best friend, when it all goes wrong. Thanks to some greedy birds and her own forgetfulness, poor Mrs Mouse has nothing to offer for tea - until Kitty Blue's kindness and friendship saves the day. Inspiration for gthe wonderful pop ups comes from the author's needefelt sculptures, which appear at the front of each intrically detailed and carefully illustrated scene. The book would be wonderful displayed in a child's bedroom too, as the scenes really stand out - the cover is lovely and tactile too

Busy Building Site by Mandy Archer

Building sites have an enduring fascination for children - especially little boys - so here is a harmless way to explore! Brightly coloured double page spreads with lots of flaps to lift and explore take the reader round the building site, and you get to see the finished building at the end - complete with flaps to lift and explore what is inside the... No, I won't spoil the surprise! Rhyming text and simple information make this an excellent introduction to a fascinating world.

My First ABC illustrated by Kate Merritt 

A padded cover, rounded corners and sturdy board pages make this a perfect early book. The illustrations are bold, uncluttered and colourful and set on brightly coloured backgrounds to capture little one's attention. Letters in upper and lower case and familiar objects illustrated make this ideal for its target audience. Lots of friendly people and creatures scattered through the pages.

Snappy Playtime One to Five by Derek Matthews 

Even babies will respond to the bright colours and fascinating pop-ups in this first counting book. As they grom older, this will be a book for first counting on their own. A series of delightful creatures - snail, butterflies, bunnies, bluebirds and lots more pop up all over the place and there are lots of different things to count. There's plenty for little eyes to look out for with these amusing characters and the book is juts the right size for little hands to hold (with some help!).

 Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator

Very few of us today take time out of our busy lives to listen to the sounds of nature all around us, so this book is a lovely reminder to us all to slow down and just LISTEN. Beautiful artwork by Alison Jay, which is full of fascinating detail and just that perfect bit old-fashioned, takes us through the seasons. Simple evocative rhymes and settings which will be familiar to children make this an ideal book to engage toddlers with the world around them. Lots to spot in the pictures and then, at the end, a page for every season with even more to spot. An enchanting book.

Go! Go! Bobo Shapes by Simon Basher

This is a really appealing chunky board book. Clear, bright backgrounds show off the shiny colourful pictures of items that will appeal to the very youngest of children. These images really jump off the page at you. There is plenty of detail, making this a book children will love to keep coming back to. Bobo bounces his way out of bed, through a world of shapes... and then back to bed, where children can see all the shapes they have learnt. 

The Big Beach Boogie by Jenny Arthur

Little ones will love this counting book as they meet an octopus, two turtles, three dolphins, four parrots and five crabs all singing and dancing. Children can dance along too, as they play the sound button for each animal with a catchy tropical tune. But that's not all - there's a pop up surprise at the end where children can meet all the characters again.  Bright colours, a catchy rhyme all on durable card, make this a book for hours of fun.

Ten Busy Whizzy Bugs by Ruth Galloway

I have never seen a counting book quite like this! 10 lovely jewel-bright plastic bugs take the reader through the book. This gives a lovely tactile experience on each page as little fingers trace the shape of these bugs, which are full of detail. Rhyming text counts down from 10 until there are none left - until the wonderful brilliantly coloured pop-up surprise on the final page. A stunning piece of paper engineering which will fascinate children! Can your child spot all the bugs?

Little Rabbit: Touch and Explore by Katie Saunders

Babies today are so lucky! There are so many lovely books for them and this interactive book is no exception. Follow rabbit across the soft green grass, through the bumpy yellow gate,over the scratchy straw and past the dog. All the textures are reinforced on the penultimate page, giving plenty of opportunity for discussion of the story with toddlers. And then there's a tasty surprise on the last page. The textures are ideal for developing tactile skills and the repetitive text encourages learning. Great fun!  

Peepo Pirates by Yoogin Um

Little children love playing peebo so this book will have guaranteed appeal. 'Five cheeky little pirate friends all love to play peepo. Captain Jack is somewhere near, so let's search high and low'. Lift the flaps and see if you can find Captain Jack. Where could he be hiding? Enjoy the entertaining rhyming text and see all the other people who are found on the way through this brightly coloured book which ends with a wonderful pop-up surprise.

The Monster Counting Book by Kate Daubney

Another brightly coloured counting book from Caterpillar Books. Amusing text introduces the reader to 10 friendly monsters, from one-eyed Ernie to ten-footed Cuthbert. Vivid colours and entertaining illustrations will capture children's attention but the very best bit comes at the end. Meet all the monsters again, along with the numbers, in a huge pop-up spread. I think this would look great on a child's shelf as a super decoration - I tried it and it stands up brilliantly. A fun way to learn to count. 

 Happy Birthday by Roger Priddy

A brightly coloured touch-and-feel board book about all the things which make birthdays so exciting - parties, invitations, balloons, cakes and more. With fun novelties, including birthday cards, to open up and a frame for a picture of the birthday boy or girl. Easy to read rhyming text adds to the sense of celebration. I was amazed at the amount of activities crammed into one book. This sturdy board would make a lovely first birthday gift.

My First Signs by Annie Kubler 

Babies communicate in gestures long before they learn to talk, so baby signing is a great way to communicate with your baby. Babies from as young as 7 months can 'talk' to you through signs and this book is an excellent introduction. A well-presented board book, this contains signs for over 40 key words. Lovely illustrations of babies make this a most attractive book to share with your baby, whilst learning the signs. The signs are based on British Sign Language and are suitable for deaf and hearing children; they are also Makaton compatible. Each colourful page has useful tips along the bottom.There are lots more signing books published by Child's Play, so there are plenty of opportunities to extend this early learning.

Maisy's Year by Lucy Cousins

Lots of activities to share with your toddler as you help him to learn aout the seasons with the help of Maisy and her busy friends. Vivid colours, simple uncluttered ilustrations and fun text will all appeal to little ones. They can lift the flaps and spin the wheel as they talk about all the exciting happenings in the book. This is a good sized, sturdy book that will withstand lots of use, which is great as it is bound to become a favourite. More fun at www.maisyfun.com

 

Guess How Much I Love You Snuggle Book by Sam McBratney

This is a delightful way to introduce the tiniest  of babies to one of the most popular and well-loved children's books. I am all in favour of introducing books as early as possible so this lovely soft to touch snuggle book will make the perfect first companion for baby. It is designed to be safely held by babies so they can snuggle up with it and the story can be read aloud and shared - all ready to move on to the books! The tactile cover with embroidered figures is ideal for little fingers to explore. Packaged in a see-through box, this is a perfect girt.

Big Noisy Book of Animals (with DVD) by Harriet Blackford and Britta Teckentrup

Non-fiction, fiction or for babies and toddlers? You decide - this brightly coloured book has it all! Full of fascinating facts about animals from around the world this book has lots of entertainment value. Add to that a fully animated DVD and you have excellent value. Learn about animal families, habitat, food, movement and more. A great way to introduce young children to the fascinating world of animals with super vibrant illustrations which will capture their attention. The DVD will give them plenty to look at and lots to talk about, either at home or for use in the classroom. See how many of the animals illustrated on the endpapers your child can name. 

Nappy Duck and Potty Piggy by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams

A very simple story but one which conveys its message very well. Little ones will love the towelling texture on the front cover and will want to look inside to see what happens. Ducky goes to visit Piggy but Piggy is too busy on the potty to play. When he finally comes out, Ducky decides it is time for her to learn to use the potty too... A delightful story with cgarming illustrations, just right to encourage children to decide that it is time they too started to use the potty. 

 Baby 123 by Roger Priddy

Another lovely bright colourful series from Priddy Books. These borad books have a padded cover, rounded corners and sturdy board pages, making them ideal for the youngest of babies. The fun text and the uncluttered images of familiar (and some not so familiar) objects make this an accessible and enjoyable book to share with your baby. Vivid colours and some lovely animal pictures (fluffy bunnies and noisy puppies) are perfect for babies to investigate and start learning about the world around them.

Baby Words by Roger Priddy

You can see from the bright clear illustration alongside just how perfect these books are for little ones - for example, look at all the shapes that can be learnt from just this one picture. These are beautifully produced books which will give baby hours of fun. Rhyming text and familiar objects make this an appealing first book for introducing baby to words, pictures and the world around him. The clarity and uncluttered pictures on a white background are just right for little eyes learning about the world. 

It's Potty Time by Tracey Corderoy

Another enchanting book from Tracey Corderoy - she really hits the spot with her books which show a real insight into young readers' minds. This one takes the perennial problem of potty training and makes a lovely story around the characters of Baby Bear and Barnaby, his toy rabbit. Baby Bear is having a bit of trouble grasping what the potty is actually for, but he (and Barnaby) get used to it by playing games. Then Baby Bear gets some new pants - but not any pants; these are lovely soft-to-touch pants which little fingers will love to follow through the story. But he's still having trouble until Mummy comes up with a great idea.......... This is a reasuring read about a potentially tricky subject and all toddlers will readily identify with Baby Bear when he doesn't quite get there. Adorable characters, lovingly drawn by Caroline Pedler, enhance the story. A lovely read.

Take Turns Max and Millie by Felicity Brooks

Max and Millie are two appealing toddlers who encounter just the same problems as all toddlers. They are reassuring reads for little ones, as they learn that others have the same problems and learn to overcome them with a little help. Max and Millie are at nursery and both want to play with the new red car, but Max won't let Millie have a turn. I fact, he gets quite cross with Millie; what's to be done? The nice nursery lady has the answer... Taking turns and sharing are important lessons for children to learn and reading books about real-life situations are the ideal way to do it. Friendly, likeable characters will appeal to children and the simple text reads aloud well.

 Peppa's First Pet by Ladybird Books

The ever-popular Peppa Pig is back in another adventure in this board book. Poor Goldie the goldfish isn't well, so peppa and her mum take her on a bus ride to the vet's. They have an exciting journey, with lots of music in the way - and guess what, when they get to the vet... well, you will have to find out what happened. A surpriuse at the end, with a new version of an old favourite to sing. A fun story to read aloud with lots of bright illustrations. You have your chance to star in your own Peppa story at www.ladybird.com/peppaandme.

 Whose House by Fiona Munro

This is a lovely lift-the-flap book for little fingers. So many flap books are paper and not suitable for little ones so it is great to see a sturdy card flap book, with big flaps just right for the youngest ones. Rhyming text introduces a range of animals and under the flap we find their homes with more fun text - the goldfish swims round and round and asks 'Have I been here before?'. There are lots more in the series, so look out for them all.

This Little Puppy by Lucy Lyes

Little ones will like this book before they even open the cover! There is a lovely soft puppy nose to feel and squash, followed by lots more fascinating textures inside for little fingers to explore and develop their sense of touch and feel. Rhyming text introduces some lovely puppies and gives clues to where to find the special textures. right but simple ilustrations are perfect for young readers, who will have great fun with this sturdy board book. Look out for the ladybird on every page too and help your child's observational skills. 

Peekaboo Zoo by Mandy Ross

This brightly coloured board book is suitable for babies from birth upwards. I love the slightly unusual colours of the pictures by Kate Merritt - they just make this book a little out of the ordinary. Simple rhymes introduce some friendly-looking animals - with sturdy flaps to lift and noises to make, there is plenty of scope for fun in this book. And there is a surprise at the end - who can your baby see in the jungle? A lovely first book.

You Are Very Special by Su Box

'This book is about someone very special. It is about you.' This book celebrates the uniqueness of each one of us and highlights the importance of friendship, family and love. Vivid illustrations by Susie Poole are full of feeling and wonderful to share. It is a reassuring book for toddlers - we are all different and we can all make mistakes - but we can put them right. A lovely gift for a little baby with plenty to discuss as they get older. The book ends with a mirror so baby can see himself and take his place in the world.

From the Day That You Were Born by Sophie Piper

This is an unashamedly sentimental book and as such is a book for baby to treasure throughout life. It would make a perfect gift at birth or for a christening or first birthday. It is a celebration of all the potential that a baby's life holds and of how much babies enrich the lives of the adults around them. It finishes with the heart-warming affirmation that baby will always be loved. Lots to talk about and share in the gentle illustrations by Kristina Stephenson. A charming first book.

Five Tumbling Tigers from Little Tiger Press

A lovely noisy counting book about five fun tigers, and very appropriately it comes from Little Tiger Press. Plenty of tactile interest for little fingers, as children trace round the tiger-shape cut-out board pages and press the button to hear the tigers ROAR! ROAR! At the start of the story, with its rhyming text, we meet five tigers having a game of hide-and-seek. Gradually, they all disappear until the surprise at the end... Friendly tigers in the brighly coloured illustrations with plenty of eye-catching detail.

Rainy-Day Duckling by Ruth Martin

Little ones will be entranced by the changing pictures in this book, right from opening the cover - I loved the way the first picture changed as soon as I opened the book. Poor Little Duckling didn't like the rain but was determined to go exploring. Follow his adventures as he meets the farm animals and finds out that rain does have its benefits - and in the last spread, he finds the benefits for himself. Children will enjoy the repetition in the text, which will help develop early reading skills. A perfect story to enjoy on a rainy day, with its lovely gentle illustrations and charming story.

When the World was Waiting for You by Gillian Shields

This is the perfect book to share with your child as you await a new arrival to your family. Gently reassuring, this is the story of a family of rabbits waiting for a new arrival. Find out how the new baby is welcomed and enjoy the message of hope at the end of the book. This is a beautifully presented book and an ideal present - the padded cover is really appealing and little fingers will love it. The traditional feel of the watercolour illustrations complement the story perfectly and they contain lots of detail to fascinate your child as you share this book and prepare to welcome a new sibling to your family. The rhyming text makes it the perfect read-aloud story. A book to treasure - I think grandparents especially will love to buy this book as a gift.

Time for Bed Max and Millie by Felicity Brooks

Like many toddlers, Max really doesn't like going to bed, especially when he is having fun  with his friend Millie - but Millie actually quite likes going to bed in  Max's house. This is an ideal bedtime story to share with your little one, as the two friends go through all the familiar bedtime rituals and finally...sleep! Two lovable characters who will help your child know that she is not the only one who feels like this.Full of lots of familiar scenes for you and your child to discuss and a good book to share before a first sleepover. A lovely reassuring read.

Lulu's Lunch by Camilla Reid

I was delighted to see a new title about this irresistible little girl. This time, we learn about food and Lulu's lunchtime. All sorts of textures to explore, from the 'bread' of the sandwich on the front cover, to the velcro as your child is asked to help Lulu do up her bib and the soft texture of a banana. A briliant way to encourage children to explore the world around them and develop their sense of touch. But the biggest surprise of all awaits your child at the end, when we find out Lulu's favourite lunch - absolutely wonderful! Lovely bright illustrations by Ailie Busby portray this lovely character beautifully - children will love her and readily identify with her

Happy Baby Farm by Roger Priddy

Immediately attractive to little fingers with the appealing padded covers and rounded corners, this is another lovely series from Priddy Books. Their books are a super way to encourage children to enjoy books right from birth. Clear, bright colours and uncluttered pages are perfect for little ones and they will love to point out their favourite animals and answer the questions- matching mums and babies, and animals and their homes. Look out for the rest in the series Soft to Touch ABC and Soft to Touch Words - all with the same great features and plenty to talk about and questions to ask..

 

Baby Play Day by Roger Priddy

The appealing soft friendly face on the cover will entrance your baby from the start.This is a very different book and one which babies will love. Fabric tabs down the side will take baby to colours, letters, numbers and shapes  -all in a studry board format. Masses to explore in this book - lots of different textures, flaps to lift (I love the ball that turns into an apple AND a cat - clever!), a mirror for baby to see himself... A super first learning book which will really encourage your baby to explore and learn and will develop his inquisitveness for the world.

At My House by Roger Priddy

Priddy Books always manage to come up with innovative titles that will extend children's curiosity and this series - Lif the Flap Shadow Books) is no exception. In this title, let your little one explore the silhouettes of items selected from around the house - kitchen, garden, living room, playroom, bathroom and bedroom. Then she can lift the flaps to show the colourful pictures underneath. How many did she get right? An engaging series from one year olds upwards, who will love the fun of finding out and exploring familiar items.

On the Farm by Roger Priddy

All children love the farm so this would be ideal preparation for a visit or a fun game for afterwards. Who do the shadows belong to? Answer the questions and see who is beneath the flaps - an excellent way of encoiuraging your little one to be observant and lots to talk about as you discuss the questions. Big flaps with cut-out corners make this book perfect for the littlest of fingers. Look out for At the Zoo (Lift-the-Flap Shadow Books) and In the Town (Lift-the-Flap Shadow Books) as well.

I Love Bunnies by Roger Priddy

Touch and Feel - another super series for babies from Priddy Books, who never disappoint. This series is for one year olds and will be really popular first books. Each of these sturdy board books is differently shaped, to encourage little fingers to explore - perhaps your baby will learn to identify their favourite book by feel alone! I Love Bunnies has a fluffy bunny tail and fur, and a soft carrot for your child to explore, and adults will enjoy reading the fun rhyming text to their little one. Bright backgrounds and adorable bunnies will appeal to children.

I Love Ducklings by Roger Priddy

Another bright and tactile book for little ones. Cute ducklings, with fluffy fur and lots more unusual textures, just perfect for little ones to explore and learn. Fun rhyming text accompanies the colourful clear pictures. A lovely series for little ones - look out for the rest of the series.

I Love Puppies (I Love Touch and Feel)

I Love Kittens (I Love Touch and Feel)

Stripy Horse Just for You by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall

What a lovely, eye catching cover! I really liked the friendly look of Stripy Horse, even before I opened the book. This new adventure in the series, building on the success of the picture books, introduces children to colour, with a catchy rhyming text and vibrant use of colour. Stripy Horse is such an appealing character! Perfect books for adults and children to enjoy together. Look out too for Stripy Horse, Time for Bed - a lovely bedtime story. And the next two in the series will, with these two, make a picture of the back covers - clever!

 Amazing Airport by Dan Crisp

A lovely set of first board books by Dan Crisp - Super Sound Books. Each book has a sound button relating to the topic. The books have five strong board pages, each one shaped to encourage little ones to follow the shape with their fingers as they enjoy the story being read aloud. Vibrant illustrations make these lovely interactive books to stimulate your child's senses. Plenty of fun in these lovely books.
The series also includes Busy Boats, Big Building Site and Traffic Town, (shown below) all in the same great style

 Animal I Spy by Kate Sheppard

This is a fun I-spy book for little ones. On each page, the child has to look for a specific creature and locate it amongst all the other animals pictured. Lovely, gently humorous illustrations make this book a delight to be returned to over and over again. And you could ask your own I-spy questions to extend the fun. A lovely board book, with a tactile squashy cover, to introduce your little one to the world of animals.

Peekaboo Moon! by Marie Birkinshaw

The perfect hide-and-seek bedtime story book for you and your baby to share. Lift the brightly coloured flaps, see who is underneath and then say 'Goodnight' to all the creatures. Your child will relish the surprise as the end as they find the mirror in the shape of a star. Bright colours, clear illustrations to capture attention and softly rounded corners make this an ideal first book for your baby.

 This Little Kitten by Lucy Lyes

A combination of catchy rhymes, lots of textures and bright colours make this a very attractive book. Your little one will enjoy hearing this book read aloud as well as feeling the variety of textures, from one kitten's velvety tail to the wet-feeling nose of another. A lovely way to develop babies' natural instincts to find out and develop inquisitiveness. At the end, your child can choose a name for the last kitten. Look out for 'Puppy', 'Fairy' and 'Monster' in this series.

Pippa and the Big Train by Ladybird Books

Pippa has become a huge favourite with young children. In this story, join her and her friends on a train journey. Share with them as they spot all the things on Madame Gazelle's list. A charming story to read aloud, with an amusing quirk at the end and plenty of sounds for your child to join in with - 'Chugga, chugga' and 'Clunk, clunk' as the train leaves. Next time you are on a train journey with your child, take this colourful board book and see what you can spot off the list. Look out for the other books in the series.

 Whose Hat? by Fiona Munro

Read the rhyming text and then let your child open the giant flaps once they have decided who owns the hat. Was he right? This is a lift-the-flap book for the very youngest child, as the full page size flaps are made from sturdy card with finger holes, making them ideal and durable for little ones. Friendly characters your child will love guarantee this will become a favourite. There are lots more in the series too - take a look at www.ladybird.com

   

Funny Face by Nicola Smee

This is a delightful interactive board book for little children. They will need little encouragement to replicate all the hilarious faces depicted in this book. The storyline is the perfect background for all the emotions which the little boy shows as his peaceful game of football is interrupted by a big bear who takes the boy's ball. After children have enjoyed this great excuse to pull faces, they can see just how funny they look in the integral mirror at the end of the book. And there's a space to put in their own photo too. A well-made and durable book ideal for the heavy use it is bound to get.
Publication date 21/02/11

Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray

Who would have though that a whole ABC book could be written around the subject of a apple pie? This is a charming book with an old-fashioned, feel-good feel.  Follow the apple pie from the making right to  an exhausted sleep. Will the poor dog ever get a taste of the succulent pie? Beutifully related and illustrated this is a story to treasure and read over and over. See the webiste at www.applepieabc.com  for more fun.

I Love my Mummy by Giles Andreae

 I love this down-to-earth story about mummy and small child - a world away from some of the idealised picture books, this is real life! It portrays the wonderful relationship between mother and child beautifully and children will want to read it over and over again as they see how it reflects their relationship. All the things mother and child do together - from car journeys to wiping grubby noses. Beautifully complemented by Emma Dodd's vibrant illustrations. A lovely book by a prize-winning author.

Sleepytime Stories by Sam Taplin & Francesca di Chiara

I love the design and presentation of this book, which make it really stand out! The picture alongside does not do it justice - you need to see it for yourself! Each story is marked by a two-sided picture tab along the side, perfect for little ones to select their favourite story. Each page of this board book is decorated with glittering colours and there are textures for your child to explore on every page. Six charming animal stories about friendship make perfect bedtime reading - just right to unwind at bedtime. This book will become a firm favourite and is one to cherish.

Baby's Very First Word Book by Fiona Watt 

The outdoors, animals, transport and colours are the popular topics chosen for this first word book. Clear, unfussy illustrations on a white background will have immediate appeal to babies and introduce them to commonly seen things. The slightly padded cover makes the book lovely for little hands to hold, and the shiny pictures on the front are attractive. A perfect book to share with your little one.

Amazing Baby I Love You by Beth Harwood

The combination of photography and read-aloud text makes this a perfect title to share with your baby. A perfect balance of photographs and text means this is a well-balanced book. It is a refreshing chance to see black and white photos and the close-ups of baby faces will really hit the spot with little ones, who will revel in the range of expressions portrayed - crying babies as well as lots of smiley ones.  The detail is fascinating - just look at the teardrops on the eyelashes of the crying baby, por exampe. The lovely finishing touch is a slot at the end of the book to insert your own baby's photo - what a super idea!
 

I Like Toys by Lorena Siminovich 

Introduce your child to shapes through the medium of toys in this book in the 'Petit Collage' series. It is a lovely series and the books are really sturdy and well-made, meaning they can be safely left with even the youngest child (the book is suitable for 6 months and up). Babies will love running their fingers over the variety of textures in this book (and the shiny pages) and it is a marvellous way of developing their sense of touch as well as introducing shape recognition. Each page features a different, and often unusual, texture plus colourful pictures of toys related to circles, triangles, squares and rectangles. Look out for all the toys on the final page - great opportunity for observation and discussion.

I Like Peas by Lorena Siminovich

This is a stylish collage series from author and illustrator Lorena Siminovich. Using  vegetables, children can learn basic concepts, in this case spatial words such as in, on, above and below whilst also enjoying a variety of colours and textures. The touch and feel textures stimulate the learning process through another sense.  It's good to see a slightly unusual topic, ie vegetables, used in this book.

Look out for two more books in this innovative series: I Like Fruit (Petit Collage) and I Like Bugs (Petit Collage)

Where's my Mummy? by Graham Oakley

This cleverly designed pull-out board book is great fun. Read the beginning of the story like a conventional book - and enjoy the rhyme as you read aloud and follow the little dinosur as he looks for mummy. The shiny pictures of this part of the book are excellent for capturing a little one's attention. Then, let your child have the fun of pulling out the tag and folding out the rest of the story, and enjoying spotting all the baby dinosaurs. Lots of other little creatures to spot as well. An endearing and reassuring story, which children will love to see spread out before them.

 My First Chunky Board Books - Numbers by Graham Oakley

Little ones will get a lovely surprise as they open up this 'book' and find no less than 6 lovely chunky board books concealed inside it - perfectly sized for little fingers. Introduce your baby to numbers with books for 1, 2 3,4 and 5 and a sixth book for 1-10. The delicate pastel colours make a refreshing change and the illustrations are quite charming. Learning is enhanced as your child slots the books back into the correct (marked) pocket). A lovely collection of books for a child's first library.

Charlie Monkey by Roger Priddy

Enjoy this book of silly rhymes about Charlie Monkey and his friends. A really bright and colourful board book for one year olds and above. I like the way all the animals are named - Harriet Hippo and Katy Giraffe, for example - making them real friends for your little one. I can imagine a few soft toys being given these names! Lovely clear, bright and uncluttered illustrations make this book ideal for first reading. Priddy Books publish some great titles and I'd recommend a look at their website.

Heads by Matthew Van Fleet

This is a really different book and the front cover alone will draw people to the book. Push in the spring-loaded flap and the words of the title jump into place -  but I won't spoil any more of the surprises! And surprises there are a-plenty as you share this lovely book with your child - I have re-read it several times and noticed something new each time, so this is a wonderful book for helping toddlers learn and observe. As well as the tabs, there are lots of textures to try out and fascinate your child. The text flows easily and I can imagine children having a wonderful time shouting out the words and waiting eagerly for the next surprise. Use the spread at the end to reinforce your child's naming of the animals. Great fun and develops key skills as well. 

 Millie Moo by Roger Priddy

Like Charlie Monkey, this is a lovely bright book for early readers. I love the textured effect of the pictures in book books, which encourage little ones to trace around the shapes and enjoy the tactile feel. There is real humour in the illustrations, which will appeal to the grown ups - just picture Ladybird Lou putting on her wellies! Your little one will make lots of new friends through the entertaining rhymes in this book.

Snail Trail by Ruth Brown

This book is absolutely delightful!  Join the snail as he travels over the hill, through the tunnel, into the forest and onward......finally, he is so worn out that he falls asleep in the sanctuary of............... well, you must read this charming story to find out just where these adventures take place! Things are not always what they seem. This simple story conjures up a wonderful atmosphere and would lend itself well to the creation of an action game. The delicate illustrations perfectly complement the story - and who would have though a snail could have such an expressive face?

Hush Baby Hush by Kathy Henderson

This is a collection of lullabies from around the world and would be a lovely gift for a new baby.  It shows how, regardless of language, all babies need soothing and the beautiful sound and flow of words is all that's needed. The lullabies are given in their original language and in clever, sensitive translations which manage to keep all the rhythm of the originals, making both versions perfect for reading aloud. Or you can sing along using the music at the end of the book - a lovely touch. The illustrations conjure up the atmosphere of the place of origin of the lullabies  - I especially liked the picture of the Aboriginal mother with her baby, set against a dramatic background. In her introduction, the author encourages the reader to put their own baby's name in and then pass the ryhmes on - a good way to preserve oral traditions and make our own family tradition. This book deserves to become a children's classic.

Lulu loves the library by Anna McQuinn

As a Children's Librarian, I just love this board book which shows the toddler Lulu really looking forward to her visit to the library. Join her as she wakes her Mum up (at 6 in the morning!) on library day; share her enjoyment as she packs her books and her library card and walks to the library. There she enjoys story times and loves choosing her new books. This should be given to every toddler to encourage them to enjoy their library visits. A lovely book and an endearing heroine.

 Words by Tanya Kant

Receiving new books from the Salariya Book Company is always a delight and these lovely chunky books more that live up to expectations.These are educational and stimulating early learning books for toddlers which contain far more detail than your average 'first books'. Beginning with the everyday things they already know, these books will encourage children's natural exploration of their world through the questions on each page. Words takes your toddler through their world, starting with themsleves and cleverly moving out into the family, the home and the world outside - and ending up at bedtime. Very well thought out and guaranteed to be a favourite .

Colours by Rob Walker

Another lovely first book, crammed with detail. It is well designed to encourage parents to encoirage their toddler's natural curiosity Count the lemons; how many things can you think of that are yellow? each spread has a question and an activity. The photos are full of detail and yet clear for little ones to recognise.The padded covers and rounded corners of these books make them a lovely tactile experience for little children. THis is a super series and I recommend them highly.

Who's in the forest? by Phillis Gershator

I have loved Peepo books for little ones ever since enjoying the Ahlberg's classic Peepo with my children, and this title does not disappoint. This sturdy board book guarantees hours of fun for your child as they look through the peepholes to see 'Who's in the forest, dark and deep?'. This is a lovely book to read aloud and the rhythm really flows through the story, making reading a real joy. The vibrant illustrations are a super complement to the text with plenty of detail and things for your child to spot, like the number of acorns to be found on the page about squirrels. The depth of colour in the pictures makes them really striking and there is plenty of humour in them to keep children entertained.

Noisy trains, cars and tractors

Noisy trains is shown alongside, but there is a wonderful box set available containing Noisy trains, Noisy cars and Noisy tractors. A lovely collection of chunky little books with a built-in sound effect for each vehicle. Plenty of fun for little ones as they enjoy the bright pictures of different vehicles in a variety of settings. Plenty for Mum and Dad to talk about too, as you read these books with your little one, and ask the questions which are found at the bottom of every page. Ideal for 1 year and over. Also in the series - Noisy boats.

A silde and surprise animal book

 A delightful book, in which children have to guess the animal from a pattern or shape on the page, plus a verbal clue. Then slide out the flap to find some wonderful photos or pictures of the animals. It's lovely to see real photos in a book for this age group and, combined with the vivid colours of the 'question' page, this makes a really innovative book. It is really sturdily produced and will stand up to hours of use. A super early learning book, which is a great way to instill a love of books.

My fold out numbers

A lovely way to introduce baby to numbers. The 'book' is formed of one long concertina page, printed both sides, which folds right out to give a floor book - and it goes up to 12, which makes a nice change! The use of shiny images on a matt background means that the pictures really stand out. Your child will love the eight different teddy bears and the 12 brightly coloured balls. Another lovely book from Priddy Books - look out for 'Colours' too.

 

The Noisy Book by Soledad Bravi

This is a lovely board book with over a hundred pages. You will have great fun reading this to your baby and there are lots of sounds not usually seen in picture books - 'The cold goes aachoo'; 'The drink goes glug glug'. The bright, clear and simple illustrations and their vivid contrasting backgrounds are perfect for babies and the chunky book is ideal for little hands. A super first book and great fun for reading aloud..

Teddy Time by Margot Channing

We are so often asked how parents can help children learn to tell the time. It is a surprisingly hard concept for children to grasp, and the real cleverness in this book is the way that, not only does the child have a clock to set at the correct time, but also the book takes you through the day in hourly slots. This enables the child to appreciate what happens when and so is a great learning aid. As you go through the day, keep the time up to date and add in times of yoyr own to extend the value of this book. The adorable cuddly teddies illustrate the story - and look out for their clocks to help your child set the big clock! Plenty of opportunities for discussion around the activities too, and to discuss your own day. 

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