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Book reviews - babies & toddlers Little Learners

Parragon Books, the publishers of this excellent new series for children 0 - 3 say: "Supported by the latest research, fun, engaging and always more than just a book – welcome to Little Learners! We made every book especially to help babies’ and toddlers’ development. With cute, contemporary design, memorable stories or rhymes plus sturdy construction and playful elements, Little Learners will stimulate a child’s curiosity about life and language.
Reading with children has never been more important, more special or more fun!"

It's an excellent series of books - each one features interactive elements to get little ones interested and the variety is fascinating. All key skills are helped through the use of these books. The books are really well made too - durable as well as attractive. The first books in this exciting new series were published March 2012, and more are being added all the time, so keep checking back here. I really think this is the best series around for young children. Read our guest blog on the Parragon Books website.
Little Learners - Parragon Books

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Jiggly Giraffe rattle and book set Jiggly Giraffe (Little Learners ®)

Ah - this is so cute! An adorable soft yellow giraffe who wiggles, jiggles and rattles. He is accompanied by a story book to share with your little one. The delicately illustrated rhyme book is ideal to share with your child as he joins in shaking the rattle - or you can create a rhythm yourself. The set is presented in an attractive box with a ribbon handle, making it an ideal present for a newborn.

Spots & Dots (Little Learners) Spots and Dots! (Little Learners ®)

This book, which introduces babies to patterns, is just a bit different. There are lots of books on colour, shape etc so it's great to see patterns being introduced. Stripes, spots and swirls are all introduced through a range of delicate pastel coloured creatures. The strong board pages feature four different cut out shapes to encourage tactile exploration, and there is aslo a cutout at the bottom of the book to hold it by. The pages are very thick so the youngest children can turn them unaided.

Cow Says Moo (Little Learners) Cow Says Moo! (Little Learners ®)

Animal noises are a great way to encourage children to make their first sounds - often animal noises are the easiest sounds to imitate. Three chunky pages have pastel illustrations and friendly animals with their sounds, pictured against pretty backgrounds. These are ideal books to encourage early manipulative skills as well as a love for books, reading and sharing.

Little Learners Soft Toy Blanket Set: Sleepy Puppy (Little Learners Soft Toy Set)

The latest addition to the Little Learners series is a book and soft snuggle blanket set which would make the perfect gift for a newborn - and it brings yet another new idea to this innovative range. The lovable snuggly puppy is a soft brown, great for boys and girls and his soft feel makes him perfect for bedtime cuddles. Packaged into the display box is the chunky 'A little goodnight book' which features the little puppy in a reassuring bedtime story.

Bedtime Cuties: Animal Mobile and Storybook

Once again with the latest releases I am amazed at the ingenuity which just continues to come upLittle Learners with innovative ideas for this super series. This is a delightful mobile which goes together easily with pretty ribbons to hang over your baby's cot or changing table to keep her entranced as she watches the movement. It comes with a cute little chunky board book to share, all about what makes creatures lovable. The trademark soft colours of this series are perfect for peaceful and relaxing bedtimes. A great addition to the series which is brilliant in the way it works to stimulate all the senses.

Peek-a-boo Friends (Little Learners Peek and Explore)

Little ones are encouraged to peek through the pages as they meet a group of friendly animal creatures - a puppy, a kitten, a mouse, a bunny and a duck, who can also all be spotted in the cut outs in the handle - clever! Children will enjoy sharing this book and there are lots of animal noises to make as you enjoy the delicate pictures together.

Peek-a-boo Rainbow (Little Learners Peek and Explore)

Little ones will love learning about colours as they explore the pages of this chunky cut out book. The handle cleverly shows each colour - red, orange, yellow, green and blue - in a 'rainbow' and children can use the tabs to open the pages. Each page has a range of coloured pictures for children to spot and there's a die cut hole to allow them to peek through to the next colour. Another very attractive book.

Snuggle Bunny - Bunny's Bedtime Book and Cuddly Bunny from Little Learners

Another delightful addition to the series - and yet again, it's something different! There really does seem to be no limit to the new ideas Parragon Books are coming up with for the Little Learners series. This time, it is a lovely cuddly squeezable soft bunny, coupled with a board book full of activities from a very active little bunny - until he gives in and falls asleep! The trademark pastel colours of this series come to the fore again and this is just right for little ones to snuggle down with bunny and enjoy a bedtime story. In its carry case with a ribbon handle, it's the perfect gift for a new baby.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (Sound and Light) from Parragon Books

There are lots of sound books around, but this is the first I have seen which also lights up. It's really eye-catching and my little tester was mesmerised by the lights which flash along with the tune of the nursery rhyme. There's also a hooting owl and two sparkly star noises which also have flashing lights. The book encourages interactive play and hand-eye coordination in children from one year and up. The very sturdy board pages mean the book will withstand many hours of enthusiastic play.

Ring a Ring O' Roses (Sound and Light) from Parragon Books

The lights flash along with the tune of the nursery rhyme, helping children to develop a sense of rhythm. There are three more sounds, including two sneezes which children will love to imitate.  A group of friendly animals help to tell the ryhme. I love the way the books in the Little Learners series complement each other. Within a huge range of types of book, the publishers have managed to keep an identifiable format which links all the books in the series. The colouring is mainly pastel, which gives a lovely soft appearance.

Incy Wincy Spider (Finger Puppet Book) from Parragon Books

Incy Wincy Spider is a wonderful rhyme to act out with young children and now it's become even more interactive! Just look at the cute spider on the cover, complete with umbrella. He pokes his head out through the front of the book, and as you share the rhyme with your little one, the puppet follows you through the pages. There are lots of things to spot and discuss on each page - ask your child to spot the bee on every page. The book will evoke a response from even the youngest baby.

Hickory Dickory Dock (Finger Puppet Book) from Parragon Books

Follow the mouse through the nursery ryhme as he peeps through the hole in each of the pages. I love the chunky small size of these puppet books - they are just right for little fingers, so children can 'read' the rhyme to adults. Again, there's lots to spot in the pictures - ask your child to point out the changes between the pictures of the hall on the first and the last pages.

My Day (Touch and Feel) from Parragon Books

This is a lovely way to introduce babies to books. It's ideal for six months and up and babies will love to learn about everyday activities with this touch and feel book. The textures begin with the crinkly roof on the cover - my tester found it makes a lovely noise when he ran his fingernails across it!  Designed to promote children's sense of touch and interactive play, the textures are generously sized and very varied - I love the glittery soap bubbles! The use of familiar objects will appeal to little children, who will adore this book

Let's Play (Touch and Feel) from Parragon Books 

Babies will enjoy recognising and learning about the toys they enjoy every day with this attractive interactive book. Babies love to feel and explore textures and they will soon learn to search out the different ones - the varied building blocks are particularly good. Beautiful and delicate artwork combines with simple text to make this book ideal for babies age 6+ months.

The Dog I Love Best (Finger Puppet Book) from Parragon Books

An endearing little dog pokes his head out of the front of this book. Perfectly sized to allow parent or child to keep a finger in the puppet whilst turning the pages of this little chunky board book. Often, with this type of book, it is hard to hold the book and 'operate' the puppet, but these books work perfectly. The book takes you on a journey to a rescue home, where you meet lots of different dogs and many other pets too. Plenty of noises for children to share in the book too, as you share the rhyming text.

This Little Piggy (Finger Puppet Book) from Parragon Books 

The little pink piggy's head stays neatly positioned on his body as you share the well-loved tale with your little one. Lively illustrations will capture your child's attention and the rounded corners of the book will ensure no nasty accidents when they try to read it for themselves. This series helps hand-eye coordination, interactive play and language development.

Mary Had a Little Lamb (Finger Puppet Book) from Parragon Books

Act out this favourite nursery rhyme with the aid of the cuddly little white lamb (with a lovely fluffy topknot!) who pops his head through the hole to appear on each page of the story. The bright pictures show the lamb keeping Mary company walking, shopping and even skipping in the playground at school. There's plenty to talk about and for little ones to spot in the pictures too.

Night Night (First Words) from Parragon Books

These books are quite different - they are really light, with the pages stuck onto foam, which gives a lovely feel for little fingers. Perfect for a first bedtime story, this title introduces all the bedtime things - bath, towel, pyjamas, toothbrush, bed, book, blanket and  - of course - teddy bear. A rounded top and soft corners mean you can safely leave this with baby. 


Yum Yum (First Words) from Parragon Books

Another charming light foam book - this time, it's get ready to eat, with soft pastel pictures of bib, cup, bowl, spoon, plate, toast, biscuit and banana. All familiar objects which your little one will love to point out and name. As with all the books in the series, symbols on the back indicate areas where the book helps - in this case first words, language development, knowledge and understanding - and the age group: 1+ for these books.

I Can Share (Pull Out Pictures) from Parragon Books

This series helps with knowledge about the world, hand-eye coordination and language development and is ideal for children of 1+. In fact, the tabbed pages make the books accessible for younger children - my 9 month old grandson can't quite manage 'normal' board books but can easily turn the pages of tabbed books, so I think they are a great idea. The ever-important topic of sharing is discussed in this book - basic principles are clearly stated by a group of friendly animals and reinforced by the messages on the pull out pictures.

I Feel Happy (Pull Out Pictures) from Parragon Books

This series is great for encouraging children to share their feelings. In this book, emotions are shown with their opposites on the opposing page, and then the pull out tabs expand on the thoughts. Again, a series of delightful animals help children to understand the world around them. Made in strong board, the pull out pictures, which also act as tabs, go back with a satisfying 'clunk'. 

Animals (Touch and Feel) from Parragon Books 

Animals - a perfect concept for a textured book. The dog's soft fur, the kitten's fluffy stripes, the bunnies with their fluffy tails, the smooth beaks of the ducks, the woolly sheep and the shiny fish will all delight little fingers. The pictures are colourful and help your baby learn about the world around her. The books can be used from birth and the gently rounded corners mean they are quite safe.

Colours (Touch and Feel) from Parragon Books

Another book packed with an intriguing mix of textures for little fingers to explore - soft, shiny, bumpy, silky, fluffy and glittery. I know one little boy who adores textured books - he feels the pages of every book, looking for the texture!  Children will learn about their colours in a fun way through the colourful pictures of familiar objects and they can be encouraged to spot the colours in the world around them. The textured areas are generously sized too!


Bathtime - Bath Book and Squirting Duck Toy from Parragon Books

Yet another different type of book in this extensive range. The soft plastic book is perfectly waterproof and the tabbed edges to the pages mean that little fingers can still turn the pages even when slippery in the bath - another one of the simple but clever ideas which epitomise this series. Read the story about Little Duck then baby can have fun squirting the toy. Suitable from birth up, the set will help with words, imaginative play and hand-eye coordination.  

Snuggle from Parragon Books

It's time for the animals - and your baby - to go to sleep. Babies love to cuddle up with a snuggly cuddly book and they will adore this softly coloured cloth book all about cuddles and hugs - kittens, puppies, bunnies and ducklings all cuddle up soft and cosy - just right for bedtime.

Baby's First Buggy Books: Words/Animals by Parragon Books

Babies will enjoy their first learning with these softly coloured books about words and animals.  Babies seem to take great delight in throwing anything and everything out of their buggy/highchair/cot, so these little books with their soft velcro straps to attach round a bar are the perfect answer. Packed as a set of two, these would make a lovely gift for a new baby.

Baby's First Buggy Books: Colours/Numbers by Parragon Books

Simple and appealing pastel pictures make these chunky little board books very attractive. Familiar objects are used to encourage colour recognition colour recognition. Simple text and clear pictures are ideal for little ones and these two sets of two books are most attractive and ideal for little fingers.