Book reviews - babies & toddlers Pat-a-Cake

Pat-a-Cake is the new baby, preschool and early years imprint from Hachette Children’s Group.

Book reviews - Babies and toddlers (Little Learners)
Book reviews - Babies and toddlers (Tiger Kids)
Book reviews - Babies and toddlers Pat-a-Cake

Times Tables Flash Cards:Essential flash cards for times tables from 1 to 12 (I'm Starting School)

These colour-coded flash cards are designed to complement the National Curriculum, covering times tables from 1 to 12. these flash cards are perfect for learning and practising times tables together. Neatly designed, as you hold the cards up, the answer is concealed beneath your thumb - although this feature does mean the cards cannot be used independently by children. The double sided cards are a good size and the strong shiny card will withstand plenty of handling. Easy to carry around, they are perfect for quick tables revision at home or out and about.

First Phonics Flash Cards: Essential flash cards for all English phonics sounds (I'm Starting School)

Give your child a head start for reading with these enjoyable and colourful First Phonics Flash Cards. They are designed to complement the National Curriculum, and cover all 44 phonemes (sound units) that children will learn in Reception, with one card for each sound. One side of the card shows the sound, and on the reverse is a corresponding picture. Under the picture are sound buttons which show the number of phonemes in the word eg sun has three phonemes. The pack also includes a useful phonics glossary.

Here Come the Dinosaurs: A touch-and-feel board book (Clap Hands)

This interactive series encourages little ones to clap along as they turn the pages to discover the friendly dinosaurs. The simple text encourages them to point, count, match and talk about the dinosaurs playing on every page, and the repetition is perfect for young children as they will soon learn to join in. Every page features a different texture to encourage tactile skills and a big, fold-out surprise at the end that little ones will love.

Here Come the Monkeys: A touch-and-feel board book (Clap Hands)

These are sturdy board books that will withstand plenty of enthusiastic handling - and that is what they are bound to get with the target age group. The corners are gently rounded and the board pages are thick enough to be really durable. Each page features a different friendly monkey - and the monkeys all have names which is a good idea to attract little ones to the book. Throughout the series, the textures are varied and fit appropriately with the pictures - in this book, we have a fuzzy tummy furry ear, a rough foot and a fluffy tail - all in different bright colours. The books are just the right size for little hands - but make the most of the opportunity to share these books with your child so they learn to love books and the shared experience of reading.

Here Come the Kittens: A touch-and-feel board book (Clap Hands)

Four cute kittens - Ginger, Daisy, Boris and Rosie - adorn the pages of this board book, complete with tactile textures to encourage little fingers to explore. Each page asks "What's s/he doing today?" and adults can use this to encourage toddlers to discuss what they can see on the pages. A little red bird introduces the textures and there are plenty more things to spot as well. All the books feature a big fold-out surprise at the end and this, along with the textures to explore and questions to answer, mean the books have plenty to keep young ones engaged.

Here Come the Puppies: A touch-and-feel board book (Clap Hands)

Young ones are encouraged to join in on every page, clapping hands and exploring the textures - rough paws, soft ears, a sparkly collar and a furry tail. There's a surprise fold-out at the end with all the puppies from the book and a whole lot more besides. This gives scope for all sorts of interaction - how many, matching, spotting - and who is favourite? The fold-out is card and it closes up easily when the book is shut, making it durable for little fingers. The whole series is delightful and offers so many opportunities to engage young children.

First Writing: Wipe-clean book with pen (I'm Starting School)

Wipe-clean books are an excellent concept for this age, as so often children start off with quite random markings; whilst that is a key part of learning, we also want them to progress in their use of the book, so being able to start afresh is really good. This book starts with patterns then works through the alphabet, with plenty of opportunity to practise each letter, plus a whole word starting with the letter. Attractive illustrations make the book appealing. The pens that come with this series are excellent - a cut above the norm. Firstly, the packaging means they can clip back into the book after use - a great idea, as I get really frustrated looking for wipe-clean pens! The top snaps open cleanly and fits into the other end of the pen and - best of all - the pens come with an integrated sponge eraser.

First Phonics: Wipe-clean book with pen (I'm Starting School)

Each book in the series has a useful introduction for parents - these are not generic but customised to each book, meaning they are totally relevant. This title will give children a head start as they get to grips with learning to read and write at school, and it is written to complement the National Curriculum. The sounds covered are s, a t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e and u. As well as sounding out the sounds with the help of words and pictures, children can also practise their letter formation. The wipe-clean pages are shiny and colourful and the pen comes off easily. It's a fun book to use.


First Day: Wipe-clean book with pen (I'm Starting School)

That all-important first day at school is exciting but it can also be daunting. Help your child prepare, and find out what to expect, with this colourful and informative book. It's a well thought-out book that includes carefully selected activities about concepts such as colours, shapes and days of the week; familiarity with these will help children start school with confidence. The book looks at the routines that will take place at school, with plenty of prompts for discussion as well as a range of practical activities for children to do. There is also useful information and support for parents. This is a well designed series that will really help pre-schoolers prepare for school.

123: A little counting board book with a fold-out surprise (Toddler's World) from Pat-a-Cake

This colourful board book introduces toddlers to essential d number skills. The illustrations are great fun; playful and witty, they will appeal to parents and children alike. Each page includes sounds for toddlers to join in with while reading the book, and this adds to the fun element. There's a special fold-out surprise at the end which adds a fun overview of all the learning in the book. Pat-a-Cake, a new series from Hachette, takes you and your child on a magical journey. From sharing the very first baby book to watching your little one read all by themselves.

On the Move: A pull-tab board book to help your baby focus (First Baby Days) from Pat-a-Cake

Sharing books right from birth is really important for a baby's development, and this book with its bold use of black, white and red is a perfect first book. The high-contrast images are really stimulating for little ones. Babies are able to react and respond to simple patterns and contrasting colours just a few weeks after being born. As their eyes develop, they begin to track objects and scan for things to look at. Generously sized tabs pull out in different directions; babies will need to be shown how to use these initially, but as their motor skills develop, they will delight in pulling the tabs out themselves. Babies will react with delight as they track and scan the pictures and patterns that are revealed as you pull the tabs, while the simple text prompts parent interaction.