Tag Archives: board book

Angelina Ballerina by Katherine Holabird illustrated by Helen Craig

wp-1470895465538.jpgI hadn’t realised the story wasn’t written as recently as I thought having been written in 1983 to many a classic story however I don’t remember having this read to me as a child. The edition we have is a board book published in 2007 by Puffin Books.

The story is about a young mouse called Angelina who wants to be a ballerina however she hasn’t had lessons and she dances all the time when she’s meant to be doing other things such as tidying her room, getting ready for school even dancing around the school yard!

The story continues and I’m sure you can guess what happens, she has ballet lessons and as she has the lessons she doesn’t dance when she’s not meant to be much to the relief of her parents.

I bought this book for Boo for a couple of reasons, after quickly reading the book to myself in the bookshop (love I can do this with young children’s books as they’re not too long) and thought what a lovely story it was.  The illustrations are beautiful and are highly detailed. The cover caught my attention with the little silver hearts and the illustration of a mouse asleep in bed. But the main reason is Boo was given a music box as a present which has a pretty ballerina spinning round and round as the wind up classic music is played she loves it and has tried to copy going round and round many times so thought a book about a ballerina would appeal.

However it doesn’t seem to be the case….yet. I have read the story a few times now to Boo and she’s not very interested. At 20 months I think she’s a little too young for it at the moment as it has a lot of words unlike most of the other stories I’ve read to her recently. The last time I read it to her she got up from sitting on my knee and took the opportunity to play with a full size football of 7 year old Monkey’s while he was out!

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Boo does however like the illustrations which I thought she would as she loves the detailed illustrations in her two Beatrix Potter books.

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At the moment I think Boo would score this 5/10 as she likes the illustrations but the story hasn’t caught her attention yet. I think she will like it more when she’s 2+

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I on the other hand really enjoyed the story. I liked how the story starts with Angelina not having had ballet lessons still practices really hard and also how this can be related to all children who want to busy themselves doing something else instead of what they’re supposed to be doing like tidying their room. I find the illustrations are lovely I have always liked detailed illustrations in children’s books especially reading with an older child where you can ask them to look at the illustrations and point a particular item out. I know this book will grow with Boo and I think I will be asked to read it to her many times repeatedly in the coming years. I will score this 8/10.

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Jemima Puddle Duck by Beatrix Potter

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Probably one of the best known stories written by Beatrix Potter about a duck called Jemima Puddle Duck who wants to find somewhere suitable to lay her eggs but Mr Tod a fox has other plans when supposedly helping her.

The edition we have is dated 2007 published by the Penguin Group. As with the Jeremy Fisher book this is a board book which is a lovely shape to hold.

The original story was first published by Fredrick Warne & Co in July 1908. She wrote the story on her farm which she bought in the Lake District. The characters are based on real people she knew at the farm.

The illustrations are the original Beatrix drew not the newer versions I have seen. I bought this at the same time as Mr Jeremy Fisher on a day trip to the Lake District with Boo when she was about 9 months old. I knew instantly shed like this book as she loves ducks. The illustrations have completely drawn her in and she loves this book more than perhaps some of her other books as she really takes the time to look at the illustrations in detail and has started pointing at Jemima when I ask her where the duck is.

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I would therefore suggest Boo would give this story 10/10 I too would give it the same 10/10 I remember my mam reading this to me one Christmas morning when I received it aged 5/6 I think it was one of the first of Beatrix Potter’s books read to me and I was hooked straight away and remain a fan even as an adult.

On a slightly different note today marks the 150th year since Beatrix Potter was born and strangely today of all days my son and I came across a hedgehog Mrs Tiggy-winkle in the middle of the road shuffling around, which thankfully a kind stranger rescued. If you follow my Instagram feed you may have seen the picture already if not you can find me @ccrainbowflowers

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Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter

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I think this may be one of a few Beatrix Potter stories which is less known.

The story is about Mr Jeremy Fisher who is a frog who wants to catch some minnows for supper as he’s having friends round. However instead of catching minnows he has a narrow escape from a trout!

The edition we have is dated 2007 published by the Penguin Group and is a board book which is a lovely shape easy for young children to hold and yet it still retains the original illustrations which Beatrix drew.

The original story was first published by Fredwick Warne & Co in July 1906. The origin of the story as with most of her stories was written in a letter she wrote to a child in 1893. She revised it in 1906, and moved its setting from the River Tay to the Lake District.

I bought this book in the Lake District on a day trip with Boo when she was about 9 months old. She’s loved the pictures since I bought it and will happily sit smiling turning the pages back and forth looking at the illustrations with their great detail. Boo now aged 19 months has started to listen to me as I read the story.

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Although she finds it fascinating looking at the illustrations she is more drawn to the Jemima Puddle Duck story which is in the same style of book. Therefore I would suggest she gives this book 9/10. I too would give this 9/10 it’s not my favourite story but I can’t help but love the illustrations.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s abc by Eric Carle

An abc book which adults will enjoy to look at too

An abc book which adults will enjoy to look at too

Very few people will not know who the character of Eric Carle’s famous book The Very Hungry Caterpillar is which is a childhood favourite of mine. This book explores the abc with help of the hungry caterpillar and lots of animal friends who I believe can be found in several other Eric Carle books.

The book was first published in 2015 by Puffin Books.

The very first page and last page has the letters of the alphabet set out in the same colours and style as you find throughout the book i.e. the letter ‘a’ is red with what looks like finger painted dots.

Each letter of the alphabet has a separate page on white background making a very good visual impact to all who read the book. Under each letter which are all lowercase letters there is a picture of an animal which starts with that particular letter which is then followed by the word of what the picture is, the first letter written the same colourful way as what the letter is first depicted as.

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The alphabet doesn’t just concentrate on the animals most alphabet books have which as an adult certainly makes it more interesting. Below is the list of animals alphabetically used.

Ants

Bird

Caterpillar

Dog

Eagle

Frog

Gull

Horse

Iguana

Lizard

Mouse

Narwhal

Owl

Penguin

Quetzal

Rhino

Snail

Tiger

Unicom

Vulture

Walrus

Xolo

Yak

Zebra

There are a few in the list I’ve not heard of before which makes it interesting to both the adult reader but also perhaps to an older sibling reading the book to their younger brother/sister.

I've never heard of a narwhal have you?

I’ve never heard of a narwhal have you?

Boo is too young to fully appreciate this book yet and yet she recognises the picture of the Dog and bird the rest of the time she points at pages randomly and I tell her the letter, point to the picture and tell her what he picture is of which she enjoys doing a lot at the moment.

Since Boo is too young to review the book properly I have to go on what she thinks of this book compared to others and I have to say this is slowly becoming a favourite of hers, in fact at the weekend I put it in our bag to take out for the day and she happily looked through this book while I read my son’s comic to him. To make it even better my son when he became bored of the comic looked through this book with Boo it was such a lovely sight to see Monkey age 7 explaining to his baby sister Boo age 19 months what all the letters were and pointing out all the beautiful bright colours, I’m sure sure this will only get better as Boo grows so I think she would give this 9/10 at the moment.

I love this book, so many abc books concentrate on the boring and same suggestions such as b for butterfly and s for snake with usually boring illustrations but each illustration is a true piece of art which I would happily display and not necessarily only in a children’s playroom. On the back of the book there’s a website address for information on Eric Carle’s books, information about him, resources, ideas, lots of interesting information on how the illustrations are made – it’s certainly worth a look I was impressed with the amount of information available there. There is also a link to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art which I would love to visit one day. The website is:
eric-carle.com

I will give this book 10/10 as it will certainly grow with children and can be used for lots of things not just simply learning letters. It could be used to start a conversation, research on the various animals depicted especially the lesser known. The colours of the illustrations can be used for colour recognition. Some children might want to make a story up about the animals to help remember the alphabet. It can also be used as a way to learn how to do collages which is how Eric Carle creates these illustrations. This is just a few ideas I’m sure there are many more, have fun read learn and create.

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Spot Looks At Opposites by Eric Hill

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As Boo loves dogs we appear to have a small collection of stories featuring dogs as the main character. I have already reviewed a couple of other Spot the Dog books –

Where’s Spot
Spot Says Goodnight
Spot Looks At Shapes

All great books and this is no exception.

This little book is a lovely introduction to the world of opposites for very young children ideal for pre-school children.

The edition we have has only 12 pages, it’s a lovely small square shape easy for young children to turn the board pages. This version was published in 2010 by Fredrick Warne however was first published by William Heinemann in 1986.

Like the shape book I reviewed, the concept of the same but different situation is spread over a double page the first pages for instance introduces the child to full and empty;

Full showing Spot’s food bowl full of food and the opposite page showing empty with the caption Now it is empty.

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Other opposites are;

In and out
Over and under
Up and down
Fast and slow
Open and shut

Boo although she enjoys the other Spot books and in particular loves the shape book she’s not yet as keen on this book. Given that she is only 18 months I can see this book growing with her and I’m sure by the time she turns 2 she’ll be happily looking at the pages and it will help her understanding. Therefore at the moment and given her reaction to this book I would suggest she would give it 5/10. I on the other hand can see this books potential and really like the pictures of this lovely little book and would give it 9/10 only one point short because the fast and slow page relies on the young child understanding that Clare the tortoise would be slower to walk than Spot but this is only a small issue and once children understand this idea they can see why Spot would be faster.

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Reviewing these Spot books has made me want to see what other Spot books I can find for Boo. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear from you.

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Spot Looks At Shapes by Eric Hill

img_20160527_0651190_rewind_kindlephoto-47828131.jpgThere can’t be many of us who don’t remember or know Spot the Dog. For those that don’t know Spot was created by Eric Hill who wrote many different Spot the Dog books. The books are aimed at very young children before school age.

Boo who is now 17 months old loves dogs even though as a family we have 2 cats. She is also fascinated by shapes showing a real interest in completing a simple Melissa and Doug peg puzzle so I thought this book would be good for her.

This book was first published by William Heinemann Ltd in 1986 however the copy we have was published 2010 by Fredrick Warne. The version we have is a lovely small square shape easy for little hands to hold and is a board book ideal for chewing when teething!

The book is on 12 pages long which is long enough to keep young children engaged and as it’s not a story a child can start in the middle of the book without really missing much.

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Boo's favourite

Boo’s favourite

 

 

 

 

 

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Each shape is introduced by an object that Spot is holding,playing with etc and the opposite page shows the shape with its name for instance the first page says “Spot’s rubber ring is a round shape. The opposite page says round with the rubber ring clearly showing on a plain white background. Other shapes are square, rectangle, star, triangle, oval. Boo’s favourite is the star.

Although Boo being 17 months can’t tell me how much she likes this book I can easily see she enjoys it as she often carries it around the house stopping briefly to sit and flick through the pages giggling to herself and asking everyone to look at it with her most days therefore I am going to suggest she would give it 9/10.

Being a fan of Spot from when I was a young child I love all things Spot the Dog and this is no exception. I love the brightness of the pictures, the simple to understand text and I particularly like how the shape is then shown isolated on a separate paper unlike a lot of other shape books therefore I give this little book 9/10 I would have given it 10/10 if they had put circle instead of round as this is the only shape that feels wrongly described – yes the ring is round however most children when learning shapes would say it’s a circle but it’s only a small issue.

I have reviewed other Spot books previously – Where’s Spot and Spot Says Goodnight. We have other Spot books to review so if you were unsure of who Spot the Dog was come back and see or if you know Spot come back and relive some old favourites.

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