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My daughter received the Vtech animal friends nursery rhyme book for Christmas from her grandparents. I knew as soon as we opened it that she'd like it as it was bright, colourful and made sounds - all the things that she seems to love in her toys! They purchased it in John Lewis for £9.99 and it has a recommended age of 9 months and upwards.
It's a cute little book, measuring around 15cm high, 15cm wide and 5cm deep and is made of sturdy and chunky plastic everywhere, even where the nursery rhymes are printed. This is a great design for a small child with all the dribbling and food that ends up on it, it's easily wiped clean as it's smooth and shiny - there's no thick paper or card that can end up wearing over time. The book is an array of bright colours - mostly yellow, blue, red and green which is probably what first attracted my daughter to it as she is drawn to anything colourful. It has lots of things to do - it's not just a simple case of turning the pages, reading the rhymes and that being it. There's a few buttons for her to press for lights and sounds and plastic parts that slide across the book for her to play with.
The whole book is based on nursery rhymes and animals. The rhymes it includes are:
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Mary had a little lamb
Little Bo Peep
Hey Diddle Diddle (the cat and the fiddle)
Three little kittens
There was a farmer who had a dog (I presume that's the title - this was one I'd never come across before!)
I'm not sure of the relevance of twinkle twinkle little star to an 'animal friends' book but it's a lovely rhyme for her to learn nevertheless. They've tried to make the rhyme (sort of) animal based by showing a dog and an owl on it's page but apart from that there's no link I can see. A page is reserved for each nursery rhyme and also show the rhyme in pictures to keep children interested - my daughter likes to look at these at length, more so than listening to the rhymes themselves. Like with most of her toys, she also likes to try and chew on the book and with it being plastic the pages are obviously don't get damaged.
The sliding feature on the front of the book represents a bee and is basically a piece of plastic that moves across back and forth - there's not much to it but is something extra for her to play with. The other side of this feature is of a star and forms part of the twinkle twinkle little star rhyme - when it's moved from side to side it appears as though the star is moving in the sky which is a lovely and unique addition to the rhyme and something that she plays with as we read through it together - she's started to learn how to move it along herself after she's watched me do the same. At the moment with a lot of her toys, she's very interested in the little extras rather than just the main toy itself - these are no exception and I like the fact that there's more to the book than just rhymes.
There are three buttons that light and set sounds off that are attached to three of the pages at the side. The first light is of a yellow lamb's face, attached to the 'Mary had a little lamb' page and when pressed makes a baa sound, helping her to associate the sound with the animal. The next is a blue kitten face, attached to the 'three little kittens' rhyme which makes a meow noise when pressed and the third is a red dog face attached to 'the farmer had a dog' page and makes a woof noise when pressed. As the book pages are turned, these buttons light up and the Vtech lady's voice reads the rhymes out. I think it's quite clever as it can tell which page the book is open on and reads the rhyme from that page! Very impressive for £9.99!
Apart from the sliding feature at the front, there's also a couple of other pieces of plastic that form part of the rhymes that can be pushed to read part of the rhyme. For example on the 'Hey diddle diddle' page, the lady reads out 'the dish ran away with the spoon!' and giggles and the picture on the plastic shows a dish giggling with a spoon. The effect of the pushing on the plastic makes them look as though they're running too so it all fits together very well. The plastic bounces quickly back to it's original position but I just find that my daughter just keeps pushing it back and forth - it's another little extra that she seems to home in on and it keeps her interested as we work through the book.
I love this, it's educational but at the same time a nice little toy that my daughter can enjoy playing with. It also has longevity - we've owned it for 6 months and we'll get many more months from it which makes it a great value item. She's had so much use from it but we've not even started looking at the nursery rhymes in any detail yet! The nursery rhymes are probably secondary to the sounds and lights that the book makes at the moment but I like this. I see it as a subtle way of introducing the rhymes as she's not at the stage where she likes to sit on my knee and look at a book properly with me just yet but the extras get her interested in spending time with the toy. I think it's an excellent item and makes learning the fun nursery rhymes so much more interesting than reading from a normal book. It gets the full 5 dooyoo stars from me.
Thanks for reading :o)