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As I have written other reviews about the Leappad system and books some of the background information will repeat itself. I feel it is necessary to include this again for anyone who has not read my other reviews.
My son has had his Leappad for over a year now and loves it. We have quite a selection of books as he gets them for Christmas and Birthdays from his grandparents as well as from ourselves. We chose this one for him as it concentrates on music, something he has loved since he could bang two blocks together and has gone on to him composing his own 'tunes' on his keyboard.
For those of you who are unfamiliar to the Leapfrog Leappad, it's a learning aid that requires a book and a cartridge to use. There is a pen attached to the system and children can get interactive with games, stories and learning by touching various places on the book with this pen. If you want to know more details of this system you can read my review on it too.
Before starting to use this book make sure the cartridge is pushed into the side of your Leappad so as it knows which book you are about to use. The cartridges are made of a pretty sturdy plastic casing with an opening at the side to be attached to the Leappad. In this case there is a picture of Mother Goose on the top of it as well as written title. This is great as my son can pick the corresponding cartridge out of the storage unit with no help from me, which makes him feel more independent.
Unlike most of the Leappad books, this one doesn't have a story but instead it contains lots of nursery songs that they will probably recognise from other books or from watching Cbeebies or the like on telly.
The list of songs included is:-
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Hickory Dickory Dock
Little Boy Blue
Sing A Song Of Sixpence
Little Jack Horner
Itsy Bitsy Spider
It's Raining It's Pouring
Jack & Jill
Little Miss Muffet
Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
Hey Diddle Diddle
At the start of the book there is an index with a little picture beside each written title to help your child find the song he wants and the page number is clearly written beside it so they can go straight to a particular song. When touched these will say out the name of the song and the page number, so it can help your child learn numbers too.
Most of the songs have a page to themselves but there are a few that are spread over a double page, along with a picture and as with the other Leappad books there are plenty of things to touch with the pen to hear sounds or words spoken.
Each song is presented using scales with notes on and the words are written underneath to correspond with the notes, just like on real music sheets. At the bottom of the page there are a number of different circles with pictures of instruments in, such as the guitar, piano or marimba and when pressed these change the sound of the song played. This is a bit like the function on a real keyboard to change the instrument. There is also a picture of a little boy in one of these circles and this represents the singing version.
The Mother Goose Circle on each page means that your child can learn an unknown song as we hear one line at a time being sung and then repeated so your child can sing along with the music.
There is also a circle with musical notes and letters in it and when pressed your child will be asked to touch a note with the pen and will be told not only the name of the note but whether it is a quarter note or half note, etc.
***The Learning Factor***
In this book the main learning activities are to learn and identify musical notes and songs as well as learning where the notes are on the piano as part of the final two pages in the book that show three full scales including the black notes. It shows how the notes go higher as you play on the right and lower as you play on the left. There are coloured keys to show which notes should be pressed to play two simple songs.
***Other Fun Activities***
Their aren't any games as such with these books but there are lots of different instruments and bands to play the songs for your child to sing along to and of course the addition of the extra sounds when pictures are touched.
***The Age Group***
This book is aimed at the age group 4-7 years but my son has been using this since he was 3 and a half so I guess it depends on your child.
I am a big fan of the Leappad system as it encourages so many different learning aspects in one book. This book is a bit different from the others, as it doesn't encourage the reading side too much even though the words are written and will be sung out when the pen is placed on them. As my son loves music, this is an ideal book for him and he really enjoys playing tunes and learning the musical notes.
What I really like is the fact that it is done on a proper scale rather than the normal childlike examples in some books. This means that from a very young age children can learn the names and positions of the notes properly and if they show talent, encouragement can be appropriately given. I know the importance of this because my two older daughters both asked for piano lessons and one plays the cello in the county intermediate orchestra. I would also point out though that a child really has to have a natural passion for music and will only excel if they learn to practise without pressure from an adult.
I won't be surprised if my son asks to learn an instrument properly at a later date as he is fascinated by music whether it is from the radio or when he is playing the triangle at nursery or banging out a tune on his own keyboard. I feel this book to be a fun way to get any child interested in music, with it's well known nursery rhymes and colourful pages. The extra bonus of the funny sounds when certain pictures are pressed only make it more fun and I can often hear my son copying these sounds or singing along to the music.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a Leappad and a child with a love of music.
***Price & Availability***
There are many places you can buy the Leappad books from, including Argos and Woolworths but there is an online shop too at www.leapfrogshop.co.uk where you can get the books as well as other products in the Leapfrog range such as the Leapster for older children or the newer bilingual plush Tad who teaches children to speak in French as well as English when areas of his body are pressed.
Most of the books retail from between £9.99 and £11.99 although they are often in sales so it's worth stocking up for Christmas and birthdays when this happens as you can find them reduced to half price quite a lot.
We picked this one up in TK Maxx where it was on sale for £4.99 but that was a while ago so it's probably not available there anymore. You can, however, buy it online at Leapfrog for the normal price of £9.99.