'Animal Hide and Seek' became an addition to our large home library courtesy of a Bookstart pack when my middle son was around two years old. Although it's not a favourite book as such, it is one that he still likes to go back to now and again as it is a little more interactive than some other stories.
As the title suggests, the story here revolves around a game of hide and seek as the reader is invited to seek out several animals. Page by page, little clues are given to reveal the identity of the animal cleverly hiding somewhere amongst the images. The story itself is written in rhyme, making it a pleasant and fun book for an adult to read aloud and easy for children to remember.
One of the factors that makes this book different from most other children's books featuring animals is the choice of animals included as the hiding characters. It is an unusual collection including a cat, bat, hare, bear, duck, goose, frog, hog, mouse and moose. These do offer both a talking point to introduce a young child to animals they might not have come across before (such as a moose) as well as the potential for confusion. My son still finds it strange that the pig is described as a 'hog' in this story and also gets confused identifying the goose, which he assumes is a duck, and the hare, which he thinks is a rabbit. As we tend to read this at bedtime, it can become a little tiresome as a parent trying to explain the difference between a hare and a rabbit and a goose and a duck! It's not the best book to choose if your toddler is going through an incessant 'why?' phrase, for sure!
I suspect these animals have been chosen purely for their rhyming ability and, as such, the book flows well and is a pleasure to read (or at least it would be without the constant interruptions and questions!) As well as the introduction to some less familiar creatures, the book has several educational elements such as the counting to ten at the start of the game of hide and seek. The task of finding the animals is also surprisingly challenging too, as several of the animals are particularly well camouflaged and the clues are not always totally straightforward! There are a couple of pages where my son needed a few extra clues and help to find the missing animals, particularly when he was younger. After a few reads, he does tend to remember who is missing and where the creatures are hiding.
The end of the book is my son's favourite part as the last missing animal has to be tracked down. Here there is a single flap to open to discover which creature is the last to be caught and the winner of the game. This is the only flap within the book though so there are no worries about flaps being torn or damaged by over-enthusiastic little fingers.
This would be a good choice for a youngster learning to count, particularly a child who enjoys a good game of hide and seek. I would recommend this for children from around two to three years old, given the animals used and the relative difficulties involved in identifying and finding each hidden animal. Younger children may well appreciate the rhyme and rhythm involved in the story but I suspect they would soon become frustrated with the hidden animals. The illustrations used are also slightly unusual and not the clearest or most eye-catching of images so I'm not convinced that they would appeal to much younger children either. For an older child, this is a fun and engaging read with some slightly challenging elements too.
The characters of cat, bat, hare, bear, duck, goose, frog, hog, mouse and moose are introduced on the first page of this book and the reader is asked to participate in a game of hide and seek.
On the third page, counting to ten in the game of hide and seek takes place and after this, on every other page clues are given in rhyme for the reader to guess which creature is being described and are asked to turn the page when they have located the animal. Your guess is then either confirmed or not on the following page, this obviously all depends on whether or not you have worked with the simple clues correctly, e.g.
'Who is hiding in the field?
He's sleek and white
With paws and claws.
When you've found him, turn the page.
You've found that CAT.
Now who is hiding in the yard?
He hangs around
When you've found him, turn the page.'
The book continues in this fashion until the reader gets to the last page when the final animal is to be found with all of the others standing around. This animal, the mouse is to be found under the flap of the grandfather clock.
- My opinion -
~ The book employs lovely rhyming vocabulary such as 'hurries and scurries', 'wobbles and gobbles' which enables even very young children to be introduced to rhyming words.
~ The illustrations are very detailed and take up the majority of the double page spreads with the text taking up a small section in the corner of the each right hand page.
~ Some of the animals are quite difficult to spot and identify as they are well camouflaged within the scenery.
~ In order to encourage more participation and enjoyment for young children there could have been more than one flap to lift in this book. There are lots of opportunities for flaps to be added within the book which in my opinion would have added to the overall experience and enjoyment for little ones.
RRP is £5.99. The book is available in both paperback and hardcover from just 1p at amazon.
- Overall -
A good children's book that encourages interaction through identifying where the animals are hiding and joining in with the rhyming text.
Thanks for reading.
N.B. Review also appears on ciao.