Buying books is a regular occurrence in our household for my twin boys hence their ever expanding book collection. However book purchasing tends to be by myself when I see a book that I think they will enjoy or by my mum who can't resist a bargain and bags armfuls of books when she sees that a book shop has price reductions or 3 for 2 offers on. It is very rare that Mr Lools makes random book purchases for the boys; however book that caught his eye was Baby Giggle by Emily Bolam.
The description of Baby Giggle is "Babies will love this adorable book, featuring a different giggle on every page! With hidden buttons to find, this interactive book will help babies to learn about different body parts and provide hours of interactive fun."
The book is basically a brightly coloured book sound book with lots of images of actual babies and when the sound button is pressed a different baby's giggle can be heard. Although there are baby illustrations throughout the book the "story" focuses on making the baby giggle by tickling or touching a different body part of various animals. The book is written by Emily Bolam and published by Caterpillar books.
The cover price of this book is £7.99 which I feel is reasonably expensive considering this is quite a basic book. I would say one of the downsides of this book is its limited availability. When browsing stores I have only even seen it in M&S (which is where Mr Lools purchased from) and paid £6.00. The Baby Giggle Book is also available from Amazon and costs £7.19.
The Baby Giggle book is a short book with five double pages. On each of the double pages is on the right hand side an actual photograph of a baby and on the page on the left hand side a brightly coloured page with an illustration of an animal and a short sentence about why the baby is giggling. For example on the first page in large black font the story starts off as "Tickle, tickle, baby giggle" and then underneath an image of a bear. In smaller black font the text says "bear says squeeze my chubby knee". There is an arrow pointing to the bear's knee and when pressed the sound of a baby laughing is activated for around 10 seconds.
Each of the first four pages follows the same format. A short sentence, directions of where to press on the illustrated animal and then a baby giggles. On the last page the double page is very different. On the left hand side of the page all of the faces of the different babies are featured and there is a button to press to hear all of the babies giggle which lasts around 15 seconds. On the right hand side of the page there is a large square mirrored section so your child can see an image of their own face with the words "baby I love you" above the mirror.
Story wise I do not feel that Baby Giggle has a real story to it; it really is just a collection of instructions and directions encouraging young toddlers to point and touch different parts of the illustrated animal's bodies in order to hear the giggling baby sound. As a result I feel the book is very basic and aimed more towards children under 2 and if I was to buy this book again I probably would not buy for a child over the age of 18 months old. For young babies I think this is a great book to encourage them to look at the faces of other children and recognise their own face in the mirror and to introduce them to different animals as the illustrations show a bear, dog, cat and a mouse. As a child gets older the story is very good for encouraging them to point to different body parts for example I ask my boys to point at the illustrated nose on the mouse and then to their own nose. However language wise I feel the words in the story are very basic and are mainly sounds which is why I do not feel this is a great book to encourage speech development in older toddlers and aimed at children under 18 months who tend to make quite basic sounds.
I think this is a lovely book to encourage your child to interact and I used to regularly sit with my boys on my knee and read Baby Giggle to them. What I liked as a parent as even as young babies of 10 months old they would sit and look at the book and be engaged by the bright coloured illustrations an images of babies but I could interact with them and tickle them which would cause lots of giggles. When the sound of the different babies giggling was activated even now at 2 years old this causes my boys to laugh along with the book. My major criticism of the design of the book is that on all of the pages the button to activate the sounds is very difficult to press. I find that even as an adult I have to press down a little hard on the buttons. The buttons on the page are hidden and only shown by a black arrow pointing at where to press. For children under 18 months the concept of pressing where the arrow says is a little difficult and I found I used to have to put my boys' hands down where to press then apply the force myself. Now at 2 years old my boys are very independent and like to try and press the buttons themselves however because of the force and accuracy needed they can't do so on most of the pages which causes a lot of frustration for them.
This is a reasonably durable book and despite some wear and tear and some folded corners after almost 14 months' worth of regular reading and use our copy of Baby Giggles is still in a reasonable condition. The pages are not thick cardboard pages but are made from quite thick card that young toddlers need to put quite a lot of effort into bending. The pages are also wipe-able so if you do get any marks on the book you can use a damp cloth to remove. The pages of our copy of this book have some folded corners and folds in where there have been attempts at bending the pages but considering how rough my boys are and the amount of times they have fought over this book it has withstood better than I expected. I am extremely surprised that the battery inside the sound section of this book is still going strong after 14 months and has not yet required replacing (which can be accessed and changed with a small screwdriver located on the back of the book). Mr Lools bought another sound story book at the same time as Baby Giggle and the battery in this other book has been replaced twice and that title has been read a lot less so this is very impressive. The mirror at the end of this book gets a number of smears and marks on but is easily wiped over too.
My boys have really enjoyed reading this book and I feel it is a lovely interactive upbeat book great for spending quality time with a child and encouraging them to laugh and giggle along with the babies in the book. My boys love looking at the images of other babies but also love the bright illustrated animal figures and have learnt to point at the different parts of the body. Although at two years old my boys still enjoy reading this book and get a lot of pleasure out of this book I personally would say this is a book aimed more at under 2's. I feel that the "story" of the book is very basic and also the language is very basic and more about making different sounds rather than for encouraging speech and words. We have owned this book for over a year now and although it has suffered some wear and tear on the corners the book is still in good condition and the sounds are still fully functional my only gripe is that even now the boys are two years old the hidden buttons to activate the sounds are a little hard to press for young children and even Mr Lools and I struggle sometimes. A very cute book which will guarantee Baby Giggles!