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Dear Santa - Rod Campbell

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Author: Rod Campbell / Format: Board book / Date of publication: 11 October 2012 / Genre: Pop-Up & Books / Subcategory: Picture & Activity Books / Category: Interactive & Activity Books & Packs / Publisher: Pan Macmillan / Title: Dear Santa / ISBN 13: 9781447223818 / ISBN 10: 1447223818 / Alternative EAN: 9781405052481

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    7 Reviews
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      15.11.2012 21:17
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      nice book for the festive season

      Knowing how much my son loved the Dear Zoo book, when I saw that there was a Dear Santa book by the same author (Rod Campbell) it was pretty much a must have. Even better when I found it for £1.99 from Red House Books - bargain!

      Our version of the book is paperback, although it is also available in hard back. For those familiar with the Dear Zoo story (if not, see my earlier review!), it follows along the same line. The writer has written to Santa to ask for a present and Santa wraps up all sorts of presents before realising that there is something not quite right about them - too small/big, too noisy etc. He eventually settles on a kitten (which has a fluffy textured patch on it so great for young babies too) which is perfect. On each page there is big bold text, which is repetitive and there are flaps for the child to lift - the wrapping paper to uncover the gift.

      As for the Dear Zoo book, this is a lovely short story that my son really enjoys. He loves the interaction of waiting until the right point in the story to lift the flap and reveal the present. It has also taught him words that he may not have come across in everyday situations yet - such as kite and finger paints. My son loves animals so this probably doesn't hold his attention for as long as the Dear Zoo book but we usually read it two or three times in one sitting still.

      The pages are paper and the flaps are a thin cardboard, which could present an issue with younger children as I would imagine that they could be easily ripped. However, my son is 20 months and has learnt to turn pages carefully so this is not too much of an issue for us.

      There are just one or two things that I, as a parent, would change. Firstly, we will be using 'Father Christmas' rather than 'Santa' but I have found very few books that use this. Most festive books refer to Santa - we also have the 'That's not my Santa' book. Also, as my son gets older the moral of 'a pet is for life, not just for Christmas' and the teaching that pets are not good Christmas presents is not really reinforced by this book. These are somewhat minor points at his age though and do not affect his or my enjoyment of the book. Overall, a lovely festive read for young children.
      .

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        27.03.2012 17:43
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        Not just for Christmas!

        My mum bought this as a stocking filler for my daughter as she was an avid fan of 'Dear Zoo' by the same author. You can get this book on Amazon for £2.99.

        The book is made from cardboard and is about 5" square so perfect for little hands. The book has a bright red cover with little silver stars all over and a big present on the front saying 'from santa'.

        The story is very similar to 'Dear Zoo' it is about writing to Santa for the perfect present, and Santa then wrapping up different presents which he then decides aren't suitable. The presents include a mask which Santa thinks is too scary, a kite which Santa thinks is too big and some finger paints which Santa thinks are too messy. Eventually Santa decides on the perfect present which is a little kitten.

        The book is very robust, the flaps are glued on very well and are made from cardboard which is very difficult to bend. The flaps also have little indents to help your little one lift them easily. The book is also wipe clean so perfect if sticky fingers get hold of it.

        My daughter loved this book from the moment she saw it, she loves to open the flaps as I read the story. The flaps are a range of sizes and shapes and her eyes light up when she opens them as she thinks she is really clever! The story is short so it also keeps her interest unlike some other books we have read. The format is simple and each page has a few words and then the present so it really captures her imagination and interest. The final present is a kitten which has an added bonus in that it is fluffy allowing your child to stroke the soft fur. My daughter loves this and you can see her delight as she strokes the kitten!

        Even though Christmas was a few months back we still read this every few days. My daughter will also happily sit there and turn the pages herself. This book has survived sticky fingers and a few launches of the sofa and highchair onto the laminate flooring and is still intact! my daughter has also a few times been a bit rough with the flaps and they are still firmly glued into place!

        I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars as it really is a fun read!

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          07.11.2010 17:10
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          A good lift the flap book!

          In the run up to Christmas I have decided to start choosing a Christmas story each time we visit the library to help teach my daughter more about the festive season and also to get her excited. On our last visit we chose Dear Santa, which is written by Rod Campbell and is very similar to the fantastic Dear Zoo.

          The book is very visually appealing which straight away makes you want to look at it. The cover is bright red with a snow effect all over and shows a large present wrapped in yellow paper covered in holly and a big blue ribbon, so it is a christmassy looking book. There are fourteen pages to the book and they are very thick so they won't spoil so easily.

          Like I say, the book is very similar to Dear Zoo, so those who are familiar with that book will probably like this book as that is a really popular book for children. The story starts with Father Christmas having received a letter asking for something special so he starts off his wrapping. First he wraps a car - too small so he wraps something else. A kite - too big. A ball - too bouncy. A lion mask - too scary. Some finger paints - too messy. A trumpet - too noisy. A kitten - just right!!

          Each present is underneath a flap so the child can get involved with the story by lifting the flap and revealing the present. We love this story, and while I think it may be slightly too young for my daughter who is almost three, she has enjoyed it and we must have read it about 20 times already! By now she knows the story and will read it to me which I think is great that she can learn the story with the aid of the pictures but also as the book is so repetitive which again is important for a childs learning.

          I cannot recommend this book enough, it is a great little story to read in the run up to Christmas and get your child excited thinking about Father Christmas wrapping up their presents. The recommended retail price for the book is £6.99 but you will find it cheaper online.

          Five out of five Dooyoo stars!

          Thank you for reading my review :)

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            02.09.2010 20:42
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            a great book to get little ones into the christmas spirit!

            My daughter was 1 nearly 2 when we decided to buy this book. It was coming up to Christmas and we were trying to get our daughter exited about Santa coming. She had no idea who he was and she didn't seem at all interested when we tried to explain to her that Santa brings all of her Christmas presents.

            I was walking through asda doing my weekly grocery shopping when I came across the book dear Santa. It really stood out with the bright red background and the gold writing. At three pound I thought it was a bargain so I had to pick it up. I was also familiar with the author as we had already bought the book dear zoo, which was also written by Rod Campbell.

            My daughter loved that book, opening the different flaps, so I thought that this one would be great. It's a hard back book so with a toddler that makes it all the better. There are 16 pages in total and they are thick and easy to turn. On the first page there is a big picture of Santa with the presents so it made it very easy for me to explain who he was.

            Basically the book follows Santa on a journey to find the perfect present, all of the presents are wrapped and you lift the flaps up and down to see what presents are behind them. Santa wraps lots of different presents but then finds something wrong with them, such as them being too big, or too small until he finds the perfect present to send at the end; a cat. The last present, the cat, is a touchy feely surprise. My daughter loved this.

            The words in the book are large and easy to follow; this would allow slightly older children to be able to read the book along with you. This book definitely caught my daughter's imagination and helped her understand about Santa.

            I would defiantly recommend this book to all of those little Santa newbie's, and children learning to read.

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              27.01.2010 15:54
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              A lovely book to read with kids

              This is a hardback book and is 12 pages long. The pages are made from a thin cardboard, which is great for toddlers as it is more grown up than a board book without having paper pages that could be easily torn.

              The story begins with a child writing a letter to Santa. Each page then has a sentence 'so Santa sent me a...' On the opposite page is a lift up flap that looks like a parcel. When lifted it reveals the gift underneath, these include a car, a trumpet and some paints. Below the picture is a reason why the gift was unsuitable. At the end of the book it shows the ideal gift and a lovely touchy feely picture of it.

              This is a lovely little book to read with youngsters, the pattern of words is consistent throughout and flows beautifully. There is a lovely simple illustration for each gift and they are all realistic presents for children. My daughter enjoys the interaction of lifting the flaps and although she knows what's under each one she is still happy to play along. It has come to the point now where she knows what the present is and the reason the present is unsuitable for each of the gifts and I wait for her to tell me.

              My only slight reservation is that the reasons given for not wanting the gifts are that they are too big, too messy or too noisy. I think these are more adult qualms rather than that of a child. Other than that, this is a great little book that I would recommend to enjoy with any child from about six months to three years.

              I bought this book for my son when he was a toddler about 4 years ago, now he is older it has been passed to his sister. It is still in good condition despite been well loved. I have also found that although it is great to read coming up to Christmas, it is still a bedtime favourite in our house at any time of the year.

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                05.12.2009 16:39
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                Excellent book to keep young kids engaged and learning!

                I popped into the library today with the intention of getting a book to entertain my 2 year old niece. This one seemed to jump out at me, and having had a quick look, it looked as though it would be ideal.

                Rod Campbell has been in the industry for well over 20 years. He has spent most of his life in Zimbabwe having been born in Scotland in 1945. Interestingly, he didn't start off with an interest in writing children's books. He is in fact, the owner of a Doctorate in Organic Chemistry............makes me yawn just thinking about it! In 1980 he made the decision to pursue his interests, during which time he designed children's cards and toys. It was at this juncture when a friend suggested that he contact children's publisher Blackie. It soon came about that they were impressed with his innate ability in this field, and since then, he hasn't looked back. He tends to combine his toy making aptitude with books. By integrating the two, he has devised this interactive material.

                This proved to be so fruitful that in 1987 he integrated his efforts with Blackie and became a partner with the publisher. His literary works have been translated into Arabic, French, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese, to name a few of the languages.

                His books are aimed at babies and toddlers who are beginning the exciting journey of learning to read. Reading the books aloud helps kids to make a connection between the sounds and words. In terms of imagination, the way that words can conjure various images that can in turn develop the idea of creativity is simply priceless, and to have an input in this makes me speechless. 'Between the ages of four and nine, your child will have to master some 100 phonics rules, learn to recognize 3,000 words with just a glance, and develop a comfortable reading speed approaching 100 words a minute. He must learn to combine words on the page with a half-dozen squiggles called punctuation into something - a voice or image in his mind that gives back meaning.' (Paul Kropp, 1996).

                The cover is emblazoned with a red background with what appear to be snow drops. A present decorated with holly leaves on a yellow background with the tag 'from Santa' captures your attention from the cover. The book consists of 16 pages, of which 9 are imploding with colourful, crisply drawn images. The illustrations in the book are bold, colourful and lively which engage the child's mind.

                Similar to the Spot the Dog books that I myself used to read, alot of Campbell's books have the interactive nature of flaps. His best known book is Dear Zoo which capitalises on the instinctive curiosity of children's minds by introducing a variety of animals behind flaps.

                The flaps are presented as Christmas presents which can be lifted to reveal the pressie Santa thought your child would enjoy. As it's a board book, the flaps are quite sturdy and will withstand your child trying to tug at them. It is also a handy way of teaching kids to be careful when turning the pages of a book. It also comes in a paperback version, so you have the choice of which to use. Reading to my niece, I had this experience and found that she was eager to open the next one before I had finished reading!

                The last flap has a hidden bonus, which i shall leave for you to discover with your little loved one!

                The book comprises simple language which is often repeated, which as an aid for child development, is second to none.

                The story begins with 'I wrote to Santa to send me something special for Christmas.' Which in turn unfolds the myriad of options Santa thought of. The repetition of 'I'll send something else' in Italics serves to penetrate these particular words into your child's mind. The book, in typical Campbell style ends with on an upbeat note. He likes ending his books either on a high note, or a neutral one which ensure that both the reader and learner are left feeling satisfied.

                The Times New Roman font is used, as it has been carefully researched and found to be the most popular font, used in daily life (as a default on Word). The clean straight lines of the font help your child to transfer the shape of the letter to other books s/he may read. The size of the font is between 16 and 20, which makes it easier for the child to follow the patterns. The warm, friendly font with simple, open letter shapes and the short sentences don't bombard the reader with too many words. Too much text on a page can case the mind to drift and so not achieve the objective of keeping the reader interested and involved in the story.

                Many moons ago I worked for Surestart and worked with many toddlers. When it came to storytime, the enthusiasm was just amazing - they'd all huddle around, wanting to be closest to the book. If only this heartfelt enthusiasm for reading continued into their more formative years (not to that extent of course - would be strange if a group of 18 year old's rushed around for storytime!lol!)

                Reading to kids also serves as a conversation starter as a child's inquisitive mind wants to now beyond the book. Being 2 years old, my niece asked questions about every little aspect of the book, including 'why does the lion look so scary?' The lack of eyeballs even had me questioning this! This book is brilliant in facilitating the learning process in kids! Highly Recommended!

                First published in 2004 by Little Simon, a globally renowned Publisher.

                The board book copy retails at £3.49 at Amazon.co.uk.
                * ISBN-10: 0230739415
                * ISBN-13: 978-0230739413

                The paperback copy retails at £3.47 at the same place.
                * ISBN-10: 1405054514
                * ISBN-13: 978-1405054515

                Thank you for reading.

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                  06.02.2007 12:54
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                  great fun for your little ones at Christmas

                  I'll start by apologising to you all for publishing a Christmas Book review in February. Unfortunately like many others, I asked for this product to be added some time ago and it has only just been put on the site. I was going to wait buy hey, you might just pick it up somewhere in a sale for next Christmas.

                  ***Background***

                  Rod Campbell is well known for his Dear Zoo best seller from many years ago. He loves to write and design books that give a child more to do than just look at the pictures. In this book he uses flaps again and this is something that children never seem to tire of using.

                  ***The Story***

                  This story begins with,

                  "I wrote to Santa to send me something special for Christmas."

                  What follows are lots of differently shaped presents that Santa wraps for the writer of the letter. These presents are in the form of flaps, which can be opened to reveal the present inside. The only problem is that Santa keeps finding something wrong with each of the toys that he wraps.

                  From cars that are too small to paints that are too messy he gets through a fair amount before he finally makes the perfect choice.

                  "So he thought very hard, and on Christmas Eve Santa brought me a…"

                  Turning over the last flap we see a pussycat that has a furry coat to stroke.

                  "She's just what I wanted!
                  I love her.
                  Thank you, Santa!"

                  ***Flaps***

                  The flaps in this book are all in the shape of presents, which conceal the present below. We find lots of different toys hidden from a kite to a trumpet, they are all to be opened up by your child.

                  ***The Illustrations***

                  As with Rod Campbell's other books, the drawings in this book are delightful with the colours bright and patterns galore on the wrapping paper. This book is simply designed with the presents on a plain white background to emphasise the picture and the simple black text.

                  ***My Thoughts***

                  I'm a great fan of Rod Campbell since getting the Oh Dear! book for my daughters many years ago. This newer book is a great one for the run up to Christmas and like a few other's I'm reviewing at the moment, we found it in the library a few weeks before Christmas.

                  My son loves books that have a little bit extra, whether it's flaps, touchy-feely bits or sparkly pages. It wasn't difficult to see that this one would be a firm favourite for the time we've had it.

                  The story is simple for young children to follow and they won't get bored easily because the flap gets their attention every time. The black writing on the white background also makes it easy for young readers to follow and most of the story has simple words for them to try to read themselves.

                  I love books with a bit of repetition on each page, as I find it helps the non-readers join in with the story and in this book we see the reason that the present is wrong - either too big, too bouncy or too noisy - followed by the words, 'I'll send something else.' My son takes great pleasure in shouting these bits out on every page and helps with word recognition as he follows them with his finger as he says it out loud.

                  As with all flap books, there is a danger of them getting torn, but these do seem to be a bit sturdier than some of the books I've seen. The pages and flaps are all thicker than a lot of the other ones such as the Spot flap books.

                  My only concern with this book would be that your child might expect a fluffy kitten from Santa on Christmas morning - be warned!!!

                  ***Other Rod Campbell Titles***

                  Buster Keeps Warm
                  Buster Gets Dressed
                  Buster's Day
                  Buster Goes To Playschool
                  Buster's Bedtime
                  Here's Buster, But Where's Teddy?
                  Buster's Farm
                  Buster's Park
                  Buster's Zoo
                  Buster's Morning
                  Buster's Afternoon
                  Oh Dear
                  Noisy Farm
                  Fluffy Chick
                  I Won't Bite

                  ***Other Info***

                  This hardback book retails for £6.99 but you can get it for only £4.95 from www.dvd.co.uk. There is also a book and CD available for £8.99 from WH Smith. It has music and sound effects as well as the story on it.

                  Hardback ISBN No. 1405052481
                  Book and CD ISBN No. 1405091932

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