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This book is part of a set of 7 that my daughter received for her third birthday. Although we have a box set of learning books they can all be purchased individually, this one I am reviewing - colours and shapes - is available for £2.81 On Amazon. The set is called early learning library and is published by ladybird. For this review I will however only be focusing on the one book mentioned above.
The book itself is a hardback and is classed as a miniature book; although it is classed as this I find it a decent enough size to read, it's really not that miniature. As a guestimate I would say that it is the same size as an A5 piece of paper, maybe a fraction smaller. In total there are 13 pages in this book, these are all double sided making the total reading pages 26 which is a fair amount and definitely covers a lot of different things.
The cover of the book, as the picture shows is colourful and engaging but it still retains a very plain and demure look suitable for that of toddlers/pre-school. There are plenty of books of this kind that are mainly focused on babies and infants but this one is very much focused on pre-school children as it possesses some quite difficult and challenging learning aims.
As the book begins the learning tasks are simple and straightforward however as the book progresses they become more challenging, moving past the simple tasks at the beginning. The first page of the book is a very basic introduction to colours stating; "Everything has a colour. Some things have many colours." Then it goes on to give examples such as "things we play with have colours." Or "things we eat have colours." There are other examples on this first page, these are just a couple of them. As well as having the written words it also has pictures to match what it is saying for example under the section, things we eat have colours, there are pictures of colourful fruit such as a banana, orange and grapes. I really think having this introduction page makes children think more about colours and makes them aware of what the rest of the book will be about. The first page ends with a simple task. "What colours are you wearing today?" This was a real stimulator for my daughter as it really made her engage with colours, on a daily basis she would tell me what colours were on her clothes just because she had remembered doing it whilst reading this book.
As the book progresses there are 8 pages representing a different colours. These are all very simple having pictures in certain colours and then words underneath to say what that object is and what colour it is. These are all very simple objects such as red car or blue ball. They are certainly pictures that my daughter was already familiar with so we didn't need to spend any un-necessary time discussing objects rather than colours. Also on these pages, and the best part of the book in my opinion are the activities and tasks it has for you to do at home. For example the blue page says, "Have fun together seeing how many different shades of blue you can find. How many blue things can you find as you count to ten?" Me and my daughter really enjoy these activities and we could spend a lot of time searching the house for different coloured items and my daughter would always refer back to the book to try and find the blue things that they had on that page, despite that sometimes being a difficult task. Our favourite activity was on the green page which asked to find different shades of green in the garden or park and use words such as light or dark to describe them. My daughter found using the describing words a little bit difficult at first but using this book as an aid she has been able to learn a wide range of different descriptive words to use for colours.
The latter pages of the book start introducing a mixture of colours and shapes, this section is also more task orientated. Tasks can include; naming shapes, tracing different shapes with the finger, matching big shapes and little shapes and also matching colour pairs. One of the more difficult tasks involves mixing colours. The page shows paint colours and then is shows them mixed so the picture will show a line of red and a line of blue and the intersection where they meet will then be purple. My daughter, as of yet can't remember these mixing pallets but it's all work in progress and as we continue to look at the colours as well as mixing our own at home she will soon learn them when she's good and ready. There are many other tasks within the book but I won't go into all of them, I have given several examples which hopefully explain what the book is about.
Overall I think this is an excellent book, my daughter has learnt a vast amount from using it and will continue to learn from it as we progress. The book is presented in a way that is entertaining but it is also quite plain in a way that it won't provide distractions from the main tasks. The pictures within the books are colourful but plain with little added detail. This again allows the focus to be kept on the objectives of the book. Although the book is only small I haven't found this to be a distraction and it hasn't caused any problems with being able to read. It really is the perfect size for my daughter to be able to hold by herself. The only negative about the book is the quality of the pages. They are extremely thin and look very easily breakable. This however is only a minor problem and as long as the book is cared for well it shouldn't cause any major issues. I would definitely recommend this book, it is perfect for any pre-school and perhaps reception aged children who wish to use an aid for learning colours and shapes.