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This is currently on the top of my youngest daughter's favourite reading pile. I bought it online as a present for Christmas 2009, and I bought it having never seen it before but based my purchase on how well I like other Rod Campbell books. And my daughter is a 'flap-addict' so this having over 25 flaps, as advertised on the cover (I haven't counted them) made it an essential buy. The book is A4 sized and made from cardboard; it is not a board book but is sturdier than a paperback. And surprisingly, it is actually quite sturdy, my 16 month old daughter is quite heavy handed when it comes to books, but this has managed to survive so far and still looks quite new, despite several readings per day. This book is not a story book, it's a book full of animal rhymes, and there are 12 double pages so as you can imagine it is jam-packed with rhymes varying in length and familiarity (there are 18 in total). A lot of the rhymes seem a bit random, as if they have been conjured up for the sake of this book, such as 'The Bear Family' which simply says 'How many bears can you see? Mummy, Daddy, baby - three!' Then there are others which are longer and have more of a purpose such as 'The Farm' where you are taken around the farm and introduced to several animals (lifting the flaps as you go). And then there are the much more recognisable ones, such as Mary Had A Little Lamb and Little Miss Muffet. Each rhyme is based around one or several animals so if your kid likes animals, then they will enjoy the book. And it's not just pets; it is farm animals, zoo animals, and wild animals as well. Some of the rhymes will ask you to find an animal, such as in 'The Bear Family' as I mentioned above, and you lift the flap to find baby bear. There are one or more flaps for each rhyme, and these all come in different shapes and sizes, some pages have several flaps and others only have one. It depends on how many animals are in a particular rhyme as to how many flaps there are. This does create a great variety within the book because sometimes you can briefly look on a page because the text is very short and only one flap, but then the next page you can linger on because the text is a bit more lengthy and there are more flaps. This makes the book all the more interesting to look at because I think it stops you from being on autopilot waiting for your child to lift the flap, then moving on... The illustrations are typical of Rod Campbell books, very cartoon like and simple, but very recognisable as to what everything is. The colours are bright and each page is very eye-catching for a child. The variety in the book is excellent and I think this is why my daughter seems to love it so much at the moment. She enjoys looking at all the different types of animals, and she loves to lift all the flaps. I'm not sure if the rhymes actually interest her at all, she is more interested in seeing what is beneath the flaps on each page, so I generally just name the animals as we go, but she sometimes listens to the text as well. Having said that, she does actually like 'Two Little Dicky Birds' and she will move the flaps (the birds are on the flaps and you turn the flaps down as the birds fly away and come back again) in time with the rhyme, which really quite surprised me because I have never sung this nursery rhyme to her before we got this book! So perhaps she is listening to me as I read the other rhymes as well.... I think the book is quite educational for young children because it helps them to differentiate between pets, farm animals and zoo animals. It also in its own kind of way highlights that pets are friendly, and that farm animals are okay, but zoo animals such as lions and tigers are a little bit scary. It also highlights the sizes of animals, such as very large elephants, very tall giraffes, very small mice. It's all done in a nice simple way that children will just pick up on without you even realising. In conclusion, I think the book is really quite excellent. As I said earlier, some of the rhymes are a bit debateable, but I don't suppose this really matters, it's just a book about animals and my daughter really enjoys it, so what more can you want? It's a great book for sharing with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, there's something for everyone. ISBN 978-0-333-63339-7 RRP £5.99 Currently available on Amazon for £3.92
The book / The style and Format - The 'bumph' on the back of this book states: ~ 'Sturdy card pages and flaps' - This is very thin card, as for me the use of the word 'sturdy' suggests a board book thickness which it certainly isn't. ~ 'Easy to read text and simple rhymes' ~ 'A perfect book for the nursery' This book consists of 12 double pages. It is made up of 18 simple rhymes, from the very familiar 'Two Little Dicky Birds' and 'Little Miss Muffet' to new ones: Our Pets 'Sally has a tortoise, Billy has a dog, Katy has a rabbit and Freddy has a ......' There is then a flap to open to reveal a frog. Nesting Box 'Little bird cannot speak, She's got a worm in her beak. Can you guess who it's for? Take a look behind the door!' On this page there is a bird box which the reader is asked to open in the rhyme to reveal some chicks that the bird is flying towards to feed. The rhymes vary in length. There are some very short ones that are very easy for young children to commit to memory whereas as others are quite a bit longer. There is at least one flap to open on each page and some pages have even more. The rhymes are very interactive with the children being asked to count the number of chicks under a flap or fill in the missing word in the rhyme by lifting the flap and naming the animal hidden underneath it. - Illustrations - The illustrations are simply done but very appealing to pre-school children. They are all set against a white background and the illustrations work hand in hand with the text, e.g. one of the poems is of a kitten that goes under the table, through the socks and over the dustpan and the illustrations show the kitten in each of these positions. - Educational Values - ~ Encourages fine motor skills with the lift-the-flap opportunities. ~ Develops and encourages young children's awareness and identification of rhyme. ~ Encourages children to name a wide range of animals, for example: kangaroo, ducklings, giraffe, horse, frog etc. - The Author - Rod Campbell is probably most well-known for 'Dear Zoo' which has sold more than 2 million copies. His books are ideal for very young children.... Simple texts which are sometimes repetitive (great for pre-school children). Rod Campbell uses lift-the-flap, touch and feel as well as the 'odd' pop up book, all of which cater extremely well for 2 years and upwards. There are also a few cloth books, ideal for the under 2s as they can be washed and re-used etc... ' Baby's Busy Book' & ' My Farm'. He is also the creator of Buster, a well-known and much loved character. I have listed some of Rod Campbell's books: ~ I'm hungry ~ Farm Chase ~ Buster Zoo ~ Oh Dear! ~ It's mine! ~ I won't bite, I'm not scary ~ Noisy farm Rod Campbell has also produced a range of books for Longman publicatons: ~ Come in to the garden ~ Hungry animals ~ Who's there? For more information visit www.rodcampbell.co.uk On the website there are pictures to colour as well as reading skills guidance for parents. - Price - My paperback, ISBN: 0-333-63339-3 was £4.99 However used and new copies are available from amazon from just 1p! - My Verdict - The book has a number of educational values and unlike some of his other lift-the-flap books this has them in abundance! I've used this with 3 year olds and have recently given it to the youngest member of the family who is just under one year and the flaps withstood his supervised opening of them so they are sturdier than most I've come across. Overall this is a lovely book for young children, full of interactive and educational benefits. N.B. Review is also posted on ciao.