“ Genre: Junior Books / Author: Louise Martin / ISBN: 978144546159 / Publisher: Parragon Publishing „
I love buying books for my twin boys and reading with them. We tend to read every day however before bed part of their "night time" routine is that I read a story to each of them allowing them to choose a book each to read. In their bedroom I tend to position books which are stories rather than just children's books with a jumble of words and pictures. I did this as once they reached around 18 months old their interest and concentration on books with actual stories seemed to increase and I found they started to prefer actual story books as opposed to just lots of random words on each page. My boys do however love interactive books with pop up sections so I tried to add books to our collection which were actual stories that would engage my boys but still have some form of interaction on the pages. One of my best finds was Little Kitten by Louise Martin.
The description of the Little Kitten book is "Miaow! Miaow! Little Kitten has lost her favourite toy mouse. Where can she be? Push the tab to find a fun rhyming surprise on every page."
Little Kitten is a brightly coloured storybook aimed at toddlers following Little Kitten on her search for her toy mouse which she has lost. Each page included a piece of rhyming text asking where mouse could be in a certain room or area around the house. The book is interactive as the final rhyming word on the page is always an object. This name of this object is not written next to the main body of text. Instead there is a push down flap on the side of each page. When pressed down the object that mouse could potentially be hiding behind pops up on a small pop up section on the top of the page.
The cover price of the book is £4.99 which even at full price I feel is very reasonable. The Little Kitten Book is sold in Asda, Tesco and on Amazon for around £4. However I purchased this from The Works for £1.99 which I feel is extremely cheap and excellent value considering how much my boys love the story and also the interactive sections of the book.
The story follows little kitten going into different rooms and into the garden to look for her toy mouse around the house. The book in total has 12 pages. The story on each of the pages has two sentences on asking where mouse could be hiding. These sentences are rhyming and the last word on each of the pages is missing. Initially I thought there was a problem with the story as it did not seem to make sense because missing word but the last word on each of the pages is always on a pop up section at the top of the page and the matching image on the pop up section is always found somewhere on that page. For example the first page says "Hello Little Kitten, where is mouse hiding? She is not inside the .........." . On this page there is a brightly coloured image of little kitten, an image of the house on the page and then a cut out section on the side of the page with a hard cardboard lever. You press the lever down which then makes a small semi-circle of cardboard pop up from the top of the page and the missing word with an image of this object is on this pop up section. This format continues through all off the book with each individual page having a rhyming body of text, a word missing and a pop up section showing an object that mouse could potentially be hiding behind or in. On the very last page there is no pop up as mouse is found safe lying on the rug in front of the fire so there is a happy ending to the story.
On the first read I do think that the book is a little confusing with having the word missing and on the pop up section as the pop up levers are reasonably concealed at the side of each page. Mr Lools and my mum made the same mistake as I did when they first read the book to my boys and thought the book did not make sense (until my boys pointed out the pop up sections to them). My main criticisms however are of the pop up sections. These are durable and made from quite a thick cardboard so perfect for a book aimed at young quite clumsy toddlers. However the actual pressing down of the side lever requires quite a lot of effort and precision for a child. Some of these pop ups on the page are easier to press than others meaning my boys get frustrated because at two years old they are very independent and do not want my help to do this but often require it as some of the levers tend to stick. With repeated use the levers have become easier to use but some of the pages do stick slightly.
Story wise I really like this book. I think the book has more words and is slightly longer than the majority of books for children under 18 months however is still entertaining and engaging enough to read to with a younger toddler or baby. I found at 18 months my boys "outgrew" a large number of books and I feel Little Kitten is perfect as it is a longer story which they can follow but do not become bored. I think it is perfectly suited from 18months up until the age of 3. I do not feel it is too basic to read to a three year old and feel they would still enjoy the story but may become less interested after a few reads of this book.
I think this is a very entertaining story book to read to a child and I think it fits more into the "fun" story book category rather than being one of the more educational books in our collection. However I do think that the book has educational and developmental benefits for younger and older toddlers. Although the pop up levers can be slightly stiff, a child pressing these and flipping up these sections helps with their motor skills and hand eye coordination. I also feel the book helps with speech development as a child is encouraged to repeat the word on the pop up as the story emphasises this word or object. My boys can now clearly say all of the words such as house, gate, flowerpot and mop. The book also encourages older toddlers to identify here else this object is located on each page so helps with problem solving and recognition skills too.
Although one of my criticisms of the Little Kitten book is that the pop up section levers are still I also think that this is a very durable book. All of the pages in the book are made from a hard durable thick cardboard so it is not possible to bend the pages. The levers are also concealed and protected as there is a cut out section and then space to put your finger on the lever so because they do not stick out from the side of the book they do not get bent. The pop up sections on the page do stick out from the top of the book but as soon as they are touched they fold back down into the book very easily meaning they also do not bend. It would be possible for a child to bend these pop up sections if they bent them over on purpose however they do not bend easily. My boys have had this book for around 8 months now and rough and often fight over the book and it still looks as new and has no bent sections or damage.
I would definitely recommend Little Kitten by Louise Martin to others. I feel it is a perfect fun yet interactive storybook for children aged under 3 especially children aged between 18 months and 3 years old. The illustrations on each page are bright and clear and the pop up section on each of the pages add a fun dimension to the book. The book also benefits from an engaging little storyline that children will love to follow. At £2 this book has been a bargain, not just because it is so entertaining but because it is such a durable book and helps introduce new words to a toddler's vocabulary.
A fantastic read that just keeps popping up!