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My children are more inspired to draw now they are both at school full time and have developed much better pencil control. I picked up this notepad for my youngest son who is four and a half as he is a lot less confident than his brother who is 6, and I hoped that by having something with more structure to it, he would know how to start then carry on.
Melissa and Doug is a brand I am getting more familiar with. I have bought a couple of items from the range now and been impressed with the quality of them, so when I saw this notebook at a cost of £5, I was happy to spend this amount knowing it would be a premium item.
The book is a bit larger than I imagined. It is a little less than A3 in size (36x28cm). It has a thin cardboard back cover, and the front cover is thick paper. There is then 48 sheets of paper bound into the top edge of the sketch pad with glue, so it is possible to tear out your sketches as you finish them with not too much trouble.
Of the 48 pages in the book, there are 12 different designs which are repeated 4 times in the book, and these are in sets of 12, so you don't see a duplicate of your page for a while and get bored. The page designs are in colour, but there is also plenty of white space for you to fill yourself.
The designs feature things that children will be familiar with, such as an empty plate, a cake stand, a goldfish bowl, a pond, a barn and a farmers field. My children were both keen to get drawing straight away when they saw this, and it worked really well. The first one they picked was the goldfish bowl, so we talked about what things we have seen in fish tanks such as gravel and plants and fish, and straight away they had some ideas.
We have only used our crayons in this book, but the paper is thick enough you could use felt tips on it, and if you tore the sheets out first, paint would also go nicely on this paper. I find the thickness of this paper is really appealing to draw on. There were a couple of examples of finished drawings on the front cover of the pad and on a sheet that came inside the packaging. (The whole notepad was encased in plastic when new to keep it nice. ) This was nice, but my children didn't really look at it as they were off themselves very quickly.
I think this is a lovely notepad for younger children who are only just beginning to get into drawing and find the freedom of a blank bit of paper too daunting. Here, their work doesn't feel like the only focus, and they quickly get some idea what to draw.
I originally thought this would be a good size for slipping in my bag to take out with us, but it is a little too big for this purpose unfortunately, but it is ideal for occupying some time creatively in the home as you can just do one picture, or spend longer completing more if you wish.