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This is an excellent magnetic play book by Axel Scheffler, the wonderful illustrator who usually works in collaboration with Julia Donaldson, author of "The Gruffalo." In this book however, he works on his own and the book is as much about the pictures and magnetic characters as about the story. My two children love it. My one year old loves playing with the animals and making their sounds and sticking them randomly about the book. He loves both playing on his own with it or playing with an adult. My three year old will sit with me and follow the story and the instructions that go with each page.
As the title suggests Muddle Farm is a muddle and Farmer Muddle needs help keeping all his animals together and in the right place. All the magnets are in a sturdy sliding compartment at the front of the book cleverly created as the farmyard barn with a sliding door. There is a little clasp to keep the book shut when not is use and a handle to carry it around. All very sturdy.
This book is great for carrying around and keeps them occupied for longer than most other books do. Highly recommended.
About two months back my nearly three years old child suddenly discovered magnetic story books at a friend's house .
The following week we had a hunt around at nearby toy shops and my eyes caught the Farmer Muddle series of books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Alex Scheffler.
A bit about the Author and Illustrator
The writer Julia Donaldson is a mother of three boys and has a sizeable collection of 141 published books to her name of which 'The Gruffalo','The Gruffalo's Child' , 'the Snail and the Whale' and the set of songs turned into a book' A Squash and A squeeze' are quite famous.
The illustrator is the famous Alex Scheffler , german by birth and an alumni of the Bath Academy of Arts and the winner of the 2005 Blue Peter Best Illustrated Book to Read Aloud award .
Alex and Julia have woked on a series of child's and adult books together and have some produced some wonderfully illustrated books between them.(the gruffalo's child)
The book is priced at £10ish in ELC and as always I had forgotten to carry this years 20% off ( birthday club voucher) voucher with me. It might be cheaper elsewhere like amazon, whSmiths or ebay I haven't looked . If the price hasn't put you off please read on as this might just turn out to be your kid's next favourite.
Age group focused at:
for reading: 2-5yrs
for buying : hahaha whenever you have enough saved to buy it.
This is supposed to be based on farmer muddle's farm where everything is in a constant state o chaos--
The book includes 15 very good quality lithographed magnetic animals in a easy to handle size for tiny fingers( biggest is a pony about 10cms big and the tiniest is a butterfly of about 1.5cms).
There is a plastic carry handle and the book can be clipped shut when not being used...very ideal on a journey out , specially including waiting time at gp's or dentists and the like.
These magnets get stored in a small barn like box on the cover with a sliding door. Younger children might need help with opening and closing the door (ours has already folded in the middle).
There are four very thick pages( non-rippable by those nosey munchkins) each with a different short instruction/story on it. A page for animal sounds, a page for the fodder/food, animal activities and where and how they sleep...a complete day .
The child is supposed to add the animal pictures on according to the instructions and complete a story on his/her own.
I have found that my child often plays on her own with this and makes up her own stories ...like a favourite of hers is ' so the dog went to ask the cow for some milk and the hen for some eggs for her picnic...' it keeps her entertained for very long time , which is very unusual in itself.
Our opinion of the book:
The magnets are of very good quality , the pictures do not slide of the page like some cheaper ones do, which is handly as they won't get lost easily.
The beautiful illustrations are very attractive and brightly coloured.
Very educational as children learn a lot about farm-life from the book and try to be imaginatively creative in their own different ways .
A book they can read/make up a story for themselves ( it gets tedious reading the same kiddy book over and over ). This is the pahse where they really get intersetd in books don't they?
Parent and child interactive and one can get years of enjoyment out of it.
Chances of magnets left outside the book can lead to their getting lost .
No chance of buying the whole series for Christmas unless you win a book-vouchers lottery as they are pricely, but would definitely say good value for money .
The barn door can be fidgety for little ones.
Will definitely like to buy the others in the series.
'Muddle Farm' by Axel Scheffler is such a fun book for small children. In fact, to be accurate, it is a lot more than a book as I will explain.
The name Axel Scheffler is probably quite familiar to a lot of people who have young children as he is the illustrator who provides all the fantastic pictures in stories such as 'The Gruffalo' and 'Room on the Broom'. He generally works in collaboration with the writer Julia Donaldson, but for 'Muddle Farm' he has worked on his own.
'Muddle Farm' is actually described as a magnetic play book and that is exactly what it seems to be. It only has four double page spreads and each of these are magnetic. Along with the book you get a set of small magnetic animals which are ingeniously housed in a barn at the front of the book. The door of the barn cleverly slides open and you can get all the animals out ready to play with them on each of the pages.
The actual story is quite simple telling of Farmer Muddle and the fact that everything is in a bit of a muddle on his farm. The four pages also progress throughout a typical day starting with when the animals wake up, moving on to when they eat and eventually with them all getting ready to sleep at night!
On each of the pages though your child is asked to do something specific with the magnetic animals. For example on one page they have to place the adult animals next to their babies, and on another they place them near to the food they are likely to eat. This can prompt quite a lot of discussion about the different animals and the sorts of things they do. On the first page the children are encouraged to make all the different animal noises which I'm sure you can imagine is often a bit noisy. Finally, on the last page all the animals are put to bed and they can go back in their barn again. Peace at last!
My youngest daughter was given this for her second birthday and although she adores all the little creatures it is a book that is probably suitable for a slightly older child. My now two year old just likes to place the creatures randomly, whereas her older sister, at three and a half, knows a lot about animals and can follow the instructions well.
I find that after having read ther book with them, they generally prefer to get on with playing with the animals by themselves. They also really enjoy the illustrations which are bright and bold and there is a lot of detail in each picture.
When not in use the book has a small clasp to keep it closed and also a small carrying handle so it is easy to take with you if all the animals are still on the pages inside as they shouldn't fall out.
Both my daughters and I really like this play book, and it is quite a novelty for them as they can do more than just read it. My older daughter has also started to make up her own stories moving the animals around the different pages and making them do different things.
The book seems really strong and sturdy but we have not had it that long so will see whether it stands the test of time. However, the fact that it is so engaging will probably mean that it will be well used so will need to be able to stand the wear and tear from little fingers. Having said this though, as the pages are magnetic they are definitely thicker and stronger than normal ones. The pages are also wipe clean which is very handy! It is published by Campbell Books with an RRP of £9.99.
Farmer Muddle is in ever such a muddle! Can you help him? Using the 15 animal magnets - simply slide back the barn door and move the animals around the magnetic pages - you can create your own pictures, invent your own stories and bring a world of farmyard fun to life!