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Muddle Races by Ant Parker is a children's interactive play and story book. It's available from Amazon for £5.99, though the copy we've got came from a discount book retailer for about half that price. It was bought for the grandson as, like most little boys, he's mad about cars of course.
The front of the book features a sturdy plastic, see-through pocket which stores lots of detailed picture magnets in it. To get to these, you open up the cover to reveal a sliding garage door lid just inside on the front page. So to get the vehicles out, you slide open the garage door - which I think is a nice little detail!
The magnets included are really very colourful, detailed and well cut out. The pictures are all of various different cars complete with an array of animals driving them. There's a rooster driving a rocket shaped car, and a pair of crocodiles driving a soapbox styled racing car. They're all mounted on strong magnets, which adhere to all the pages within this book as well as on the fridge or radiator if wanted.
There aren't many pages in this book at all, but there's plenty of fun to be had on the pages that there are. The idea is that the animals are having a race, and while an adult reads the bits of the story, the little ones can zoom the magnets around to act it out a bit. There are little activities included on the pages too, so it gives the book that little bit of extra depth that all helps to make up for the short over all length.
The full retail price for this book is £9.99 which I really think is a bit much. But although this isn't very long, it is very good quality and I'd be pleased if I'd paid the Amazon price of £5.99 for this. There isn't an endless supply of fun to be had here, and the story isn't anything special or different - but the magnets are really well made and the concept is fun and engaging. This is a great way to get kids involved with books and encourage them to view books as being fun from a young age.
'Muddle Races' is a really fun little book written and illustrated by Ant Parker. It is actually described as a magnetic playbook because it has four different double paged racing scenes and seventeen different magnets which is great as it means that your child can really interact with the story and decide for themselves what happens!
The book is really very thick and sturdy (and also wipe clean which is always handy with sticky little fingers about!) The pages are very strong, and, I'm not sure how this works, they have a magnetic attraction which means that all the little magnets - these are mainly racing cars - are able to attach to the pages. The book also has a strong carrying handle which helps children take it with them wherever they go without any of the magnets falling out. On the front cover you can see all the magnets inside their plastic case. However, when you turn to the first page you see a big garage door and when you open this by sliding it carefully, all the little cars can come out and find their way onto the track.
I will tell you a little bit about the story now. It all starts when lots of different animals meet up in their cars in order to take part in a thrilling mountain valley. Over the four double pages you see the start, the mountain section, the pit stop and finally the finish. One thing is missing from all the pages though - the racers! This is where all the little magnetic pieces come in as these are all the racing cars with their racers in them and the children can put these wherever they want, creating their own races and thereby making up their own stories. In fact the book is written in such a clever way that the children can even make up their own ending as we don't even know which team wins. Children will probably look at all the cars and drivers and decide on their favourite and make that one the winner (in my daughter's case it has to be the pink car!)
You might think then, why bother having any text at all, because children could just as easily just use blank pages. This is not the case though as the text is quite fun and does move the action along from one page to the next. It is pretty much in the style of a racing commentator and it is also written in rhyme which children often enjoy, and my daughter particularly likes to predict the rhyme. There are also some little instructions to follow along the way, such as matching the correct colour cars to their pit stop teams.
All the pages are beautifully illustrated too with so much detail to pick out on every page. I particularly love the strong bold colours which makes every page look so exciting. All the magnets are lovely too with a real range of interesting, colourful and sometimes wacky cars and drivers. My daughter loves looking at all of these and deciding which are her favourite!
My daughter really enjoys both reading and playing with this book! She loves the fact that she can make up her own stories and also move the action on and around the different tracks. At just four, she has such a strong imagination, and this book gives her the opportunity to use it in a structured way.
The book is published by Campbell Books and has a RRP of £9.99. However, at present it can be bought from The Book People (see my previous review if you don't know of them) for only £3.99, which I think is incredibly good value!
Join the craziest animals ever as they take part in the Mountain Rally - a fantastic Formula-1 style race! This amazing book features four magnetic race scenes, each with a fun activity, and a collection of magnets featuring a host of wacky vehicles and their crazy animal drivers. Read the story and carry out the tasks, or use the magnets to invent your own stories! It comes complete with a handy magnet storage compartment, a carry-handle and clasp!